ROBERT DYAS ISTHMIAN LEAGUE CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Harlow Town 1 AFC Sudbury 4: AFC Sudbury scored four second-half goals after dominating a goalless first period to progress to the semi-finals of the league cup.
On a night when heavy rain decimated the 15 Ryman League fixtures to just three games, Harlow’s artificial 3G pitch ensured Tuesday’s game, which proved to be very entertaining, went ahead.
AFC manager David Batch brought back influential midfielder Michael Shinn from prolonged injury as well as handing a full debut to new signing Ryan Horne, an 18-year-old midfielder from Cambridge United.
AFC went close twice in the opening 10 minutes — first Sam Clarke sidefooted wide before Payton Swatman steered a header inches past the post.
Midway through the half, Alex Archer in the Sudbury goal was forced into his first serious action to tip over a fierce volley from Layne Eadie.
But it was mainly Sudbury attacking and Horne forced Knowles into a fine save before the break.
Early in the second half, Archer did well to save from Alex Read, but a spell of Sudbury pressure saw three right-wing corners forced from deflected shots and, from the third flag-kick, AFC broke the deadlock after 57 minutes.
Horne had caused problems with his inswinging corners and this time Ryan Henshaw headed powerfully home at the far post.
Sudbury doubled their lead from another Horne right-wing corner, after 74 minutes, when Ben Thompson turned in a loose ball after Henshaw’s header was beaten out.
In the 79th minute, Harlow got a goal back when a left-wing corner was not cleared and Read hooked home at the far post.
But two minutes later Sudbury restored their two-goal advantage when substitute James Akintunde, another new signing from Cambridge United, found Horne, who beat Knowles with a fine curling shot from the edge of the area.
A fine victory was sealed in stoppage time with a fourth goal when substitute Jamie Forshaw cut in from the left and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Daniels, Cawley, Shinn (Akintunde 61), Henshaw, Crane (Mitchell 46), HORNE, Clarke, Baker (Forshaw 80), Thompson, Swatman. Unused subs: R Spriggs, Hughes.