DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 0
Waltham Abbey 2
AFC Sudbury’s nine-match unbeaten run came to an end as they suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to relegation-threatened Waltham Abbey.
Saturday’s encounter with the Abbotts will not be a game that will live long in the AFC memory bank, but if it lingers it will be because of the good football played by the visitors.
Sudbury were again without some senior players, but those selected were not really at the races for the whole 90 minutes, with it emerging that the defeat was not as bad as it could have been after some of the chasing pack were unable to pick up maximum points.
The first half saw few chances for the home side with Danny Cunningham having an early effort go wide, and Luke Callander had a couple of weak efforts.
For Abbey, they had the best player on the show, Christian Assombalonga, and he fed Darelle Russell who made no mistake from close range.
The Abbey man had a chance to double the lead from the penalty spot, but hit the bar and AFC must have thought they still had a chance, as they went into the interval only goal behind.
But, just 46 seconds after the restart, the visitors went 2-0 up as the Sudbury defence missed a cross and Assombalonga had the easiest of finishes to bolster his side’s advantage over the league leaders.
From then on AFC did try and press for a way back into the game but to no avail, as their best effort saw a blistering shot from Jordan Blackwell-saved by Waltham’s Aaron Omand.
To compound matters, Sudbury’s Stefano Mallardo was sent off for a bad tackle in the 78th minute.
Abbey also finished the game a man down when Assombalonga blotted his copybook with a second yellow card on 89 minutes.
One ray of light for AFC was the debut of 17-year-old defender Tyler French, who was outstanding in his 40-minute cameo as a second-half substitute for the Yellows.
n AFC Sudbury’s A134 derby against Bury Town on Easter Monday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Yellows will now visit their local rivals at Ram Meadow, for what will now be their penultimate away game of the season, on Wednesday, April 13 (7.45pm).
n AFC Sudbury Under-18s will play Stowmarket Town in the Suffolk FA Under-18s Midweek Cup final next month.
The Yellows beat Newmarket Town 4-2 in the semi-finals earlier this month to book their place in the final against Stow, which is being held at Cornard United FC on Thursday, April 28 (7.30pm).
Stowmarket edged past Needham Market 2-1 after extra-time in their semi-final last week to progress to the decider at Blackhouse Lane.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, Cunningham (French 51), Bailey (Clarke 65), Henshaw, Mallardo, Blackwell, Newman (Berquez 65), Callander, Parker, Wales. Subs not used: Dunlop, Maybanks.
Referee: Paul Quick. Attendance: 382.