AFC Sudbury to host Colchester United in FA Cup after giant-killing

The AFC Sudbury players and management after beating Dartford to reach the First Round of the FA Cup.

The AFC Sudbury players and management acknowledge their fans at the end of the game after beating Dartford to reach the First Round of the FA Cup. - Credit: Paul Voller

AFC Sudbury shocked the large contingent of visiting supporters as they produced an FA Cup giant-killing act against unbeaten National League South leaders Dartford in a 3-1 win to reach the First Round yesterday.

And they will host League Two Colchester United in that round, with matches set to be played over the weekend of November 5-8.

A crowd of 820 witnessed a second half fight back by the Yellows, who trailed at half-time, a second half sending off for the Kent side, and four great goals of sheer quality.

Man of the match was 18-year-old Sudbury keeper Josh Blunkell, playing only his second game, who made ten marvellous saves including two magnificent efforts in injury time to foil the Darts. Steve King’s side play at two levels above Sudbury in the pyramid.

The third goal in the 93rd minute produced a crescendo of joyous noise as Sweet Caroline was played over the tannoy.

This was a cup tie where superlatives were simply exhausted, and the dual management of Rick Andrews and Angelo Harrop can be immensely proud of their team’s performance.

Even manager AFC Sudbury boss Rick Andrews joins the celebrations for Lewis O'Malley's match-clinching goal against Dartford

Even manager AFC Sudbury boss Rick Andrews joins the celebrations for Lewis O'Malley's match-clinching goal against Dartford - Credit: Paul Voller

It was apparent from the start that the National League side were a classy outfit and largely dominated the first half and Sudbury hardly troubled a defence that has conceded a meagre four goals in eight league games.

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The brilliance of Blunkell held out until first half injury time when Jack Jebb struck an unstoppable shot to give the visitors a deserved lead.

However, it took three minutes into the second half to gain parity when Shane Temple was brought down on the edge of the box, enabling Reece Harris to power home a tremendous free kick that struck the underside of the bar before hitting the net.

On the hour Dartford’s skipper Tom Bonner received his second yellow card, and the shocked Darts were in turmoil when two minutes later Temple produced some individual brilliance before driving past Craig King, sending home supporters in dreamland.

Dartford can't believe it as young keeper Josh Blunkell makes another save for AFC Sudbury

Dartford can't believe it as young keeper Josh Blunkell makes another save for AFC Sudbury - Credit: Paul Voller

Dartford rang the changes as being humbled looked a possibility, as they increased their momentum, but had not bargained for such a rearguard performance.

The heroics of George Keys, Reece Harris, Jamie Shaw and Joe Grimwood in defence, not too mention the brilliance of Blunkell, was supplemented when Lewis O’Malley scored a magnificent third.

Heroes all. They find out their first round opponents - with Ipswich Town also in the pot - at 1.05pm today.

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