DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 2
Haringey Borough 0
Wayne Blackman is desperate to repay the faith shown in him by manager Jamie Godbold after breaking into the AFC Sudbury first team.
The young midfielder played a starring role as the Yellows got their promotion challenge back on track with a comfortable 2-0 victory over visiting Haringey Borough courtesy of goals in each half from Liam Wales and Luke Callander to halt a winless run of two games.
And having foced his way into the first team fold this season, Blackman, who is just one of a number of young players currently impressing for Godbold’s side, is keen to do his utmost for the manager and help the club fulfil their promotion aspirations.
“The manager is giving a lot of the younger players a chance which is great for us and I just need to keep adapting to playing men’s football,” he said.
“Getting into the first team is a little nerve wrecking for a youngster but all the lads have made me feel really welcome.
“It has helped coming through with a few of the other younger players because it makes it a lot easier to settle in.
“I just want to do well and impress the manager and having that belief from him is massive for me.
“He tells us just to enjoy ourselves out there and so the pressure is off a little to let us go out and play our game.
“I’m now hoping just to keep my place in the team and help this club get promotion.
“Our aim is to just try and stay in among the promotion chase and keep going as a team.”
The home side got off to the brighter start and should have broke the deadlock after just seven minutes but Stefano Mallardo could not capitalise when well placed at the back post, lashing wildly over.
And he was almost left to rue his miss even further just three minutes later as Borough’s Daniel Ailey saw his header come back off the post, much to Sudbury’s relief.
The match continued to be end-to-end with Callander firing over from the edge of the area after 13 minutes, while at the other end, Saleem Masri called Luis Tibbles into action to tip his volley from inside the area round the post.
Further chances came and went for the home side with Wales firing over on two occasions when well placed while Jordan Blackwell also saw a long-range effort well saved by Ashley Harris.
However, just as the half appeared to be ending goalless, Sudbury snatched the lead with a little helping hand from the Borough custodian.
Harris initially did well to get a hand to Craig Parker’s curling free-kick but he could only push the ball as far as the on-rushing Wales, who had the simple task of firing in from close range.
That momentum continued over into the second half as the hosts double their advantage just three minutes after the re-start.
Promising youngsters Blackwell and Blackman combined brilliantly down the left-hand side with the latter’s perfectly weighted floated cross presenting Callander with the simplest of finishes from close range.
The remainder of the half saw chances at a premium as Sudbury appeared content to keep possession and their two-goal lead intact.
However, they did come closest to finding a further breakthrough with 10 minutes remaining but Ryan Henshaw saw his header well saved before Craig Parker had two efforts both cleared off the line as the Yellows sealed all three points.
AFC Sudbury: Tibbles, Robinson, Mallardo, Blackman (McNicholas 85), Henshaw, Baker, Wales, Clarke (Berquez 68), Callander (Bailey 68), Parker, Blackwell
Free Press man of the match: Wayne Blackman
nAFC Sudbury could not build on that momentum as they crashed out of the Suffolk Premier Cup following a 3-1 defeat to lower-league Felixstowe and Walton United on Tuesday evening.
This was the second time in two seasons the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side have proved to be AFC’s downfall in the competition, writes Pat Arbon.
And they could not have wished for a better start, scoring from their first attack after two minutes, when a fine cross field ball found former Sudbury player Stuart Ainsley, who finished clinically with a fierce shot past Luis Tibbles.
It took until the 67th minute before Sudbury equalised and even then there looked little on but Jordan Blackwell, who had made several threatening runs down the left, cut inside and unleashed a low shot from 25 yards that beat Crump on his near post.
But just when it looked as if the game was going into extra time the ball broke loose to Ainsley in the first minute of stoppage time and he fired Felixstowe back into the lead with his second of the game.
Sudbury were then caught out when Felixstowe’s Powell broke clear seconds before the final whistle to score a third goal to seal his side a place in the next round.
n Week 25 winners in the AFC Gold fundraiser: £100 Miss M Andrews, 293, Melford Rd, Sudbury; £10 Mrs S Paxton, 237, Jubilee Rd, Sudbury; £10 J Smith, 236, Catesby Meadow, Sudbury.