The first of two evening derbies within 10 days for Halstead Town produced an intriguing match against AFC Sudbury Reserves in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division on Tuesday.
The Humbugs came out on top at the Wardale Williams Stadium, beating The Yellows’ reserve team 2-1 in an entertaining encounter.
A late winner from substitute Kane Gilbert was unstoppable but the result was harsh on Sudbury, who rattled the woodwork a number of times.
Halstead were forced into three changes and notably went into action without influential midfielder Jake Brown, who suffered a broken collar bone in his last outing.
The warm evening, combined with a Sudbury pitch in great condition, set the scene for an exciting night of football.
It was Halstead who started the stronger and created early chances, but it was AFC Sudbury Reserves who took the lead in the 31st minute when Ollie Peters fired the ball home.
However, the Humbugs drew level five minutes later from a corner, with Ash Drew heading into the net.
The game was played at a high tempo, with end to end play and many shots.
And it was the Man-of-the-Match performance from Humbugs’ goalkeeper Joe Fowler that made the real difference as he produced numerous saves of great quality to keep the home side at bay.
AFC Sudbury had an extended period in the second half where they continually attacked the visitors, but Fowler’s contributions proved invaluable.
Sudbury may have thought it was not going to be their night when, on 69 minutes, their right winger cut in and unleashed a fantastic shot. But it smashed against the left post and came out and, although the Sudbury forward responded quickest to touch home, the assistant’s flag brought their celebrations to a halt.
And then Halstead stole the win on the 87th minute with Gilbert’s strike, to see them take their second victory of the season so far.