Spoils shared as Debenham maintain Maitlands fortress
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION: Debenham LC 1 AFC Sudbury Reserves 1
An Adam Rickwood goal kept intact Debenham’s LC’s undefeated home league record with Saturday’s point keeping them third.
Ahead of a trip to seventh-placed King’s Lynn Reserves tomorrow (3pm), the Hornets went some way to making up for the disappointment of Tuesday’s First Division Knockout Cup exit at Maitlands against a youthful AFC Sudbury development side.
In much kinder conditions than the midweek game at Maitlands, the home players were fired up after a passionate team talk, but despite having to defend during a spirited start from their opponents, a cagey goalless half followed.
AFC had the first serious threat on goal when a corner was turned on to the post, with appeals that it had crossed the line not interesting the referee as Kevin Barker cleared.
James Heathcote fluffed a chance on his left foot and would have been in shortly after had Rickwood’s throughball not been so soft.
At the other end, Barker, Tom Hardy and Tom Hardwick put in good blocks as the home rearguard held firm, but Ben Green and Heathcote could not test experienced goalkeeper Louis Johnson with half chances.
The Hornets started the second period buzzing in the AFC Sudbury half, but Heathcote could not convert from two early chances, one being saved.
Stephen Fenner had to punch clear at the other end and Barker headed off the line as momentum swung back with the visitors.
And the pressure saw the deadlock broken when Debenham were caught out with a lobbed ball up and over the right for Jordan Brazitis to cut inside the box and fire low down across Fenner with the home fans calling in vein for offside.
But the Hornets responded in perfect fashion. A clever ball in by Hardy was well reached and flicked on by Barker for Rickwood to be presented with a simple finish which he produced an air shot for before he duly tucked away at the second attempt.
Sudbury pushed to re-establish their lead and had what appeared to be a decent penalty shout turned down from another long ball.
At the other end, Ryan Titlow — on for the impressive Sam Diaper just before the equaliser — went down in the box but the match official was having none of it.
Heathcote was put in for a chance to win the match, but saw his shot saved again, while Johnson also had to be alert to push away Green’s effort.
The final effort of the match saw Barker, the Debenham man of the match, flash a header over the bar, with a point apiece a fair reflection of the game.
Debenham: S Fenner, Goddard, T Fenner, Brock, Hardwick, Green, Kemp, Barker, Diaper, Rickwood, Heathcote. Subs: Flurrie, Thorrold, Titlow, Golding, Chilvers.