AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley proud of young side despite 5-1 Bostik League home defeat to Maldon & Tiptree
AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley felt there were ‘masses of plusses’ after watching a very young AFC Sudbury side go down to a 5-1 defeat at home to Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday.
With seven of the starting 11 under-18 players and veteran Paul Hayes on the bench, it was possibly the youngest side the club has ever fielded in a league match.
After a bright opening when they were on the front foot and creating chances, they were punished for any mistakes by ex-Ipswich Town and Colchester United player Wayne Brown’s promotion-chasing Maldon & Tiptree side.
The Jammers took a 3-1 lead into the break, which was harsh on AFC’s involvement in the game, before pulling clear with two further goals to gain revenge for the 4-0 defeat the Yellows inflicted on them in the reverse fixture in October.
But despite the result, Morsley said he felt ‘pride’ in the way his side played for spells of the match and enjoyed watching on.
“You look at the result and think s**t 5-1 they’ve been smashed and we were outclassed by a classy outfit, but for me there were masses of plusses,” he said. “And one of them was lads who are used to beating everyone getting beaten and that is not a bad thing sometimes.
“We had a young team and it was a conscious decision to do that. And I enjoyed large parts of the game.
“We live in the real world and we are playing against a team that actually, if that squad had started the season at Maldon they would be winning the league. They are the best side in the league by a country mile.
“I said to the lads before the game they are the one side who may be as good if not better than you on this pitch, and they showed that tonight. They were very good.
“But for 22 minutes we were excellent, really excellent.”
He added the benefits of the game for his players could ‘not be under-estimated’.
Ben Hammett gave the ball away in front of the back four in the 19th minute which led to a clinical low finish from Jorome Slew, who saw a long-range effort squeeze past Paul Walker in the 36th minute.
Tom Maycock, who shone up front, profited from a ricochet to run on and cooly finish to reduce the arrears three minutes later.
But AFC failed to clear a 40th minute cross which caused pinball in their box and the ball appeared to go in off goalkeeper Walker from an attempted clearance.
Substitute Oluwatobi Coker scored with a stunning angled curling effort seven minutes after the restart before fellow sub Eddie-Louis Dsane completed the scoring in the 84th minute for 5-1 with Walker making a few eye-catching saves in between.
AFC Sudbury: Walker, Bennett, Crane, Hammett, Grimwood, Altintop, Hunter, Harris, Kelly, Skubich, Maycock. Unused subs: Coakley, Hanson, Dettmar.
Free Press Man of the Match: Tom Maycock - led the line well and composed
* Tuesday’s heavy defeat came after a comfortable 4-0 victory at 14th-placed Basildon United on Saturday (Holland 22’, Harrison 29’, 81’, Kelly 36’) that ended in their manager quitting and earned a joint Iliffe Media East Team of The Weekend award from our Twitter poll, sharing top spot with Needham Market Reserves.
Morsley’s seventh-placed side, one point behind Bury Town after using their game in hand, host the side two places below them, Canvey Island, on Saturday (3pm).
Callum Harrison is back available but Billy Holland and Joe Whight (both knee) remain out while Tom Dettmar will go with the reserves.
* AFC Sudbury Ladies remain bottom of the Eastern Region Premier Division after losing 9-2 at third-bottom Haringey Borough. They are without a game this weekend.