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New signing swift to make his mark

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

Sam Bantick was on target on Tuesday night, and AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold expects more goals from his new signing.

Midfielder Bantick, who was in the Brentwood Town side that beat AFC in last season’s Ryman League play-offs, made his first start at Brightlingsea Regent on Tuesday, having come on as a substitute in home defeat by Maldon and Tiptree on Saturday.

“We’re bringing him in gently,” said Godbold. “He was a real threat on Tuesday, and scored a fantastic goal. He is a very direct player, good to watch. He will score goals, and is a really good addition to the squad.”

Bantick moved to Concord Rangers at the end of last season, and was dual registered with VCD Athletic. “He worked hard in the play-off game, and as soon as we heard he was available, we moved quickly to sign him.”

Although Godbold was disappointed at only getting a draw at Brightlingsea, a team AFC have yet to beat in the Ryman League, he was happier with a much-improved performance from Saturday.

“We are facing a tough couple of months,” said Godbold, “and we need consistent performances. On Saturday we looked lethargic, so we will be rotating the squad to keep the players fresh.

“Tuesday night’s performance was much better - a tough game on a muddy pitch - and we were unfortunate not to come away with a win.” Brightlingsea equalised three minutes from the end.

On Saturday AFC are in FA Cup action when they travel to National League South side Eastbourne Borough in the second qualifying round, with prize money of £4,500 for the winners. AFC were beaten 1-0 by Eastbourne Borough in the third qualifying round in 2011.

“It’s exciting,” said Godbold. “The FA Cup is always exciting when you have come through a couple of rounds. It will be refreshing to be underdogs, nice to go there and play without that pressure. And you never know what could happen.”

If the game ends in a draw, the replay will be at The Wardale Williams Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm). A result from Saturday’s tie will see Heybridge Swifts visit AFC on Tuesday in the league.

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