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Sutton season ‘remarkable’ despite missing out on the play-offs – Matt Gray

Matt Gray’s side missed out on a play-off place (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Matt Gray’s side missed out on a play-off place (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Sutton manager Matt Gray is still thrilled with his side’s efforts this term despite missing out on a play-off place.

A 2-0 success at Harrogate meant Gray’s side ended their first EFL campaign eighth in League Two, just one point behind Mansfield in the final play-off spot.

And although disappointed to have missed out on the top seven by a narrow margin, Gray insists his side have far surpassed his expectations.

He said: “It’s been a great season for us. If you’d have offered me 50 points at the start of the season I would have snapped your hand off.

“It was an unbelievable achievement winning the National League last year. Coming up this year, first and foremost we wanted to secure our Football League status while building off the pitch and on it, to make sure that we are here to stay. We’ve established ourselves as a Football League club now.

“To be in a Wembley final and miss out narrowly, to get 76 points on the board and just miss out on the play-offs on the last day of the season is a truly remarkable achievement. It’s been a fantastic season for us.

“We’ll enjoy a break now, we need a break, but we will come back stronger.”

Saturday’s win at Harrogate came courtesy of goals in each half from Craig Eastmond and Isaac Olaofe, though both sides created plenty of chances during an end-to-end affair.

“It was an entertaining game, they’ve hit the woodwork twice, we’ve hit the woodwork three or four times, but overall I thought we were reasonably comfortable and took our goals well,” Gray added.

Harrogate headed into the contest buoyed by back-to-back victories.

Boss Simon Weaver said: “I’m disappointed overall because I really wanted to finish the season with three wins on the bounce after two extremely positive results against Carlisle and Forest Green.

“When all is said and done, no matter what plaudits we get for playing well in an exciting match and creating lots of chances and hitting the woodwork, at the end of the day we’ve lost the game and it still hurts you because we’re winners.

“We did enough to score goals today, but probably didn’t do enough to keep the back door shut. So, inevitably, when you don’t take your chances, you leave yourself open to losing an end-to-end contest like this.

“We caused them problems when we passed the ball. That was the game-plan, we have just got to get better at it.”

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