Skipper keeps cool to rescue his side a point
Skipper James Baker scored from the spot deep into added time to earn 10-man AFC Sudbury a point in a hard-fought game against Ryman One North leaders Harlow Town on Saturday.
The home side went into the game off the back of six consecutive league victories, but when former AFC player Dave Cowley, the Harlow skipper, fired his side into the lead from a free kick, it looked like that unbeaten run was about to end.
But despite having Kris Newby sent off with 15 minutes remaining, AFC battled to the end, Baker scoring with almost the last kick of the game.
Defences dominated on a heavy pitch. Early on a shot by Junior Dadson was blocked by keeper Marcus Garnham. The ball fell to Cowley whose shot was blocked, and he fired the rebound over the bar.
At the other end Jordan Blackwell was just too high with a fierce drive and the Harlow keeper had to scramble back to gather a chip from Terry Rymer.
The second half was following a similar pattern until Harlow were awarded a free kick just outside the box after 63 minutes when Ryan Henshaw was harshly adjudged to have fouled James Smith. Cowley curled the free kick over the defensive wall high into the net.
Sudbury were reduced to 10 men after 76 minutes when Newby was yellow-carded for the second time. But they piled on the pressure, leaving space at the back, and twice Shane Stamp failed to make the most of Harlow counter-attacks.
With time running out, a mazy run by home teenage defender Tyler Kemp led to his pass finding substitute Parker who broke into the penalty area. Parker went down after a challenge by substitute Marc Gorbell. The penalty was hotly-disputed, but Baker kept his cool.
AFC Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, T Kemp, Kerridge, Henshaw, Baker, Newby, Yiga, Rymer (Clements 87), Berquez (Parker 79), Blackwell (Coley 71). Unused subs: S Kemp, M Ray.
AFC man of the match: Acting skipper James Baker. He led by example and was dominant throughout.
AFC cards: Kris Newby (red following two yellows for tackles). Ryan Henshaw (yellow – tackle)