Bantick brace steers AFC into next round of Trophy
AFC Sudbury 4
Bowers & Pitsea 0
AFC Sudbury progressed comfortably through to the second round qualifying of The Buildbase FA Trophy, as they saw off Bowers & Pitsea with two goals in each half.
Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold was hoping to recall striker Luke Callander but his knee injury had not cleared up, and this meant a starting place for Sam Bantick, who repaid his selection with a brace.
Also on show, starting his first home game, was Cambridge United loanee Dylan Williams, while Ipswich Town trialist Tyler French started at the heart of the AFC defence.
A bright afternoon greeted the teams, and the crowd of nearly 200 saw AFC take the lead from the penalty spot.
Bantick drove into the box and was hacked down, his pace taking the Bowers defender by surprise. He placed the ball on the spot and duly dispatched it into the net, giving goalkeeper Lewis Greene no chance.
The visitors were trying to play nice football and one attack saw James Stevens make Sudbury goalkeeper Marcus Garnham pull off a fine save.
Greene saved headers from captain Sam Clarke and James Baker, the latter playing in a midfield role.
The second goal came just before the interval and this time Bantick drilled in a low cross from the right. The ball eluded several defenders and found Liam Wales, who scored from close range.
The second half was very similar to the first as AFC controlled affairs, with the visitors rarely troubling the home defence, and when they did, Garnham was in good form to deny them.
Twelve minutes into the second half, birthday boy Bantick netted AFC’s third from a Wales pass to effectively kill off the tie.
Rob Eagle did settle it with a blistering shot from the edge of the penalty area giving Greene absolutely no chance.
Craig Parker came on to ensure his fitness having pulled up the previous week and he showed some nice touches.
Home supporters then saw new signing Aidan Austin make his first home appearance, along with Jordan Blackwell.
There was no more scoring as AFC completed a workmanlike performance that hopefully continues into their Ryman League Premier Division campaign.
n AFC have been drawn at home to Ryman League Division One North side Romford in the second round qualifying of The Buildbase FA Trophy, with the tie set to be played on November 12 (3pm).
n The week 27 winners of the AFC Gold fundraiser are as follows: £100 (151) G Fearn, Cordell Road, Long Melford; £10 (221) I Tatum, Beaconsfield Close, Sudbury; £10 (263) D Smith, Catesby Meadow, Sudbury.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Newman (Parker 62), Wilkinson, Baker, Henshaw, French, Bantick (Blackwell 77), Clarke (Austin 77), Wales, Williams, Eagle. Subs not used: Mallardo, Robinson. Attendance: 196. Free Press Man of the Match: Sam Bantick