‘Sudbury must keep believing’

PUNCHING CLEAR: Sudbury goalkeeper Marcus Garnham thwarts a Needham attack
PUNCHING CLEAR: Sudbury goalkeeper Marcus Garnham thwarts a Needham attack

SUFFOLK FA PREMIER CUP

SPONSORED BY OMNI FREIGHT SERVICES LTD QUARTER-FINALS

Needham Market 1

AFC Sudbury 0

Jamie Godbold has urged his AFC Sudbury players to keep believing as they go into an important Ryman League Premier Division double-header.

The Yellows tasted their first defeat in four games after slipping to a narrow 1-0 loss at Suffolk rivals Needham Market on Tuesday night.

And ahead of a trip to Folkestone Invicta on Saturday (3pm) and then another Suffolk derby at home against Leiston on Tuesday (7.45pm), Sudbury manager Godbold says his side can go into those two fixtures with plenty of confidence.

“The performances have been there and have warranted the three points or the progression through the cup competitions,” he said.

“Tonight (Tuesday) was the same again. Performance-wise, if we continue to play like that I think we’ll pick up more points than we lose.

“We go into Saturday and we go into the next derby game, against a team who are flying high, with plenty of confidence, and I think that’s what we’ll be banging out in the dressing room.

“Just keep believing. There’s not a lot between us, certainly tonight, with Needham, and Leiston beat us 2-1 last time.

“So we’ll keep working at it. We’ll keep maintaining the standards and I think we have just got stronger as the season has gone on.

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves which is obviously a good thing.

“When we’ve been beaten a few times you want the games to come thick and fast, and they do.

“We’ve got two league games coming up and we need to pick up those points, because we’re in the FA Trophy again next Saturday (November 26).

“It’s another opportunity for the teams around us to put points on the board, and we don’t want to be sucked into that bottom lot.

“We’re well aware of how important these next two games are for us.”

AFC went into their second cup game in four days on Tuesday with boss Godbold making three changes to the side which started in the 4-0 thrashing of Romford in the FA Trophy at the weekend.

Captain Sam Clarke was recalled to the starting line-up, along with Jack Newman and Jordan Blackwell, as Sam Bantick and Dylan Williams dropped to the bench and current Ipswich Town trialist Tyler French missed out on a place in the squad.

Since their hat-trick of Suffolk FA Premier Cup triumphs in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and two semi-final appearances in the following two years, AFC have had a mediocre record in the county cup competition.

Sudbury went into their quarter-final clash with local rivals Needham bidding to reach the last four for only the third time in 11 years.

And Godbold’s men made a bright start at Bloomfields, with Craig Parker bringing out an excellent save from Needham back-up goalkeeper James Bradbrook inside the opening five minutes.

Luke Callander was proving to be a real handful for the hosts in the early stages and he should have done better with a header from a Rob Eagle cross, instead heading the ball away from goal.

It would end up being a costly miss for the visitors, as Needham broke the deadlock on 12 minutes to take a lead which they would not give up.

Callum Harrison’s cross from the right found Reece Dobson in the box, with the Needham frontman showing great composure to fire past AFC goalkeeper Marcus Garnham.

The goal gave the Marketmen plenty of confidence and they should have gone into the break with a bigger advantage.

Garnham was brought into action to keep out strikes from Manny Osei and Dobson.

Luke Ingram headed narrowly wide from a Dobson cross, before Garnham made a brilliant reaction save from Ingram to keep his side alive.

As the half drew to a close, Sudbury came back into the contest with Bradbrook making a fine stop to thwart Jordan Blackwell, who seconds earlier had been brought down by a challenge from Darryl Coakley, which the AFC bench were adamant warranted more than a yellow card.

After the break the Yellows pushed for an equaliser, with James Baker volleying wide and Parker heading an inviting chance straight into the hands of Bradbrook.

Eagle hit the frame of the Needham goal with a shot which looked destined to find the target, before Callander fluffed his lines when Eagle found him in plenty of space.

As time ran out, Bradbrook came to the home side’s rescue with arguably the save of the night, palming away a goalbound header from Parker to preserve his side’s narrow lead and knock AFC out of the cup.

AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Newman (Williams 57), Wilkinson, Baker, Henshaw, Tann, Blackwell (Bantick 78), Clarke (c), Callander (Wales 75), Parker, Eagle. Sub not used: Austin. Booked: Tann, Clarke. Referee: A Sannerude. Attendance: 174. Free Press man of the match: Marcus Garnham.

n The AFC Gold week 29 winners: 1 £100 (287) S Wilkinson, Woodthorpe Road, Hadleigh; 2 £10 (156) Miss R Harrison, Weavers Terrace, Weavers Lane, Sudbury; 3 £10 (293) Miss M Andrews, Melford Road, Sudbury.