FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND: AFC Sudbury 1 FC Romania 3: AFC Sudbury manager David Batch conceded his side got what they deserved after their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of 10-men FC Romania.
The home side had looked perfectly poised to book their place in the next round and scoop a £3000 windfall as Ayrton Coley cancelled out Sorin Bugiu’s early opener before Ion Costache’s dismissal saw FC Romania reduced to 10-men in the 24th minute.
However, a dismal second-half display from AFC saw the galvanised visitors snatch a surprise victory as Petru Petaru and substitute Lazar Kumanov struck to send the large travelling away support in raptures and leave Batch far from impressed with his side’s showing.
“We were just terrible in the first half and in the second we got worse, we got exactly what we deserved,” he conceded.
“They deserved to win the game because we didn’t do enough.
“Every single one of my players was poor and overall we just looked sluggish and lethargic.
“We certainly did not underestimate them in fact they were not as good as we expected and that says a lot about our performance.
“That is the most frustrating thing for me because we had periods of possession, but we were just poor with it.
“I can’t take anything away from them because they absolutely deserved to win the game.
“This competition brings a lot of funds for a club like us and that is disappointing.
“If there is any hangover from this game then some of the players will have an issue.
“If we don’t get a reaction from every single player there is going to be a massive issue.”
The visitors started at a blistering pace and opened the scoring after just five minutes of the match.
Sudbury failed to clear their lines properly and were duly punished as Cornel Cornea’s cross from the left hand side found Bugiu in front of his marker in the six-yard box to bundle the ball home past Alex Archer.
That appeared to stun the home side into life and they found themselves level in the 14th minute as Coley raced onto Kris Newby’s through ball before coolly rounding Nicusor Banica and slotting home.
Sudbury settled into the game and began to enjoy a period of prolonged pressure in which Banica was called into action after 19 minutes to smartly tip Payton Swatman’s stinging drive over the bar.
The pressure continued as Newby tested Banica three minutes later with a 25-yard effort before the home side’s task was made easier two minutes later.
The lively Coley was released and looked set to race away only for Costache to cynically haul him down outside the area leaving referee Alexander Guy with no option but to brandish a straight red card to the centre half.
With the numerical advantage, Sudbury looked to push forward and came close on a number of occasions.
First Michael Shinn again called the impressive Banica into action to smartly save his curling 25-yard free-kick in the bottom right corner before the custodian was at his best five minutes before the break to get down and parry James Baker’s powerful header from Shinn’s corner.
Baker again came close in the very first minute after the interval but could only head Lee Flynn’s inswinging corner from the left wide of the far post before the visitors began to take hold of the game.
Against the run of play, Petaru was sent racing clear in the 56th minute before seeing his driven shot from the right hand side of the area parried away smartly by Archer.
The visitors continued to look the stronger side and despite being a man down appeared the most likely to score, which is exactly what they did with 18 minutes remaining.
A flowing move in the Sudbury half saw Bugiu cleverly release Petaru into the area who showed great composure to dummy his way past Lawrence Yiga before instinctively lifting the ball over the on-rushing Archer and into the net to send the colourful away contingent into ecstatic song and dance.
Archer was almost left red-faced in the 80th minute as the quick-thinking Andre Baciu tried his luck with a quick free-kick from the half way line with his effort landing on the roof of the net much to the relief of the Sudbury custodian.
Archer again had to be alert four minutes later to push away the impressive Ille Vasile’s effort from inside the area as the visitors looked to capitalise on momentum.
At the other end Baker should have forced a replay in the final minute but could not capitalise , volleying straight at Banica inside the area.
And with just moments remaining on the clock the visitors broke away with George Marin’s miss-hit shot finding its way through to Kumanov to bundle home and seal FC Romania’s progression.