RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Heybridge Swifts 2 AFC Sudbury 0
AFC Sudbury were left with a 12-point mountain to climb after their third successive defeat on Tuesday night.
Heybridge Swifts scored a goal in each half without reply to cement their top-five hopes and pour cold water other those of Sudbury’s, for whom it became eight league games without a win.
With 10 games remaining it is still mathematically possible for the Yellows to achieve a play-off place, but certainly looks a tall order.
Sudbury had plenty of the play, but conceded two soft goals to give the home side victory, while a stoppage-time ankle injury to top scorer James Baker did not look good for the influential striker.
Heybridge’s Reece Morgan struck the crossbar with a free-kick in the second minute as AFC weathered an early storm.
Ryan Henshaw came close to a goal for the visitors on several occasions while one corner came back off the crossbar.
A teasing cross from James Akintunde was scrambled away.
The deadlock was broken six minutes before the break when a fourth straight Heybridge corner from Danny Barber curled straight into the top corner of the net.
Sudbury had plenty of play in the second period, but the home defence held firm.
At the other end, Henshaw had another header kept out by the crossbar as the Suffolk side went all out for the equaliser.
But Heybridge made the game safe with a second goal with three minutes remaining.
It came against the run of play when a quick home counter-attack down their right flank ended when Dumebi Gb-Dumaka unleashing a powerful shot from distance, which beat keeper Alex Archer, who will be disappointed as he appeared to turn it into his own net.
In a lengthy period of stoppage time Sudbury’s disappointing night ended with striker Baker being carried off with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Henshaw, Wiklinson (Horne 90+), Shinn, Adams, Cawley, Akintunde, Clarke, Baker ( 90+) Forshaw, Thompson (Swatman 60). Unused subs: Kemp and Crisell.
Free Press man of the match: James Akintunde.
AFC bookings: Baker, Henshaw (fouls), Shinn (dissent). Attendance: 117.