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Mark Morsley left 'bitterly disappointed' after AFC Sudbury's BBC FA Cup tie at Burton Park Wanderers falls victim to Covid-19 test




Mark Morsley admitted he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ for everyone involved after AFC Sudbury’s Emirates FA Cup tie at Burton Park Wanderers, set to be streamed to a BBC audience on Tuesday , fell victim to a Covid-19 call-off.

A positive test for one of their hosts’ players led to the United Counties League Premier Division side having to pull out of the game and thus the competition, handing Sudbury a bye.

“It is one of those bitterly disappointing things and I suppose it is the world we are living in at the moment,” said manager Morsley, whose side found out on Monday lunchtime.

AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley (right)Picture: Richard Marsham
AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley (right)Picture: Richard Marsham

“We had put a lot of work into the game, as had Burton, and it is a big shame.”

Sudbury will now host Harborough Town in the preliminary round a week on Saturday, after they thrashed Wellingborough Whitworth 6-1 on Tuesday evening.

But asked if he felt it was unfair that Burton Park Wanderers and no Walsham-le-Willows have been eliminated from this season's competition on the health of their players, he said: "There are the FA rules. They obviously changed the rules to say there is no extra time (to play the games) and the have said this is the way it is.

AFC Sudbury are heading to Needham Market this weekend for their last pre-season friendly. Pictured is Craig Parker scoring for Needham in last summer's pre-season match between the two at BloomfieldsPicture: Ben Pooley
AFC Sudbury are heading to Needham Market this weekend for their last pre-season friendly. Pictured is Craig Parker scoring for Needham in last summer's pre-season match between the two at BloomfieldsPicture: Ben Pooley

"We could almost get through two or three rounds without playing a game.

"I suppose it does devalue the competition a little bit because the beauty of the FA Cup is it is all about the non-league clubs that get through to the first round.

"I suppose in this particular season there are trying to squeeze it in in a certain timeframe.

"It is a strange one in many ways but for me, bearing in mind the FA Cup prize money has been cut down to 2017 levels (half of last season's) I cannot see why they (FA) could not pay for all the (Burton and Walsham) players to have a test and if afterwards anyone tests positive they isolate and the rest can play, as long as it is not too many."

Friday also saw the release of their Isthmian League North Division fixtures with AFC set to open up at home to a Coggeshall Town side who were sixth in the table when the campaign was abandoned in March.

The Yellows lost at the north Essex club, who have popstar Olly Murs as a director and backer, 3-1 on the opening day of last season.

Morsley said: "It is good to be at home and playing Coggeshall they will bring a good following."

But Morsley was annoyed to see their traditional derby games with Bury Town have been kept away from holiday weekends again – despite saying he had written to the Isthmian League to request it – with AFC hosting Tuesday, October 6 before the reverse fixture on Saturday, February 6.

Sudbury play their final pre-season friendly at higher-league Needham Market on Saturday (3pm).

"It is always a great game there and they are a very good football club and that will be a strong test for our players," he said.

"We will take the squad that was going in the FA Cup to Needham on Saturday.

"Our form in pre-season has been good but like I always say, that does not mean much. There has been some very eye-catching performances from one or two though."