AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley delighted with side's togetherness during Bostik League North Division derby victory over Bury Town
AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley has praised the way his young side ‘dug each other out of trouble’ to claim top honours in the highly-anticipated New Year’s Day derby at Bury Town.
In front of a booster crowd of 703, the Bostik League North Division side held on to a 3-2 victory on the road despite the home team threatening to ruin their day with two comeback goals in added time.
Going into the fixture a place below their league rivals, AFC Sudbury have now leapfrogged Bury Town into sixth position, just one place below a play-off space.
But it was not necessarily a performance that any of his players would put in their scrapbook as one of their best.
He said: “Thinking about it, it’s hard to point out a Sudbury player that was playing well in the first half in particular, but what you did have was players digging each other out.
“One player would get in a bit of trouble and a second would then help him out. That team ethic is massive, that’s where football starts and that’s where success starts too.
“So the foundations are there and I’ve built enough teams over the years to know that you start with the in-it-together team spirit and a solid defence.
“You can’t have bad apples in that and we don’t, all our players support each other – there wasn’t a cross word spoken to each other all game, we understand that any mistakes are not deliberate.
“It’s a great building block for where we’re looking to go in the next few years.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are still a long way off but days like today (beating Bury Town away) is great for the supporters.”
Both sides had quickly showed they were up for the match with a high tempo game from the kick-off.
But AFC Sudbury were the first to find the net despite sustained Bury Town pressure and attacks on their goal, with a well-struck free-kick from skipper Joe Whight beating Bury ‘keeper Luis Tibbles after 25 minutes.
The score remained 1-0 into the break, although Sudbury scored on the stroke of half-time but saw the goal disallowed for offside.
The visitors then started the stronger of the sides after the break as Paul Hayes played himself into the game and helped spark some of their own pressure on the Bury defence.
It paid off with a Hayes score in the 65th minute, although there were strong calls from the crowd claiming it was offside.
He scored again moments later, but this one was disallowed as the whistle had been blown for a foul moments before.
Tom Dettmar then scored a well-hit third goal for his side after breaking down the pitch and making his finish look far simpler than the angle or distance he actually hit it from.
Emmanuel Machaya pulled a goal back in the 90th minute for Bury Town to finally break the deadlock as they had threatened all game, but it seemed too little too late.
Suddenly the game was back on, however, just a minute later as Kyran Clements headed in from a corner to set-up the tense finish – with the fourth official showing a minimum of five minutes added time.
But AFC Sudbury held on for the full three points to see them climb above Bury Town into sixth position.
“The boys were under the cosh a little in the first 20 minutes or so, and at the end as well, but they did really well not to concede early on,” he said.
“I think they did find their feet as the game went on, but Bury targeted Liam Bennett at right back – which I have no problem with at all because that’s the game, you target what you perceive as a weak link.
“We did the same with their right back and any good football we had in the first half came down that right side. They used their experience to get Liam in a bit of trouble, hence the change. It’s been explained to him, and he will start at right back in the next game.
“He’s 16 years old so it’s a big learning curve for him, he was upset, but he gets the process and I think really learned something. And his replacement, Baris Altintop, stepped in and nothing changed, he kept bombing down the line.
“Those levels of consistency are what we’ve been working on – and it takes time to build a side that has an identity to the way they play and that’s what we’re trying to achieve. It was a complete team performance though, and that was great to see.”
AFC Sudbury: Walker, Bennett (Altintop 38’), Coakley, Holland (McKenzie 89’), French, Whight (c), Hunter, Dettmar, Hayes, Harrison (Monk 89’), Harris. Unused substitutes: Grimwood, Kelly
Free Press Man of the Match: Paul Walker – he made a number of vital stops to deny Bury an opening goal and keep them out despite sustained pressure.