Tonight was the most important – Paul Hurst glad as Grimsby avoid distractions
Sutton boss Paul Hurst was delighted his players put Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Premier League Brighton out of their mind to beat Sutton 1-0.
The Mariners could not have been blamed for having one eye on their clash with the Premier League Seagulls after their magical run in the cup.
But Michee Efete scored the only goal of the game as the visitors ended Matt Gray’s side’s nine-game unbeaten run as they inflicted only the Us second defeat in 15 league games.
“When we turned up tonight it reminded me of Wealdstone last season because we turned up and it was dark around the car park,” admitted Hurst.
“Looking at the lads I was a bit concerned by their body language and demeanour, but that was wrong on my part.
“It was a professional, hard-working and gritty performance.
“I said to them in the hotel, and I didn’t feel good about saying it, but I said if I felt anyone was saving themselves for the weekend then I just wouldn’t pick them because tonight was the most important game.
“I know from speaking to people that a lot of people think the only game left in our season is Brighton away, but that’s not the case for myself, the staff and the players.
“I was really pleased with the attitude they showed tonight.
“Some of it wasn’t pretty but to beat a Sutton team which was nine unbeaten going into the game and who have a really good home record, we’re really pleased.
“From where I was standing at least, I thought we deserved the victory.”
The hosts missed the chance to propel themselves into the play-off spots as they suffered their first home defeat in four months.
Gray reflected: “It was a very poor first-half performance, we just weren’t ourselves.
“We had a bit of a spark second half. We had a couple of moments to get something out of the game, but it wasn’t to be for us.
“I was disappointed with the goal we conceded. It was a disappointing night all round. But it’s our first defeat in a while, so we can’t be all doom and gloom.
“It’s the first defeat in 10 league games, the first defeat in 10 league games at home. We’re one point outside of the play-offs.
“It’s a disappointing night, but we’ve got 10 days off then we’ll be into some very big games.
“It was a poor first 15 minutes from us but we started getting back into the game. We had a great moment with Harry Beautyman putting one over the bar.
“From the resulting goal-kick we’ve ended up losing the goal and giving them a 1-0 head start.
“Once we gave them that goal we gave them something to defend. They could get bodies behind the ball and clear their lines.
“They defended the box really well, it was hard to break them down. We huffed and puffed but never looked like scoring.”
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