DIVISION ONE NORTH
Grays Athletic 6
AFC Sudbury 0
A lack of experience due to injuries led to AFC getting a hiding at Grays Athletic, according to assistant manager Michael Shinn.
The Yellows, missing Shinn himself with a persistent knee problem as well as several others, were never to recover having gone behind within 60 seconds of kick-off at the Rush Green Sports and Leisure Centre in Romford, trailing 4-0 by half-time as Grays moved into second in the table.
It was the ninth game in all competitions in which AFC have conceded four or more goals this season, with Shinn pointing to an unsettled line-up due to injuries for the reason why they have the third worst defence in the league.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “They are a good side but they are not six goals better than us.
“With all the players we have had out, we are struggling for a bit of experience.
“We have a lot of good young players at the football club, but you cannot play them all at once.”
He added: “It is frustrating we have not been able to get a settled back four in.”
With Ben Bowditch (hamstring) and Robbie Martin (thigh) both hoping to be back Saturday and captain Sam Clarke (arm) due to see a specialist on Monday about stepping up to contact training, Shinn hopes things will soon improve with AFC now 14th after three straight defeats.
It was a bad night at the office in a bitterly cold Romford on Tuesday evening though with central defender Ryan Henshaw joining the ever growing injury list with a first half ankle injury, leaving the ground on crutches to be replaced by Mark Bailey, for his debut, after only 28 minutes.
By that time, Jeff Hammond had completed a hat-trick, stabbing home Grays’ first from a left-wing corner, turning in Joao Carlos’ cross for his second and got his third with 25 minutes on the clock with an angled shot.
Seven minutes later it became 4-0 when an AFC defensive header failed to reach keeper Alex Archer and Hammond nipped in to head home.
The result was now beyond any doubt and the second half became a damage limitation exercise for AFC.
Even so, they could not prevent Hammond firing home his and Grays’ fifth goal with a fine solo effort nine minutes after the restart and Craig Pope heading in from a left sided corner after 65 minutes to round off a convincing home victory.
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Dalby, Sloots, Brown, Henshaw (Bailey 28), Cutts, Antoine, Pond, Baker, Maina (Swallow 75), Cowley (Jackson 81). All subs used.
AFC yellow card: James Baker (tackle).
n Week 37 winners in the AFC Gold fundraiser are: £100 Mrs J Crofton (160), Essex Avenue, Sudbury; £10 Mrs E Riamo (265), Croft Court, Sudbury; £10 A Cocksedge (171), Constitution Hill, Sudbury.