One Goal Defeat Leaves AFC On The Brink
AFC Sudbury slithered closer to relegation into the Ryman North, after suffering a narrow defeat at play-off chasing Tonbridge Angels in sunny Kent this afternoon.
Second-from-bottom Sudbury really needed to take all three points, from this tense clash at Longmead Stadium, but they ended up with nothing after Nathan Elder headed home a 78th minute winner for the hosts.
Elder headed firmly home from Nick Wheeler’s corner to leave Sudbury six points adrift of safety, with just two matches remaining.
Although they are not mathematically relegated, they are effectively staring at relegation due to an inferior goal difference to all their lowly rivals.
Tonbridge looked set to break the deadlock in the fourth minute, when winger Alex Akrofi sprung the offside trap and burst through on goal.
He took a tumble under a challenge from the chasing Adam Tann, inside the box, but appeals for a penalty were turned down.
Sudbury were appealing for a penalty themselves in the 15th minute, when the ball appeared to brush the hand of home skipper Sonny Miles. But again the referee was nit convinced.
Having weathered the early storm, Sudbury began to create chances of their own. Craig Parker rather scuffed his shot, following Jack Wilkinson’s long throw into the box, while the follow-up 25-yarder from Ryan Henshaw whistled only a foot wide of the post.
A strong run by Dylan Williams, despite being constantly dragged back by an opponent, created a chance for front-runner Liam Wales on 25 minutes. His low shot at least tested keeper Jonathan Henly.
Five minutes before the break, Craig Parker released Rob Eagle with a cross-field ball. Eagle cut inside but could not beat Henly from the edge of the box.
Marcus Garnham pulled off a terrific save to keep the score goalless in the 48th minute. Sudbury’s keeper parried Elder’s goalbound header from Wheeler’s cross at point blank range.
Danger-man Elder then headed narrowly over from a 55th minute free-kick, after defender Henshaw did just enough to put off the big man.
Sudbury were back-pedalling and Akrofi headed inches wide at the far post from Wheeler’s cross on the hour mark.
But Tonbridge’s pressure was eventually rewarded with a winning goal, netted by Elder with 12 minutes remaining.
Sudbury had a chance to grab an equaliser in the 88th minute, but substitute Oliver Dunlop fired wide following a swift break.
TONBRIDGE EAGLES: Henly, Smith, Udoji, Scannell, Miles, Nelson, Akrofi (sub Thompson, 65), Phipp, Elder (sub Allen, 85), Karagiannis (sub Blewden, 71), Wheeler. Unused subs: Fortnam-Tomlinson, Adonis-Taylor.
AFC SUDBURY: Garnham, Allen, Wilkinson, Corcoran, Henshaw, Tann, Williams, Clarke, Wales, Parker, Eagle (sub Dunlop, 67). Unused subs: Austin, Blackman, Godbold, Robinson.
With grateful thanks to Carl Marston and www.greenun24.co.uk