AFC Sudbury 2
Bury Town 1
AFC Sudbury manager David Batch believes Saturday’s turnout for the Aaron Gardiner memorial game spoke volumes for the man.
Almost 100 people attended a pre-match dinner in the former AFC player’s honour and the proceeds from the day raised £2,621.30 for his family.
Gardiner, who was at Diss Town with Batch, collapsed and died at the age of 33 after returning from a pre-season run 10 years ago.
“It’s fantastic,” said Batch of the fundraiser. “It’s a reflection of Aaron, but it’s great that the club have supported that and great people have gone out of their way to attend.”
The Yellows provided a fitting tribute on the field as they turned over arch rivals Bury Town thanks to second-half strikes from James Baker and Ollie Hughes.
Former Norwich City Academy player Harry Barker and 40-year-old ex-Stevenage and Dagenham and Redbridge full-back Lee Flynn were involved for the second consecutive match having got minutes under their belts in Thursday’s 4-1 defeat to a full-strength Colchester United.
Bury — who play one division higher than Sudbury — had the better of the first half and took the lead through former Yellow Nathan Clarke, who powerfully headed in Liam Wales’ left-wing corner at the back post.
Alex Archer was also called on to save from Wales and Callum Bennett, but AFC were also a threat and Baker had a goal ruled out for offside, while the flag also prevented Jake Reed being awarded a spot-kick.
Connor Hall dribbled two-thirds the length of the pitch before testing Archer in the first minute of the second period, but Sudbury dominated from then on.
Baker showed a neat turn and shot to beat Stephen Fenner in the Bury goal and equalise in the 52nd minute .
The winner arrived 18 minutes later when Hughes touched in Lawrence Yiga’s thumping shot after Kris Newby’s right-wing corner had been allowed to find the towering defender on the far side.
“It was difficult with the heat,” said Batch. “We gave people 70 minutes who didn’t play the other night and — touch wood, other than a couple of little knocks — we haven’t got anyone injured.
“The key criteria at the moment is to get them through and get them fit.”
AFC: Archer, Barker (Swatman 46), Flynn (T Kemp 75 (Maxwell 90+2)), Shinn (Clarke 65), Henshaw (Yiga 46), Pope, Newby, Maxwell (Shinn 88), Baker (S Kemp 79), Reed (Hughes 65), Guyton (Blackwell 46 (Coley 72)).
Week 12 winners of AFC Gold fundraiser are: £100 A Cocksedge, Constitution Hill, Sudbury (171); £10 M Pearman, Bures Rd, Lamarsh (274); £10 P Webb, Melford Rd, Sudbury (179).