Defensive solidity of AFC Sudbury pleases Rick Andrews following narrow FA Cup replay victory at Stowmarket Town
Following a goalless draw in Saturday’s home tie it looked like being another stalemate on Tuesday, until a last-minute skidding deflected strike from Romario Dunne sneaked in.
It came after the Yellows had been forced to withstand some heavy second-half pressure from Andrews’ former club.
But he believed their defensive qualities led to them being worthy of being one of only two Suffolk non-league sides, along with Leiston, left at the third round qualifying stage.
“Over the 180 minutes we have stopped a very good team,” he said. “A team that started with several ex-professionals in to two shots over two games.
“It was our sixth clean sheet in seven games which is not down to being lucky as it is something we have been working hard for in games.”
He added: “Over the two games we had the better of the clear-cut chances but fair play to Stowmarket, in the second half (on Tuesday) they had a tremendous amount of pressure and we had to dig deep and put bodies on the line.
“I do feel sorry for James Bradbrook (Stowmarket goalkeeper) as he had pulled off two great saves from glancing headers late on and 99 times out of 100 he would have saved that pot shot, and it went for us.
“I am extremely happy for the boys as everyone left everything out there.”
Sudbury will host higher-league Cheshunt in the next round a week on Saturday (3pm).
But before that they have two Pitching In Isthmian League North Division encounters to play, at 15th-placed Romford on Saturday (3pm) before going back to Stowmarket on Wednesday evening (7.45pm).
Romford, who parted company with owner Glenn Tamplin in March, have not played since a 4-0 defeat at Grays Athletic a week ago Wednesday.
Andrews, whose side are fifth in the early table following three wins and a draw from their five games, will not allow any of his players to drop their levels in pursuit of another three points.
“No games are easy in this league,” he said. “I was talking to Muzzy (Paul Musgrove, Stowmarket manager) and we were saying if teams in this league can get their noses in front they tend to get at least a point out of matches.
“It really is a game of fine margins.”
Having only been able to name two substitutes on Tuesday he hopes to have Jake Turner, Shane Temple and Cruise Nyadzayo back available. But he said he may be set to bring another player in to boost the competition in the squad, which has thinned out recently.
Striker Freddie King is the latest to depart for divisional rivals Coggeshall Town, following former coach Liam Aves to the club along with Isaac Skubich and Sam Cooke.
On King’s exit, Andrews said of the player who became the first from the club to represent England Colleges: “We sent him over to Harwich (& Parkeston) to get game time. He was not as match ready as he would have liked to have been, which he acknowledged, and things can change quickly.
“If any young player wanted to find regular football elsewhere we will never stand in their way.”
King made seven starting appearances at the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South club without scoring. He made his debut for Coggeshall from the bench on Tuesday in their 1-1 draw at home to Grays Athletic.
Leiston prevail but Needham suffer late heartbreak
Elsewhere in the FA Cup last night Leiston overcame visiting Kings Langley 3-1 in their replay.
Darren Eadie and Chris Wigger's side had gone behind in the third minute through an own goal from Adam Bailey-Dennis but levelled in the 22nd minute through Jamie Eaton-Collins.
Joe Marsden's 25-yard shot put the hosts into the lead with 19 minutes to play before Kings Langley were reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when Kyle Connolly received a second yellow card for another late challenge.
The outcome of the tie was put beyond any doubt in the 87th minute when the visitors put through their own net.
Leiston will host fellow Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central rivals Tamworth in third round qualifying a week on Saturday.
But the FA Cup run is over for another year for Needham Market and their supporters after a 3-2 defeat at home to equivalent-level East Thurrock United at Bloomfields last night.
Ben Wyss, whose goal eight minutes from time in Saturday's 2-2 draw had set up the replay, was again on target on Tuesday evening along with Johnny Ashman as East Thurrock headed into the break 2-0 up.
However, Needham responded in positive fashion after the restart and looked to have forced extra-time when goals from Josh Pollard and Fowkes levelled up proceedings.
But there was more late heartbreak for Kevin Horlock’s side as Paulius Ditkevicius scored from the penalty spot with seven minutes remaining to send his side into the next round.