FA Trophy report and gallery: Maidstone 0 AFC Sudbury 2
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
AFC Sudbury produced a shock result, by deservedly knocking out hosts Maidstone United in a pulsating FA Trophy second round tie at the Gallagher Stadium.
A sweet brace by an in-form Kris Newby, with goals netted in the 19th and 89th minutes, handed Sudbury ample revenge for their defeat at the hands of Maidstone in last season’s Robert Dyas Ryman League Cup Final.
It was a bad-tempered, hot-headed affair, with one red card and six yellow cards, but Ryman Premier high-fliers Maidstone were always second best against their inspired visitors. It was the Kent club’s first home defeat of the season.
The Stones, strong candidates for promotion to the Conference South, had to play the final 65 minutes with just 10 men, following striker Jay May’s 25th minute dismissal for serious foul play.
May was adjudged to have elbowed Sudbury defender Ryan Henshaw, by referee James Whittaker, who then also ordered Stones manager Jay Saunders to leave the home dug-out after consulting with his assistants.
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By then, the Stones were already trailing, to Newby’s exquisite finish – the front-runner was fresh from scoring a long-range pearler in the previous Tuesday night’s win over Leiston in the Ryman League Cup.
Correy Davidson set up the opener with some good work down the left, eventually crossing for the alert Newby to send a flick-header rolling into the far corner of the net, inside the far post.
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The result remained in doubt, until Newby lashed home a spectacular 25-yard drive late in the game, by which time there was mist swirling around the stadium.
AFC Sudbury players celebrated in front of their away fans, at the final whistle. The day belonged to them, although Maidstone do have bigger fish to fry, with an FA Cup first round replay at home to League Two side Stevenage on Thursday evening.
Marcus Garnham was untroubled during the early stages, albeit for one threatening run from livewire Alex Akrofi on 10 minutes. The Sudbury keeper raced to the edge of his box to gather, before ex-Brentford front-runner Akrofi could pounce on the loose ball.
The visitors, by contrast, had far more joy in the opposing penalty area.
Stones keeper Lee Worgan did well to claw away a goal-bound effort from Davidson, and skipper Sam Clarke was close to diverting home a long throw with an attempted stooping header just 60 seconds later.
But Worgan was left wrong-footed as Newby broke the deadlock with a neat finish on 19 minutes.
The Stones were rocked by this goal, and their task was made doubly difficult by May’s straight red card, midway through the first half.
Manager Saunders was also forced to watch the rest of the game away from the dug-out, after being ordered off by referee Mr Whittaker.
Tempers were frayed and Akrofi caught Clarke with a late challenge, which earned the Stones front-man a booking on 27 minutes.
The cards continued to flow aplenty. Stones centre-half Sonny Miles was cautioned for clipping the heels of Davidson, while Sudbury defender Henshaw was also shown the yellow card for a mistimed challenge.
Henshaw’s challenge sparked off a melee between players, and Mr Whittaker took time out to speak to both skippers, Clarke and Stones’ Jamie Coyle.
Garnham was finally called into action to make his first real save of the match in the 42nd minute, arching back to finger-tip Ben Greenhalgh’s free-kick over the bar. It was a fine save.
And only the woodwork denied Maidstone an equaliser inside two minutes of the second half.
Akrofi’s stunning long range strike beat a bemused Garnham, only to rebound back off the post and almost strike the Sudbury keeper on the back of the head!
At the other end, Sudbury searched for a killer second goal and Newby’s well-struck 30-yard free-kick forced a diving save from Worgan.
Substitute Terry Rymer should really have made the game safe in the 83rd minute, but he pulled his shot wide with just Worgan to beat.
Fellow substitute, Jack Guyton, also forced a fine save from Worgan late on.
The Stones nearly snatched a draw, and a replay, with four minutes remaining, but Garnham hurled himself to his right to divert Matt Bodkin’s free-kick around his post.
And Newby sealed the hosts’ fate with the killer second on 89 minutes.
Maidstone: Worgan, Davies (sub Mills, 57), Starkey, Coyle, Miles, Brown (sub Robertson, 79), Greenhalgh, Parkinson, May, Akrofi, Jordan (sub Bodkin, 66). Unused subs: Sutherland, Godman.
Afc Sudbury: Garnham, Robinson, Wilkinson, Davidson (sub Flynn, 64), Henshaw, Pope, Newby, Clarke, Baker (sub Rymer, 68), Kemp (sub Guyton, 77), Berquez. Unused subs: Yiga, Coley.
Referee: J Whittaker