Leaky defence criticised after Sudbury salvage draw

FOOTBALL - Needham Market FC v Sudbury AFC
FOOTBALL - Needham Market FC v Sudbury AFC

CHRIS Tracey was left frustrated his side couldn’t register back-to-back home wins after having to come from behind twice in the second half to claim a point on Saturday.



AFC Sudbury 2 Tilbury 2

A brace from summer signing Richard Howell wiped out Tilbury’s attempts to make it a hat-trick of wins for the Londoners.

But Tracey, in charge of his last home match before Nicky Smith returns from holiday, was left bemoaning defensive frailties.

He said: “I think it followed the same pattern as Tuesday night (Ilford) really: Good footballing performance, plenty of opportunities but unfortunately people let themselves down defensively.

“As a defender you need to stand up and be counted at set pieces and we ended up chasing the game. What they would have been like chasing the game we do not know.

“We ended up salvaging a draw from a game we should have won with the possession we had.”

Tracey went with the same staring line-up for the third game running and his side got on top early on with Dave Wareham having the ball in the net after three minutes only for it to be ruled offside.

The winger then had two further chances but was unable to hit the target before Michael Shinn curled over and James Baker then gave James Marrable a comfortable save.

On the half hour mark, AFC keeper Danny Gay was at full stretch to pull off a fine one-handed save from Tilbury captain Gary Henry to keep the scores level.

Baker should have put Sudbury ahead nine minutes later but steered a volley over the bar from six yards.

AFC should have had a penalty after 35 minutes when Howell did well to get into the area and seemed to be clearly obstructed as he turned, but after trying to play on he looked to be hard done by.

In the second half Tilbury took the lead after 50 minutes when Emiel Aiken pulled the ball back from the right touchline and, after Kevin Malthouse swung at it, the loose ball was drilled home by the Bradley Barnes 14 yards out.

It took only four minutes for AFC to reply, the dancing feet of Dan Emmanuel on the edge of the box bamboozling defenders before he then picked out Howell to fire in from an angle inside the area into the bottom left corner, giving Marrable no chance.

But after Aiken fired a warning shot across the AFC goalmouth they regained the lead on the hour mark when Paul King headed a Malthouse corner in at the near post.

But Sudbury responded again through Howell, nine minutes later. The striker fired in from a similar position to his first after picking up a defence-splitting pass from impressive full-back Robbie Martin.

Baker then had a shout for a penalty 12 minutes from time when King seemed to block him off in the area, but the striker’s appeal fell on deaf ears again, though Tracey, who thought Howell’s appeal should have been given, refused to criticise the officials.

AFC: Gay, Martin, Fox, Shinn, N Clarke, Devaux, Howell (Sullivan 79), S Clarke (c), Baker, Emmanuel, Wareham (Lorimer).

Unused subs: Henshaw, Stoneman, Wixon

Att: 267

Free Press Man of the Match: Richard Howell. Double strike earned AFC a point and hard-working frontman should have had a penalty in the first half but his honesty in trying to stay on his feet seemed to work against him.