There was no Christmas cheer for AFC Sudbury on Boxing Day as they slumped to a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Brightlingsea Regent in Ryman League Division One North.
After an even opening the first chance fell to Sudbury after five minutes when former Brightlingsea striker Terry Rymer broke down the left and his cross found James Baker, whose low shot was cleared off the line.
At the other end a chance fell to Phil Kelly, but he hurried his shot well off target.
Midway through the half, after a good Sudbury build-up, Rymer broke goalwards, but was denied by a fine save from keeper Andrew Plummer diving to his left.
For the visitors, former Sudbury player Russell Malton went close with a dipping shot on target that keeper Marcus Garnham saved at the expense of Brightlinsea’s only corner of the half which came to nothing.
Sudbury finished the half strongly and a long throw into the box by Jack Wilkinson fell to Ryan Henshaw, who shot inches wide.
Just before the break only a flying save by Plummer kept out a dipping drive from Ben Robinson as it remained goalless at the interval.
Early in the second half Garnham easily saved a header from Kelly before the Sudbury keeper hurried a clearance, which fell to Ben Newson, who missed the target with the keeper off his line.
On the hour-mark, Rymer brought a diving save from Plummer before Lawrence Yiga saw a low shot on target well saved again by Plummer.
Brightlingsea enjoyed more play as time went on as Garnham was again called into action to save well on two occasions.
And just when it looked as if the game would end goalless, Brightlingsea snatched victory two minutes from time when a free kick into the box was cleared only as far as Canfer who volleyed home an unstoppable shot.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, Wilkinson, Yiga, Henshaw, Pope, Newby (Blackwell 87), Rymer (Bevins 73), Baker, Berquez, S Kemp (Guyton 80). Unused subs: Doyle, Coley
Free Press man of the match: Craig Pope had a sound game in defence.
AFC Gold fundraiser. Week 35 winners: £100 J Smith, Catesby Meadow, Sudbury (236); £10 R Marsh, New St, Sudbury (217); Mrs S Paxton, Jubilee Rd, Sudbury (158).