AFC suffer humiliating home defeat

AFC Sudbury sponsor's man of the match Adam Dalby. Picture: Oli Hearn
AFC Sudbury sponsor's man of the match Adam Dalby. Picture: Oli Hearn

RYMAN LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE NORTH

AFC Sudbury 1 Waltham Forest 2

AFC Sudbury’s play-off chasing manager Chris Tracey said he was ‘embarrassed’ to lose this home game against lowly Waltham Forest.

It was the club’s first back-to-back home league defeats under Tracey, despite totally dominating from start to finish against their London-based opponents.

The writing looked on the wall for 16th-placed Forest after lone striker Efe Echanomi was carried off with a suspected broken leg early on, forcing them to use their only substitute and James Baker headed AFC in front.

But two second half breakaway goals, combined with the home side spurning a glut of opportunities, saw a shock result at the final whistle.

“Normally I am quite methodical about things afterwards. But that result – not necessarily the performance, because we still played some great football and created loads of chances – I am angry about probably for the first time since I took over as manager,” said Tracey. “I am embarrassed by the fact we have lost to Waltham Forest.

“Their manager was actually embarrassed to shake my hand afterwards.

“It was the same story as the Leiston game. We got punished twice in a game where we have had a ridiculous amount of chances.

He added: “To say I am devastated we have lost the game is an understatement.”

The home manager, handed a new contract in the run-up to the match, kept with a winning side, meaning captain Sam Clarke was on the bench after serving a three-game suspension.

Luke Ingram forced Forest goalkeeper Eriuc Barratt into a save early on and after only 20 minutes Waltham’s lone striker Echanomi was carried off following a legal sliding challenge by James Smith.

With Forest’s first shot of the game, Dagher struck the foot of Danny Gay’s left-hand post.

Michael Shinn wasted a good opportunity before AFC took a deserved lead into the break when James Baker headed home after 39 minutes from close range from a pinpoint Adam Dalby cross from the right.

But it only took three minutes of the second half for the London side to equalise. Inaki Ordono’s shot deflected kindly for Arian Retkoceri to excellently lift the ball over the onrushing Gay from eight yards.

Nathan Clarke thought he had headed AFC back in front but his angled near-post header bounced over off the top of the crossbar.

Forest took a shock lead from another quick counter. With 65 minutes gone, substitute Peggy Lokando’s fierce drive was parried out by Gay but then lashed home by Dagher.

Efforts from Baker and Smith did not trouble Barratt while Nathan Clarke’s header flew agonisingly past the post as AFC strove for an equaliser their possession deserved.

A glorious chance was wasted when Baker hit the same post as Forest in the first half, but then hit the rebound straight at the keeper.

The visitors were playing very much on the break and began to exploit gaps as AFC poured forward in the latter stages, Lokando curling a long-range effort just wide.

The miss of the match saw Baker inexplicably plant a shot miles wide of the far post when clear of the Forest defence while Nathan Clarke went close and sub Dave Wareham’s volley cannoned off a defender at the end of a frustrating afternoon.