Assistant believes AFC Sudbury defence will bounce back from errors

BACKING DEFENCE: Michael Shinn
BACKING DEFENCE: Michael Shinn

AFC Sudbury assistant manager Michael Shinn was philosophical about his side’s first defeat in six matches after losing 3-2 to Aveley on Saturday.

RYMAN LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE NORTH

AFC Sudbury 2 Aveley 3

AFC Sudbury assistant manager Michael Shinn was philosophical about his side’s first defeat in six matches after losing 3-2 to Aveley on Saturday.

The Yellows came from behind to lead 2-1 thanks to goals from James Baker and Leon Antoine, only to switch off and allow Aveley to depart Suffolk with all three points in the bag.

Midfielder Shinn, currently sidelined by a knee injury, could only watch on as defensive errors from a young backline cost AFC the game, but he tipped them to bounce back.

“We are a very young and inexperienced side, so players are going to make mistakes in games,” he said. “As long as those players learn from those mistakes, six months down the line they will become more experienced and be better players for it.”

AFC struggled to turn their early possession into chances and it was at the other end where the first effort was fired, but Billy Holland’s header from Petrit Elbi’s right-wing free-kick was palmed firmly away by Alex Archer.

Jordan Cox dragged another warning shot off target and, with only James Baker shooting wide to show for their effort, Sudbury found themselves behind when Cox showed incredible technique to bring the ball down on the edge of the penalty area before seeing his deflected strike loop beyond Archer into the middle of the goal.

Aveley custodian Andre Foster was perhaps fortunate not to see a card when he handled outside the penalty area, but it set the scene for the Yellows’ leveller.

Dave Cowley’s free-kick was deflected over and the diminutive winger delivered the resultant left-wing corner on to the head of a diving Ryan Henshaw.

Although Foster kept the centre-half’s acrobatic effort out, Baker followed up to steer his first goal of the season into the empty net.

However, the interval took away AFC’s momentum and the home side had Archer and then the post to thank for keeping out Junior Dadson twice within the opening three minutes of the second half.

Sudbury weathered the storm though and took the lead against the run of play when Robbie Martin’s pinpoint ball over the top found the stride of Leon Antoine, who kept his composure to steer the ball beyond Foster.

Their lead last all of four minutes as Cox rose between Henshaw and Tom Cutts to glance a header beyond Archer, who did not react as sharply as would usually be expected of the young stopper.

When Cox departed in the 65th minute with a hamstring injury, AFC breathed a huge sigh of relief, only for substitute Paul Burnett to cross into the six-yard box for Dadson to stab home what turned out to be the winner.

Archer made an excellent save to deny Jack Stevenson to keep Sudbury in the game, but when their chance to snatch a point came, Cutts blew the opportunity spectacularly, smashing wide from close range after Aveley had failed to deal with Russell Pond’s free-kick in the 88th minute.

STAT ATTACK

PLAYER RATINGS

Alex Archer 4

Reacted slowly to Aveley’s second and third goals.

Adam Dalby 5

Struggled more against Dadson as game went on.

Ashley Sloots 6

Did not stop cross that led to Aveley’s third.

Robbie Martin 6

Quiet, but tremendous pass for AFC’s second.

Ryan Henshaw 5

Aveley got in behind Sudbury’s defence too often.

Tom Cutts 4

Run ragged by powerful striker Jordan Cox.

Leon Antoine 6

Ploughed a lone furrow in attack. Calm finish.

Russell Pond 6

Outmuscled on too many occasions in midfield.

James Baker 6

First goal of the season will give him confidence.

Ben Bowditch 6

Did not quite get hold of the game in midfield.

Dave Cowley 6

Lively on the left. Kept the Aveley defence busy.

Substitutes

Andy Fisher (for Sloots 84) 6

Little time to make an impact.

Jacob Brown (for Bowditch 86) 6

Little time to make an impact.

Subs not used: Swallow, Shinn, Bailey.