AFC Tough It Out
Solitary Goal Settles It
A.F.C Sudbury welcomed Heybridge Swifts to The Wardale Williams Stadium defending an unbeaten run in Ryman Division One North which stretches back to a defeat on New Year’s Day when Needham Market prevailed with a late goal.
The home side kicked off the match attacking from left to right as viewed from the Brian Tatum Stand on a bumpy and rapidly drying out pitch with conditions otherwise perfect on a mild afternoon.
Sudbury opened brightly with Tyler Kemp sprinting along the right wing and finding Jordan Blackwell with a neat pass. His return cross was cut out by the visitors’ defence which cleared the ball with hurried determination. At the other end Billy Hunt’s cross looked to have struck Ben Robinson on the arm, but Heybridge appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears and play continued.
Luis (Filipe) Da Silva Dias won Heybridge a right wing throw deep into Sudbury territory, but Tyler Hayles’ throw was easily booted clear by Kyran Clements. Sudbury’s central defenders were on excellent form when Shamido Pedulu broke free through the centre from a long clearance. Josh Kerridge and Clements slamming the door shut before a shot could be unleashed. Joe Pearman was fouled in an advanced position on the Sudbury left wing, and taking the free-kick himself, saw his lofted delivery easily headed clear.
Heybridge had two chances just after the quarter hour in what was proving to be a scrappy affair on the uneven surface. Kyran Clements denied Hunt in a central position just outside the home penalty area before Hunt sent a left wing cross into the home box which Marcus Garnham leapt well to gather cleanly. Perhaps the best chance of the half fell in the nineteenth minute. A sublime back-heel by Jordan Blackwell released Scott Kemp on goal, but Swifts’ keeper Danny Sambridge did well to smother his shot.
Marcus Garnham blocked well from a corner and from the resultant melee Sudbury were grateful to hear a whistle awarding them a free-kick. When Jordan Blackwell, posing a real threat along the left wing, was fouled on the edge of the Heybridge penalty area, Smallbridge had to punch clear Terry Rymer’s well-flighted set-piece. At the other end Cocklin burst forward for Swifts with Garnham quickly off his line to gather ahead of the visitors’ number eight.
Sudbury played out this scrappy half hampered whilst treatment was given to captain Sam Clarke on the sidelines. He was eventually able to continue and the half ended with the disjointed play still very much to the fore.
Half Time AFC Sudbury 0 Heybridge Swifts 0
The second-half began with the difficult surface still hampering both sides as they strove to put together the kind of fluency required to pose a meaningful threat. The industrious Sam Clarke, now restored to full condition, struck a low shot which Sambridge gathered in the centre of goal. Billy Hunt looked to be through on goal and only a superbly timed tackle by Ryan Henshaw averted real danger for the home side.
On fifty-five minutes Craig Parker released Terry Rymer through the centre of the park, but Sambridge read the situation well and sprinted forward to gather the ball. Hunt again asked questions of the home defence, this time it was Tyler Kemp who provided the tackle to snuff out his progress. On the hour Ollie Berquez replaced Josh Kerridge as the home side still looked for that elusive opening.
Shamido Pedulu looks to be a fine winger with pace to spare and his sixty-second minute run saw him break down the right and only a fine save low at his near post by Marcus Garnham averted real danger for A.F.C. Sudbury. Scott Kemp made way for Ayrton Coley on sixty-seven minutes as the scrappy nature of the whole game continued unrelentingly.
On sixty-nine minutes Sudbury found the moment of quality needed to unlock the game and which their persistence and patience thoroughly deserved. Ayrton Coley did well on the left wing before sending a pass to Sam Clarke. The Sudbury skipper sent a finely judged cross from the left wing which was met by a brilliant header by Craig Parker that gave Sambridge no chance from the centre of the penalty area. It was his first goal for the club.
On eighty minutes Smbridge did well to rush off his goal-line to deny Jordan Blackwell who was rushing forward at pace. A.F.C. Sudbury contained any threat from Heybridge as the game petered out, Tyler Kemp cleared well from Pedulu in the penultimate minute, but the home side were never really put under any great closing pressure.
When Terry Rymer’s hard-working afternoon came to an end, Joe Chester (pictured) came onto the park, thus becoming the 300th player to represent A.F.C. Sudbury since the club’s inception in 1999.
On Tuesday evening A.F.C. Sudbury travel to Needham Market to take on Whitton United in the semi-final of the Suffolk Premier Cup.
Thanks to Louis Byers for photographs of today's game to see them please click on the link below:-