Accrington Stanley manager John Doolan was frustrated after a fifth league defeat in seven games, going down 3-1 at rock-bottom Sutton United in League Two on Saturday.

Stanley started brightly in South London, backed by a travelling contingent of 199 from Lancashire.

In Doolan’s first match since taking the reins permanently, the Reds survived an early penalty shout but had two good chances for Josh Woods - firstly from 18 yards and then another low effort also saved.

But when stand-in stopper Jack McIntyre, making his first league start in goal with Radek Vitek away in international duty with Czech Republic Under-20s, rashly raced out to intercept a long pass on 16 minutes, he was beaten to it by home skipper Harry Smith who then converted into an empty net from an acute angle.

In the second half, Omar Sowunmi scrambled the ball over the line from close range and Nino Adom-Malaki - with a stunning left-foot rocket into the top corner - sealed victory for the struggling hosts, despite Wrexham loanee Jake Bickerstaff heading home an 85th-minute consolation.

And Doolan felt most for those fans making the long journey to the capital.

“I just want to say thanks to the fans because they’ve been absolutely amazing,” stressed Doolan.

“The support they’ve shown the team, I want to applaud them. They’ve been brilliant.

“But in terms of the game, I’ve asked the lads to come out and be on the front foot.

“Personally, I thought we were on the front foot and asking all the questions, we could have been 3-0 up before they scored but we’ve missed a couple of chances and they [Sutton] have scored.

“I think we were in control of the game but ultimately, it’s down to chances and they took their chances in the box and we haven’t.

“We tried to get it wide, which was the best areas of the pitch, but we didn’t have that bit of quality to get it wide.

“We just let ourselves down with an over-hit pass or just a lack of quality in the first half.

“But in the second half I think we missed chances as well, we need to learn from it.”

Overall, the hosts could rightly argue they were good value for their win which lifted them off the bottom and renewed survival hopes.

Delighted Sutton boss Steve Morison hailed his side post-match.

“It was a really good afternoon for us,” beamed Morison.

“Arnie [goalkeeper Steve Arnold] made a couple of big saves for us early doors that kept us in the game, but after that it was really good.

“We scored a really good goal but we didn’t back it up again and score soon after, which is frustrating because we had some really good chances in the first half.

“But then in the second half it was just a case of keep plugging away and hopefully we get another one. And thankfully we did.

“For the football club all round I think it was excellent.

“I was really pleased with today, it was relief when that second goal went in.

“It’s the first time we’ve scored that many goals at home [this season] and the first time we’ve won at home since I’ve been here. I’m really pleased with the afternoon’s performance.

“It was a fantastic third goal for us, he’s [Adom-Malaki] a really good player and I’m really pleased for him. He struck it lovely but he’s done that plenty of times before, just not for us.

“I’m really pleased for everyone, the players and the staff have worked really hard to give the fans the best we can give them.”