Sutton assistant manager Jason Goodliffe confirmed that defender Coby Rowe complained about an alleged racist comment from the crowd in the 1-0 win at Crawley.

Referee Tom Nield spoke to the fourth official after Rowe made him aware of the comments, and there was a crowd announcement warning supporters of a potential abandonment if the alleged abuse continued.

Goodliffe said: “It has been reported by the referee to people who matter.

“It is something serious if Coby repeated it. The stewards managed to stop what went on and hopefully it’ll be the end of it.”

Crawley head coach John Yems said no one at the club condoned any form of racism, but felt referee Nield “lost complete control of the game” with a string of stoppages.

“No one wants racism,” he said. “But the referee lost complete control of the game and was terrible. The refereeing at this level is beyond poor.”

In a statement, Crawley added they were aware of the incident and said alongside Sussex Police they were “working to identify the potential person/persons involved and is prepared to take the strongest possible action against them.”.

A goal from substitute Isaac Olaofe gave in-form Sutton their sixth victory in the last seven league games.

Crawley striker Tom Nichols had a penalty saved by Dean Bouzanis shortly before Olaofe’s winner.

Yems said: “I’m fed up with saying the same things – we’ve let in another poor goal.

“We didn’t defend well, we lost 1-0 and never really got started.”