Captain’s return could provide AFC boost

RYMAN LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE NORTH

Cheshunt 1 AFC Sudbury 0

Sam Clarke could return from injury as AFC Sudbury look to bounce back from defeat at Cheshunt when bottom side Ilford visit King’s Marsh on Saturday (3pm).

The skipper has only made four league appearances this season after first fracturing his arm and then sustaining medial knee ligament damage.

But he could return from the latter injury picked up at Ware a month on Saturday, most likely from the substitute bench.

Assistant manager Michael Shinn said: “He did some light work on Saturday at Cheshunt with the physio in the hope he can play some part on Saturday. But we will not rush him back, as he needs to be fully fit.”

Defender Rhys Darg’s absence from Saturday’s squad remains a mystery but Shinn said he is still a part of the squad and hoped he would ‘make himself available again’.

AFC were beaten for the first time in seven games in his absence when Cheshunt scored a late goal to complete the league double over the Suffolk side.

In a game in which there were few clear chances Sudbury had by far the better of a goal-less first half and Shinn, on the substitutes bench after being ill during the week, rued failing to turn their domination into a winning position.

“We probably had five or six good chances during the game in what was a pretty flat game really,” he said.

“To be honest it was destined for 0-0 but the goalkeeper made a bit of an error which has cost us — but he has been good for us for the last few games.”

Alex Archer saved well from Michael Dena from a rare Cheshunt attack while chances for Lee Townrow, Dave Cowley and Ryan Henshaw were not converted up the other end.

The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw as Sudbury defended well and the lively Cowley went close.

But five minutes from time Cheshunt snatched the points when a long throw-in from the left was flicked on and Sudbury keeper Archer failed to gather the high ball which fell to the feet of Corey Whitely who had the easiest chance to tap home.

AFC Sudbury: Archer, Dalby, Martin, Henshaw, De’ath, Cutts, Townrow (Sloots 87), Pond, Baker, Antoine, Cowley (Maina 87). Unused sub: Shinn.

Free Press man of the match: Adam Dalby was very sound in a solid Sudbury rearguard which offered few chances to the home side.

AFC bookings: none.

n AFC Sudbury Reserves are through to the Suffolk FA Senior Reserve Cup final against Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves after Ryan Swallow’s headed goal was enough for a 1-0 victory over Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday.

Kirkley and Pakefield sealed their final berth with a 3-2 over Hadleigh Reserves.

A date and venue for the cup final is yet to be announced.

n Week 44 winners in the AFC Gold fundraiser are: £100 T Poole (256), Bush Grove, Sudbury; £10 Miss R Harrison (384), Acton Lane, Sudbury; £10 I Tatum (221), Beaconsfield Close, Sudbury.