AFC Sudbury 1 Ipswich Town XI 6
AFC Sudbury 1 Ipswich Town XI 6
by Russell Claydon at The MEL Group Stadium
AFC Sudbury boss Chris Tracey believes there were positives to draw from a one-sided scoreline against a strong Ipswich Town Reserves side last Wednesday.
The Tractor Boys featured prospective French Guinea signing Cheick Kourouma, former Wigan Athletic hotshot Nathan Ellington and first-team experienced youngsters Ronan Murray, Byron Lawrence and Joe Whight in their side.
And although the Blues ran out comfortable winners, with Murray and Lawrence bagging braces and Ellington and Mark Timlin also on the scoresheet, Tracey said: “The plus points are that we have had to work very hard, 700 people have come down to the football club and I think we tried to play football the right way and the pitch is looking outstanding, which it has to do because of the style of football I’ve got.
“Lee Boylan took his goal expertly and him and (James) Baker did cause their back four some problems.”
He added: “They are the biggest club in Suffolk and it is fantastic they have brought a side down here and we would love to have them back again.”
AFC drafted in veteran goalkeeper Steve Northwood into their side with Danny Gay on holiday and Tracey not wanting to put his young son Ben Tracey in the firing line.
New signings, defenders Eljay Worrell and Ian Cousins, winger Dave Cowley and forward Boylan, also started for the first time at The MEL Group Stadium, with the game AFC’s only home pre-season friendly following the scheduled game against Colchester United being cancelled. Pacey trialist striker Jonah Gosling was on the bench.
After a solid start, with James Baker testing Arran-Lee Barrett, who gathered at the second attempt, Ipswich went ahead with Ellington firing in a left-foot shot on the turn after 17 minutes.
The Yellows were trying to get the ball down and play but had to survive several scares at the back before Boylan showed a touch of class to equalise just after the half-hour-mark when he lobbed Lee-Barrett after receiving Robbie Martin’s cross from the right just inside the area.
A disastrous short back header from Michael Shinn after 37 minutes let in Irishman Murray to slot home for the first of two strikes for the 20-year-old inside two minutes, his second a low shot across Northwood into the far corner.
In the second half Ben Tracey had to replace the injured Northwood with his first job to pick the ball out of his net within two minutes of the restart after Martin gave away possession cheaply to Lawrence, whose shot deflected in off James Smith’s back.
It was 5-1 seven minutes later when the youngster slid in Ellington’s low cross and he almost got his hat-trick with two long-range efforts fizzing wide.
At the other end, Boylan headed on to the top of the bar but Ipswich made it six when Mark Timlin, with his first touches of the ball after replacing Cormac Burke, slotted in from close range.
Tracey said: “I think we acquitted ourselves well until we gave them two sloppy goals in the first half.
“The second half was obviously a bit of a non-event and 6-1 was a disappointing scoreline.”
He also revealed his decision to narrow the lush King’s Marsh pitch for the coming campaign, saying: “Lee Boylan is a reaction player, Dave Cowley has quick feet and Robbie Martin, all these players have the technical ability to play in tight spaces and we need to make the most of that.”
AFC: Northwood (Tracey 46), Martin (Dalby 53), Worrell, Shinn, Smith, Cousins, Clarke, Pond (Brown 69), Baker, Boylan (Golsing 84), Cowley (Webb 68).