AFC Sudbury manager David Batch could not have been more proud of his players’ efforts in the 1-0 FA Trophy defeat to Braintree Town.
Sudbury, of the Ryman North Division, who ply their trade three leagues behind Conference Premier Braintree, certainly pushed their opponents for the win on Saturday afternoon.
“I think the players did the football club proud today,” declared Batch, whose side almost forced a replay when James Baker’s 88th-minute header hit the crossbar.
“To come here, against a team three leagues higher and to put on a performance that kept us in the game, was excellent.
“I thought the game was played in a really good spirit, and I thought our players were superb.
“We didn’t hang in for a 1-0 defeat, and we weren’t a million miles away.
“We told ourselves to stay in the game. If we did that we had a chance.
“It got to the point where we were 1-0 down and we then gave it a bit more of a go, putting more forwards on and getting balls into the box.”
Had Baker’s late header of gone in, it would have been a fairytale story for the former Braintree striker, who may not have played at centre-half had Ryan Henshall (suspended) or Lawrence Yiga (unavailable) been available for selection.
“I thought James was immense,” added Batch, who was also without top scorer Kris Newby on Saturday.
“Not being funny, but you’ve got to look at that and think ‘he could probably play centre-half at that level’.”
Braintree Town boss Alan Devonshire also paid compliment to Sudbury’s performance, but insisted it was a case of job done for his side.
“We had to be patient,” admitted the Iron boss.
“Sudbury can take all the plaudits if they want, it’s not a problem to me, they did really well, but we’re through to the next round and that’s the most important thing.”
The Iron are now into the last 32 of the Trophy, with Devonshire eager to see who his side are pitted against in today’s draw.
“Playing in the Trophy is a good distraction,” Devonshire added
“We’d like to progress as much as we can but let’s see who we get on Monday first.”
With thanks to Will Rigard and The East Anglian Daily Times