EAST MENS LEAGUE
Sudbury Men I 4 Cambridge City III 1
FOLLOWING last week’s disappointing showing against league strugglers Rutland, Sudbury regrouped to try and maintain their unbeaten home record against a Cambridge City side one place and two points below them in the relegation spot.
In a game played at high tempo throughout, the home side saw little of the ball throughout but excellent defensive work all over the pitch reduce the visitors chances to penalty corners and no clear-cut opportunities from open play.
The visitors to the Cornard astro were skilful and well drilled but seemed intent on a physical approach - perhaps looking at the number of young players in the Sudbury squad they thought to outmuscle the red and whites. But the home sides juniors became men during the course of the game - Charlie Apter playing a full 70 minutes in midfield for the first time this season was excellent both in his distribution and defensive play and linked well with Sam Humphrey’s and Ed Griffiths down the right flank.
Cambridge City won a succession of penalty corners midway through the first half but excellent work from Stuart Kevis, Gav Underhay, Tim Blackburn and Humphreys supported by a number of drag flick saves from Smith kept the scores level and soon after the home side took the lead - excellent defensive work from the front line saw the ball fall to Brendan Mayers who drove at the keeper and somehow managed to force the ball past him and ran through holding off a defender to squeeze the ball over the line - a goal born from sheer determination showing that this side has belief and desire at this level.
The first half ended with the visitors having the lion’s share of possession but unable to break down a solid defensive unit.
Sudbury entered the fray in the second half focused on continuing their good work and not rising to the increasing amount of off the ball spoiling by the visitors.
Again, despite having the majority of possession, Cambridge could only win penalty corners and Smith stood resolute with the back four to keep the home goal unbreached.
Sudbury doubled their lead 10 minutes in, Chris Clubb received the ball in the left channel, drove towards the ‘D’ and unleashed a fierce strike which Griffiths, running across the keeper, deflected home.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 as the captain was yellow cared for a physical challenge and the home side took full advantage as the pace of Griffiths and Mayers exposed the City backline and an excellent counter attack lead to a one-two between Griffiths and Leigh Bevan who slotted home from close range.
Apter then deservingly got on the score-sheet with a far post tap-in though Bevan will claim the ball was already heading in. Apter should have scored a second but failed to finish off a well worked penalty corner routine.
With only three minutes to go the Cambridge captain received a red card for a second offence and the home side switched off and from the restart the City forward scored a great individual effort.
On Saturday Sudbury travel to second place Dereham in what promises to be a thrilling encounter - Sudbury will hope to have a strong squad to select from with Kev Monk, Nick Keefe and Brad Bosman returning.