Sudbury sucked further towards relegation zone

FRUSTRATING DAY: Sam Clarke, pictured  on Boxing Day, went the closest to scoring as AFC Sudbury drew a blank
FRUSTRATING DAY: Sam Clarke, pictured on Boxing Day, went the closest to scoring as AFC Sudbury drew a blank

RYMAN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Burgess Hill Town 2

AFC Sudbury 0

AFC were unable to halt their recent slide down the table towards the relegation places after a costly defeat in Sussex on Saturday.

At the end of ninety minutes the hosts had scored twice and climbed above their Suffolk visitors — who went from five points and six places to three points and two places from the bottom four — in a game that AFC rarely looked like taking anything from.

Manager Jamie Godbold named an experienced starting line-up, that was however missing both Tyler French, who continued his trial with Crystal Palace, and loanee Dylan Williams, who was injured and has now returned to his parent club Cambridge United.

The Green Elephants Stadium passed a mid-morning inspection that delayed AFC setting off to Sussex and the travelling party only arrived an hour before kick-off.

The pitch was certainly playable and had absorbed the Friday rain well as AFC had the first chance of the game with Craig Parker firing in a shot from a rehearsed corner routine, but defender Cheick Toure was able to clear.

The Hillians responded, and thought they had taken the lead when Billy Medlock had the ball in the back of the AFC net, but it was ruled out for offside.

Parker replied for Sudbury with a volley that whistled wide.

Striker Danny Crow had a shot blocked before Medlock was in the action again, forcing Marcus Garnham in the Sudbury goal to save.

Minutes before the break the home side were in front from a free-kick. Jack Brivio took it and he delightfully curled the ball into the top corner, giving Garnham no chance.

There were two chances for AFC before the break; Ryan Henshaw fired over the crossbar and Crow was denied by a great challenge from Pierre Hazlet.

AFC started the second period brightly and a good tackle from Lee Harding stopped Rob Eagle, who was back in his usual wide forward position. Harding then picked up a yellow card.

Liam Wales took over from Sam Bantick before captain Sam Clarke forced Max Huxter in the home goal to save to deny AFC an equaliser.

Hill then made a double substitution looking to see the final 15 minutes out.

Joe Wright replaced Wayne Blackman in the last minute of normal time but AFC, pushing for the equaliser, were caught out in stoppage time when Aaron Smith-Joseph broke away and scored to take the spoils.

n AFC Sudbury Reserves slipped to back-to-back home defeats after losing 2-0 to Whitton United on Saturday.

Sudbury are 18th in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division table, ahead of travelling to Debenham LC this Saturday (3pm).

AFCSudbury: Garnham, Henshaw, Austin, Blackman (Wright, 90), Tann, Baker, Bantick (Wales, 65), Clarke (c), Crow, Parker, Eagle. Unused subs: Mitchell, Dunlop, Robinson.

Free Press Man of The Match: Craig Parker.

Attendance: 302