AFC Climb Up The Table
Now In Sixth
A.F.C. Sudbury welcomed Waltham Abbey to the Wardale Williams Stadium in the wake of a magnificent F.A.Trophy win on Saturday at Maidstone United. A.F.C. Sudbury had become the first side in two and a half years to inflict a home defeat on the Kent side and would be looking to build on the confidence gained from this in a tough-looking home tie with Waltham Abbey who sat in eleventh place in the league, three places and four points behind their hosts.
The game kicked off at a cracking pace on a mild and calm evening. There had been a lot of rain over Sunday and into Monday morning, but the pitch played well given the deluge. Correy Davidson’s pace saw him trouble the Waltham Abbey defence in the opening minute, his cross just too long for the foraging Sam Clarke.
On six minutes Waltham Abbey responded when Jack Devaney let fly from twenty yards and drew a fine save from Marcus Garnham diving to his left. Devaney sent a promising ball into the Sudbury penalty area as the visitors refused to have terms dictated to them and started with some purpose. Ryan Henshaw rose to send a powerful header out of the danger zone, Jack Wilkinson reacting well to trap the ball, but he was adjudged to handled the ball and a promising move was curtailed.
The fluid end to end opening fell away somewhat after the first quarter of an hour, but the game received the shot in the arm it needed on nineteen minutes when A.F.C. Sudbury took the lead. Craig Pope stopped the advances of Waltham Abbey striker Ben Hart when in a very threatening position. The ball was played by Ayrton Coley and then reached Jack Guyton whose pace allowed him space to send an absolutely superb cross from the right wing which was perfectly delivered for Terry Rymer (pictured) to meet with his head and send fizzing into the net.
Sudbury were now playing with great confidence. Jack Wilkinson sent a long throw into the Waltham Abbey penalty area which caused some concern for the visitors before being knocked behind for a left wing corner. Wilkinson delivered this and Ollie Berquez rose to head wide of James May’s left hand post. A throw deep into Waltham Abbey territory by Wilkinson again caused problems, this time Sam Clarke’s shot was blocked and from the resultant clearance Jon Docker looked to capitalise on the break, but for a timely tackle by Ben Robinson, part of a defence looking in superb form.
The dangerous Jason Hallett pressurised the Sudbury defence, but was denied by Jack Wilkinson’s brilliantly timed and executed challenge. Hallett then tried his luck with a right wing cross, but Craig Pope rose to send the ball high into the night sky with a towering header. Sam Clarke sent a wonderful pass cross-field into Ben Robinson whose forward run saw the ball gratefully cleared by Waltham Abbey for a home throw.
Craig Pope had to be strong again at the heart of the home defence to head clear whilst a period of Waltham Abbey pressure was further repelled by a fine Ryan Henshaw tackle on James Peagram. Pope then headed clear from Docker as Sudbury worked hard to deny any pressure on their lead. Ayrton Coley latched onto a half-cleared ball to send a great shot in on goal which James May tipped over the crossbar with an equally fine save.
On forty minutes Peagram turned and sent in a stunning shot which Marcus Garnham could only watch as it cannoned off his crossbar. That would have been harsh on the industry and work the home side had put into the first half. Jack Guyton sent a great ball to Ayrton Coley whose shot was comfortably gathered by James May.
Half-Time; AFC Sudbury 1 Waltham Abbey 0
A.F.C. Sudbury executed a perfect start to the half. A corner within the opening minute by Jack Wilkinson on the right wing reached Sam Clarke who headed home from close-range. Terry Rymer then taunted the Waltham Abbey defence with a strong run, his cross being blocked and the ball thumped up-field.
Ben Hart’s promising run saw him cross well for Peagram, but the visitor’s number ten performed an air-shot and the ball was comfortably cleared. Ayrton Coley sent a shot over the Waltham Abbey crossbar on fifty-eight minutes as Sudbury continued to press. The hard-working Ollie Berquez was replaced by Lawrence Yiga on sixty-two minutes .
Jack Guyton’s neat ball into Lawrence Yiga saw the substitute neatly combine with Corey Davidson whose touch just allowed the ball to hurry behind for a goal-kick. Guyton then put in a fine run into the penalty area, his lay-off to Ayrton Coley drew a fine save from James May once again.
On seventy-two minutes Sudbury put the destination of the three points beyond all reasonable doubt. Correy Davidson found enough space in the Waltham Abbey penalty area and hooked a slightly that deflected of Zizzi past May for an Own Goal .
Darelle Russell ran at pace at the home defence, but once again the ultra-dependable Craig Pope blocked his shot and safety was restored. Two minutes later and Correy Davidson left the field to the warm appease his display thoroughly deserved. Jordan Blackwell came on in his place. Sam Clarke left to equally warm applause just two minutes later, Josh Kerridge the replacement.
Waltham Abbey were denied any opening as Sudbury closed out the game with the same industry and effort they had displayed throughout the match. There was enough time for Jason Hallett to again draw a fine save from Marcus Garnham with a late header, but nothing could prevent the home side form claiming the clean sheet their excellent performance so thoroughly deserved. Next up at the Wardale Williams Stadium are Cray Wanderers on Saturday.