AFC Sudbury 4
Ipswich Wanderers 1
A double substitution at the break, including the introduction of wide left player Dave Cowley, transformed the game in Sudbury’s favour.
He had a big hand in three Sudbury goals in a seven-minute spell to see the hosts through to the next round at the expense of Ipswich Wanderers who, despite playing two steps below their hosts, finished the first half on level terms after deservedly equalising just before the break.
Sudbury took a seventh-minute lead when a Michael Brothers cross from the left found Payton Swatman at the far post to tap home from close range.
Sudbury went on to dominate possession, but rarely looked like increasing their lead.
The Ipswich side looked dangerous on the break and had a great chance to level six minutes later, but with only keeper Alex Archer to beat, Jack Severy pulled his shot wide.
Severy had an effort ruled out for offside, but made amends five minutes before the break when he found space to level the scores.
Seconds before the half-time whistle, Wanderers had a great chance to take the lead, but Luke Read failed to hit the target with a header.
Five minutes after the restart, the visitors went close again when Severy forced Archer into a good save.
But from then on the hosts took control, with Cowley dominant on Sudbury’s left, providing quality crosses which were sadly lacking in the first half.
Twice his teasing crosses were cleared before Sudbury regained the lead after 56 minutes when Wanderers keeper Kevin Bugg’s punched clearance found Swatman, who scored his second with a looping header.
Sudbury’s Ben Thompson had a header well saved before the hosts increased their lead after 61 minutes when Bugg could only parry Cowley’s shot and James Baker netted from close range.
Two minutes later, another mazy run by Cowley ended with Dan Tredway turning the ball into his own net to put Sudbury three goals ahead.
That was the end of the scoring, but Cowley fired over and had a shot well saved as Sudbury ran out comfortable winners after a fine second-half performance.
In the next round, they travel to Ryman League rivals Burnham Ramblers, who won 3-1 at Redbridge.
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Lewis, N’Cho, Shinn, Mitchell, Henshaw, Brothers (Cowley 46), Clarke, Baker (Speller 70), Harrop (Thompson 46), Swatman. Subs (not used): Fox, Forshaw.
AFC MoM: Dave Cowley – his introduction at the start of the second half transformed the game in AFC’s favour. He was involved in all three second half goals and came very close to getting on the score sheet himself.
n It is back to Ryman League action on Saturday when Redbridge are the visitors to the MEL Group Stadium (3pm).
Then on Tuesday the league action continues with an away trip to Wroxham (7.45pm).
There will be added spice to this game as AFC boss David Batch was their manager before he took over at the MEL Group Stadium in the summer.