Play-Offs Almost Made
A Point Will Ensure Top Five Finish
After a dismal defeat in their previous game AFC Sudbury turned on the style and scored two goals in each half to complete the league double over the home side.
AFC Manager Jamie Godbold made two changes from the side that started in the previous defeat. Influential midfielder Ollie Berquez was rested which seemed a wise decision bearing in mind he was one booking away from a ban which would keep him out of any play-off game. He was replaced by recent signing Scott Mitchell who was making his debut for his second spell for the club. Mitchell went on to have a fine game and went close to scoring more than his one goal. The other change was Jordan Blackwell replacing Terry Rymer who dropped to the bench.
The Sudbury supporters far outnumbered the home fans in the above average crowd of 120 and they saw their side dominate the early play with a strong wind and bright sun in their faces.
Home keeper James May made a good save with his feet and some desperate defending, particularly on Blackwell, kept the score sheet blank. On one occasion Blackwell was brought down in full flight. His tackler got away without a booking but Kris Newby became the only Sudbury player to be yellow carded when he complained to the referee.
The Sudbury pressure finally paid off in the twenty-sixth minute following a goal mouth scramble when Luke Callander’s close range header was cleared but the assistant referee signalled that the ball had crossed the line and a goal was awarded.
Sudbury continued to have the better of the play and five minutes before the break they deservedly doubled their advantage when keeper May did well to parry Callander’s shot and the ball broke to Scott Mitchell and he finished clinically to give his side a 2-0 lead at the break.
Half time: Waltham Abbey 0 AFC Sudbury 2
Early in the second half Blackwell forced May into a fine tip over save before Sudbury increased their lead with a long distance strike from Kris Newby after fifty-two minutes. May rushed to out of his area to make a clearance but it fell to Newby on the edge of the centre circle. And the quick thinking Newby, seeing May well off his line, coolly fired the ball over the keeper for spectacular finish.
After seventy-three minutes Sudbury made a triple substitution with Newby, Callander and Blackwell being replaced by former Abbey player Ayrton Coley, Rymer and Scott Kemp.
These changes seemed to upset Sudbury’s momentum and they were caught out five minutes later when the hosts, who had rarely threatened, broke and Jason Hallett, scored to reduce the deficit.
But Sudbury were soon back dominating and they clinched a fine win with a fourth goal four minutes from time when defender Ben Robinson (pictured) attacked down the right, cut inside and beat May with a swerving shot struck with the outside of his right foot.
With Brightlingsea Regent losing and Dereham Town winning, to be absolutely sure of a play-off place Jamie Godbold’s side need one point from their final two games. But with a far superior goal difference over their nearest challengers Dereham Town a point may not be necessary.