Denied At the Death
AFC Reserves travelled to local rivals Halstead Town on a cold Friday night for this Thurlow Nunn Division One fixture.
Halstead took the lead in the eighth minute from a set piece that Andrade converted, but it didn’t stop the young Sudbury side from digging deep and finding an equaliser. A poor goal kick fell to Aaron Pengelly’s feet, he ran down the line and played the ball across goal to Ollie Dunlop (pictured) who rounded the keeper and scored.
Half Time:- Halstead Town 1 AFC Sudbury Reserves 1
Sudbury started the second half brightly with some great goal scoring chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. However the fity-eighth minute Pengelly picked the ball up on the half way line, dribbled towards goal and shot a powerful effort over the Halstead keeper to put the visitors ahead.
The game changed towards the end when a controversial red card was given to substitute Baris Altintop , he had only been on the pitch for a short period of time. In the ninetieth minute Halstead were awarded a free kick that was whipped in and the ball fell to Murray who struck a beautiful volley, it striking the bar on the way in.
Starting XI– Luca Collins, Bradley Sayer, Ricky Cornish, Joe Grimwood, Jake Colclough ©, Ben Hammett, Callum Watson, Callum Vincent, Aaron Pengelly, Kane Munday, Ollie Dunlop.
Substitutes: Baris Altintop (65), Luis Berkane, Tommy Maycock (75).
Report by Aaron Pengelly.
Following Match Report with grateful thanks to www.halsteadtownfc.com
Halstead hosted their first Friday night game of the season but the second against Sudbury having visited The Kings Marsh Stadium earlier in the season. The two sides served up an entertaining evening that night and the large crowd gathered at The Milbanks were certainly hoping for something similar. Halstead were looking to complete a double against their near neighbours having edged the previous encounter, which could have gone either way.
Halstead had Jamie Baker and Joe Fowler back from long term injury and Karlos Andrade restored to the starting eleven and they got first sight of goal but Cunliffe’s header at the far post was wide of the mark. However, Halstead didn’t have to wait too long to open the scoring as with just seven minutes on the clock Cunliffe again got his head on the ball and placed it back into the box and there was Andrade on hand to get his eighth of the season.
Sudbury responded immediately and Halstead were grateful to Fowler for pulling off a great save and the follow up was blocked. However, within five minutes the visitors had got themselves back on level terms. The hosts contributed to their down fall as they played a poor clearance out and Ollie Dunlop pounced and finished well.
It was a lively opening twenty minutes and the visitors were certainly providing a threat going forward and were having the better of it following their goal, although home striker Hampson almost found himself through on goal- the ball just running away from him.
Sudbury were edging it and Fowler needed to be quick off his line to save as Sudbury threatened but it was Halstead who probably had the best chance., again it was Cunliffe from a corner but his header, under pressure from a defender, went over when well placed.
Back to the other end and a run by Hammett ended with a 25-yard effort which was just wide of Fowlers post. To the other end and Collins, in the Sudbury goal, was called on to make a good save from Hampson. The Halstead player creating the chance himself as he cut in from the left.
Halstead were having a better period and moments later it was Wilderspin who rose at the back post but his header was wide of the upright. That was the last effort of the half and the sides took the break with thigs all square.
Sudbury had the better of the play after their equaliser but the Humbugs were asking a lot of questions from set pieces. The crowd would have had their half time cuppa happy with what they had seen so far.
Half time Halstead 1 AFC Sudbury Res 1
Halstead again made a quick start, as they had in the first half, and a free kick from Pavett just cleared the visitors cross bar in the first minute. Next it was Andrade’s turn to threaten the visitors goal but his shot was well blocked by Collins, who moments later got a strong hand to a Murray effort to turn it for a corner.
Sudbury then counter punched and Pengelly played in Vincent who shot well wide when he should have done better, the half time break didn’t seem to interfere with the momentum of the game.
The clock ticked over to 55 minutes and Sudbury grabbed the lead. A driving run from Pengelly from midfield saw him unleash a shot which flew passed Fowler in the home goal, a good piece of play from the referee who played a good advantage after their appeared to be a foul in the build-up.
Halstead looked to get back onto level terms and Brown played in Andrade whose effort was just wide of the upright but Sudbury were not going to settle for just defending and went straight up the other end and forced Fowler to make the save.
Straight up the other end and Halstead substitute Gilbert beats the keeper to the ball but was forced wide and the covering defenders cleared the danger. Then Sudbury attacked and Hammett went close twice in quick succession, firstly Fowler denied him and then he shot wide.
Brown and Andrade combine again but were denied by official’s flag whilst at the other end Hammett volleys over, with Halstead pushing forward they are leaving a lot of space. Sudbury had another chance but Dunlop fired wide after a great defence splitting ball.
The game moved into the final 15 minutes on a knife edge and nervous tension in the home crowd was palpable. It was Sudbury, looking very lively on the break, who threatened next with Vincent getting his head onto a deep cross but to no avail.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes there was to be a twist in the tail as Sudbury were reduced to 10, with substitute Altintop seeing red, presumably for something he said. Within seconds a Murray effort from close range goes just wide but Sudbury remained an attacking force and it was Vincent again having an effort on goal- but it loops over.
The game entered the final 5 minutes and Murray grabbed his first goal since his return and what a way to do it. A Hutchings free kick is cleared and drops to Murray 25 yards out and he rifles it in off the underside of the bar.
Within seconds Halstead almost take the lead as a Hampson volley is cleared off the line by skipper Colclough, great defending and it signalled Halstead to pile pressure on the visitor’s goal. Another corner and another Cunliffe header but again it is too high.
That was the last action of the game and it ended two apiece with Murray’s effort salvaging a point for the Humbugs who, despite nearly snatching all three at the end, will perhaps count themselves lucky to have got one.
Another hugely entertaining game from these committed sides and if anyone ever doubted the merits of Friday night football they should watch a highlights package of the two encounters these sides have had.