WITHAM Town were beaten 5-2 by a resurgent AFC Sudbury side in Isthmian League division north, writes JIM PURTILL.

On too many occasions this season, Town have conceded an early goal and had to face an uphill battle from the early stages.

This match was no exception as a 15th-minute goal by Sudbury’s Ben Hunter proved an early tonic for the hosts.

It was a scrambled opener as Hunter forced the ball home after it had initially hit the post and keeper Rhys Madden had parried a shot from the rebound.

In the early stages there had been little apparent difference between the sides, but after the goal Sudbury’s attacks gave the visitors problems and Madden was kept busy.

He palmed Emmanuel Machaya's shot away for a corner and made a diving save from the same player, minutes later.

All the attacking action was happening at the wrong end for Witham and the match began to look one-sided as the visitors found it hard to keep the ball.

Too much possession was being wasted at the back and poor defensive clearances were playing into the hands of the Sudbury midfield, making it very difficult for Witham to make any impression in the attack.

Jordi Papple showed a lot of energy but he was chasing lost causes; he and striking partner Charlie Portway were too distant from the midfield and were left isolated on to many occasions.

The impressive Machaya increased Sudbury’s lead in the 33rd minute when a cross from the right resulted in him shooting into the roof of the net.

It was looking a difficult afternoon for Witham and nine minutes later a goal of real quality put Sudbury three goals up.

Chris Taylor received a yellow card for a foul outside the Witham penalty area.

Left-back Joe Wight had earlier shown his shooting prowess and he scored the goal of the match with the free kick.

His left-foot shot was too high for Witham’s four-man defensive wall and it curled just inside Madden’s left post.

Free-kicks of such quality are rarely seen at this level and are almost impossible to defend.

Usman Adeniji replaced Papple at half-time and quickly made an impression with two strong runs down the right flank as the visitors briefly showed some attacking intent but within eight minutes of the restart Machaya scored again from close range.

Portway shot into the side netting but Witham were still finding it difficult to pose any attacking threat.

The hosts were content to play a measured game and maintain control until the 77th minute when Witham suddenly found themselves back in the game.

Billy Willis in his new defensive midfield role enjoys shooting from outside the box when supporting the attack and he hit a fierce shot into the net that sparked an unexpected recovery.

It suddenly looked a very different game two minutes later when Julian Simon-Parson scored with another drive from the edge of the penalty area.

With 11 minutes left, Witham found new resolve but their threat was short-lived.

Sudbury weathered the storm and finished with a spectacular 90th-minute shot from Freddie King to restore their three-goal lead.