Reserves end season with silverware and look for step up

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AFC Sudbury 4 Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves 3

at Brantham Athletic

AFC Sudbury Reserves manager Ian Manby wants to register the side in a higher level of football after winning the Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.

After defeating holders Kirkley and Pakefield to avenge their defeat to Haverhill Rovers in the final two years ago, Manby said he would like to move the second-string side into the Thurlow Nunn League First Division alongside Long Melford, Halstead and Cornard first teams.

He said injuries had thwarted their goal of achieving promotion in their current reserves league, after coming sixth in the Thurlow Nunn Reserve League Fist Division.

After falling behind early on in Friday’s final at Brantham, a brace from Andy Fisher established a 2-1 lead at the interval before Ryan Kent and Lee Owen (penalty) put them in cruise control before two late strikes left a nervy finish.

Manby, who was delighted with his players, said: “I would love to see AFC Sudbury Reserves put into a higher league and have a new challenge.

“I have spoke to the club and whether we will do it this season (2013/14) is another thing.

“We do want to move the reserves closer to the first team but it is all about finance.”

He added: “I absolutely love the club and to take them to that level (step six league) would be brilliant.

“We have the crowds (average 70) to do it and everything is in place.”

With Kirkley and Pakefield ahead after only six minutes in Friday’s final, AFC got the perfect response six minutes later when Ryan Swallow did well to cross from the left for Fisher to turn in, before the same player added his second from Ryan Kent’s pull-back just before the 20-minute-mark.

Two goals in three minutes early in the second half gave AFC a 4-1 lead when Kent latched onto a throughball to score and Owen dispatched a penalty after Lee Ifield was brought down.

Defensive mistakes from Steve Adams and goalkeeper Alex Archer cost AFC an uncomfortable finish, but they held on to pick up the silverware.

Manby said: “The boys were fantastic and I have not stopped smiling since.”

AFC Sudbury Res: Archer, Chisholm, Bolton, Sharp (Smith 84), Adams, Bailey, Kent (Cawthery 73), Owen, Swallow, Fisher, Ifield. Subs not used: Skipper, Hinds, New.

Manager’s man of the match: Lee Ifield.

Attendance: 122

n The latest AFC Gold fundraiser winers are: £100 Sam Haynes, Lee Barbersm, Sudbury (280), £10 Owen Cocksedge, Sudbury (171), £10 John Long, Lavenham (111).