RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION NORTH: AFC Sudbury 3 Waltham Abbey 0
Manager David Batch said he was just as pleased with his side after Tuesday’s league win as he was toppling higher league opponents Maidstone.
The midweek victory over Waltham Abbey, secured with a first-half header by Terry Rymer being added to by a Sam Clarke header and a deflected Correy Davidson lob, came just three days after the Yellows’ most eye-catching result of the season.
Batch was right to point out Saturday’s FA Trophy win at Maidstone, who are second in the Ryman Premier, could have seen them take their foot off the gas against mid-table Abbey though.
But they never looked in doubt of doing that as they clocked up their fifth straight win in all competitions, much to the delight of their boss.
“For me, that is as good a performance as Saturday in many ways, because it is easy with 2,000 people in a big game where you want to run around,” he said, having not overseen a defeat in November so far. “Tonight, so soon afterwards, it is very easy to get carried away, but the players were prepared to be dogged.
“We played very well Saturday, but we did not go and expect to the same thing to happen tonight.
“We ran around a lot and earned that, so I was really pleased — we showed a different kind of mental toughness.”
With leading scorer Kris Newby and fellow forward or defender James Baker both suffering with hamstring problems, Batch made three changes to his starting XI with Scott Kemp dropping to the bench and front pair Terry Rymer and Ayrton Coley given an opportunity along with youngster Jack Guyton.
And Rymer was soon grabbing it with both hands as he put wide early on before heading emphatically beyond a helpless James May from a flowing move started by the tenacity of Coley, before Guyton added a delightful pinpoint cross from the right.
The hosts could well have built on that 21st-minute lead by the break, but the visitors fired a warning shot when Jame Peagram’s curling effort clipped the top of the crossbar.
It did not take long for the dominant Yellows to extend their lead thereafter though as, from Jack Wilkinson’s dangerous corner, May unexpectedly punched towards his own goal, with the ball deflecting in off Sam Clarke’s head 59 seconds in.
The game could have taken on a different complexion had Marcus Garnham not managed to tip Jason Hallett’s header on to his right post.
But a comfortable passage to the finish line was negotiated courtesy of a bizarre third goal 72 minutes in, which followed the hard-working Coley seeing a gilt-edged chance saved by the grateful May.
From a Wilkinson long-throw, the ball was flicked on for Davidson to attempt a looped lob over his shoulder, which did not appear to be heading in until coming off defender Joe Kizzi, and wrong-footing his goalkeeper.
Batch added: “I am really pleased for Tel (Terry Rymer) as he has worked so hard and he was pretty much thrown in at the deep end with a run of starting games when he came to the club and hasn’t started as much since he had a bit of a hamstring injury.
“He has pretty much looked like he was going to get a goal every game he has played, and he deserved that, as he has worked so hard.”
Rymer’s strike on Tuesday was his third in 12 games since arriving at the club from FC Clacton in late September.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, Wilkinson, Davidson (Blackwell 74), Henshaw, Pope, Coley, Clarke (Kerridge 77), Rymer, Guyton, Berquez (Yiga 64). Unused subs: S Kemp.
Free Press man of the match: Close call from an excllent team performance but Sam Clarke gets the nod for quality and calmness on the ball in a captain’s display. Jack Wilkinson and Terry Rymer were close behind.