West Ham United goalie returns to AFC Ladies to see stars of the future

FINED: AFC Sudbury have been fined �300 for their part in the abandoned game with Hendon in January
FINED: AFC Sudbury have been fined �300 for their part in the abandoned game with Hendon in January
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AFC Sudbury Ladies manager Clive Golding wants to continue to provide a pathway to a higher level for his players, but believes his quartet of 16-year-olds are better off sticking with them right now.

The side who sit third in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League Division One North table won their fourth straight league match on Sunday, with a clear reminder from the sidelines of what can be achieved from their hard work.

It came in the shape of former goalkeeper Helena Brodie watching, after the Colchester-based player returned for the first time having managed to earn a dream move to her beloved West Ham United over the summer following the clubs’ pre-season friendly.

And Golding has revealed she might not have been the only Sudbury player to have been playing for the third-tier FA Women’s Premier League South club, with one of his promising youngsters having also been approached on the same day, before opting to stay and develop in Suffolk.

“We have four 16-year-olds ladies who have joined the first team this season and one was approached by West Ham, but decided to continue developing from girls to ladies football with us,” he said, not wanting to name the quartet for fear of alerting others. “Obviously we are still interested in winning the league with them and want to them take them with us, but if clubs did come in from them, we would not be standing in their way.”

Brodie, who has been picked for Suffolk Ladies to face Essex at Brantham Leisure Centre next Thursday (7.30pm), will have been delighted to see her old teammates overcome Norwich City 3-2 at Delphi on Sunday, to put the 3-0 cup defeat at Royston with nine players the previous weekend to bed.

Sophie Pink fired them 
into the lead before Laura Yarrington, who has also been selected to play in the county side, put them back ahead after Norwich had equalised.

Sudbury took a 3-1 lead into the break after Sophie Jeffery fired home, with Norwich managing to pull one back after the break and set up a nervy finish.

Brodie has been mainly restricted to reserves and development squads so far.