Another late equaliser for Planters
Unbeaten run stretches to five games
AFC Sudbury 2 Norwich United 2
Bostik League North
The Planters secured a point late on for the second game running at AFC Sudbury when Adam Hipperson's fierce ball in from the right was deflected into his own goal by Joe Whight. Once again it was no more than the Planters deserved and typified the tenacity the side has developed of late. The point took the Planters unbeaten run to five games, but leaves them in 22nd place despite drawing level on points with Ware.
Andy Eastaugh passed a late fitness test to take his place in the centre of defence and Sam Applegate returned with Adam Probert dropping to the bench. Liam Jackson was rested meaning a start for New Year's Day goalscorer Nathan Stewart.
The Planters were behind in just the third minute, with Billy Holland firing home into the top corner from 20 yards. This buoyed the youthful hosts and they dominated the early stages although the Planters defence stood firm but when they did manage to get forward Tim Henery saw a cutback blocked and Henry Pollock saw his shot deflected behind.
Another 20 yard effort from Holland thankfully flew over the bar before the Planters started to gain the upper hand, Angus Mackie and Hipperson combined well down the right but the latter's cross to the near post was well cut out by Holland. Pollock then put Hipperson in but an interception richocheted around before Hipperson regained the ball but shot into the side netting from an acute angle.
The Planters levelled the score eight minutes before the interval, Hipperson saw a shot from outside the area blocked but Pollock reacted quickly to pick up the loose ball before finding Stewart who netted his second goal of the week from ten yards out.
Sudbury were forced into a substitution three minutes later with Tyler French limping off to be replaced by Sam Mills.
Hipperson twice forced ex-Planter and Lowestoft goalkeeper Jake Jessup to make two goad saves before the break, firstly the keeper saving low down before deflecting a stinging effort over the bar, although the referee somehow gave a goal kick for the latter!
After a quiet start to the second half the Planters began to gaon the ascendency and a Hipperson corner from the left found Stewart beyong the far post, he cut the ball back to Henery whose first time shot went narrowly over Jessup's crossbar. A few minutes later and Stewart jinked down the left before crossing for Henery to head over the top.
The hosts took full advantage of the Planters inability to turn dominance into a lead as they scored against the run of play after 63 minutes, Tom Dettmar taking the ball to the byline before cutting the ball back from the left and Ollie Peters had time to pick his spot before shooting home.
This goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Planters and for a while for hosts looked likely to increase their lead Peters shooting over form a Jack Clowsley cut back from the left.
Eventually the Planters regained the ascendancy and a Hipperson was well cleared by Will Crisell with second half substitute Liam Jackson set to pounce. From the resultant corner Shaun Wones shot was well held by Jessup. Jackson then pounced on a defensive miscue but saw his shot blocked and Hipperson's free kick was headed over by Wones.
Sudbury almost stretched their lead five minutes from time but Ryan Horne's shot came back off the face of the upright.
The Planters then got the equaliser their efforts deserved when a cross from the left found Hipperson at the far post and his ball back across the face of the goal was diverted into the net.
AFC Sudbury: Jessup, Crisell, Clowsley, Holland, French (Mills 40), Whight, Hunter (Munday 55), Dettmar (Colclough 75), McKenzie, Horne, Peters. Unused sub: Dunnage.
Planters: Wilton, Mackie, Applegate (Carroll 86), Wones, Eastaugh, Watts, Henery (Jackson 65), Pollock (Dade 80), Jones, Stewart, Hipperson. Unused sub: Probert.
Referee: B Bowles. Assistants: Ms S Ford & E Robinson.