Late goal denies AFC Sudbury a Trophy replay against Kingstonian
- Credit: Archant
Kingstonian 2 AFC Sudbury 1
AFC Sudbury came within a whisker of holding higher-level hosts Kingstonian to a draw in an entertaining FA Trophy third round qualifying tie at King George's Field in South-West London this afternoon, only to be sunk by an 88th minute winner.
The Suffolk visitors defended well to keep their Isthmian League Premier hosts at bay for most of the afternoon, and were close to forcing a replay back at King's Marsh until Dan Bennett bundled home a late winner.
Callum Harrison had drilled AFC Sudbury into the lead, just two minutes into the second half, with a clinical strike, only for Calum Davies to equalise with a smart finish just six minutes later.
Kingstonian looked the more likely to find a winner, although it would have been harsh on AFC Sudbury, who certainly deserved a second crack at the whip.
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However, their hearts were eventually broken when, after an initial shot had thudded off the bar, Dan Bennett's follow-up shot was adjudged to have crossed the goal-line by referee Alex Blake.
Despite spending most of the first quarter of the game on the back foot, tenaciously defending their goal, AFC Sudbury did threaten very early on inside the first two minutes when midfielder Ben Hunter dragged a shot wide from a good position.
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Otherwise, it was Kingstonian on the attack and Sudbury throwing bodies in front of the ball, to block shots and cut out crosses. It was gutsy stuff.
Paul Walker pulled off a couple of fine saves, the first in the 12th minute when he kept out Bennett's rasping shot at point blank range.
AFC Sudbury midfielder Ben Hammett, always in the thick of the action, was booked for a late tackle on 14 minutes, which left him treading carefully for the rest of the afternoon, without compromising his combative style.
Walker came to his side's rescue again on the quarter-hour mark, again saving well from danger-man Bennett, as Mark Morsley's men were put under the cosh.
Sean Marks finally registered the visitors' first shot on target, in the 24th minute, although it was aimed straight at Rob Tolfrey, who caught with ease.
As the first half wore on, Sudbury did have more joy as an attacking force. Billy Holland very nearly steered home Harrison's initial shot, from a 40th minute free-kick, while more penalty area pinball from a Harrison free-kick saw defender Adam Bailey-Dennis have a shot blocked from close-in.
The visitors started the second half like they had ended the first, and they were rewarded by an opening goal on 47 minute, thanks to Harrison's deadly strike from 12 yards out, which gave keeper Tolfrey no chance.
But it took Kingstonian just six minutes to fashion an equaliser, Davies drilling a low shot beyond Walker from the left-edge of the box.
And Davies nearly fired the hosts in front, just after the hour mark, his low shot flying across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far upright.
Only a terrific one-handed save by Walker denied Kingstonian taking the lead on 75 minutes. He dived to his right to turn a long-range rock by substitute Reece Hall around his post.
But Walker could do nothing about Bennett's scrambled winner, two minutes from time.
KINGSTONIAN: Tolfrey, Clohessy, Saraiva, Puemo, Osborne, Beaney, Bennett, Sow, Thompson (sub Theophanous, 66), Davies (sub Hall, 66), Bamba (sub Hector, 81). Unused subs: Cooper, Kavanagh.
AFC SUDBURY: Walker, O'Malley, Altintop, Hammett, Bailey-Dennis, Grimwood (sub King, 90+2), Hunter (sub Bennett, 86), Holland, Marks, Harrison (sub Dettmar, 78), Maycock. Unused subs: Critchley, Harris, Craigie.