CHELL TROPHY FINAL
AFC Sudbury 1 Gorleston Reserves 2
AFC Sudbury Reserves’ temporary manager Dave Walton praised the efforts of his young reverses side after suffering cup final heartbreak at Diss Town on Tuesday night.
The Yellows’ second string looked on for bringing back silverware to The MEL Group Stadium when they enjoyed a dominant opening 45 minutes in front of a crowd of 81, and took the lead with a Danny Emmanuel header after the break.
But a lack of cutting edge in front of goal meant they were unable to capitalise on their possession and Ridgeons Reserve League North leaders Gorleston Reserves were given a lifeline they duly accepted from the penalty spot before sealing a dramatic winner.
But Walton, though disappointed at letting the cup slip out of their hands, believes his young side will only grow from the experience.
“I thought we battered them for 80 minutes and unfortunately we ran out of steam,” he said.
“They had two opportunities and scored from them and we had four or five good clear-cut chances and were unable to put the ball in the net.”
With AFC Sudbury Reserves currently fourth bottom in the Ridgeons Reserve League South with four games to play, Walton added: “We are not going to win anything this year unfortunately but the youngsters are going to gain confidence and experience from the rest of the games and we should be up there in the top three or four next season.
“The future looks good but the reserves are in a transition year at the moment.”
Teenagers Fred Howe, Jacob Brown (man of the match), Jake Jackson and Daniel Smith all saw action on Tuesday night, bringing the average age of the squad down to around 21 years. First-teamers Ryan Henshaw and Ashley Sloots joined Emmanuel in the side.
Walton, who took over the reserves role when Ian Manby stepped up to the first team to be Chris Tracey’s assistant nine games ago, also expressed his desire to continue in the job next season.