Tough Three Points
By Tony Simpson
New Look Side
A. F. C. Sudbury welcomed Romford to The King’s Marsh having returned from Aylesbury (Chesham) with a 2-1 win which takes them to Metropolitan Police on October 28th in the F.A. Trophy.
A.F.C. Sudbury kicked off the game on an unseasonably warm October afternoon at The King’s Marsh. Sudbury attacked from left to right as viewed from the Brian Tatum Seated Stand.
It was an explosive start for the home side when Tyler French played a stunning ball out of the centre of defence which fell towards Ollie Dunlop. Eventually the ball fell to Jamie Eaton-Collins who made no mistake chipping the ball neatly over Steven Reynolds in the visitor’s goal.
From a twelfth minute free-kick, Paul Walker leapt to his right to deny Connor Hammond a quick equaliser. Eaton-Collins released Ollie Dunlop along the right wing and the Sudbury number seven raced away and sent his cross fizzing into the Romford penalty area where it was cut out on the stretch by Emmanuel Brown and gathered by Reynolds. Joe Whight broke free for the home side, but his shot/pass lacked potency and Reynolds again had an easy job to clear the danger.
Vladut Sighartau raced clear on eighteen minutes, but was stopped by an excellent tackle by captain Tyler French as once again the home side looked assured at the back. New signing Billy Holland let fly a drive on twenty-four minutes after some fine work by Ollie Dunlop on the right wing, but the ball flew harmlessly over the Romford goal.
Connor Hammond had a brace of chances for Romford either side of the half-hour mark. The first was a free-kick which flew well over the home crossbar and the second saw him tee-up a shot which Sam Mills threw himself in the way to block.
The busy Vladut Sighartau gave Nick Reynolds an opportunity, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Paul Walker as the home side continued to repel a determined Romford side.
Neither side could unlock the stubborn defensive unit that faced them in an entertaining half which nevertheless lacked the chances the early goal seemed to promise. In injury-time Callum Watson fired over the Romford crossbar from long-range as the home side left the field with a narrow, single-goal lead.
Half Time:- AFC Sudbury 1 Romford 0
A.F.C. Sudbury began the second half decidedly on the back foot as Romford strove for the equalising score. The dangerous Greg Akpele turned inside from the left to rip a shot over the Sudbury crossbar in the first chance of the half on fifty-seven minutes.
Joe Maybanks, returning to the A.F.C. fold this week, came on to replace Ollie Dunlop on fifty-eight minutes. He was immediately in the thick of the action when his strong run on the hour saw him take a tumble in the left hand edge of the penalty area, but appeals for a penalty were muted and play continued.
Greg Akpele was proving the real danger for A.F.C. Sudbury and his sixty-first minute shot from just outside the penalty area went just over the crossbar. Akpele then worked enough space in the home penalty area to send a deflected shot past Paul Walker and bring the sides level. It was nothing more than the visitors’ efforts deserved.
Vladut Sighartau raced clear for Romford on sixty-five minutes but his shot went just wide of the right hand upright. Within a minute Jonathan Adebayo whisked a fine effort just wide of goal as the visitors tried to build on their second half dominance. Joe Wright made way for Sam Clarke on sixty-six minutes and three minutes later Ben Hunter came on to replace Callum Watson.
Within two minutes of the change A.F.C. Sudbury wrestled back the lead with a fine goal. Sam Mills raced onto a ball along the right wing and sent a rapid low cross into Jake Clowsley who finished superbly at the far post. On seventy-two minutes there were Romford appeals for a penalty as Nick Reynolds and A.F.C Sudbury ‘keeper Paul Walker came together, but this looked to be little other than an accidental clash by two committed players and play was waved on.
Romford worked hard to get back into the game, but the home side’s organised defence and quick breaking out of it, were to prove the ultimate difference between the two sides. Paul Walker rose well to gather a dangerous cross in the first minute added on, before coming to punch a dangerous cross well clear of danger a minute later. The Sudbury ‘keeper then dropped low to his right to stop Romford substitute Olakunle Giwa from scoring with an excellent save.
Three valuable points from an A.F.C. Sudbury side who were made to work really hard by a Romford side who were determined not to be overwhelmed following the early goal. Sudbury were once again impressive at the back and took their chances well.
When the side becomes settled and begins to gel, Mark Morsley’s men will be a formidable unit in this league and today’s hard won points marked the beginning of a climb up the league table which looks set to continue.
It is back to league action at the King’s Marsh on Tuesday evening when Aveley provide the opposition (7.45).