Jammers put on brave display before going down to table topping Sudbury on a freezing cold day in Suffolk.
By Scott Mitchell
11th Dec 2022 | Football
AFC Sudbury 2, Maldon & Tiptree 1
Jammers travelled to table topping AFC Sudbury hoping to spring something a surprise on the hosts.
It was the hosts who started brightly and in something of a prelude of what was to come, had a chance through a scramble in the Maldon penalty box that was eventually cleared with just two minutes on the clock.
A couple of minutes later and Sudbury looked to be in again, but Josh Stokes was penalised for handball when he was in on goal.
The resulting freekick was launched forward by Jammers goalkeeper, Tommy Dixon- Hodge and Harvey Sayer won a freekick on the edge of the Sudbury box. With both Sayer and Laste Dombaxe standing over it, it was captain Dombaxe who stepped up and sent a beautiful right footed shot into David Hughes' right hand corner, leaving him clutching at thin air. Maldon were 1-0 up with only four minutes on the clock.
The delight for Domabxe and the whole Maldon team was clear to see as they ran off to celebrate.
Sudbury were unbowed and continued to look dangerous, switching possession across the pitch at will. A long diagonal pass from Sudbury's Josh Pollard forced a corner. The ball was played short for a Sudbury attacker who hit a lovely effort that smashed off the Maldon crossbar.
Still the Sudbury chances came, Jake Turner shot straight at Dixon-Hodge and there was also a header that only just went over the bar.
It looked like best chance for Maldon would be on the counter, and on 23 minutes it nearly paid off with Sayer driving into the Sudbury area, but his pass across the box didn't find anyone in a white Maldon shirt. Sudbury meanwhile, were clearly wise to the aerial threat posed by Roman Campbell, doubling up on him to nullify the Maldon centre forward.
For all the attacking intent Sudbury showed, it was Maldon who nearly scored again after 30 minutes. A corner from Benny Bioletti was recycled and Scott Kemp found himself unlucky to see his header come back off the post. It was a huge let off for the home side.
That seemed to wake Sudbury up and they again started to create some dangerous openings. Jammers left back, Peter Mokwenye was coping admirably against Stokes but a freekick from that side was blazed high and wide over the Maldon crossbar. In stoppage time of the first half, Pollard flashed a ball across the box, but fortunately for Maldon no one in yellow was able to capitalise.
The Jammers made it to half time 1-0 up, having put in a real shift all over the pitch. To a man, they'd worked their socks off.
The second half started where the first had left off with Sudbury winning a corner pretty much straight from kick off. Toib Adeyeni headed away for Maldon, with Stokes putting the rebound over the bar.
On the hour mark, a rare foray forward from Maldon led to a corner which was just headed over by Adeyeni as Sudbury looked to turn the pressure up on Maldon.
The chances were starting to come with more frequency, the desperation for an equaliser was starting to show. Adeyeni was dispossessed about 30 yards from goal and will have been a relieved man to see Sudbury spurn yet another opportunity.
On 67 minutes, Sudbury had a strong appeal for a penalty against the otherwise imperious Mokwenye waved away. The hardy Jammers were left saying to each other that they had 'definitely seen them given.'
Josh Stokes continued to look lively for Sudbury, firing wide again from the edge of the penalty box and former Jammer, Nnamdi Nwachuku looked to add to his impressive goal tally this season, but he couldn't quite get a shot away from the penalty spot on 76 minutes.
The hosts were so nearly made to pay for all the missed chances when, on 81 minutes, a great ball in from the Maldon right by Sam Coombes found substitute Evan Collard, but it bounced awkwardly in front of the on loan Stowmarket man and he put his effort over the bar.
It proved to be a turning point. On 86 minutes, Sudbury's pressure finally paid off. A ball into the box was headed into the path of Josh Mayhew who had come on only a few minutes earlier. He hit a volley first time into the far corner of the Maldon net to break Maldon hearts.
Worse was to come for a valiant Maldon side in a cruel double sucker punch. Picking themselves up having conceded, Maldon sent a ball into the box, Campbell beat Sudbury goalkeeper, David Hughes to the ball to head home only for it to be ruled out for a so called foul that most had struggled to see.
To rub Maldon Sea Salt into the wounds, from the resulting freekick, Hughes sent a ball forward and found Stokes who rifled home to compound a devastating 2 minutes.
The final minutes of the game proved to be scrappy and tetchy affair as Maldon tried in-vain to find a dramatic equaliser.
It wasn't to be for the Jammers, in spite of an incredible effort from entire team. The defeat leaves Maldon in 18th place in the league, 4pts shy of guaranteed safety as they look to bounce back next Saturday at home to Wroxham.