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Grays Athletic
AFC Sudbury
Wed 17 Aug 19:45 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 159

Blues go down fighting

Blues succombed to defeat by newly promoted AFC Sudbury writes The Mariner

It was a disappointing evening for the young Blues but the scoreline does not reflect the nature of this defeat.

Sudbury's opening goals owed more to Lady Luck with cruel deflections providing the openings.

Blues started brightly with both Sam Baffour and David Fallah out wide seeing a lot of the ball, the early pressure brought successive corners but a tendency to over hit the ball allowed Sudbury to clear comfortably.

The visitors were employing a more direct approach which paid dividends in the 9th minute.A searching ball split the central pairing of Jake Hutchings and Hafeez Sanusi ,keeper Mikheil Kharshiladze managed to push the ball out of the area but a timely deflection found Parker who made no mistake from 20 yards.

Blues responded well Aaron Wickham tested Garnham in the Sudbury goal, Adiyenka Cole had a shot blocked and then David Fallah came close after a jinking run.

Sudbury looked to hit Callender at every opportunity with the big forward causing problems up front stretching the Blues back four.

The visitors increased their advantage in the 24th minute Blues failed to close down Bantick on the edge of the box, his pass took a couple of deflections and fell to the unmarked Eagle at the far post who beat Kharshiladze with ease.

Despite the setback Blues continued to look for a goal,Jamie Mascoll sent in a speculative cross which Garnham could only touch onto the bar and over.

The speedy Fallah came close jinking past his fullback and bringing a block save from Garnham.

HT 0-2

Blues made two changes at half time ,Jamie Stuart replacing Sanusi at the back and Harry Watkins coming into midfield at the expense of Aaron Wickham.

Straight from the whistle Blues began to ask questions of the visitors back four,Fallah's pace saw him outstrip his fullback on numerous occasions but his final ball was not always delivered with accuracy.

Lheureux Menga came more into the game his physical presence unsettling the Sudbury back four.

Sudbury were coming under increasing Blues pressure, Garnham was now the busier of the two keepers as the homesters looked for a breakthrough.

The visitors were reduced to the occasional forward foray but the introduction of Stuart gave the Blues back line a more solid look.

The constant Blues pressure finally led to a goal in the 68th minute.Good work by Cole saw him lay the ball to George Pilbeam his cross found Menga who despite being sandwiched between two defenders managed to turn and slot the ball past Garnham.

The goal was just reward for Blues constant pressure and they could have drawn level when Menga just failed to get on the end of a Sam Baffour cross.

Substitute Fred Osaba then went close,chasing down a long punt from Kharshiladze
his pace taking him past two defenders but he screwed his shot agonisingly wide of the upright.

Sudbury were reeling at this stage and it looked increasingly likely the Blues would get the equaliser their efforts deserved but the visitors had other ideas.

A Blues attack broke down and with their defenders pushing forward Sudbury sprung forward , a deep cross found Wales who's glancing header just eluded Kharshiladzes despairing dive to put the visitors three up on 77 minutes.

It was cruel blow for the young Blues but they still stuck to their task,Cole saw his effort blocked by Garnham,Watkins then tried his luck from outside the box and saw his effort saved.

To their credit Blues kept going to the final whistle and it could be argued the 3-1 scoreline was not a true reflection of the game.

The disappointing result should not detract from a spirited performance from a team that has only been together for a few weeks.Indeed there were many plus points for Jamie Stuart this evening. Blues pace throughout the side will cause problems this season but they will need to work on their final ball and be more clinical in front of goal.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
18. Hendon 46 54
19. Burgess Hill Town 46 54
20. Merstham 46 53
21. Harrow Borough 46 53
22. Canvey Island 46 52
23. AFC Sudbury 46 46
24. Grays Athletic 46 38

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