AFC Sudbury 1
New signing Kieran Monlouis may not have scored but he certainly had a big hand in turning upside down smiles back up to their rightful position on Tuesday evening.
AFC scout Mike Ford was adamant the club had to sign the 20-year-old ex-Stoke City and Charlton Athletic apprentice — and the midfielder who had been playing under Kevin Horlock for the past 18 months up until Janaury at divisional rivals Maldon & Tiptree did not disappoint.
Setting the tone early on as a deep lying midfielder with captain Sam Clarke, he seemed at times to have the ball glued to his foot as he cut lines through the Worthing midfield.
The visitors threatened first when Dawes’ guided shot from a low cross was saved by Marcus Garnham.
But it was AFC who had the monopoly on possession — and from their first serious effort at goal, on the half-hour mark,they went into the lead.
Danny Crow played a short corner out to Rob Eagle, and ex-Norwich City winger’s whipped delivery was powerfully headed in by Tann.
The Yellows could have built on their lead before the break but Monlouis, who had driven into space on the edge of the area, lacked composure as a powerful shot flew over, while Crow soon followed suit.
At the other end, Worthing, one of the division’s highest scorers, always looked dangerous and Garnham did well to save low down from Harvey Sparks, while also having to save from Louis Clark after a poor decision to parry a comfortable effort over his crossbar for a needless corner.
The game continued to be on a knife-edge in the second half, with neither side able to find the composure for the crucial second goal.
Eagle’s spinning mis-hit across the face of goal had Worthing ‘keeper Joe Taylor scrambling to his far post, while Crow attempted to beat him from almost the half-way line when spotting him off his line, to no avail.
Wales headed wide and Eagle put into Taylor’s arms as AFC turned the screw on their eight-placed opponents.
But all their good work looked to have been undone with 16 minutes to go when Dawes beat Garnham from the edge of the area through a crowded box. But the offside flag, for interfering in play, came to AFC’s rescue with Garnham having had his view illegally blocked.
AFC dug deep to see out the result which saw those smiles return at the final whistle.
AFC: Garnham, French, Austin,Monlouis, Henshaw, Tann, Wales, Clarke (c) (Wright, 66), Baker, Eagle (Carroll, 90), Crow (Allen 75). Unused sub: Godbold.
Free Press Man of the Match: Kieran Monlouis
n A James Baker strike 17 minutes from time ensured AFC Sudbury came away from Saturday’s home game with Kingstonian with a precious and well-deserved point after the visitors had taken the lead through Sean Bonnett-Johnson’s 38th minute effort.
But the day — which had started off well with news of fellow strugglers Leatherhead having three points deducted for playing an illegible player was overshadowed by injuries to key players Craig Parker and Tyler French — who both had to exit the field of play in the first half.
The game was positive though for both the character showed to get a point and for ex-Colchester United teen Joe Wright’s full debut.