Boreham Wood’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday night, with a late goal condemning Wood to a 1-0 defeat at Sutton United.
The Surrey outfit – third in the Conference South – could count themselves fortunate to have beaten Wood, who were left rueing several missed opportunities.
Wood started with two Wycombe loanees up front in the shape of Lee Angol and Junior Morais, and it was Morais who was at the heart of Wood’s first chance of note, picking out Matty Whichelow, who tested Sutton’s former Welsh international Jason Brown with a powerful drive after 21 minutes.
Morais was responsible for Wood’s next chance too, gratefully latching onto a rebound off of the impressive Charlie Clough before sending a tame effort into the palms of Brown.
Seven minutes after the restart, the referee controversially awarded the hosts a penalty for what appeared to be a perfectly timed sliding tackle from full-back Ben Nunn.
There was no appeal from the Sutton players for the challenge on the lively Dale Binns, but Mr Pollard awarded the penalty regardless.
Craig Dundas stepped up to take the spot-kick for Sutton, but could only stroke his effort comfortably wide of James Russell’s right-hand post.
Graeme Montgomery was next to step up and try his luck, driving a powerful effort narrowly wide of the United goal.
It took until the 72nd minute for third-place United to have their first effort of note. Jamie Taylor tested Russell in the Wood goal before Mario Noto stepped in to prevent Kane Haysman’s progress into the penalty area.
With just eight minutes left on the clock, Sutton scored a goal that they had scarcely deserved. Binns bypassed Nunn before cutting back for Michael Spillane to coolly slot past Russell and secure the points for the hosts.
Speaking to the club’s official website after the game, Ian Allinson felt his side had been short-changed.
Allinson said: “I feel very sorry for them tonight, they put in a tremendous effort and we created the clearer chances on the night. I made the substitutions with a view to introducing fresh legs to go on and win the game.
“Sutton deserve credit for the way they defended and one mistake in not clearing our lines has let them in to grab the points.
“Other results tonight narrows the gap to eight points from the drop zone, so we need to post a win at home to Chelmsford on Saturday to keep ourselves from the ‘looking over our shoulders culture’, that we have done excellently to banish of late.”
On Saturday Boreham Wood drew 0-0 at Dover Athletic, with tired legs a contributing factor after four games in eight days for Allinson’s side.
The draw means Boreham Wood have now gone three seasons without losing to Dover, and it was Wood who came closest against the play-off hopefuls, twice hitting the crossbar.
Wood had the game’s first chance, Josh Hill just failing to connect with a Mark Jones free-kick, before the experienced Nathan Elder failed to touch home an inviting Moses Ademola cross for the hosts.
Ademola was a constant threat for the Whites, but much to the home crowd’s displeasure, he was withdrawn after the break in favour of Ricky Modeste.
Goalkeeper Russell had to be at his best to deny Modeste shortly after, relying on captain Callum Reynolds to block James Rodgers’ follow-up which looked destined to break the deadlock.
Reynolds then came close at the other end, meeting a Jones free-kick with a firm header which rebounded back of the Dover crossbar.
Athletic responded through Barry Cogan, the Irishman’s effort superbly tipped over by the agile Russell.
Substitute Angol struck the crossbar in the dying minutes, bravely flinging himself full length to meet Montgomery’s cross with a diving header, only to see his effort rebound off the bar.