An injury-time Luke Bigginton own goal meant the Hoops fell at the first hurdle in this season’s FA Cup.
With less than 30 seconds remaining of Saturday’s extra preliminary round tie the Deal skipper headed a Connor Evans corner into his own net to hand Sutton victory in what was their first-ever appearance in the competition.
Yet five minutes earlier it had looked as though the Hoops had earned themselves a replay at the Charles Ground on Tuesday when Sam Wilson equalised for the second time against the SCEL Division One side.
But then Sutton won a corner in the dying seconds which Evans swung into the six-yard box and the ball glanced off “Biggy’s” head as he tried to clear leaving ‘keeper James Tonkin with no chance.
It was particularly tough on Tonkin who had denied Sutton on several occasions in the second half but also fitting that Evans should be the architect of the winning goal because he had caused Deal problems all game with his skilful runs from midfield and also had a hand in their two other goals.
The first came after 24 minutes when Evans, who had already hit the Hoops crossbar, cruised past a couple of challenges before setting up Arlie Desanges to score.
Deal, playing with a strong wind at their backs in the first half, twice had “goals” ruled out in the opening half hour for penalty area infringements and they then suffered another blow 10 minutes before the break when key defender Kane Smith had to go off injured.
Wilson however significantly lifted their hopes for the second half by equalising on the stroke of half-time. The referee waved “play on” after a foul on Dave Pilcher and Wilson took full advantage by racing into the Sutton area and producing a cool finish.
The striker also went close early in the second half as Sutton, like Deal in the opening period, found it difficult to measure their passes with the near-gale now blowing at their backs. But Evans remained a constant threat and with 72 minutes gone he again cut through the Hoops defence to provide Desanges with his second goal.
Tonkin then produced a superb “double” save to keep Deal in the tie and the Hoops thought they had snatched a replay when Steve O’Brien’s 88th-minute volley was nudged home by Wilson, but Evans was to have the last word.
Deal: Tonkin, Chapman, O’Brien, Bigginton, Smith (Hark 35), Maughan, Treadwell (Tumilty 75), Murray, Wilson, Walsh (Penny 63), Pilcher.