Last-minute winner sees Reserves claim derby spoils
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
AFC Sudbury Reserves 3
Halstead Town 2
Halstead made the short journey for this local derby knowing that they needed to improve on the previous week.
Then they had suffered a heavy defeat while their hosts had a hugely impressive win against high-flying Yarmouth.
The Sudbury carpet provided excellent playing conditions, and even the wind did not stop this from being a hugely energetic and entertaining encounter.
The result was in doubt right until the very end, and it was a last-minute winner for the hosts which meant that for the second week running Halstead had been defeated after having had the lead.
The first quarter saw Halstead very much the dominant side and as early as the first minute Jonah Gosling’s forthright running was causing the home side problems.
Gosling was again rampaging down the right and his cross found Brown, but his sliced attempt went wide. Moment’s later Gosling again wriggled free and the hosts were saved by a great defensive header.
Halstead remained dominant, and they were peppering the home goal, albeit largely from distance, and Elkins and Holdstock both had efforts comfortably dealt with by the home keeper.
They did, however, get their reward on 27 minutes when a great move ended with a Brown centre being touched on by Hutchings to Warren. who beat the keeper comfortably to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.
This signalled a change in momentum and the home side started a period of dominance.
After breaking up a Halstead attack, Sudbury countered, and when the visitors failed to clear their lines McNicholas swept the ball past the returning Banner.
The first half was full on, but the second took a while to get going. The best move of the half for Halstead came just before the hour mark when Gosling and Warren combined, the latter’s cross just eluding Hutchings.
The ball was quickly dispatched to the other end and Banner was quickly off his line. But he missed the ball and Bloomfield was able to slide it into an empty net.
Halstead dug deep. They introduced fresh legs in Donaldson, Murray and Chesney and they looked to get back into the game.
On 68 minutes they got their reward when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Hutchings and it was left to Warren to coolly convert the spot kick.
The clock was ticking when Halstead gave the ball away in the middle of the park and, eventually it fell to Dunlop, who from 25 yards, opened his body and fired in a great shot.
It seemed to deceive Banner who looked to have it covered, but ended up picking it out of his net.
This proved to be the winner in a hugely enjoyable and competitive match which could have gone either way.