Home play-off semi-final now back in AFC’s hands

ON TARGET: Luke Callander opened the scoring at Waltham Abbey on Saturday
ON TARGET: Luke Callander opened the scoring at Waltham Abbey on Saturday

AFC Sudbury are back in the driving seat, with third place advantage in the Ryman League Division One North play-offs in the players’ hands.

Brentwood Town’s shock 3-1 home defeat on Tuesday in their game in hand with relegation-threatened Barkingside leaves AFC’s challengers three points adrift, both having two games to play.

AFC need one point to be mathematically certain of a play-off place, but manager Jamie Godbold is looking for two victories to make sure of third place and a home play-off semi-final.

Redbridge, battling against relegation, are the visitors to the Wardale Williams Stadium on Saturday (3pm), for the final home league game of the season, and Godbold is warning his players not to be complacent.

“In this league anyone can beat anyone,” he said, “Brentwood’s result showed that. The players shouldn’t think they only have to turn up to win the game.

“If we don’t turn up in the right fame of mind we could be in for a similar shock.”

With no disciplinary worries - yellow cards will now bring bans next season - and no injury worries - “the play-offs must be just round the corner” - Godbold has a full squad to pick from for the first time since his arrival in January.

“It’s a good position to be in,” he said. “I can pick what I think is the right team to go on and win.”

His sights are set on victory, both at home on Saturday, and at Soham the following week. “There are no excuses now if we don’t finish in third place,” he said. “After Tuesday it is back in our hands.”

AFC put themselves in a strong position with their 4-1 win at Waltham Abbey on Saturday, and Godbold praised his players for bouncing back in style after the Easter Monday defeat at Brightlingsea Regent.

“They are a resilient group of players,” he said. “They held their hands up and accepted that the performance at Brightlingsea wasn’t good enough.

“But they bounced back in style with a fantastic result and some great goals. ”

He hopes for a bumper crowd on Saturday. “Their support does make a difference, and it would be good if they can see us get over the line,” he said. “It’s the last home league game, but hopefully not our last home game.”