AFC’s cup hopes sunk by late goal

Faversham Town 1 AFC Sudbury 0

FA TROPHY

FIRST PRELIMINARY ROUND

Faversham Town 1

AFC Sudbury 0

by Pat Arbon at Shepherd Neame Stadium

AFC Sudbury’s FA Trophy hopes ended at the first hurdle on Saturday when their Ryman League Division One South opponents booked their place in the next round with a late goal.

Overall it was a disappointing game and a replay looked a certainty after AFC had failed to make the most of some second-half chances to make it the first competitive game this season in which they have not scored.

AFC boss Chris Tracey made four changes from the side that had been beaten in the FA Cup the previous week. One was forced, with an injury to Robbie Martin.

Lauris Coggin and Bradley Thomas were given their first competitive starts in a reshuffled defence, which included the recall of James Smith, while Danny Charge got the nod up front ahead of Leon Antoine, who dropped to the bench.

The first half was mainly a midfield battle and chances were few but just before the break, AFC keeper Danny Gay pulled off a fine save to tip Danny Hockton’s deflected shot over the bar to keep the first half goalless.

Early in the second period AFC forced a left-wing corner and from it James Smith was just too high with a far-post header.

At the other end, Gay denied Daniel Lawrence at the expense of a corner before AFC created the best chance of the game on the hour-mark when David Bryant was sent clear, but lost out on a one-on-one with Simon Overland in the home goal.

Chances continued to be at a premium and Overland was fortunate to be only yellow-carded with 10 minutes remaining when he rushed out of his area and fouled AFC substitute Antoine, who had shaken off his marker on his run at goal.

The free-kick found Thomas unmarked at the far post, but his close-range effort went over the bar.

Three minutes later, Faversham scored what proved to be the winning goal when Adrian Stone’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat Gay.

AFC were desperately unlucky not to force a replay in the final minute when sub Dave Cowley’s right-wing cross was headed against a post by James Smith and Ben Smith’s follow-up shot was cleared off the line to leave Tracey’s side ruing their missed chances.

AFC Sudbury: Gay, Coggin (Cowley 85), Dalby, Shinn, J Smith, Thomas, Bowditch, Pond, Bryant, Charge (Antoine 77), B Smith. Unused subs: Webb, Fergus and Ross.

Free Press man of the match: James Smith. Did well in the heart of the defence and in the final few minutes moved up front. He was unlucky not to force a replay when his last minute header hit a post.

AFC bookings: none.

Att: 137

n AFC were in Ryman League action at Ilford last night (Wednesday).

There is no game scheduled for Saturday as Thamesmead Town, who they should have hosted, are involved in the next round of the FA Cup.

This means that the next scheduled fixture is a Ryman League game away at Tilbury on Saturday, September 29 (3pm).