RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Waltham Forest 3 AFC Sudbury 3
AFC Sudbury just about managed to stop their 15-game unbeaten league run coming to an end in a thrilling comeback with 10 men at Waltham Forest on Wednesday.
With Forest leading 3-1 with only three minutes remaining, AFC Sudbury looked dead and buried with defender Jack Cawley in goal after Alex Archer went off injured with 20 minutes remaining after the permitted substitutes had been made.
But, despite not playing well against the basement side, who had only won once at home all season, David Batch’s team upped their game and earned a share of the spoils with two late goals and almost scored the winner with the last kick of the game.
After missing an early chance AFC fell behind in the seventh minute when a free-kick was headed home unchallenged by Leon Fisher.
Unable to turn possession into scoring chances, it looked as if AFC were going to be trailing at the break but in first-half stoppage time skipper for the night Michael Shinn levelled the scores with an unstoppable 25 yard direct free-kick.
Batch made two substitutions at the start of the second half and AFC
looked more threatening but they gifted Forest a second goal after 61 minutes when keeper Archer tried to chest a powerful back-pass from Greg Crane and Forest’s L’heureux Menga seized on the loose ball and walked it into the empty net to regain the lead for his side.
Five minutes later Forest increased their lead when a free-kick was only partially cleared to Hussein Isa who volleyed into the roof of the net.
Keeper Archer, who injured an ankle when attempting to clear Forest’s second goal, then had lengthy treatment but had to leave the action with Cawley taking over in goal.
From then on the ten men of AFC dominated. Substitute James Baker looked to have pulled a goal back but a defender got back to clear off the line.
With three minutes of normal time left AFC reduced the deficit to one when sub Sam Clarke scored with a header at the far post from Shinn’s right-wing cross.
Two minutes into stoppage-time Ryan Henshaw gained AFC a hard-
earned point with a third goal when he rose highest at the far post to head home the equaliser from a left wing free-kick.
AFC almost snatched the winner with the last kick of the game when Baker was only inches wide.
AFC Sudbury: Arher, Daniels, Cawley, Shinn, Henshaw, Crane, Swatman (Clarke 46), Mitchell, Thompson (Baker 46), Akintunde, Hughes (Spriggs 66). Unused subs: Kemp and Horne.
Free Press man of the match: Ryan Henshaw.
AFC Sudbury bookings: None.