AFC Sudbury manager Rick Andrews insists it's full steam ahead in their promotion push after masterminding yet another FA Cup giant-killing writes Alec McQuarrie.
The Suds were awarded the Pitching In Performance of the Month for knocking out National League South St Albans City in a tense Second Round Qualifying replay.
Young midfielder Josh Stokes had put the Isthmian League North team 2-0 up at Clarence Park, before a red card for Ben Hunter offered the Saints, who play two divisions above, a route back into the game.
The visitors held on for a famous 2-1 win and Andrews thought it was exactly what his side deserved after conceding an agonising 91st minute equaliser in the first clash to send the tie to a replay.
“We were disappointed somewhat going to a replay because we felt we’d done enough on the day. We thought we nullified St Albans at Clarence Park,” revealed Andrews.
“In the second game they started very brightly but as every minute ticked by, we grew more and more into the game. We caused them problems on the break, set up to frustrate and that went well.
“People may criticise but if you’re fighting Mike Tyson, you don’t go in there throwing punches, you jab and move.
“The boys were disciplined, worked their socks off, and we were really pleased.”
Unfortunately, the Yellows' FA Cup journey was ended by Step 3 Coalville Town in the following round, but now full focus will be on returning to the Isthmian Premier for the first time since 2016.
“It was disappointing but we’ve had a good run,” said Andrews. “No complaints over 90 minutes.
“Saying that, at half time I thought we were well in the game and we fancied going on and creating a further upset.
“After this weekend, we play Tuesday – Saturday all the way up until Christmas, which is great because it will chuck us in fully and we can start trying to climb that table."
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Andrews highlighted teenage midfielder Stokes as his standout performer across the two second round matches, and with five goals already this season, it’s clear the youngster has bags of potential.
Andrews said: “The boy’s only 18 but he’s as strong as an ox and he can drive at people. He’s just a handful. I went to watch him in the under 18s last year and he stood out for me.
“He doesn’t fear anyone at all. He’s a winner massively and he’s one of these kids that really enjoys his football.
“Josh is a really nice, down to earth kid and got a good family behind him. We’ve had some pro clubs look at him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an opportunity at some point.”
Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/