All Hail The King !!
By Kalvin Sargeant
Great win for AFC
A.F.C. Sudbury Versus Felixstowe And Walton United The Bostik League Division One North 9/02/2019 The King’s Marsh Stadium
A.F.C. Sudbury welcomed Felixstowe And Walton United to the King’s Marsh Stadium for this Bostik League North Division tie with both sides on thirty-four points, Sudbury having played two games less (23) than their visitors.
Felixstowe kicked off the tie, but it was the home side showing first with Phil Kelly released along the left wing, his shot was blocked before the Seasiders’s ‘keeper Jack Spurling reacted swiftly to save Paul Hayes’ effort from the rebound. On six minutes Billy Holland found enough space to release a strong drive which flew just wide of the left hand post as the home side continued on the front foot. It was almost advantage Sudbury on eight minutes when Jack Spurling’s poor goal kick landed straight at the feet Paul Hayes who released Phil Kelly, only for the visitor’s ‘keeper to redeem himself with a fine block. It was Spurling to the rescue again on ten minutes when Tyler French released Phil Kelly with a superb long ball out of defence, the blocking save saw Kelly square to Callum Harrison whose shot was smuggled behind for a corner by the feet of the busy ‘keeper. A minute on and Reece Harris sent a superb cross dangerously into the box from the right which Spurling gathered under the close attention of two marauding Sudbury players.
A winding run by Ben Hunter ended with his shot blocked on the quarter hour before Phil Kelly’s cross was gathered in midair by Spurling with Paul Hayes ready to pounce. Felixstowe’s Jordan Matthews and Liam Bennett of A.F.C. Sudbury collided in the home penalty area as the home side came under rare first half pressure from their visitors. Both men were quickly upright with no harm to either player. On twenty-eight minutes Ross Crane sent Paul Hayes away with a fantastic ball, the ever-ready Spurling making the save before Reece Harris saw his shot from the remnants of the earlier attack again saved by the Felixstowe custodian. The Sudbury dominance of the half continued unabated, but still the game remained goal-less. Two quick home corners came to nothing before Reece Harris sent a probing cross through the face of the Felixstowe defence with no-one on hand to get a shot in on goal before Paul Hayes turned Phil Kelly’s cross narrowly past the far post.
On thirty-seven minutes Henry Barley headed over the crossbar from Joseph Bloomfield’s cross in a rare moment of danger for the home side, but Sudbury were soon mounting their own raids when Liam Bennett’s shot was straight at Spurling and Phil Kelly had his effort blocked by the ‘keeper. Just before the break, Joe Whight’s free-kick was easily gathered by Spurling as an exciting half of football ended in stalemate.
Felixstowe started with more purpose and drive than they’d been able to find in the first half, and on fifty minutes had the ball in the net, only to see the effort ruled offside. Three minutes on and Jamal Wiggins hit a wild shot well over the home crossbar as Paul Walker continued to go through the game without having made a meaningful save. On fifty-nine minutes Paul Hayes laid the ball neatly into the path of Ross Crane, but his shot was well blocked. Next it was Hayes releasing Phil Kelly, but Rhys Barber’s fine challenge denied Sudbury yet another promising opening. On sixty-three minutes, the impressive Liam Bennet sent a curling shot towards goal, but Spurling was again brilliantly positioned and saved comfortably. Liam Bennett’s influence along the right wing had troubled the Seasider’s all afternoon and the young number two was instrumental in the opening goal after 66 minutes. His deep probing run into the right hand side of the penalty area saw him brought down by Rhys Barber as he cut inside. Paul Hayes stepped up to drill the ball past Spurling and give A.F.C. Sudbury the lead.
On seventy-two minutes the tie was level when Rhys Henry broke through the Sudbury back line and fired a shot across Paul Walker and into the home goal with Jack Ainsley closing in. Sudbury then replaced Phil Kelly with Freddie King as the game entered its final quarter. The final ten minutes would explode with drama and action. On eighty-three minutes A.F.C. Sudbury wrestled back the lead when Callum Harrison latched onto a loose ball to lash home past Spurling. Felixstowe roared back with Henry Barley a whisker away from equalising when Paul Walker rose to tip the ball over the crossbar with a stunning save. Felixstowe drew level on eighty-seven minutes when a quickly-taken free-kick saw them catch the home side unawares and Jack Ainsley was able to touch home at the far post.
In the first of three minutes of added time, Billy Holland’s goal-bound drive was blocked, but from the loose ball was rifled home by substitute Freddie King with a fierce drive. The sixteen year old was not finished yet as he made it a memorable brace in the third minute of added time when he latched onto a poor clearance and raced forward to cooly slot the ball past Spurling to claim the points for the home side.
A wonderful game of football played in front of 337 supporters and played by two excellent teams playing a fast brand of attacking football. Felixstowe battled hard to get on terms twice, but a cameo of under twenty minutes from Freddie King saw him awarded the Man-of-The-Match on an afternoon he is unlikely to forget in a hurry, and on which every Sudbury player performed with credit.