Callander takes little time to make his mark at AFC
DIVISION ONE NORTH
Thurrock 0 AFC Sudbury 2
After their disappointing midweek Suffolk Premier Cup defeat, Jamie Godbold’s side turned on the style in the league at Thurrock.
One of their better performances on Saturday earned a deserved victory against fellow play-off contenders, thanks to a goal in each half, including a first for Luke Callander on his debut.
The win extended AFC’s unbeaten league run to 12 games and avenged a 6-2 home defeat when the teams met in the reverse fixture.
For the first time for several weeks with suspensions served, the manager had his whole squad available with the exception of Sam Clarke, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Marcus Garnham and Craig Parker returned after being cup-tied midweek while Kris Newby returned from suspension. There was a debut for recently signed striker Luke Callander and he made a very impressive start, scoring the first goal.
Sudbury had the better of the early play but it was Thurrock who created the first chance after 12 minutes when Leslie Thompson shot through a crowd of players but was denied by a fine block by keeper Garnham.
The visitors went on to have the better of the half and new signing Callander twice threatened before he scored a debut goal with a super strike after 41 minutes.
Two minutes later Sudbury had a great chance to double their lead when Jordan Blackwell did well to keep the ball in play and his cross found Ollie Berquez unmarked in the six yard box, but with the goal at his mercy but he somehow failed to hit the target.
The second half followed a similar pattern with the Suffolk side having the better of the play and Thurrock rarely threatened to pierce a sound AFC rear-guard.
Sudbury deservedly increased their lead with a second goal after 62 minutes when Berquez had a fierce shot parried by Rhys Madden in the home goal and Parker latched on to the loose ball to hook home from close range.
There were no further goals but with Thurrock pressing hard Sudbury looked dangerous on the counter-attack and home keeper Madden twice made fine saves to deny Blackwell.
In the end it was a superb victory, another clean sheet and no Sudbury bookings, from a very entertaining game played in front of an above average crowd of 107 thanks to the travelling supporters.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, T Kemp, Kerridge (S Kemp 81), Henshaw, Baker, Newby (Coley 81), Berquez, Callander (Rymer 73), Parker, Blackwell. Unused subs: Clements, Clarke.
Free Press Man of the Match: Many contenders but the nod goes to Jordan Blackwell. The 18-year-old wide player terrorised the Thurrock defence and was unlucky not get on the score-sheet due to fine goalkeeping.