Sudbury take the points in local Boxing Day derby

HOW is it that in the space of just seven days our performances can go from the sublime against Maldon to the ridiculous against Aveley, a game in which we witnessed a second-half performance that rivalled our worst of the season?

HOW is it that in the space of just seven days our performances can go from the sublime against Maldon to the ridiculous against Aveley, a game in which we witnessed a second-half performance that rivalled our worst of the season? Earlier we had controlled the first half to such an extent that I rather misguidedly and foolishly commented that there was no way we would lose the game particularly as Aveley would not even score a goal. Unfortunately I had not budgeted for our cavalier defending that gifted all three of Aveley's goals to leave manager Mark Morsley contemplating a miserable Christmas.

Once Simon Head had given us the lead our play deserved the result looked inevitable until just before half time, when we allowed Aveley's Bradley Barnes the freedom of the park to head Aveley level. If that wasn't bad enough Matt Stace, who had looked one of our better players, somehow contrived to hit his back pass short and that left us behind. Then to top it all from a harmless cross the ball was headed tamely out to our opponents and we then found ourselves really trailing.

Despite a late rally there was no way back and we have to ask why so many players were so inconspicuous with the midfield in particular almost non existent.

As a result of the defeat we lost our top spot to Edgware Town which is hardly the sort of performance needed ahead of Boxing Day's eagerly awaited clash against West Suffolk rivals Bury.

The pitch had survived the Christmas Day downpour although conditions were always going to be difficult, despite that both teams played their part in a game in which the result was in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The match also demonstrated how a game can be turned inside out within 60 seconds.

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When Bury were awarded a penalty after a very clumsy challenge it looked as if our Suffolk neighbours would steal an advantage. That reckoned without the heroics of Dean Neil who leapt smartly to his right to beat out Lee Smith's penalty.

Immediately play swept to the other end where the irrepressible Jamie Rowe, who had single handedly led the Bury defence a dance, drove home the crucial and ultimately only goal of the game.

There was still plenty of drama after that with the two goalkeepering Deans, Neil and Greygoose, earning warm applause for some excellent saves.

As expected the game attracted the biggest home league gate of the season so far and subsequent results, with Edgware dropping points, meant victory placed us back at the top of the league.

Whilst Ian Manby's reserves kept up their unbeaten league record on Saturday they threw away a two-goal lead to allow Stanway Reserves to share a point.

Terry Rayner celebrated his return with a goal with brother Lee getting the other.

No midweek match next week with the trip to Arlesey the next game for the first team with the reserves entertaining Witham Reserves.

MARSHMAN

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