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Bristol Rovers coach says AFC Sudbury U18s were 'absolutely magnificent' in FA Youth Cup tie at the Memorial Ground

AFC Sudbury's Under-18 players may have woke up disappointed not to be in Friday's draw for the FA Youth Cup Third Round Proper tomorrow, but they can take plenty of pride in how they pushed a professional Football League club all the way in last night's tie at the Memorial Ground.

Danny Laws' side earned high praise from Bristol Rovers lead development phase coach Tom Parrinelo in his post-match interview, after his side felt grateful to come away with a 2-1 victory.

Zain Walker's 20-yard curling effort had put the Gas into the lead in the seventh minute with Kieran Phillips firing in an 18-yard free kick just after

the hour mark.

But Sudbury had been asking plenty of questions of home goalkeeper Harry Thomas-Barker at the other end before Freddie King bundled in a corner within five minutes to set up a chase for an equaliser.

Unfortunately for Danny Laws' Thurlow Nunn Youth League champions, that did not materialise and they had to be content with just equalling a club record run, rather than re-writing the history books.

Their run had seen them overcome Whitton United (6-0, A), Woodbridge Town (3-0, H), Felixstowe & Walton United (11-0, H), Hornchurch (2-0, H) and Bowers & Pitsea (2-0, H) to reach the second round proper for only the second time in the club's history.

AFC Sudbury U18s v Bowers & Pitsea - Freddie King on the ball in the FA Youth CupPicture: Clive Pearson (20479682)
AFC Sudbury U18s v Bowers & Pitsea - Freddie King on the ball in the FA Youth CupPicture: Clive Pearson (20479682)

Chairman Andrew Long, who was among the full coach load Sudbury took to the west country, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for the club. It is only the second time we have reached the second round proper and that is testament to the quality of recruitment and coaching and long may it continue.”

AFC Sudbury: Wright, Bennett. Critchley, O’Malley, Langridge, Hughes, S Girling, Matthew, King, Kabangu, Tysoe. Subs: Horlock, E Girling, Temple, Palmer, Renwick, Wooldridge, Banyard.

* For reaction from the Sudbury camp, see tomorrow's Suffolk Free Press print edition.

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