Hughes scores twice to end AFC’s season on a high note

CUP FINALISTS: AFC Sudbury Under-14s, who lost 5-3 to Lakenheath in the Suffolk Cup final. The match was the last in charge for coaches Natalie Golding and Marie Seabrook
CUP FINALISTS: AFC Sudbury Under-14s, who lost 5-3 to Lakenheath in the Suffolk Cup final. The match was the last in charge for coaches Natalie Golding and Marie Seabrook
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RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Barkingside 1 AFC Sudbury 4: AFC Sudbury scored two goals in each half to finish the season with a comfortable victory from a game in which only pride was at stake.

With key defender Ryan Henshaw serving a one-game ban, and Scott Kemp representing Suffolk in the FA County Youth Cup final, Sudbury were forced into changes.

Michael Shinn returned and Billy Cursons made his full debut.

With a shortage of fit players, only three substitutes were named and two of those were carrying injuries.

Sudbury’s cause was not helped when Jamie Forshaw limped off with a hamstring injury after just 11 minutes.

James Akintunde came off the bench and helped his side to a fine win to complete the league double over the Essex side, but other results left them unmoved with a 10th-place finish.

This was Barkingside’s final game at Redbridge’s Oakside before moving to ground-share with Ilford next season and they were hoping to finish on a high.

But with a strong wind at their backs Sudbury had by far the better of the first half and were two goals ahead at the break.

Barkingside defended well until Ollie Hughes headed Sudbury into the lead in his final game for the club before leaving to teach in Gran Canaria.

Four minutes before the break, Hughes capitalised on a Barkingside defensive error to score his second with a fine one-on-one finish.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Barkingside had plenty of the play but got little change out of a sound Sudbury rearguard, although Andy Edmonds squandered a good chance when he headed wide.

Sudbury always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and they increased their lead with a great strike in the 63rd minute.

Following a fine build-up in which Jordan Blackwell appeared to have been fouled in the penalty area, the ball broke instantly to Payton Swatman, who fired an unstoppable shot past Tim Pitman.

Visiting keeper Alex Archer saved well to deny Chris Taylor before AFC made the game safe with a fourth goal in the 78th minute when 17-year-old Blackwell latched on to a throughball to beat Pitman with a cool finish.

Two minutes from time, Barkingside were rewarded with a consolation goal when Taylor beat Archer at his near post.

AFC Sudbury: Archer, Daniels, T Kemp, Shinn, Carus, Cursons, Blackwell, Swatman, HUGHES, Forshaw (Akintunde 11), Horne. Unused subs: Thompson & Wilkinson.