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Chelmsford City hit AFC Sudbury for seven – but Lee Norfolk is not worried by pre-season scoreline

Lee Norfolk feels there is nothing to be concerned about, following AFC Sudbury’s pre-season campaign kicking off with a 7-0 home drumming to Chelmsford City.

The Yellows had started brightly against a side who play two levels higher than themselves at The MEL Group Stadium on Saturday, as it is now known for sponsorship reasons once again.

But the Clarets, who made the National League South play-offs with a fourth-placed finish last season before losing their semi-final, accelerated a 2-0 half-time lead into a rout with five goals flying into Paul Walker’s goal in the last 20 minutes. And were it not for their number one, it could have hit double figures.

AFC Sudbury v Chelmsford - Pre-season friendly.Pic - Richard Marsham. (13477009)
AFC Sudbury v Chelmsford - Pre-season friendly.Pic - Richard Marsham. (13477009)

But assistant manager Norfolk said the Sudbury management team were not shocked by the scoreline or left to read the riot act.

He explained: “It is the first game. We have only had two training sessions, so we knew they were going to be rusty in certain areas.

“We have played a lot of players who haven’t played together so if you want to find excuses for conceding seven then you could easily find them. But we’re a bit better than that, we’re still looking to improve on the little basics that saw us concede those goals.

“We are not expecting the finished article yet from any of the players.

“They (Chelmsford) have got a couple of weeks on us and at times it looked it as well, to be fair.”

With captain Joe Whight’s recovery from a long-term knee injury seeing him pull out of making his anticipated return as a precautionary measure, coupled with Ross Crane’s sudden departure and Daryl Coakley sidelined with a knock, attacking player Tom Maycock filled in at left wing-back.

The starting XI included new signings Adam Bailey-Dennis and Sean Marks at opposite ends of the pitch, along with academy players Lewis O’Malley and Freddie King. Joe Grimwood (holiday) was unavailable while Reece Harris’ preparations for a triathlon saw him rested.

Rod Stringer’s Chelmsford side included two trialists and, despite King’s tenacious pressing almost leading to a clear-cut chance, it was the visitors who opened the scoring with their first real effort at goal. A sweetly-struck shot from Billy Knott from the edge of the area following a corner in the 16th minute gave Walker no chance.

The Clarets began to dominate and Mickey Spillane deservedly doubled their advantage in the 27th minute.

Sudbury managed to keep a Chelmsford side, who made five half-time substitutions, from stretching their lead further until the 70th minute when a trialist headed home a corner at the near post.

With AFC not giving up on playing out from the back, The Clarets demonstrated what they are capable of doing, with Jonny Giles’ close-range finish (79’) quickly followed by a stunning free-kick from Ollie Muldoon (82’).

They continued to show no mercy as their trialist got his second in the 86th minute after AFC failed to clear a corner, before the best was saved for last with Andy Fennell’s thunderbolt from distance two minutes from time.

Norfolk, who said injuries to Bailey-Dennis (calf) and Tom Maycock (face) were not serious, felt the game will have provided long-term benefits for those academy players who took to the field.

AFC Sudbury continue their pre-season schedule at Walsham-le-Willows tonight (7.45pm) before hosting Leiston on Saturday (3pm) and Haringey Borough on Tuesday (7.45pm).

* AFC Gold week 9: £100 (172) D Theobald, Bank Buildings, Sudbury; £10 (216) Mrs K Marsh, New Street, Sudbury; £10 (272) G Middleton, Melford Rd, Sudbury.

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