DIVISION ONE NORTH
Tilbury 1 AFC Sudbury 1
The manager-of-the-month curse failed to strike AFC’s Jamie Godbold as his side came away from in-form Tilbury with a point.
Two first-half goals were shared and Marcus Garnham saved a second-half penalty which he had conceded as AFC picked up a point on Saturday.
It was a deserved result for two form teams, Tilbury having won seven of their last 10 games, including their last three at home.
Suspensions meant Sudbury once again fielded a very youthful side, though skipper Sam Clarke returned from his four-match ban in place of teenager Stefano Mallardo, who was playing for Suffolk Under-18s.
On the right wing, Scott Kemp got the nod ahead of Ayrton Coley.
Games at Chadfields rarely attract three-figure crowds and the average is only 71, but this game was watched by 111 spectators, their best attendance of the season thus far thanks to the many Sudbury fans who made the journey.
Defences dominated the first half and there were few clear-cut chances until Sudbury took the lead after 31 minutes when a defensive clearance from Kryan Clements caught the home defence square and Terry Rymer, who had tested home keeper Jack Giddens minutes earlier with a free-kick, latched on to the loose ball to finish with a fine shot that gave the keeper no chance..
Two minutes later, Giddens denied Sudbury a second goal when he was quick off his line to save at the feet of Rymer.
Tilbury had looked dangerous down the flanks, particularly on their left where the speedy Emil Aiken made several threatening runs.
Four minutes before half-time, he was fouled to the left of the penalty area by Ben Robinson, who became the first recipient of a yellow card.
The resulting free-kick to the far post was headed back across goal and found Jack Carlisle, who scored with a header to send the teams in at the break on level terms.
The second half followed a similar pattern with end-to-end football, but few clear-cut chances, and neither goalkeeper was tested until 11 minutes from time when Tilbury were awarded a penalty after keeper Garnham was adjudged to have fouled Aiken as he burst into the area.
Garnham was duly yellow carded, but he made amends when he brilliantly saved Carlisle’s spot-kick and the loose ball was headed for a corner, which came to nothing.
Both sides went all out for the winner, but defences continued to have the upper hand leaving the points deservedly shared to extend Sudbury’s unbeaten league run to 10 games.
Saturday’s result saw them maintain third place.
AFC Sudbury are back in Ryman League action this Saturday with a home game against Heybridge Swifts (3pm).
Then on Tuesday (7.45pm) a place in the final of the Suffolk Premier Cup is at stake when AFC play Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Whitton United in the semi-final of the competition.
That game will be played at Bloomfields, home to Needham Market.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, T Kemp, Josh Kerridge, Clements, Clarke, S Kemp, Berquez. Rymer, Parker, Blackwell (Coley 63). Unused subs: Chester, John Kerridge and Avenell (gk).
Free Press man of the match: Several contenders, but teenage defender Kyran Clements gets the nod. He continues his fine form of his debut game the previous week and was a rock in the Sudbury backline.
Yellow cards: Ben Robinson and Marcus Garnham (fouls).