AFC Sudbury 0
Potters Bar Town 2
On a snowy King’s Marsh 3G pitch AFC Sudbury slid to their third straight defeat and third game without scoring a goal.
Sudbury gave another of the club’s Academy a first-team debut as 17-year-old Ollie Gravett came in and left-back Adam Dunnage, another academy product, made his first start.
Three further academy boys started in Tom Maycock and Tom Dettmar while Ben Hunter celebrated his 18th birthday by making his 32nd appearance.
The play-off chasing visitors, in contrast, came with a settled and much more experienced line-up and in the end it was probably the difference between the two teams, as they went away with the three points.
After an early AFC cross came to nothing, Potters Bar went in front in the 11th minute from a free-kick on the left side. Michael Murray chipped the ball into the penalty area and Lee O’Leary headed home to put the visitors in front.
Phil Kelly and Billy Holland replied for AFC, the first saved by the legs of Laurencin and the other a tame effort.
Will Crisell was able to get his head to a Holland cross at the far post but the ball went wide.
Twenty-three minutes in and AFC were two goals down. Sandro Costas Dias Fernandes put the ball at Murray’s feet and he delightfully fired home from outside the penalty area.
AFC countered and Maycock had a shot tipped over by Laurencin and Kelly put another over the visitors’ bar from a corner.
Hunter will want to forget his birthday shot that went so wide it nearly struck the corner flag as he buried his head under his shirt in disgust at the attempt.
Gravett burst through but, having no support, was forced to shoot with the ball ending in the side-netting.
On the stroke of half-time Walker saved low down as Ben Ward-Cochrane shot from long-range.
There was a let-off for AFC as Crisell lost the ball and Fernandes took advantage of the mistake but was unable to score, shooting wide when well placed.
On 67 minutes Sudbury made a double substitution with Mekhi McKenzie and Ryan Horne replacing Dettmar and Maycock, and four minutes later Gravett ended his debut with Max Booth taking his place.
With play somewhat scrappy as the snow continued to sweep down the pitch, Walker got down to parry a Fernandes shot and the ball was scrambled away to safety.
There were three minutes of normal time left when Kelly shot from 12 yards out but the ball found the arms of ‘keeper Laurencin.
Time ran out and the visitors took the spoils and AFC could have no real complaints about the result as more young players got first-team experience.
AFC: Walker, Crisell, Dunnage, Holland, French, Whight, Gravett (Booth 71’), Hunter, Kelly, Dettmar (Horne 67’), Maycock (McKenzie 67’). Unused subs: Grimes, Mills.
Free Press Man of the Match: Phil Kelly worked hard for little reward.
• AFC Sudbury launched AFC Sudbury TV over the weekend which will allow supporters the chance to watch a package of match highlights from many first-team games.
• AFC’s Football in The Community have arranged two Soccer Camps for both boys and girls aged from 5-12 over the Easter holidays.
They will take place on the main 3G pitch at the club on Thursday, April 5 and Thursday, April 12 from 10am until 3pm.
Places cost £15 per day. Email email@example.com to book a place and to make online booking/payment.