DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 1
Waltham Forest 0
Chris Tracey believes Lee Townrow will grab his second chance at the club with both hands after returning in AFC’s third straight win on Tuesday.
It was the first time the Yellows have strung three victories together in the league this season and has seen them rise into the top 10 for the first time since October 6.
Utility player Townrow came on as a 67th-minute substitute on Tuesday, his first appearance at the club since being booted out by former manager Nicky Smith for a stamp that saw him red-carded in February 2011, having scored eight times from 21 appearances that season.
Current boss Tracey, whose job as assistant it was at the time to tell the players at training the former Halstead Town player would not be returning, said: “He has been away for a couple of years now and he is a good player.
“He suits Ryman League football and can play in several positions, which is a benefit to the team.
“He became available (from Stanway Rovers) and wanted to come back to Sudbury to show people he is not this bad boy after what happened last time.”
The 27-year-old finished Tuesday’s game, sealed with Leon Antoine’s 11th league goal from 21 games in the first half, as a centre-back but can also play central midfield, right wing, right back or as a striker.
Midfielder Ben Bowditch, the younger brother of MK Dons striker Dean Bowditch, has subsequently been released after Tracey said the player, who played six times for Colchester United in 2004/05, no longer featured in his plans.
Bowditch, who turned 29 on the day he was told of his release on Tuesday, made 13 league appearances, scoring four goals.
Tuesday’s game was an uninspiring affair, played in very cold and foggy conditions.
AFC keeper Alex Archer was rarely troubled as he kept his second consecutive clean sheet, despite the visitors superior second half possession.
The decisive goal came from AFC’s first corner after 18 minutes when Michael Shinn’s delivery found Rhys Darg, whose close-range header brought a reflex parry from Ramos Chico and Antoine fired the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Playing on the counter in the second half, the nearest AFC came to doubling their advantage was when Antoine’s right-wing cross just eluded Townrow at the far post within two minutes of coming on.
AFC travel to seventh-placed Witham Town on Saturday (3pm) before hosting league leaders Maldon and Tiptree on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Ahead of expecting a tough game in Essex, Tracey believes they have nothing to fear against Maldon and Tiptree, whose seemingly unassailable lead now looks less so after a shaky recent run.
“I do not think they will win the division, I think they have blown it,” he said, with Grays Athletic able to cut the 10-point gap to four if they win their games in hand.
“We have nothing to lose against them (Maldon) and they have everything to lose.”
AFC Sudbury: Archer, Henshaw, Martin, Shinn, Darg (D’eath 89), Cutts, Maina (Townrow 67), Pond, Baker, Antoine (Brown 90+1), Cowley. Unused subs: Dalby, Sloots.
Free Press man of the match: Robbie Martin.
AFC bookings: Townrow (tackle).