RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Waltham Abbey 0 AFC Sudbury 2
A goal in each half saw AFC Sudbury seal a well-earned win on Saturday to extend their unbeaten league run to five games.
This was a fine team performance by David Batch’s side who started with three changes, one forced by Steve Spriggs being unavailable.
Skipper Sam Clarke returned after his one-match ban and clinched the win with a superb strike late on.
James Baker started at the expense of Ben Thompson, who dropped to the bench, while Michael Shinn also returned.
A sparse crowd of 72, which would have been a lot less had it not been for the large travelling support, saw the home side have the better of the early exchanges and they went close after 12 minutes when Jack Daveney was denied by keeper Alex Archer with a fine tip-over save.
Sudbury began to get more into the game and only a goal-line clearance prevented Payton Swatman giving the visitors the lead after 15 minutes. The hosts looked dangerous on the break, but rarely threatened to beat Archer.
Sudbury finished the first period strongly and Clarke was only inches wide before the pressure paid off in the last minute of the half when a long ball into the home box fell to Ollie Hughes, who broke the deadlock with a fine shot on the turn.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Sudbury doing most of the pressing, but the hosts defended well.
The Suffolk side should have increased their lead after 56 minutes when a corner fell to Ross Watson, but the unmarked defender blazed over.
Abbey were getting little change out of a solid Sudbury defence, although Archer did well to save a free-kick, struck by Joe Pearman, at the expense of a corner, to preserve a welcome clean sheet.
With 15 minutes remaining, Sudbury scored the all-important second goal when, from a fine move down the left, Dave Cowley did well to find Clarke, who finished in style with an angled shot to clinch a well-deserved win.
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Watson, Cawley, Shinn (Daniels 73), Henshaw, Mitchell, Cowley (R Spriggs 81), Clarke, Baker (Thompson 84), Hughes, Swatman. Unused sub: Carus.
AFC MoM: Skipper Sam Clarke. He led by example. Never stopped running and capped a fine performance with a great goal.
Yellow cards: None.