AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley proud of his players after FA Trophy run comes to a halt at Kingstonian
Mark Morsley was left full of pride for the way his AFC Sudbury side pushed higher-league Kingstonian all the way in their Buildbase FA Trophy tie in south west London on Saturday.
It took an 88th minute close-range finish from Dan Bennett to avoid a replay in Suffolk, after Callum Harrison’s 47th minute opener had been cancelled out by the hosts’ Calum Davies six minutes later.
“On another day we could have probably got the replay but they probably deserved to win. I was so pleased with how we played,” said Morsley.
“You could see the players who came off (substituted) were out on their feet.”
The AFC boss had gone into the tie, their second away game in the competition against higher-league opponents, having seen off Kingstonian’s BetVictor Isthmian League Premier Division rivals Worthing 4-1 earlier in the month, without two of his key players.
Captain Joe Whight’s ankle injury, which saw him stretchered off at the conclusion of their midweek win at Heybridge Swifts, was confirmed as both a fracture and damage to the ligament, described as ‘a big blow’ by Morsley, while midfielder Reece Harris was also sidelined with a recurrence of a knee injury.
Adam Bailey-Dennis made his return to the starting line-up though and took over the captain’s armband.
“We had to adapt ourselves and the first half hour we were really under the cosh,” said Morsley.
“We changed our shape a bit and finished the first half well having a few chances to score but not taking them.”
It took less than two minutes of the second half for the Yellows to shock the hosts with the opener though as Billy Holland drove into the penalty box before cutting back for Harrison to finish via a deflection in what was his fourth goal in his last five games.
The lead did not last long though as Davies restored parity, against the run of play, with a close-range shot within six minutes.
Kingstonian went on to dominate possession thereafter, something Morsley revealed was a conscious tactical decision aimed at hitting them on the counter-attack, with Sudbury indebted to some fine saves from goalkeeper Paul Walker keeping them level.
But their resistance was finally broken two minutes from time when Bennett forced the ball in following a goalmouth scramble.
“Paul Walker had a very good game,” reflected the Sudbury manager. “There was one save in the second half where I don’t know how he made it when he turned a shot over the bar. It was a really good performance from him.
“The competition has been very good for us and gives me great pride.
“The players have given everything and the Worthing game was something we can look back on with pride.”
AFC are without a game this weekend, due to scheduled opponents Maldon & Tiptree being in the FA Cup live on the BBC tomorrow.
Morsley said a few players, including Harris, may go with the reserves to Mulbarton Wanderers, but the rest will be given the weekend off. Their next game is at home to Cambridge City a week on Saturday (3pm).
* AFC Gold week 29: £100 (222) D Tatum, Holmewood Drive, Giltbrook, Nott’m; £10 (142) C Levitt, Peacocks Close, Gt Cornard; £10 (172) D Theobald, Bank Buildings, Sudbury.
More by this authorRussell Claydon