Sudbury boss David Batch heaps praise on side after FATrophy win

AFC Sudbury manager David Batch

AFC Sudbury manager David Batch - Credit: James Ager

AFC Sudbury boss David Batch hailed his side after their superb 2-1 FA Trophy replay victory over Bognor Regis on Tuesday night.

The Wardale Williams Stadium team were good value for their win against the Ryman Premier Sussex outfit, who play one step above Sudbury in the pyramid.

Having been so close to victory at Bognor on Saturday, where a 90th-minute equaliser for the home team gave them a second bite of the cherry, Sudbury showed their character to not let that late equaliser affect their game-plan a second time.

“We endured both ends of the spectrum on Tuesday night with our performance and that is what pleased me most,” Batch said.

“It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but in the first half we were excellent and could easily have been four goals up.

“As expected, in the second half there was a reaction from Bognor but then you saw the other side of our game, the ability to defend strongly and do the ugly side of things.”

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

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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 the 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, with Sudbury ‘keeper Marcus Garnham making a great save late on from Ollie Pearce to ensure victory.

Sudbury’s reward is a visit to Ryman Premier promotion candidates Maidstone in the Second Qualifying Round on November 15.

“The game at Maidstone will be cracking,” Batch said.

“There will be 2,000 fans there, a great atmosphere. It’s what players should all want to play in.”

On Saturday AFC Sudbury travel to Redbridge in Ryman North.

Just outside the play-off positions at the moment, Batch’s side will hope to keep their good run of form going against a Motormen side who got through to the fourth round of the Essex Senior Cup on Tuesday night, with a 4-0 win over Takeley.

Previously, Redbridge had lost their last two Ryman North games.

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