The latest match report on AFC Sudbury...................
This was a disaster in Essex, as AFC who needed three points to assure themselves of a play-off spot, failed to get anything from the game. It means that the final game of the season away at Tilbury on Saturday takes on even more importance.
Manager Morsley made a couple of changes to the side beaten by Harlow on Saturday, with Ozie Foster replacing Andy Claydon up front and Nicky Smith taking over from Neil Calver in midfield.
There were a large number of AFC supporters in the ground amongst the crowd of 185, as AFC kicked off on a warm spring evening. For the first fifteen minutes the home side probably had the better of the exchanges, although Cunningham shot over after a good move. A minute later the same player headed over from a Brothers cross.
Play was disjointed from both sides, Wakering had a chance when Richmond shot and fortunately it struck Brett Girling and was cleared. On 22 minutes Butterworth had an effort that Shane Wardley deflected for a corner.
AFC were awarded a free kick in midfield and Smith took it quickly and found Brothers, he crossed and Wardley had a shot that was cleared off the line by Wilson. After good work by Smith, Head and Boyland the ball was crossed to Brothers who just failed to reach the ball.
Just before the half hour mark David Head did well to clear a long throw, but the ball fell to Richmond who headed over Nathan Munson's goal. AFC then had a spell of pressure and Cunningham shot goalward and felled Beale who went down struggling to catch his breath. The next piece of action involved Munson who came out for a through ball, but was beaten, fortunately he failed to catch the attackers legs who went round him and shot. Wardley was back and cleared the ball.
Ten minutes from the interval Butterworth crossed from the left and the head of Girling caught the ball and appeared to be diverting it into the goal. Munson was alive and dived to his right and pushed it around the post for a corner that came to nothing. Boyland did well with cross from from the right but Cunningham's downward header went wide of the left hand post.
The final actions of the half saw both sides have chances. Firstly Munson had to be alert to save from a Cartlidge shot that rebounded to Richmond who shot and Gareth Heath cleared off the goal line. At the other end Brothers was fouled out on the left, Smith took the free kick and it came back to Brothers who shot wide of the right hand post.
Half Time; Great Wakering Rovers 0 AFC Sudbury 0
There were no sign of any changes as the teams re-emerged, and for the first five or so minutes AFC took the game to the home side, but failed to break through. Indeed after 55 minutes Heath had a fierce shot from 25 yards that went just over.
A minute later Collins, for Rovers, crossed from the left and it nearly caught Munson out, but he back peddled and pushed the ball away for a corner. It was to prove the turning point. The corner came in and went low straight across the goal about waist height. No AFC player got anywhere near it, looking like statues. Beale for Wakering came in and the ball literally struck him in the stomach and rolled into the net for a really softly conceded goal.
The first subsitution came on 65 minutes with Claydon taking over from Foster, who had not looked likely to break his AFC goalscoring duck. Referee Stewart became fed up with the constant whinging of Butterworth and yellow carded him. Head then had two chances with headers, but they both missed the target as AFC tried for the elusive equaliser.
With nineteen minutes left Calver came on for Smith and Rowe took the place of Brothers, who showed some displeasure at being taken off. The shape of the side changed slightly with Rowe going to the right hand side, Cunningham down the left. It was Rowe who showed some nice skills and pace when he received the ball, but it was Wignall who went close when he got free and perhaps should have done better with a header with a quarter of a hour left.
Calver put in a rather heavy challenge and despite it being his first, it appeared his reputation went before him and it saw him booked. Shortly after this Cole committed a rather ordinary foul and it seemed that referee Stewart wanted to even things up and he was also booked.
Claydon received the ball on the right and went forward into the penalty area fending off defenders, he passed to Rowe who seemed must score, but he dallied slightly before he shot and defenders got in the way to deny the AFC man.
In stoppage time the ball did enter the Wakering net but the whistle had long gone for an offence. Skipper Head appeared to complain too much and was also a name taken by the man in the middle.
So no goals and no points for AFC in this game, meaning a nailbiting game at Tilbury on Saturday when it three points needed assuming others win their games.