AFC Sudbury defeat Bognor Regis 2-1 in FA Trophy replay to set up Maidstone clash

Craig Pope

Craig Pope - Credit: Archant

AFC Sudbury booked a glamorous trip to high-flying Maidstone, following a triumphant FA Trophy First Qualifying Round replay victory over visiting Bognor Regis Town last night.

Denied victory by a stoppage-time equaliser on the Sussex coast on Saturday, in a 2-2 draw, Sudbury made no mistake with a strong display on home turf.

It was the defensive duo of Craig Pope and Lee Flynn who came up trumps with the vital goals, both cracking finishes.

Centre-half Pope broke the deadlock in the 28th minute. His first header, from Flynn’s corner, cannoned back off the underside of the bar, but he picked himself up to hook home the ensuing cross from 10 yards out.

Left-back Flynn settled this tie with a wonderful long-range strike in the 49th minute. His 25-yarder flew low and hard past keeper Chris Winterton, the ball clipping the far post and rolling over the line.

The Rocks halved the deficit in the 90th minute, through Harvey Whyte’s low drive, but the hosts held on during a nervous five minutes of injury time.

Sudbury’s reward is a visit to Ryman Premier promotion candidates Maidstone in the Second Qualifying Round.

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The home side bossed the first half and could have been more than just the one-goal ahead, but for some poor finishing and also some brave goalkeeping by Winterton.

Livewire Correy Davidson was through on goal on 12 minutes, only for Winterton to save at point blank range, while striker James Baker saw his shot deflected wide from a tight angle just two minutes later.

The busy Winterton denied Baker on another one-on-one situation in the 17th minute, as the hosts searched for the opener, and that duly arrived via Pope’s deadly finish just before the half-hour mark.

Kris Newby had an opportunity to double the lead in the 34th minute but, having burst through the Bognor defence, his final shot was squeezed wide by the onrushing Winterton.

The visitors’ best two chances of the first period both fell to Craig Robson. He sent a free header soaring over the bar from Jake Thomson’s corner, and then had a goal-bound header cleared off the goal-line by Baker on 37 minutes.

And Bognor had it all to do when Flynn smashed home a glorious second goal for Sudbury, just four minutes into the second half.

The Sussex visitors were kept at bay by the heroics of keeper Marcus Garnham on the hour mark. The ex-Bury Town stalwart got down quickly to push away a thunderous low drive by Ashley-Paul Robinson.

Sudbury had to soak up considerable pressure during the last quarter of the game. Defender Whyte reduced the lead on 90 minutes, before Garnham saved superbly from Ollie Pearce to ensure victory.

AFC SUDBURY: Garnham, Robinson, Flynn, Henshaw, Pope, Newby, Clarke (sub Yiga, 52), Berquez, Kemp, Davidson (sub Hervel, 62), Baker (sub Rymer, 81) Att: 149

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