A DIRTY streak in the AFC Sudbury ranks is threatening to derail their play-off push.
But manager Nicky Smith is not prepared to let ill-discipline go unpunished, with Lee Townrow’s second red of the campaign, for a stamp at home to Waltham Abbey, seeing him moved on from King’s Marsh.
On Tuesday, Smith, an Essex-based police officer, had no argument with winger Dave Wareham being given his marching orders against Needham Market - their fifth red of the campaign. And he felt that, yet again, a red card might have cost them precious points when the play-offs get under way in May.
“He reckons he had a go for it but it was a disgrace really and if you go double-footed on the keeper there is only one option for the referee. No, I am not happy, some of the sendings off have been appalling.
“I am disappointed; Turning points in games - Lee Townrow gets sent off against Waltham Abbey, turning point, lose game to them. Dave Wareham - we then lose the game, you are talking potentially 4-6 points dropped.”
And those two examples could be argued to be the tip of the iceberg, with a further three red cards and 54 yellow cards this season holding AFC back from achieving their potential - yet the worst record in Division One North goes to Maldon & Tiptree with 12 red cards.
Striker Lee Townrow is the first to leave the club for showing unacceptable discipline, but Smith would not hesitate to dispense with more players, if he felt they had also stepped over the line.
Speaking about the Townrow decision, which has led him to playing winger Daniel Emmanuel up front, he said: “I can’t accept what he has gone and done, if you are stamping on players and giving dissent to the referee after games have finished you just can’t tolerate it. I’m not going to accept it.”
Speaking about the 3-2 loss to league-leaders Needham Market, he said: “I am disappointed, very disappointed.
“At 1-1 with the sending off, it was a ridiculous sending off, he deserved to go for that challenge and it killed us really.
As well as the Dave Wareham red against Needham, Smith also felt their defending let them down.
“Defensively we are not strong enough, we did not clear the ball, our keeper did not come for the ball and we have to score three or four goals,” he said.
But the Yellows’ chief believes his players can take heart from the performance on Tuesday, ahead of two must-win games, if they are to keep their play-off push alive, at third-placed Wingate & Finchley on Saturday (3pm) and against Redbridge (18th) at home on Tuesday (7.45pm).