It may not be at the point of requiring a ‘great escape’ just yet, but ahead of a crunch basement battle with Hendon, AFC Sudbury need look no further for survival inspiration than their new signing, Sam Corcoran.
The acquisition of the former Colchester United midfielder — who made his debut for The U’s as a 17-year-old under Paul Lambert — was made possible with the intervention of former team-mate Craig Parker, and could be Jamie Godbold’s trump card in their bid to beat the drop.
For the 26-year-old will be able to recount one of the greatest ‘great escape’ tales of recent years in the dressing room to lift his new team-mates, who were understandably down in the dumps following Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Harrow Borough, which left them one place off the bottom and three points from safety.
With 12 games to go on February 27 last season, Corcoran’s St Albans side look dead and buried in the Varnarama National League South (one league above Sudbury’s current level).
But an extraordinary run of eight wins, two draws and just two defeats to take 26 points from the 36 left to play for, saw captain Corcoran’s side pull off a fairytale escape to survive by just a single point on the last day.
So, to make up the three points at his current club with seven games to play, holds no fear for the player who left Colchester aged 21 after falling out of favour in Aidy Boothroyd’s tenure for Chelmsford City, four years after he made his one and only appearance for the Essex club.
“Obviously we are down today as we played quite well, but everyone knows we can get out of it, and from what I saw today I don’t see why not,” said Corcoran following his first outing for The Yellows, which saw him thrown in for 90 minutes despite not having trained with the side since signing just ahead of the weekend’s registration deadline.
“Last year we were bottom with 12 games to go and I think 15 points off, and we won eight out of the last 10 (actually seven) and stayed up on the last day by a point. It was crazy, but it can happen.
“If you are in a bit of a rut and on a bad run, it only takes one game to get out of it.”
AFC followers are hoping that game for their club is on Saturday when there will be no love lost when third-from-bottom Hendon visit (3pm).
The fixture has a fair amount of added spice, coming the day after the Ryman League officials have said the appeal from the FA misconduct ruling findings is up, meaning they will now decide whether AFC are to be awarded the three points from the abandoned reverse fixture.
Godbold’s side had led that game at Silver Jubilee Park 2-1 in second-half injury time, before the referee halted proceedings as he was unable to regain control after a melee broke out between the two teams.