Sutton United bowed out of the FA Cup with their heads held high after giving League Two side Cambridge United a real run for their money in their first round clash last Sunday.

Roared on by nearly 500 travelling fans, the U’s dominated the game but their lack of a cutting edge in the final third ultimately proved their downfall.

Despite losing Nicky Bailey to a groin injury in the 26th minute, Sutton were handed an advantage just ten minutes later when Cambridge midfielder George Maris was shown a second yellow card for diving.

However, it was the hosts who seized the initiative in the 39th minute when Jevani Brown’s shot rattled United’s crossbar then Jabo Ibehre’s scuffed attempt from the rebound agonisingly evaded the reach of goalkeeper Jamie Butler to nestle in the net.

Paul Doswell’s side dominated the match, launching countless crosses into the penalty area only for the impressive Cambridge defence to hold firm.

Craig Dundas almost headed Sutton level and Kieron Cadogan was unfortunate to see his rasping drive hit a post, but perhaps the best chance came at the death when a shot from Adam Coombes seemed destined for the top corner until David Forde produced a fine save to deny Sutton what would have been a well-deserved replay.

After the game, Doswell was pleased with his side’s display despite the scoreline.

“The performance was outstanding,” he said. “I thought we tried everything we could what with the substitutions.

“We went very brave in that last half-an-hour to get something out of the game.

“We put that many crosses into the box that you just hope something is going to fall but you have to give Cambridge credit because I thought they defended for their lives. It could have gone either way. It was a great FA Cup game.

“That’s us and Lincoln gone, [lost 1-0 at AFC Wimbledon] the big hitters from last year who got to the fifth round and quarter-final respectively, but that’s football. We couldn’t have done any more.

“I said to the staff today, when you reflect on where we are, nearly 500 fans here at Cambridge United, I think the club’s been on an amazing journey. We didn’t look out of place today.”

With Simon Walton, Craig Eastmond and Nicky Bailey all carrying new injuries, Doswell hinted in a Twitter post on Sunday that he might have to flick through his little black book to find suitable reinforcements as his team returns to Vanarama National League action this weekend.

The U’s travel to basement boys Solihull Moors this Saturday hoping to exact revenge after suffering two defeats to the Midlanders last season. Kick-off is 3pm.