Clarke’s at the double as AFC seal progress

Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

FA TROPHY PRELIMINARY ROUND: Whitstable Town 1 AFC Sudbury 3

Three first-half goals saw AFC Sudbury progress in the FA Trophy against their Ryman League South opponents in a fine team performance in Kent on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches, including six victories.

James Baker was serving a one-match ban, while skipper Sam Clarke and Kris Newby returned from suspension.

Defender Craig Pope also came back and there was debut for midfielder Ollie Berquez, signed from Maldon and Tiptree, who came close to scoring in the first minute but put his shot just over.

This set the pattern for the first half with Whitstable on the back foot and it was no surprise when the deadlock was broken after 15 minutes.

A fine build-up found Newby wide left and his cross was headed home by skipper Clarke.

Newby shot inches wide and Jack Wilkinson had a shot cleared off the line before Sudbury doubled their lead after 19 minutes when a through-ball found Clarke who rifled home his second.

It was 28 minutes before Whitstable threatened, but Tom Loynes fired over and three minutes before the break Kane Rowland headed over from a good position.

Some desperate defending from the hosts prevented further goals until first-half stoppage time when a free-kick into the home box caused problems and Berquez opened his Sudbury account when he netted from close range to put his side 3-0 ahead at the break.

The second half was a more even affair, but Luke Watkins in the home goal made two great saves.

Three minutes from time Whitstable scored a consolation goal when Joe Kennett headed home from a right-wing corner.

But it was too little too late and Sudbury were worthy winners, earning another long trip away, this time to the west Sussex coast to take on Ryman Premier Division side Bognor Regis Town on November 1.

AFC Sudbury: Archer, Robinson, Wilkinson, Hervel, Henshaw, Pope, Newby (Rymer 63), CLARKE, S Kemp (Davidson 68), Coley (Blackwell 77), Berquez. Unused subs: Flynn, Guyton.