AFC Fylde fell at the Emirates FA Cup First Round hurdle following a narrow 2-1 defeat against Sutton United at Gander Green Lane.

Fylde took the lead just seconds before the break when Jon Ustabasi was set free down the wing, and after matching his marker and shifting the ball out to the right, he zipped an effort across goal and into the bottom corner.

However, the game was turned on its head after a rejuvenated Sutton came out for the second half, with Harry Smith sending Sutton into the Second Round with a timely header and a well-taken shot into the bottom right corner on both occasions.

Director of Football/Head Coach Chris Beech has made three changes to the side that were triumphant over Gateshead last time out, with Emeka Obi, Taelor O’Kane and Gold Omotayo coming in to start, replacing Harry Davis, Danny Whitehead & Luke Charman.

A bright start to the game saw the hosts look to get a hold of the game and threaten early on, which they did at the back post through Harry Beautyman, who met a cross from the left and volleyed over.

Fylde’s first chance of the game came when Josh Kay took down a Nelson Khumbeni header to aim towards the bottom left corner and just wide of Dean Bouzanis’ near post.

There wasn’t much between the two sides after 20 minutes, and after a cross from the right was brilliantly intercepted by Connor Barrett, Nick Haughton swerved an effort from range and left Bouzanis struggling in the middle of his goal, with him eventually batting just batting away from danger.

Superb defending from skipper Sam Graham and Emeka Obi to block three consecutive Sutton shots on target provided a brilliant platform for the Coasters to attack at speed and grab the game’s opening goal.

Jon Ustabasi was fed in down the right, and one-on-one with the full-back, he shifted slightly to the right and hit across Bouzanis and into the bottom corner of the net moments before the referee’s whistle for the interval.

Half-Time: Sutton United 0-1 AFC Fylde

Sutton came out with a point to prove to the home crowd, which they almost did when Josh Coley hung a cross up towards Harry Smith in the area, who had all the time in the world to head at goal, but he mistimed his jump, and the ball skimmed off his head and out for a goal kick.

As chances came and went for Sutton and Harry Smith, the hosts quickly put that right when a cross into the box by Coley was met by the Sutton number nine, who headed into the roof of the net.

The game was turned on its head from that moment on when after a superb Theo Richardson save to keep out Coley, the right winger turned provider for Smith again, knocking down for the centre forward to guide a shot into the bottom corner.

Chris Beech’s men searched for an equalizer almost instantly, as substitute Siya Ligendza brought the ball down inside the 18-yard box and set Josh Kay, who curled towards the bottom corner, only to be denied by an outstretched Bouzanis leg.

With the clock ticking down and 94 minutes on it, Luke Charman had a chance to send the tie to a replay as he stepped up to a free-kick, but he blasted over before the referee blew time on proceedings.

Full-Time Sutton United 2-1 AFC Fylde

Sutton United: Bouzanis, Goodliffe, John, Coley (75’ Jackson), N’Guessan, Smith, Beautyman (C), Clay (88’ Angol), Kizzi, Milsom, O’Brien (84’ Gape). 

Unused Subs: Rose, Patrick, Dundas, Mellor, Pereira, Fadahunsi.

AFC Fylde: Richardson, Barrett, Obi, Graham, Conway, Khumbeni, O’Kane (82’ Rowley), Haughton (70’ Ligendza), Ustabasi, Kay (77’ Charman), Omotayo.

Unused Subs: Metcalfe, Davis, Bird, Philliskirk, Glynn, Ormerod.