Sudbury survive late pressure to pick up a deserved three points over Wakering
AFC Sudbury 2 Great Wakering 1
Two goals inside 20 minutes put AFC Sudbury in command at the King’s Marsh Stadium, but they were under pressure late in the second half to secure a victory that they fully deserved, after suffering successive defeats at Barking and Brentwood, writes John Campany.
It was an energetic and purposeful first-half performance highlighted by an 19th minute goal from Liam Bennett that will last in the memory, but Mark Morsley’s side struggled to maintain the same intensity in the second period and almost let the visitors back in, as they pressed for an equaliser.
Both sides played expansive football, in front of 258 spectators, but the home side had the early edge with some excellent intricate approach play, and were rewarded on 10 minutes.
Reece Harris, who had a fine match, made good progress down the left before crossing low, enabling Tom Maycock to drill home from close range.
Sudbury looked dangerous in the wide areas, testing the visitor’s defence who were shocked when they fell further behind nine minutes later.
There seemed little danger when Bennett received the ball wide right, but the youngster took everybody by surprise in unleashing a terrific strike from 25 yards into the roof of the net giving Louie Hawes no chance.
Sudbury maintained the pressure with some fine flowing football and a third looked likely as Callum Harrison and Ben Hunter almost extended the lead testing Hawes who then made a particularly fine save from another well-struck Bennett effort.
However, the visitors responded and Brandy Makhendi and Shomari Barnwell each looked dangerous posing real threats.
Home keeper Paul Walker made fine saves to deny a snap-shot from Mathew Rush and then denied defender Ryan Doyle at the far post, acrobatically tipping over, whilst at the other end Billy Holland struck a thunderous free kick, but Hawes saved low down.
Rovers restarted brightly and took the game to the home side whose youngsters began to lose their initial tempo, but generally showed plenty of defensive qualities and character to thwart the offensive play from the visitors, emphasised by an excellent tackle from Baris Altintop to deny Makhendi from scoring.
At the other end, Holland headed narrowly over from Reece Harris free-kick, but Rovers continued to threaten. They were rewarded in the 85th minute when a long throw picked out substitute Stephen Butterworth whose header went in off the post.
In a frenzied climax, Rovers Oliver Woodhouse was dispatched for two yellow cards and Walker made a fine save from Jacob Wiggins to ensure a well-earned three points for Sudbury.
Referee Mr Richard Carter.