DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 5
Great Wakering Rovers 1
AFC Sudbury had a good Saturday as they defeated Great Wakering Rovers at home while their closest challengers at the top of Ryman North dropped points, Thurrock drawing and Harlow Town losing.
These results saw AFC’s lead increase to 12 points over Thurrock (9 after Tuesday) and 16 over Harlow, although they had one and two games in hand over Sudbury.
Wakering were disposed of some 15 minutes into the second half, having taken a two goal lead in the first period, before conceding a goal, and then stepping on the gas to see them off comfortably.
Manager Jamie Godbold made a couple of alterations to his starting line up with Ross Bailey getting so game time in place of Ollie Berquez in midfield, and Ryan Henshaw complete with face mask, taking over from Stefano Mallardo in defence.
There was a ‘newcomer’ on the bench, Danny Cunningham, the experienced player, recently released by Leiston was previously with AFC between 2006 and 2008, making 38 appearances.
In bright sunshine AFC attacked from the start and Joe Maybanks was involved with a couple of good moves early on before, on 10 minutes, Sudbury opened the scoring. A great run and shot from Jordan Blackwell saw Wakering keeper Seal unable to hold onto the ball and Luke Callander was there to fire home.
Craig Parker and Sam Clarke had efforts blocked or saved, as the pressure was all at the Wakering end of the pitch with Marcus Garnham almost a spectator at the other end.
Blackwell was causing problems for the visitors with pace and direct running and combined well with Callander to force a great save by Seal.
The lead was increased on 33 minutes with Blackwell bursting through the defence and firing home.
The second period saw AFC start somewhat flat and this allowed the visitors to gain in confidence.
But Blackwell continued to problems, with Skelton getting booked for bringing him down as had Pugsley in the first half.
Wakering pulled a goal back following a free-kick. Garnham misjudged his punch and Nash was there put the ball away.
The AFC keeper more than made up for his error when he superbly saved twice in quick succession to deny Johnson, once following a great goalline block by James Baker.
Both Cunningham and Liam Wales came on and the latter was soon on the scoresheet with a delightful volley on the turn following a great run and cross down the right wing from Ben Robinson.
AFC’s fourth came courtesy of Cunningham after Blackwell had yet again been fouled. Cunningham took the free-kick from out on the right and delightfully clipped the ball into the goal high at the far post, eluding keeper Seal.
Four minutes from time Blackwell, who had worked energetically all afternoon, capped his man-of-the-match performance as he ran at the visiting defence once again, bursting into the penalty area to net AFC’s fifth and his second of the game.
It was a good all round team performance and with both James Baker and Sam Clarke missing the next two games due to suspension, gave some squad players a chance to shine.
AFC: Garnham, Robinson (Newman 74), Wilkinson, Bailey (Wales 66) Henshaw, Baker, Blackwell, S Clarke (cpt), Callander, Parker, Maybanks (Cunningham 59). Unused subs: Mallardo, Berquez.
Free Press Man of the Match: Jordan Blackwell. Industrious all afternoon involved in the first goal, scored two and fouled for the free kick for another.