FA Cup response delights AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley
Mark Morsley was delighted with the way his AFC Sudbury side stepped up to out-play their higher-league opposition and book an away trip to Bognor Regis Town in the Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round.
After twice being pegged back by Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Central side Royston Town on Saturday, Paul Hayes sent the home crowd delirious with a delightful chip just after the hour mark to earn the Yellows a 3-2 win.
Manager Morsley had called for his side to get back to their dominant zipping passing style on their 3G pitch, following the disappointing 1-0 league defeat to a Bowers & Pitsea side who played more than an hour with 10 men the previous weekend.
And he was certainly pleased to see his players deliver for him in both performance and result in the FA Cup on Saturday.
“It was a good day for the football club,” he said.
“The performance of the team really was rather good.
“I was a little bit disappointed with both goals, I have got to say, but we thoroughly deserved the victory.
“Their manager was very complimentary about us, to be fair, and their chairman was a really nice bloke and he said ‘Christ, your boys can play, can’t they?’ And yes we can, when we get it right.”
The pressure AFC were building was rewarded 16 minutes in when a good run from Jordan Blackwell saw him chopped down in the box by Jordan Norville-Williams. Callum Harrison stepped up to coolly dispatch the spot-kick.
Against the run of play, Royston drew level in the 33rd minute when Tyler French got the wrong side of Chris Assombalonga, who controlled a long ball by the goalkeeper before firing low into the corner past a helpless Paul Walker.
Opposite number Joe Welch blocked a fierce shot from Blackwell before AFC regained the lead four minutes before the break when Joe Whight scored with a superb dipping free-kick from the edge of the box.
Royston came out battling at the start of the second half and their improved play paid off 10 minutes in when substitute Vance Bola scored with his first touch from a tight angle after a mix-up between French and Walker.
The decisive goal for Sudbury came on 66 minutes when a corner from Harrison broke to the edge of the area and an unmarked Hayes sent in a sublime chip that cleared several Royston defenders and eluded goalkeeper Welch.
Bola should have scored from a close-range header, but Sudbury were still dangerous on the break with Harrison and Phil Kelly both forcing Welch into fine saves.
Reflecting on the match-winning goal, Morsley said: “It was like a perfect sand iron from just off the green. It was quite brilliant.
“Paul’s all-round play was very good but we had a number of good all-round performances and that was key after the disappointing game against Bowers & Pitsea.”
After Monday’s draw at Wembley saw them handed a 300-mile six-hour round trip to higher-league Bognor Regis on the south coast a week on Saturday (3pm), Morsley said he was more pleased than some at the club.
“From a personal perspective it is a fantastic draw,” he said.
“Bognor is a place I know very well as I have gone down there with Needham many times. It is a great ground with very close stands and there will be 700 to 800 down there for the FA Cup.
“It’s always a good pitch and atmosphere down there and it will be a great challenge and experience for our young boys.”
AFC go to Felixstowe & Walton United in the Velocity Trophy (League Cup) Round One on Tuesday (7.45pm) with Morsley confirming he will be ringing the changes.
* AFC Gold week 19: £100 (170) M Ford, White Horse Ave, Halstead; £10 (263) D Smith, Catesby Meadow, Sudbury; £10 (156) Miss E Crofton-Gibbs, Essex Ave, Sudbury.