EAST MEN’S LEAGUE
Old Southendian 1 Sudbury 2
After four defeats in a row, Sudbury got their Division One campaign up and running with a well-deserved victory.
With the experience of Tim Blackburn and Nick Keefe missing through injury, Sam Palmer returned to the side and Chris Bull made his first-team debut at right-back after impressing for the seconds.
The home side started the better and after winning a number of penalty corners, took the lead with a deflection at the back post.
Sudbury started to impose themselves on the game with Bull and Chris Clubb linking well together while Edd Burton marshalled the middle of the pitch.
Both sides were desperate for points, meaning the game was played at a high tempo throughout and midway through the half Brendan Mayers was sin binned for a confrontation with a Southendian player.
Despite going into half-time trailing by a goal, Sudbury knew the game was theirs for the taking.
Sudbury won a number of short corners and after Leigh Bevan’s initial strike was charged down by the keeper, Kevin Monk popped home the rebound from close range to draw the scores level.
Sudbury received three further yellow cards in the game, meaning at times only nine players were on the pitch, but through excellent hard work and some important saves from Chris Smith in goal, the scores remained level until five minutes from time when from another penalty corner Bevan smashed the ball into the bottom corner.
With only seconds remaining, the home side won a penalty corner but the defence held strong and cleared the ball to claim the victory.
Sudbury: Smith, Humphreys, Monk, Tarrent, Burton, Mayers, Bullock, Bevan, Clubb, Palmer, Bull, (Palmer).
Felixstowe II 5 Sudbury III 0
An understrength Sudbury III were not able to build on last week’s first victory as they lost at Felixstowe.
The Sudbury side were on the back foot before the game with eight regular players unavailable.
Sudbury took some time to find their feet and went into the break 2-0 down.
A rousing team talk from Stuart Kevis saw a different Sudbury take to the pitch for the second half and several chances were made with veteran David Hopps going closest to goal with a stinging shot grazing the post.
At this point things went downhill – a misunderstanding led to Sudbury being disadvantaged by one player for the remainder of the game, but Will Edwards and Seth Philbedge again made good contributions at senior level.
The side will hope to be back up to full strength to receive IES III at Cornard on Saturday (3pm).
Norwich Dragons IV 2
Sudbury IV 0
This was a much-improved Sudbury performance, but the third quarter proved to be the difference for the sides.
Dragons stepped up a gear and Sudbury were unable to match it, conceding two goals due to a gap opening up between defence and midfield.
It could have been three but for a fine penalty save by Paul King.