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Big match reaction: Edwards lauds Stevens’ impact as Gray remains bullish

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Bullish Sutton United boss Matt Gray insists his Football League newcomers didn’t get the spoils they deserved after Ebou Adams’ stoppage-time winner ruined their big day.

Sutton looked a sure bet for an opening day point when former Forest Green striker Omar Bugiel levelled up Matty Stevens’ first-half opener before Adams popped up to snatch a last-gasp victory for Rovers.

“Football is about swings and roundabouts. I’m sure we’ll get our rewards as the season wears on.”

“Sometimes you get things you don’t deserve. I don’t think we deserved that today.

“I’m not happy with the goal at the end and how we defended the free-kick, but I was happy with a lot of things.

“Their goal came out of nothing, but I’ll never question the character of this group.”

In a cagey first-half it was Sutton who started brightly enough in their first shot at league football in their 123-year-old history.

Bugiel was a threat for Sutton against his former club and only a last-ditch foul from Jordan Moore-Taylor snuffed out his buccaneering run on goal.

However, it was Rovers who nosed ahead on 30 minutes –  Stevens was on hand to place a towering header across Dean Bouzanis from an arrowed over Nicky Cadden cross.

Sutton grabbed the initiative after the break and Bugiel grabbed his side’s first goal in league football as he pounced on statuesque Rovers’ defending to nod beyond Luke McGee. 

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Cadden saw his deflected strike kiss the top of Sutton’s bar as Rovers upped the tempo.

Meanwhile, new Rovers’ boss Rob Edwards lauded the impact of Matty Stevens who had previously endured a frustrating spell on loan at Stevenage last season.

“He’s a delight to work with and he deserved to start the game and deserved his goal, I’m delighted with him – he’s so honest and he took his goal with precision.

Edwards was equally delighted with match-winner Adams, he added: “Whenever Ebou plays, he probably plays all 11 positions anyway. He’s all over the place. Ebou’s best position is one where he’s able to run and get into forward positions, and that’s what we’ve challenged him to do this year. He’s certainly capable of chipping in with goals this year.”

Edwards was fulsome in his praise for his new summer recruits, with Hendry catching the eye alongside Ben Stevenson, he added: “Regan (Hendry) and Ben (Stevenson) were really good  and we showed lots of encouraging signs, but the challenge is to build on this.  Sutton were excellent, it wasn’t a pretty game, but we will take the three points.”

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