PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY: Bury Town 2 AFC Sudbury 2
Bury Town 2 AFC Sudbury 2
by Russell Claydon at Ram Meadow
LEE Boylan’s brace took his pre-season tally to six goals from seven games as AFC Sudbury’s 2-2 draw at Bury Town on Friday evening left their manager purring.
Ryman League Premier Division side Bury needed two goals in the last 10 minutes to salvage a draw, with a patched-up Sudbury looking highly impressive against their higher-league opponents.
Sharpshooter Boylan continued his scintillating form with a strike either side of half-time, putting AFC in a commanding position before late goals from Connor Hall and Billy Clark levelled the match in what was both sides’ last warm-up game.
“I thought it was fantastic, especially seeing as I spent pretty much most of the day trying to get a team together,” said Tracey who was missing six first-team players through a combination of unavailability and injuries in James Smith, Bradley Thomas, Ian Cousins, Lauris Coggin, Eljay Worrell and James Baker, naming ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Colchester United midfielder Ben Bowditch and ex-Aldershot midfielder Ben Smith in his side.
“We had a makeshift back four, didn’t have the targetman we’ve had and I thought we were a revelation really.
“At 2-0 up we tried to change it and shut up shop but couldn’t with that back four.
“I think we played some fantastic football tonight, we looked more of a threat and got more shots off and I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
With Michael Shinn confidently dictating play from the base of a midfield diamond, with Dave Cowley buzzing with creativity at the tip, AFC had Bury on the backfoot for much of the half.
Cowley headed wide and Boylan went close twice for the visitors while Bury’s Billy Clark put past the post on three occasions and Sam Reed stabbed home a rebounded shot only to see it ruled out for offside in a lively first half hour.
But it was Sudbury who took a deserved lead into the break, courtesy of Boylan’s low angled drive after 40 minutes following some neat interplay involving Cowley and Smith on the left wing.
Boylan’s pinpoint header five minutes after the re-start was destined for the top corner until Will Viner pulled off a smart save.
The 33-year-old was not to be denied on his next attempt though, coolly converting Webb’s low cross at the near post to double Sudbury’s advantage after 59 minutes.
Bury then began to turn the tide with Sam Reed cutting in to crash a shot against the bar and Clark’s free-kick required a strong one-handed save by Gay, who then pulled off an excellent block to deny Sam Reed from what looked a certain goal.
But after Danny Charge threatened to get a third up the other end, Bury’s breakthrough finally came after 80 minutes when a long ball broke in the box for centre-back Hall to stab home.
Three minutes later Bury were celebrating a late equaliser when Clark held off Adam Dalby’s challenge to hook into the far corner. And a few minutes later he thought he had snatched a dramatic winner only for the referee to reverse his decision after the striker had appeared to kick the ball out of Gay’s hands.
AFC: Gay, Pond (Gillespie 46), Martin, Shinn, Dalby, Clarke, Bowditch (Charge 46), Cowley, Webb, Boylan (Swallow 68), Smith