AFC Sudbury 6 Redbridge 1
DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 6
Rhys Darg was delighted to help end AFC’s winless run after revealing he almost took a break from the game before rejoining for a fourth time.
The 24-year-old former West Bromich Albion professional, who also had spells at Arsenal and Ipswich Town, weighed in with a goal on his return against second-bottom Redbridge, as fourth-bottom Sudbury tasted their first victory in 15 matches .
Playing at centre-back, the utility player released from Leiston took just 15 minutes to reopen his account with a powerful header, but by then the Yellows were already cruising after early strikes from Lee Boylan and Dave Cowley.
“It was good for the confidence and first and foremost we got the result and I got a goal again,” said Darg, who has previously moved back and forth between Suffolk and the Swedish leagues, where he was top scorer for Ytterhogdals IK as a defensive midfielder when they were promoted to the Third Division (fifth tier) last year.
“I can’t believe they haven’t won a game for 14 games – it is ridiculous.
“I am standing watching and might as well have been watching Brazil on ITV for the first 45 minutes.”
Of his move back to King’s Marsh, the Basildon-based player said: “After Leiston I was looking to maybe take a break from football not because I was not necessarily enjoying it but it was not going right.
“When they (AFC) rang me up I said yes straight away without thinking about it because I do love the club and it always feels like home and the fans are great – I always enjoy it here.
“I don’t think I could go anywhere else as I feel this club gets the best out of me.”
Injury-hit AFC, who named just one fit outfield player among the substitutes, got off to the perfect start when Boylan turned Cowley’s low cross from the right into the far corner after just two minutes and their lead was doubled nine minutes later when Cowley beat Michael Bowditch from close range after an excellent Maina curling delivery was headed on by Charge for Boylan to knock into his path.
Darg, capped at under-15 level by Wales, added the third on the quarter-hour-mark when rising highest at the far post to Michael Shinn’s right-wing corner.
Teenager Maina sent an angled drive from range beyond Bowditch after surging in from the right wing for 4-0 after 24 minutes, with AFC keeper Alex Archer having to turn Daniel Jones’ header around the post after 38 minutes in a rare clear-cut opening for the shell-shocked visitors.
It took just seven minutes after the restart for Boylan to make it 5-0 for his ninth goal in 13 appearances, rounding Bowditch before adding the finish after the keeper’s poor kick was headed back in by Charge.
But as AFC’s foot quickly came off the gas, their own recent defensive failings were highlighted when Darg went off with a tight hamstring, with Michael Shinn moving back, and Redbridge could have pulled within touching distance were it not for the agility and smart positioning of Archer.
Their breakthrough finally came after 65 minutes when the AFC keeper was beaten by Jacob Cleaver’s near-post header from Jones’ left-wing cross.
Boylan and Charge both went close to a sixth while Redbridge’s Joe Bricknall hit the post late on for the visitors.
The final goalmouth action saw Maina put through by a clever pass from Boylan to complete a scoreline which flattered AFC on their second half show.
Alex Archer 8
Fine saves, best performance in an AFC shirt.
Peter Maina 8
Scored two — excellent going forward.
Robbie Martin 7
Posed a threat bringing ball out of defence.
Michael Shinn 7
One assist. Ended up as makeshift centre-half.
Bradley Thomas 7
Solid enough game after few shaky outings.
Rhys Darg 8
Scored. Won headers and return lifted team.
Jacob Brown 7
Faded after impressive start, like his team.
Russell Pond 7
Back to his usual tenacious and busy self.
Danny Charge 7
Unlucky not to score but good link-up play.
Lee Boylan 9
Man of the match. Scored twice and set-up two.
Dave Cowley 8
Formed formidable attacking threat with Maina.
Tom Webb (for Darg 60) 6
Not able to get into the game.
Sinfield, Shipton, Dalby, B Tracey (gk)
Next up: Soham Town Rangers (a), November 17