Swifts Have Wings Clipped
Good Performance By AFC
The Essex visitors came to King’s Marsh unbeaten in five matches and with maximum points, but they left beaten by an AFC side that battled away and came from behind twice to take all three points.
AFC Caretaker Manager Danny Laws was able to celebrate his side’s third victory since he took over the reins. His starting eleven was only missing Rhys Henry and Joe Wright of his senior players and the bench contained four ex or Academy players, with two others already in the starting line-up.
Swifts came to Sudbury with a side containing no less than five ex-AFC players in Ben Griffiths, Luke Callander, Ryan Henshaw, Jack Cawley and Sam Bantick.
The game started brightly as Jake Turner for AFC fired in an early shot that Giddens saved and Joe Claridge got in a fine tackle to deny Bantick. Alfie Carroll crossed from right back and forced Giddens to back pedal to catch the ball and fall against the post. The visiting keeper then saved low down from Julian Smith as AFC continued on the front foot.
The first fifteen minutes belonged to the home side but the visitors began to get themselves more into it and Bantick cut in and fired over the Sudbury bar. Their best chance came nine minutes later when Cawley from twenty-five yards fired a free kick just wide of the AFC goal.
Dave Cowley picked up the first booking of the game before Swifts went ahead on the half hour. Bantick crossed from the right the ball cannoned back off Carroll and there was Juan Luque to shoot home.
The AFC central defensive partnership of Smith and Tyler French were coping well with target man Callander. And Smith did well to head over his own bar from a Cawley header. Tevan Allen became the second AFC man booked.
Half time;- AFC Sudbury 0 Heybridge Swifts 1
Swifts made a substitution at the start of the second period with Chatting being replaced by Harry Morgan.
AFC although a goal down could have been two down when Smith and goalkeeper Paul Walker got in a bit of a muddle with the defenders back pass missing the keeper. Fortunately it only resulted in a corner.
The livewire Adam Mills was keeping the visiting defence on their toes and he was unlucky not to level with a dipping shot from distance hit the crossbar. At the other end Callander fired over, but Sudbury countered with a Louis Blake header that Giddens tipped over.
On 64 minutes AFC were level. The ball was played into the penalty area from Mills on the left and the referee adjudged that Blake was fouled. Captain Sam Clarke duly slotted home the penalty.
Only two minutes elapsed before Swifts were in front again. Carroll fouled Callander and was booked. Luque took the free kick and his shot went in off the post from twenty-five yards.
It was still end-to-end stuff and the home side continued to press. It seemed that Blake must score but somehow he blasted high and wide. For Swifts Bantick was replaced by Fagbohun with twenty minutes left.
Carroll was on hand to head away an effort from Joe Gardner that went to Callander whose shot was caught by Walker. AFC drew level once again with fifteen minutes left. Mills drilled the ball into the area, it bobbled about and Louis Blake was there to score from close range. It was the striker’s first goal for the club.
There was ten minutes left on the clock when Mills stupidly got himself booked for a reckless trip on Fagbohun when the Essex player was not in a dangerous position. It was to prove a costly mistake.
It looked as though the visitors would take the lead, but a great save by Walker going down to his left to fingertip the ball away and deny Luque a hat trick. From the corner Walker again saved tipping over a downward header from Callander.
Five minutes from time and AFC got what was to be the winner. Out on the left Adam Mills not for the first time this season shot hard from distance and the ball beat Giddens and the net bulged. The goal was met with delight from the AFC supporters as Mills produced his trademark somersaults to celebrate scoring.
Blake left for AFC nursing a slight knock and Mekhi McKenzie took his place. He spent the majority of his time trying to keep the ball in the far corner away from the visitors a task he did well.
Swifts did breakaway and some twenty-five yards out Mills went into the back of Callander, not the worst of challenges but the referee decided otherwise and produced a second yellow and thus a red and the AFC man was off. It means he will miss AFC’s FA Cup tie at Truro City next Saturday.
Nothing came of the free kick as the game continued into the sixth minute of added on time, with Dave Cowley being substituted by Ollie Peters.
The final whistle went on what was a good and very entertaining game of football and with AFC gaining the points and Swifts losing their unbeaten tag.