AFC fall to physical Heybridge side
By Darren Theobald
A goal in each half see the points remain in Essex
Heybridge Swifts steered their promotion bid back on course, thanks to a goal in either half from Luke Wilson and Kreschnic Krasniqi against AFC Sudbury at Scraley Road this afternoon.
The high-flying Swifts had suffered only their second league defeat under manager Julian Dicks, since his appointment in early October, when losing 3-1 at Soham Town Rangers last weekend.
But centre-half Wilson’s opening goal, on 22 minutes, and then a late strike by skipper Krasniqi were enough to make it 13 wins from 17 under Dicks, with just two defeats and two draws.
However, the Swifts were given a stern test by Mark Morsley’s young Sudbury side, who were perhaps unlucky not to secure a point for their efforts, until they seemed to tire late on.
The Swifts threatened first in the fourth minute, as Elliott Ronto’s snap shot scuttled wide of the near post.
Sudbury were on the attack themselves in the eighth minute, although Isaac Skubich’s shot was deflected off target, and shortly afterwards an inswinging free-kick by Callum Harrison was caught under his bar by keeper Chris Haigh.
The Swifts began to step up the pressure, and both skipper Krasniqi and Ronto peppered the target with shots from distance, which keeper Paul Walker smothered with ease.
However, Walker had little chance as the Essex hosts took the lead in the 22nd minute.
Left-back Joe Claridge delivered a corner into the danger zone, the ball eluding a clutch of players to fall at defender Wilson, who tucked home a low shot from 10 yards out in deadly fashion.
Matthew Price squandered a chance to double the Swifts’ lead in the 32nd minute. He burst onto Wilson’s through ball to home in on goal, only to pull his shot wide of target with a snatched effort.
Sudbury tried to get back on terms before the break, and speculative 25-yarder from Reece Harris, following a half-cleared corner, was gathered by Haigh down on his haunches.
Another chance went begging for the visitors in the 44th minute, skipper Joe Whight scooping a shot over the bar from a good position.
Sudbury were forced onto the back foot, early in the second half, and keeper Paul Walker did well to beat away his namesake Dan Walker’s fierce shot, after the striker had been teed up by Chris Millar, in the 50th minute.
At the other end, Phil Kelly spurned a good chance when blazing over the bar from 15 yards out, while a ferocious shot by Harrison was hacked away from the goal-line in the 79th minute, as the visitors continued to ask questions of their opponents.
However, the Swifts finished the stronger and Krasniqi, who had volleyed a foot wide on 78 minutes, made no mistake with a quality goal in the 87th minute.
Krasniqi crashed home an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box to seal the points.
HEYBRUDGE: Haigh, Morgan, Claridge, Sorondo-Martin, Adeyemi, Wilson, Krasniqi, Ronto, Walker, Millar, Price. Unused subs: Adlington-Pile, Ramon, Craddock, Sivapathasunduram, Kendall.
AFC SUDBURY: Walker, Altintop, Coakley (sub Crane, 69), Hunter, French, Whight, Harris, Skubich (sub Bennett, 46), Kelly (sub Hayes, 74), Harrison, King. Unused sub McKenzie.
With Thanks EADT