Mark Morsley positive about AFC Sudbury's performance despite exiting Suffolk Premier Cup to lower-league Hadleigh United
Despite succumbing to lower-league opposition in the Suffolk Premier Cup for the second season in a row, AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley was positive about his side’s performance, writes Alex Moss.
Last season, AFC were beaten 3-1 at Stowmarket Town in the last 16 of the county’s leading cup competition, and on Tuesday night it was Hadleigh United, another Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division outfit, who claimed the scalp of the Yellows.
Morsley’s side were beaten 5-4 on penalties, after the second-round tie finished 2-2 after 90 minutes at the MEL Group Stadium, but the AFC boss was left pleased that his players had reacted well after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Brentwood Town, who had been without a win in the BetVictor Isthmian North Division this season before AFC’s visit at the weekend.
“We didn’t want to go out of the cup, but what I was really looking for was a good solid, performance,” Morsley said. “Saturday was a very poor performance, but on Tuesday we played very well.
“We had so much more of the ball, but we didn’t take our chances and fair play to Hadleigh, they scored a late equaliser and then you have the penalty situation.”
Former AFC striker Reece Dobson scored from a free kick to hand visitors Hadleigh the early advantage, before second-half goals from Lewis O’Malley and Tom Maycock put higher-league Sudbury 2-1 in front.
Joel Glover struck an equaliser for Hadleigh five minutes before time to send the tie to penalties, where visiting goalkeeper Nick Punter saved spot kicks from Tom Dettmar, Joe Whight and Ben Hammett to dump the home side out of the competition.
Morsley said it felt ‘very strange’ to see the tie be decided on penalties after 90 minutes. Suffolk FA did away with extra time in the Premier Cup ahead of the 2017/18 season.
AFC did come through on penalties in the first round of that season’s competition when they beat Haverhill Borough on spot kicks, after the tie had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes at the MEL Group Stadium.
“To have no extra time anymore is a strange scenario,” the AFC boss said. “I would have thought maybe having replays, like in the FA Cup, if it’s a draw.
“But from my point of view, it was very strange to get to 90 minutes and go straight to penalties. That’s just my opinion anyway.
“I was pleased with our performance on the night. We’re in it for the long haul and it’s a learning curve for us.”