This was not one of United's better performances but once again they showed their battling qualities in rallying from a goal behind to take all three points, much as they had on Saturday at Welling.
The first 45 minutes at Gander Green Lane on Tuesday evening were probably the most tedious thus far with neither side showing much aptitude for progression up the field. It actually started in different fashion as both sides created a chance in the opening five minutes.
The U's were first to test the keeper, Warren McBean picked up the ball just outside the centre circle before working his way through three defensive tackles only for Delroy Preddie to save his shot from the edge of the area. A couple of minutes later United had a double chance to go ahead, Simon Martin gained possession inside the area and fed Will Hendry but U's debutant keeper Gareth Williams blocked his shot away for a corner. The kick fell to Miles Jones with his back to goal in the six yard box and although he got his effort on target it was played away by a covering defender.
The home side went close on 16 minutes, a left wing cross was met on the volley by McBean and while the ball appeared to be heading for the corner flag Paul Honey threw himself full length but could not keep his header down. The remainder of the half saw just one effort test the keeper, Hendry was given space to shoot on the edge of the Sutton area but Williams pushed his effort around the post. From the resultant corner Steve Perkins rose highest but his effort was wide of the target.
Garry Haylock replaced Jones at half time with Josh Scott and less than a minute in he almost assisted with breaking the deadlock when Hendry was inches away from his fired centre. Sadly the striker returning from injury had only been on the field five minutes when he was upended by an appalling tackle from Bashiru Alimi which saw the U's man lucky to only see yellow while Scott himself had to be replaced on the hour just after United had gone behind.
The 57th minute saw the scoresheet marked for the first time, McBean being given far too much space to track across the box before firing a fierce drive across Preddie and in off the far post.
United took a while to recover from the loss of Scott and conceding and it was not until the final twenty minutes that they began to force themselves forwards. Danny Allen-Page was the first to force a save out of Williams as he palmed down the defenders shot before a defensive colleague toed the ball away from danger. Fifteen minutes from time the equaliser arrived, a needlessly conceded corner was played deep by Steven Gregory where the unexpected figure of Peter Collins arrived at the back of the six yard box to volley past Williams from an acute angle.
United continued to press for a winner, Hendry had two very good shouts for a spot kick waved away within the same thrust into the area and substitute James Mulley was just off target when meeting a Toby Little cross from the left. At the other end skipper Nevin Saroya was on hand to clear after a bouncing twenty yard effort from McBean came back off Preddie's chest before United netted again. A quick throw-in on the left was almost caught by home skipper John Scarborough and this time referee Scholes did point to the spot. With Saroya handing over the penalty duties it fell to man of the match Hendry to fire past Williams from twelve yards.
There was still time for the United faithful to gasp as a stoppage time free-kick was played into the box and through a bundle of players a U's man headed goalwards, Preddie allowed the ball to slip from his grasp but was quick minded enough to regain his stature and block out the follow up for a corner. That kick was headed towards the edge of the area by McBean but Honey's shot was off target.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.