Hendon Inflict Heavy Home Defeat
By Tony Simpson
Four Points From Safety
A. F. C. Sudbury welcomed Hendon to the Wardale Williams Stadium for this crucial fixture in the basement battle in the Ryman League Premier Division.
Suspensions to Sam Clarke and Ryan Henshaw sidelined those players while recent signing Sam Corcoran came in at number eight. A minute’s silence was held to remember those affected by the terror attack on London, three days before.
A.F.C. Sudbury threatened first when in the second minute Sam Bantick cut in from the right goal-line and sent a curling effort from the left goal-wards, only to see Tom Lovelock in the Hendon goal tip the ball over the crossbar and away for a left wing corner.
A period of scrappy play ensued before in the eleventh minute Matt Ball worked space on the left and fired a shot just over the right hand post. Lovelock was again found to be in fine form when Ace Howell’s wonderful lob from thirty yards was somehow reached by a back-peddling Hendon ‘keeper and touched away for a corner. At the other end a fast, elusive run by Khale Da Costa saw his shot blocked by James Baker at the expense of a right wing corner.
On nineteen minutes the visitors took at the lead when Kezie Ibe evaded James Baker’s attentions and rounded Marcus Garnham to slot the ball home.
Sudbury’s passing game was eluding them and Danny Crow’s speculative effort from long-range drifted harmlessly wide after twenty-two minutes. On thirty-one minutes A.F.C, Sudbury’s woes were increased when Matt Ball struck a sweet free-kick into the top left hand corner of the goal from just outside the penalty area on the left.
Hendon’s ascendancy left Sudbury little chance to reduce the areas as the visitors grew in confidence. Marcel Barrington freed Matt Ball through the centre of the home defence, but Adam Tann’s superb block averted the very real danger of a third goal. As the half ended, Sudbury came to life with Sam Corcoran having his shot blocked by Josh McLeod-Urquhart and the same player blocking a further effort from Sam Bantick.
Half-Time;- AFC Sudbury 0 Hendon 2
Two half-time substitutions looked to revitalise A.F.C. Sudbury. Rob Eagle came on for Sam Bantick while Joe Marsden replaced Wayne Blackman. It was Marsden who threatened first with a shot saved by Tom Lovelock in the opening minute of the half.
Any lingering hopes of a revival were soon quashed when after only four minutes of the half Marcel Barrington evaded the home defence to set up Keegan Cole who made no mistake from close-range. Two minutes on and Cole’s chip was an easy gather for Marcus Garnham as the visitors’ grip showed no sign of slipping. Matt Ball robbed Craig Parker in the centre of the park and fired his shot over the crossbar as Sudbury continued to struggle to keep possession.
Tyler French became the first player in the book after fifty-six minutes for a heavy challenge. On sixty-one minutes the mountain became something far more vast for the home side when a fourth goal was added by Hendon. Kezie Ibe beat the offside trap and cooly rounded Marcus Garnham to stroke the ball into the net.
Sam Corcoran joined Tyler French in the book on sixty-seven minutes before Tevan Allen’s teasing cross was desperately cleared by the Hendon defence. On seventy-one minutes substitute Reis Stanislaus cut in from the left to pull a fine save low to his right from Marcus Garnham.
Sudbury should have pulled a goal back on seventy-five minutes. Danny Crow was unfortunate to see his thunderous drive thump against the post and Joe Marsden was only a few yards from the gaping goal when he somehow managed to head the ball over the crossbar.
Da Costa forced another fine save from Marcus Garnham as Hendon made all of the running. The home side’s luck was only of the bad variety and with twelve minutes left Tyler French was shown a second yellow and therefore a red card for a trip. From the resultant free-kick Matt Ball’s free-kick went just over the home crossbar.
Elliot Charles drew another save from Marcus Garnham as the game drew to its close, but this was a crushing blow to A.F.C. Sudbury’s survival hopes as they travel to fourteenth placed Worthing next weekend followed by a tricky home tie against leaders Bognor Regis Town on April 8th.
With three of the final five games against sides in the top six, it is time for grit and not a little heroism to come to the fore.