AFC Sudbury 3
After their poor performance in midweek, AFC Sudbury got themselves back on the winning track as they comfortably beat their Hertfordshire opposition, with the 3-0 scoreline certainly not flattering the hosts.
Sudbury Manager Mark Morsley made some changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s game, recalling two midfielders in Joe Wright and Ollie Peters, who thought they may not get a first-team chance again after announcing their future next season would be in America.
They certainly did not let the side down as both performed admirably, with Wright the standout man in Yellow.
The AFC back four was certainly the youngest ever paraded by the club, all academy boys, with Tyler French taking the captain’s arm-band with Joe Whight side-lined. And they coped extremely well with all that was thrown at them.
New loan signing from Needham Market, Callum Harrison, started and did well until tiring near the end.
Billy Holland had to be replaced after only five minutes after a clash of heads, with another youngster, Ollie Gravett, taking over.
The first chance fell to Cheshunt when Emiel Aiken shot, but Paul Walker in the AFC goal easily saved.
At the other end Wright shot wide following a good cross from Ryan Horne.
Ricky Sappleton, a long throw specialist, launched one in but the ball broke towards his own goal and four AFC men charged forward before Jeramie Agholor saved the visitor’s blushes with a good tackle.
Harrison saw a shot go wide and then one on target as he looked for a quick first AFC goal, but ‘keeper Harry Girling came out and saved. The ball was spilled out into Phil Kelly’s path, but he could only earn a corner.
The same pair combined again but this time Kelly fired wide as AFC put the Cheshunt goal under extended pressure.
Jason Hallett for Cheshunt, a player that usually causes AFC problems, found himself free but shot over as the visitors picked up two quick yellow cards. Hallett’s threat was then gone as the referee produced a red card for an elbow to the head of Tyler French.
Ryan Horne struck the post for the hosts with the ball falling to Kelly, who could not capitalise as the 10 men were soon put on the back foot. On 42 minutes AFC did break the deadlock.
Gravett, playing out wide on the right, crossed hard into the penalty area where the ball clipped up off Sappleton and over Girling for an own goal. It was the first own goal to go AFC’s way since Boxing Day 2016.
The second period saw the 10 men of Cheshunt enjoy good spells of possession, but they did not use it well enough.
L’Heureux Menga, who started the season at Sudbury, was a prime example as he shot woefully across the goal.
Sappleton then had a header that Walker punched clear.
AFC were 2-0 up after 56 minutes when a quickly-taken free-kick on the right wing saw Kelly run the ball into the Cheshunt box before clipping it over Girling’s head and into the net.
Three minutes from time, the game was settled as Kelly was again involved. He powered down the right wing and got in a cross that found the on-rushing Horne, who fired home with the ball deflecting in off a defender.
AFC: Walker, Mills, Munday, Holland (Gravett 6’ (Hunter 73’)), Grimes, French, Peters, Wright, Kelly, Harrison (Dettmar 80’), Horne.
Unused Subs: McKenzie, Whight.
Free Press Man of the Match: There was no doubt that Joe Wright took the honours for a great all-round effort on his return to the first team.
• AFC Sudbury’s scheduled away derby at Bury Town on Easter Monday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The game will now take place, weather permitting, on Tuesday (7.45pm). The reverse fixture, on New Year’s Day, finished 1-1 after Bury scored a late penalty.
• AFC Gold week 48: £100 (219) C Tatum, Holmewood Drive, Giltbrook, Nottingham; £10 (118) L Horkan, Bank Buildings, Sudbury; £10 (243) Mrs S Paxton, Jubilee Rd, Sudbury.