DIVISION ONE NORTH
Witham Town 1
AFC Sudbury 2
A Craig Parker brace helped AFC Sudbury come from behind to beat 10-man Witham Town and record their eighth consecutive league victory on Boxing Day.
With leaders Cray Wanderers losing Sudbury are now level on points with the Kent side but behind on goal difference with two games in hand.
Despite having a strong wind in their faces AFC did most of the early attacking, and twice in quick succession home goalkeeper Harry Palmer made top class saves to deny Sam Clarke and Joe Maybanks.
Ryan Charles forced Sudbury’s Marcus Garnham into a tip-over save, before Witham opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Lewis Francis latched on to a long wind assisted defensive clearance and chipped the ball over the advancing Garnham.
Sudbury got back on level terms eight minutes later when Parker converted from the penalty spot.
Maybanks was fouled in the box by Lance Atkins and the Witham central defender was shown a straight red card.
Palmer made another fine save to deny Parker from giving the visitors a first-half lead, as the two teams went into the Boxing Day clash level at 1-1.
However the second-half was only a minute old when Parker scored his second to put Sudbury in front for the first time.
Parker seized on a ball over the top, and although Palmer blocked his first effort, the AFC striker pounced on to the loose ball and netted from a narrow angle.
That proved to be Sudbury’s winning goal as Palmer made other fine saves and Witham, despite their numerical disadvantage had some good spells of pressure but got little change out of a sound Sudbury defence.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, Wilkinson, Berquez (Newman 80), Henshaw, Baker, Blackwell (Wales 68), S Clarke, Callander, Parker (G Clarke 80), Maybanks. Unused subs: Bailey, Mallardo.
Free Press Man of the Match: Numerous contenders but striker Luke Callander gets the nod. Led the line well and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.