Point Gained - Table Climbed
By Tony Simpson
Baker Goal For AFC
A. F. C. Sudbury welcomed Kingstonian to The Wardale Williams Stadium on a cold afternoon with snow falling off and on throughout the ninety minutes. Jack Wilkinson’s return from injury saw him take a place on the bench whilst Jordan Blackwell and Erkan Okay remain on the sidelines.
Kingstonian kicked off the game attacking from left to right as viewed from the Brian Tatum Seated Stand. The first real chance from a scrappy opening fell to James Baker bursting through the heart of the Kingstonian defence, but Rob Tolfrey in the visitor’s goal did well to stick out a boot to deflect the ball for a home corner.
Danny Crow’s right wing delivery eventually fell to Aidan Austin who struck a speculative effort high over the crossbar. On twelve minutes a promising right wing run by Liam Wales saw his deep cross easily gathered by Tolfrey. Kingstonian almost broke through the home defence from the clearance, but Ryan Henshaw stopped the ball at full stretch to cut out any potential danger.
Two quick Kingstonian corner kicks were repelled by the home side, as the visitors began to boss possession. On twenty-one minutes Sudbury looked to break the shackles when Liam Wales flicked the ball for Danny Crow to chase, but the Sudbury number eleven was adjudged offside.
Four minutes on and Ryan Moss hit a deflected shot which Marcus Garnham moved well to gather with confidence. A.F.C. Sudbury responded with a short corner crossed by Danny Crow and Adam Tann turning and shooting just wide. On the half hour Craig Parker, proving a handful for the Kingstonian defence, went on a mazy run and beat three defenders before shooting just wide of the left hand post.
Sadly for Sudbury the injury jinx continues and Craig Parker had to leave the game following this sparking move, to be replaced eventually by Sam Bantick. Worse soon followed for Sudbury when influential youngster Tyler French limped off with an ankle injury.
On thirty-eight minutes, with Sudbury currently operating with ten men, Kingstonian took the lead. Sean Bonnett-Johnson was allowed too much space on the edge of the home penalty area and picked his spot to fire low into the corner of the goal via the post.
Alfie Carroll came on to replace the unfortunate Sudbury number two. Kingstonian ended the half strongly, Joe Turner’s free-kick headed narrowly over the crossbar by Alan Inns before a scramble in the home goal-mouth saw James Baker block on the line amid hopeful calls for a penalty.
Half -Time;- AFC Sudbury 0 Kingstonian 1
Sudbury started the half with strength and determination. A forty-seventh minute cross by Sam Clarke flew across the goalmouth and James Baker had his header at the far post blocked. Kingstonian mounted a break from which Sean McAuley’s cross was pushed clear by Marcus Garnham rising well to send the ball away from danger. Lewis Taylor picked up the loose ball, but fired well over the home goal.
On fifty-four minutes Bonnett-Johnson crossed in towards Ryan Moss who looked odds on to score but for a stunning intervention by Adam Tann at full stretch, heaving himself in the trajectory of the ball. Kingstonian came again, this time Moss fired towards goal from close range, only to meet with another stunning Marcus Garnham save to keep the deficit down to the single goal.
On sixty-eight minutes Sam Page latched on to a free-kick, but once again a brilliant save by Garnham kept the score at 0-1. The importance of that spell of saves by Marcus Garnham was illustrated on seventy-three minutes when A.F.C. Sudbury drew level. Good work by Sam Bantick in the penalty area saw him cross towards James Baker who turned to hook the ball with great dexterity and power past Rob Tolfrey. It was no more than the hard-working second half performance deserved for the home side.
Two minutes on and Sudbury almost grabbed the lead. Sam Clarke’s fantastic connection saw the ball cannon off the crossbar and away to safety. Sudbury grew in confidence and with ten minutes remaining Sam Bantick’s corner fell to Joe Wright who sliced his quick shot wide of the Kingstonian goal.
Five minutes were added to the end of the game. Kingstonian pressed their hosts really hard, but the Sudbury defence worked hard and with effective purpose to keep them at bay. Alfie Carrol’s entry from the bench towards the end of the first half when Tyler French had been injured, saw yet another A.F.C. Sudbury youngster coming on to put in a fine and very effective shift, and the whole side, though hampered once again by injuries during, and early into the game, worked extremely hard for a valuable and thoroughly deserved point.
A.F.C. Sudbury return to the Wardale Williams Stadium on Tuesday evening when Worthing make the journey up to South Suffolk.