Parker fires in four second-half goals as AFC cruise past Walsham
SUFFOLK PREMIER CUP
OMNI FREIGHT SERVICES LTD
AFC Sudbury 7
After firing in four goals in a scintillating 16-minute spell to send Walsham crashing out of the Suffolk Premier Cup, Craig Parker has revealed he is targeting breaking the 20-goal barrier again this season.
The Yellows’ top scorer with 28 goals in all competitions in last season’s title-winning season, turned Tuesday’s tie from a tight affair at 3-2 to a rout, by dishing out a second-half masterclass in finishing that saw AFC cruise into the quarter-finals.
The 29-year-old had notched up five goals at the higher level this campaign, ahead of facing the Thurlow Nunn League side, and now hopes it has kick-started another rich vein of goalscoring form to help propel his side.
“I’ve got nine now, so that is not too bad, but I am playing a bit deeper this year and we are having to find our feet a bit,” he said. “Hopefully I can get back on them and help push the team forward.
“That is nine and I wouldn’t mind getting to 20-25 again this year and that is the aim. But anything I can help the team to do to get a win and push us up the table is the main thing.”
With senior players James Baker and Adam Tann given the night off, manager Jamie Godbold made four changes from Saturday’s 2-1 league defeat at Bognor Regis Town.
AFC had exited the same competition at the first hurdle last season, being defeat 3-1 at home to Thurlow Nunn League opposition in Felixstowe & Walton United. But a repeat of that did not look on the cards early on as Jack Wilkinson arrowed a strike into the top corner from 25 yards via a deflection off Joji Kawaguchi seven minutes in and Liam Wales doubled the advantage with a neat near-post finish from Sam Bantick’s driven cross on 13.
The foot then came off the gas though as Walsham were able to put the pressure on at the other end and pulled one back nine minutes before the break when Ryan Clarke fired beyond Robinson after Craig Nurse deftly flicked on Edward Elers’ deep free-kick.
The hosts regained their two-goal cushion going into the break when Wales grabbed his second by heading in a left-sided free-kick from Jack Newman in the 43rd minute.
It appeared the outcome may be in doubt when Nurse emphatically rifled a 53rd minute penalty into the roof of the net after Henshaw handled just inside the area.
Academy player Reece White came on for his debut before Walsham goalkeeper Craig Brand excelled to deny Parker and a follow-up from Wales before tipping over from Jordan Blackwell.
The AFC attacks were by now as persistent as the lashing rain and Parker broke Brand’s resistance in the 73rd minute with a measured finish after Henshaw’s ball back into the box had caught Walsham’s defence napping.
Parker got his second two minutes later, following a Wales cross that Blackwell initially miss-hit.
A nine-minute hat-trick was completed in the 82nd minute when, with Godbold now, the number 10 converted following Rob Eagle’s low cross.
But after hitting the outside of the post with a lob and fizzing another effort just past the post after a flowing move, his fourth arrived just a minute from time when he guided home another Eagle delivery.
AFC: Robinson, Newman, Wilkinson, Eagle, Henshaw, Mallardo, Bantick (Furlonge 46 (White 57)), Clarke (c) (Godbold 78), Wales, Parker, Blackwell. Unused subs: Carroll, Garnham.
Free Press Man of The Match: Craig Parker.
n The Week 25 winners of the AFC Gold fund-raiser are: £100 (241) J Middleditch, Tudor Road, Sudbury; £10 (219) C Tatum, Holmewood Drive, Giltbrook, Nottingham; £10 (333) J Wilkinson, AFC Sudbury.
nSeven AFC Sudbury players have been named in the latest Suffolk FA Under-18s squad. Ben Hunter, Bradley Beevis-Buchanan, Milo Grimes, Joe Walker, Jake Colclough, Joe Wright and Ollie Dunlop have all been included, along with Hadleigh United’s James Gaffer and Dan Knight for games against Cambridgeshire at Mildenhall Town FC on October 27 (7.30pm) and Hertfordshire at Woodbridge Town FC on Saturday, November 5 (2pm).