Easter weekend sports round-up: perfect six sees AFC Sudbury close in on play-off places

THERE were back-to-back wins for AFC Sudbury against Harlow Town (1-0) and Soham Town Rangers (4-1) to move Chris Tracey’s side to within two points of Grays Athletic in fifth with three games to play.

A solitary strike from Russell Pond and a series of saves from AFC custodian Danny Gay at Harlow on Saturday got Sudbury’s double-header off to the perfect start.

Soham Town Rangers were then brushed aside on Monday in front of a crowd of 272 at The MEL Group Stadium with a 2-0 lead going into the break thanks to goals from strike partners James Baker and Chris Bryan, the latter’s first for the club.

Soham pulled one back after half-time with former AFC striker Dubi Ogbonna firing in from a penalty, but Baker despatched a spot kick up the other end within 60 seconds to restore the two-goal advantage at 3-1.

A Michael Shinn thunderbolt from 25 yards capped off a comfortable home win which delighted manager Chris Tracey (see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press for reaction and player ratings).

In the Ridgeons League Hadleigh United took four points from their two games, with Stuart Crawford’s side beating Dereham Town 4-1 at the Millfield on Saturday before taking a point from a goalless draw at Haverhill Rovers on Monday to move them up to 12th in the Premier Division table.

In the First Division, Suffolk Senior Cup finalists Long Melford took maximum points to put them in the top 10 (ninth) with a 1-0 victory over Halstead Town at Stoneylands on Saturday before following that up with a 4-0 win at basement side Cornard United on Monday.

Cornard’s Saturday fixture was one to quickly forget after going down 10-0 at ttile chasers Godmanchester Rovers.

Suffolk FA are still to announce a new date and confirm the venue for the postponed Suffolk Senior Cup final involving Long Melford and Whitton United from last Wednesday scheduled for Portman Road until heavy rain fell.

In the Premier League Norwich City recorded their best away win of the season at Champions League contenders Tottenham Hotspur, beating Harry Redknapp’s side 2-1 thanks to goals from Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett sandwiched between a Jermaine Defoe strike.

The Canaries drew 2-2 at home to in-form Everton on Saturday with Jonny Howson and Grant Holt on target at Carrow Road with Nikica Jelavic twice giving The Toffees the lead.

In the Championship Paul Jewell’s Ipswich Town returned to his old club Derby County on Saturday and earned a 0-0 draw. The Blues then lost 2-1 against Leicester City on Monday at Portman Road with Dave Nugent again proving a thorn in the side of the Tractor Boys, hitting the winner after Jason Scotland had given them the lead before Ben Marshall levelled just before the break.

*FOR a full round-up of local sport including match action, reaction and previews to the week ahead, including our Talk of the Town Ipswich Town column, see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press.