RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: AFC Sudbury 1 Heybridge Swifts 5: It may have been a game the players and fans will want to quickly fade from their memories, but it is a different story for Jordan Blackwell.
The 17-year-old Colne Football College student was named on the bench, but was suddenly handed his full home debut when Jack Cawley failed to show.
And within quarter of an hour he was celebrating his first goal, on a day he will cherish, despite the result running away from them against promotion-chasing Heybridge Swifts in the second half.
“It was a dream to be honest,” said the right winger, who equalised four minutes afterChris Bryan’s 10th-minute header. “The boys helped me out and it was great to be on the scoresheet and get my first goal for the club.
“I had been told about half an hour before I would be starting if one of the boys did not turn up and about 10 minutes before kick-off I got told.
“I was ready, I have been wanting to play for the first team for a long time.”
Blackwell, who spent seven years at Colchester United’s centre of excellence, had impressed in his first 90 minutes in the 2-0 win at VCD Athletic on Saturday, but said it was special to play in front of the club’s home crowd.
“It was really good, all of the supporters got behind me and I am really happy,” he said. “With the goal I couldn’t really miss to be honest.”
With 11 players out, seven regulars including skipper Sam Clarke (hernia), Colchester-based Blackwell, who does not turn 18 until September, was one of five under-18s to start the club’s last home game of the season.
After Heybridge converted their bright start into an early lead through ex-AFC man Bryant, with Jamie Guy having wasted a good chance beforehand, a goalkeeping error allowed AFC to level.
Ashley Harrison sliced a long ball, with Jamie Forshaw’s blocked shot by the covering Frank Everett falling for youngster Blackwell to dispatch.
AFC had chances throughout a largely even first half with Ryan Henshaw heading just over, Payton Swatman miss-hitting, and Ollie Hughes bursting clear in the area only to see play called back for a harsh handball.
Heybridge regained the lead four minutes before the interval when the AFC defence made a mess of trying to clear Jamie Guy’s poor cutback and Michael Toner drilled home from the edge of the area.
Hughes broke clear at the other end in stoppage time, but saw Harrison parry his effort.
From being well in the game, a disastrous seven-minute spell from four minutes after the break saw the hosts trailing 4-1.
Former Colchester United forward Guy helped himself to a double after showing his class by firing in a half-volley after latching on to a short back-header from a clearly not-fit Josh Carus, and then tapping in after Alex Archer had turned Reece Harris’ header on to the upright.
AFC enjoyed plenty of possession throughout the half but chances were few and far between with Henshaw and Blackwell putting over the bar before Heybridge completed the rout seven minutes from time when sub Ben Newson expertly fired in from a crossfield ball.
It equalled AFC’s biggest defeat of the season, after the loss at Witham in March, but said more about who was not playing than who was.
AFC: Archer 7, T Kemp 7, Blackwell 7, Daniels 5 (Cursons 6 79), Carus 3, HENSHAW 7, Swatman 5, S Kemp 6, Hughes 6, Horne 5, Forshaw 5. Subs: Akintunde, Shinn, Cursons.
AFC bookings: None. Attendance: 271.