AFC Sudbury V Chelmsford City FC, Pre-season friendly, The MEL Group Stadium, Tuesday 9th July 2024, 7:45pm kick off.

Robbie Simpson’s side get their pre-season campaign underway tonight, traveling to the MEL group stadium to take on AFC Sudbury, a side who the Clarets have not faced since a 7-0 thrashing back in the pre-season of 2019. Nevertheless, the lads will want to put in a good performance and kick off their preparations for the season ahead with a win away from home. 

The Opposition: 

The Suffolk based side, who were formed in 1999, play their football in the Southern Premier Division Central, recording an 18th-place finish last season escaping the drop by just one point. Sudbury in their last 4 games of the season were given a helping hand by Chelmsford fan favourite Simeon Jackson, who made a stellar contribution in Sudbury getting 3 wins in their last 4 games of the season to stay in step 3 in miracle like fashion. In 2021 Sudbury reached the first round of the fa cup for only the second time in their history beating recently relegated National League South side Dartford 3-1, who were at the time top of the league and unbeaten therefore proving to be a huge achievement for the boys in yellow. The second round didn’t prove to be as successful however with local League 2 side Colchester united coming out on top with a 4-0 victory. In the dugout for the yellows is Marc Abbott who was appointed at the beginning of the 2023/24 season after a stint with St Neots and working at Cambridge united. 

Regarding players, Sudbury have been fairly busy in the market having re-signed experienced centre back Ryan Henshaw who was a Claret back in the 2010/2011 season. Ryan has made over 200 appearances for the Suds in previous years whilst also having stints at Billericay and Hertfordshire based Bishops Stortford. Continuing the theme of re-signing players former academy graduate Ollie Peters returns to Sudbury after 7 years away, also playing for Essex Rivals Billericay and Bishops Stortford, yet also racking up appearances out in the USA. Also joining AFC Sudbury is former Leicester city academy prospect Matty Miles who has more recently been playing in the National League North with Peterborough sports, another signing which bolsters Marc Abbotts defensive options for the upcoming season. 

Team news: 

The Clarets currently have 13 first team players signed on ahead of next season with them all in contention to make an appearance at Sudbury. Trialists as well as academy players will also be in the thoughts of Manager Robbie Simpson, with the Clarets looking to get a good run out tonight. Everyone will be hoping they given a chance to impress, in hopes of showing what they can bring the team.

How to get there: 

The Sudbury to Marks Tey branch line join the main London Liverpool Street line to Norwich therefore is accessible by train whilst buses run into Sudbury from both Colchester and Bury St Edmonds. To walk from either the train station or bus station will take around 25 minutes. 

The MEL Group Stadium is an hours drive from the Melbourne Community Stadium, heading through Braintree and following the A131 before turning off at Ballingdon and heading up Brundon Lane to find AFC Sudbury’s ground on your right.

Ticket information:

Tickets are available on the gate for £5 or free for Under 16s.

Where to follow the game: 

Live updates will be posted on the @officialclarets twitter page where you can keep up with the match, with coverage being posted using the hashtag #TheClarets. 

Words by Harvey Horsley

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