AFC Go Through
Home In Next Round
A. F. C. Sudbury travelled to Mildenhall Town’s Recreation Way for a third meeting with their West Suffolk rivals in the space of just nine days. The sides finished level at 1-1 on Saturday after a keenly contested F.A. Cup tie at Sudbury.
This match marked the 376th A.F.C. Sudbury appearance for club captain Sam Clarke who now equally holds the club record with former A.F.C. Sudbury legend Paul Betson. Sam stands to break the record on Saturday if selected versus Cheshunt. A magnificent achievement that bears testimony to his loyalty, skill and fitness.
Mildenhall Town kicked off the game attacking up the Recreation Way slope. The pitch was in pristine condition, as was the ground in general to any of us who haven't seen the venue for a few seasons.
A.F.C. Sudbury started well with the slope in their favour, an eighth minute burst of pace from Tevan Allen saw Sam Roach smartly off his line to gather. Dave Cowley swung an immaculate corner in from the left which Julian Smith met and headed just over the crossbar.
The bright start turned to gold on twelve minutes when the visitors grabbed the lead. Rob Ruddy’s headed clearance was latched onto by Dave Cowley who made no mistake in finding the net past Sam Roach. Four minutes later and A.F.C Sudbury had turned a highly industrious and attacking opening into a two goal lead. Panic in the home defence saw Tevan Allen latch onto the ball as Mildenhall failed to clear, and he made no mistake form close range.
In what have been three spirited, but never overly aggressive ties, there have been a host of cautions, Danny Crow found his way to the latest yellow for dissent on eighteen minutes. Within two minutes fortunes had turned a little brighter for the former Sudbury striker when Craig Calver received the ball on the left wing, cut inside with some skill and laid the ball on a plate for Crow to reduce the arrears. ‘Hall had offered little as an attacking force to this point, but the goal served as a reminder to A.F.C. Sudbury that their hosts are capable of some dangerous attacking football and were nowhere near a beaten side.
A.F.C. Sudbury continued to press their hosts hard and ask questions of their defence. Dave Cowley swung a twenty-second minute corner into the home penalty area, but the referee blew for a foul on ‘keeper Roach. Tevan Allen almost latched onto a through-ball into the central heart of the home penalty area, but just couldn't bring the ball under control as it slid behind for a goal-kick.
Mildenhall came again, buoyed by their goal, Calver again finding space on the left, but his deflected cross failed to fall in the vicinity of a home player. Sudbury almost gained a third goal six minutes from the break. Sam Roach’s clearance cannoned off the marauding Louis Blake and bounced just wide of the left hand post. With the half-time whistle looming, Sam Clarke was shown a yellow card for a sliding tackle before Adam Mill’s fine cross was turned over the crossbar by Louis Blake.
Half Time:- Mildenhall Town 1 AFC Sudbury 2
Sudbury again started the half with real determination and a genuine goal threat. On fifty-five minutes the two goal lead was restored when Joe Claridge sent a fine ball into the home penalty area which the home defence was unable to clear allowing Adam Mills to steal in and finish superbly.
Five minutes on and Sudbury were just denied a fourth goal when Dave Cowley headed a cross from the left against the foot of the left hand upright. Sudbury came again with Louis Roach seeing his goal disallowed for another infringement on Sam Roach.
It was the hosts who stole the next goal though, as this intriguing tie took another turn. A tremendous scramble in the A.F.C Sudbury penalty area saw the ball fall to Mildenhall Town substitute Shaun Avis who stabbed the ball home past Paul Walker.
Joe Wright came on for Sam Clarke as Sudbury made their first change after seventy minutes. Despite the impetus of their second goal, Mildenhall couldn't halt the attacking nature of A.F.C. Sudbury and this positivity bore fruit in the seventy-fourth minute. A superb through ball from Jake Turner sent Adam Mills in on goal and his perfect finish again gave Sudbury a clear view of the next round.
Any thoughts of being home and hosed were given a reality check on seventy-seven minutes when Craig Calver almost capped a fine performance with a goal when his angled drive from the left shaved the crossbar on its way out for a goal-kick. Jack Newman came on for the hard-working Dave Cowley who left the field to warm visitors’ applause.
When Matthew Green and Joe Wright clattered into a tackle for a loose ball close to halfway, it appeared that a mis-timed tackle rather than any maliciousness had taken place, but the referee reached straight for a red card and the home side were a little unfortunate to have to see out the game with ten men with Green trudging off.
There was time for a Tevan Allen free-kick to curl around the wall for a well-positioned Roach to gather and for Paul Walker to pull off a magnificent double save from a goalmouth scramble to deny Mildenhall Town a late goal and a grandstand finish.
An impressive display of attacking, passing football from A.F.C. Sudbury, perhaps showing just how far they have progressed as a team in the course of the last three matches. Once again Tyler French was Mr Dependable at the back, the progress of Alfie Carroll and Tevan Allen continues to impress and the work-rate of the whole side was excellent throughout. Adam Mills’ two goals were just reward for the lung-bursting effort and clinical finishing which has become his trade-mark.
A trilogy of fine competitive matches between two clubs, equally matched, which makes the Boxing Day league meeting at Recreation Way a mouth-watering prospect.
Chipstead Town will travel to A.F.C. Sudbury on Saturday week,September 16th as they comfortably won their cup replay.