Danny Laws hopeful with double chance for AFC Sudbury Academy to return to re-write history in AoC Sport England Colleges FA Under-19 National Knockout Trophy
Having lost in the national colleges cup last year, heading into the last 16 of this season’s competition AFC Sudbury Academy have a double chance of getting another shot at glory.
Two teams instead of one have been entered in the AoC Sport England Colleges FA (ECFA) Under-19 National Knockout Trophy this time around with both coming through their first three rounds.
Danny Laws, Sudbury’s academy director of football and youth development explained: “We have literally split the teams into first and second years.
“We are gearing up to enter the ECFA Premier League next season as we have not been playing in a Wednesday league this year.
“One of the reasons we went with more than one team is it will expose the boys to Wednesday afternoon football, and they have done brilliantly. The first year’s win against DESA from Dereham was a really good result.”
Craig Power’s Sudbury II team, who play in the Essex & Suffolk Border League on Saturdays, hosted the Dereham-based academy side on January 22.
“I am really proud, it was an amazing game against Dereham,” said Laws.
“We were 3-0 up at half-time and they pulled it back to 5-4. I never thought we would have had to score two goals in the second half, but fair play to Dereham. It was a bit head in hands at times.”
Josh Ambrose and Shane Temple both struck twice, with the other coming from Jake Banyard.
The first-year’s reward is a home last-16 tie against north London-based Soccer Chance, who act as a pathway to securing USA scholarships, on February 26 (2pm).
Laws’ second-year side saw off The Open Academy from Wroxham 4-0 at King’s Marsh on January 29. Ethan Mayhew scored a brace with other goals coming from Freddie King and Jake Horlock.
Next up for the side, who contain players who lost 5-0 in last year’s final at Boreham Wood at Walsall FC, is a trip to Leicester to face former Premier League winner Christian Fuch’s Fox Academy on Wednesday (2pm).
Laws said: "We are taking each round as it comes and were unfortunate to avoid each other in the draw, which might not happen in the next round.
“Wallsall is not the result we wanted last year but it was a great experience for the boys.
“To have two in the last 16 is brilliant and we will be disappointed if one doesn’t make it to the final this year, that is certainly the aim.”
He added: “It is exciting times with what we are trying to also do with the girls programme as well and it is good to be having things to play for at this stage of the season.”
Leaders AFC Sudbury Under-18s lost for the first time in this season’s Thurlow Nunn Youth League South in a topsy-turvy 6-5 home defeat to Brightlingsea Regent a week ago. But they bounced back at Brantham Athletic on Tuesday with a 2-0 win.
With the usual management team of Gavin Peters and Liam Aves away on Saturday, AFC Sudbury Reserves were led to a storming 7-1 home win against Diss Town in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North by past and present players. Brett Girling was in the dugout alongside injured first-team players Sean Marks and Joe Grimwood.
Ethan Mayhew bagged himself a hat-trick alongside goals for Matt Wooldridge, Jake Horlock, Joe Morris – who has joined the club from Halstead Town – and Luke Hipkin.
On Tuesday at Great Yarmouth Town they lost 2-1. On Saturday they host Wisbech St Mary (3pm) before travelling to Haverhill Borough on Tuesday (7.45pm).
More by this authorRussell Claydon