Three Points From Great Display
Battled All The Way
AFC went into this game on the back of a victory on Tuesday just a couple of miles away and again they came away again with all three points, with another dodged performance.
Manager Mark Morsley was able to recall goalkeeper Paul Walker, fit again after a broken finger, also fit enough to start was midfielder Ryan Horne.
The Scraley Road pitch was in good condition despite the heavy midweek rain although the drizzle that fell during the match made the surface slippery for the players.
It was only three minutes into the game when the all-important goal came as Mekhi McKenzie was fouled as he tried to hold up the ball just inside the Heybridge half. Captain Joe Whight took the free kick and hoisted it into the Heybridge penalty area and Phil Kelly (pictured) was the first to react and got his head to the ball guiding it wide of ‘keeper Danny Sambridge.
Two minutes elapsed before Whight was booked for a strong tackle on Joe Gardner. Juan Luque had the first chance for the home side but shot well over following the free kick. The same player beat Sam Mills a few minutes later and shot but Whight cleared the danger.
Ex-AFC man Luke Callander was trying to get his side into the game but Tyler French was coping well with the burly front man. Ben Hunter found himself rather harshly booked when he swung at a ball behind him and there caught the head of a bending down home forward.
Horne and fellow wide midfielder Ollie Peters switched sides and it was the former who shot wide just after the half hour mark. Billy Holland had to receive treatment for a head injury having been sandwiched between to Heybridge man, Callander being one of them. For his protest over it he was cautioned.
There was a terrific burst of speed down the left hand side from AFC’s Jake Clowsley as he left the opposition behind, his cross ended in a corner that came to nothing.
Half Time: - Heybridge Swifts 0 AFC Sudbury 1
The second period saw Horne return to the pitch apparently limping from a tackle with Thomas Cooney late in the first half, and ten minutes later Max Booth came on to take his place.
With the wind in their favour and being a goal behind as expected the hosts pressed forward at every opportunity but the AFC defence stood firm. Callander showed some frustration as he fired not only over the Sudbury crossbar but also over the roof of the clubhouse some way back from the pitch itself.
Booth showed good speed down the left and earned AFC a corner. With twenty-two minutes left Kelly had to go off and Milo Grimes came on as Sudbury went to very youthful back five.
Luque shot over, then Guillem Ramon and Kreshnic Krasniqi combined on the right for the Essex side but again their effort was cleared. Clowsley made a run through the middle got the ball to McKenzie but he failed to control the ball.
The hosts were getting frustrated and made a couple of substitutions with twelve minutes left bring on Timothy Monsheju and Harrison Chatting. With seven minutes remaining from a corner Krasniqi shot wide as the back line remained solid.
There were five minutes of added time shown and the Swifts were camped in the AFC half trying desperately for the equaliser. They had a breakaway and Chatting raced towards the Sudbury goal with only Walker to beat but the AFC number one came out diving low down to keep a clean sheet. It was the only real save he had to make all afternoon but it was a vital one.
A series of corners saw Sambridge the Heybridge keeper up in the AFC penalty area and from one he had to make haste to get back as Grimes burst away down the left with Monsheju pursuing him. There was a pulling of shirts started by the Heybridge man but some how Grimes found himself yellow carded.
There was still drama in the final minute as Peters had to go off with breathing difficulties and to the annoyance of the home side AFC were able to get Tom Dettmar on to replace him for the last few moments.
The final whistle went and it was three wins on the bounce for AFC lifting them up to eleventh place in the Bostik North table, the highest they have been since first game of the season.
A gritty and defiant team performance.
AFC go up to eleventh place in the table the highest they have been since the first game of the season.