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AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley feeling they are now in a positive place ahead of FA Trophy tie at high-flying Worthing




Mark Morsley is happy to be taking his AFC Sudbury side to higher-league Worthing in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday (3pm) in a much better mental place.

The brave decision to replace his entire coaching staff and close friends with academy duo Danny Laws and Dave Cannon has led to two victories from two with the pair alongside him in the dugout.

Despite Worthing flying high in the BetVictor Isthmian League Premier Division (5th) and having home advantage for the second round qualifying tie, Morsley feels it would be dangerous for their opponents to underestimate his re-invigorated team’s chances.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Mark Morsley alongside Danny Laws in the dugoutPic - Richard Marsham. (20698168)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Mark Morsley alongside Danny Laws in the dugoutPic - Richard Marsham. (20698168)

“At the end of the day we are going there as underdogs but we are in a game of football and on a good run of form,” he said, in the wake of Saturday’s 2-1 home win against Canvey Island with Joe Grimwood’s last-gasp winner not telling the story of a dominant performance.

“There has been no shortage of criticism from people, about me and my side, but one of the things that calms me is that we have done well against the teams from higher leagues which maybe goes to show something of our pedigree here.”

The AFC boss sees the first 30 minutes as key to their chances in Sussex though.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Billy Holland.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20694799)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Billy Holland.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20694799)

“They play on a 3G pitch, so there is no benefit to either team of that,” he said, “it could be an interesting game.

“It is important we get ourselves in the game and do not concede any silly goals.

“We need to work hard and stick together and see where it takes us.

“The first 20 minutes to half-an-hour is always key in these type of games where you are facing a confident side who are at home.”

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Joe Grimwood.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698174)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Joe Grimwood.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698174)

Experienced defender Adam Bailey-Dennis should have recovered from a bruised foot in time for Saturday’s tie, having watched the weekend’s league win from the stands again.

It was a much-needed three points for Sudbury in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division, having lost four of their previous five matches to languish in 16th place.

Tom Maycock made it three goals in his last three league games when confidently tucking away a penaltyfor a deserved lead in the 35th minute, after Sean Marks had been bundled over in a crowded box.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Tom Maycock.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698178)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Tom Maycock.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698178)

A confident display from the hosts, in front of a crowd of 297 in the wet weather, looked like it would not get the reward it deserved when Kane Gilbert headed home in the 84th minute for Canvey’s equaliser.

But Sudbury showed good mental strength to push on and force a winner with centre-half Grimwood poking home in the 89th minute.

“It would have been a travesty if we had not won,” said Morsley.

“We created a lot of chances and domineered the game and deserved to win it by quite some margin.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Tempers flare during the match.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698181)
AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island - Tempers flare during the match.Pic - Richard Marsham. (20698181)

“One little thing it does leave us to address is that we are creating the chances but not scoring the goals.

“Nonetheless, it was a good performance in difficult conditions.”

He said he was happy with how the players have responded to the coaching staff changes but is wary of getting carried away with thinking it has fixed the issues that were holding them back previously.

“There is still a lot to do,” he said. “I am aware there will be a bit of a honeymoon period with Danny coming in and Dave coming more to the fore.

“It is good we have been able to affect things though, with the changes we have made.”

AFC Sudbury host local rivals Bury Town in their penultimateVelocity Trophy Group 1 match on Tuesday (7.45pm) with no chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

But, despite it being a Bury derby, Morsley says he will stick to using the competition to give his academy scholars a taste of senior football.

* Follow AFC Sudbury's FA Trophy tie at Worthing via our live blog on our website (check back on Saturday afternoon).


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