Ugly win keeps AFC Sudbury’s play-off hopes alive

ON TARGET: Danny Charge
ON TARGET: Danny Charge
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AFC Sudbury manager Chris Tracey was more than happy with what he effectively described as an ugly win against Ware on Tuesday, saying three points is all it is about now.

RYMAN LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE NORTH

AFC Sudbury 2 Ware 1

AFC Sudbury manager Chris Tracey was more than happy with what he effectively described as an ugly win against Ware on Tuesday, saying three points is all it is about now.

The Yellows play-off charge back on track with a less-than-convincing win where an early Danny Charge strike promised a dominant game before the Hertfordshire visitors came right back in it.

But a bizzare headed own goal finally put AFC 2-0 ahead before a defensive mistake at the other end got Ware back into the game until James Baker was pushed over for a penalty he dispatched in the last minute.

Tracey, who has seen his side move from eight after Saturday’s disappointing draw to joint sixth, still outside of the play-off spots, after Tuesday, said: “I set the lads a target before the game about the points we need to achieve and I basically said to them I do not care how we get them.

“Obviously we have played some great football at home throughout the season and not necessarily got our just desserts.

“It was an awful game of football tonight, not our best performance, but plus two in the goal difference column and three points — and that is what it is about at the moment.”

AFC stormed into the lead after just two minutes when Nathan Clarke’s quick thinking set Charge off who played a clever one-two with Dave Wareham before dispatching a sweet low finish into the far corner from the left edge of the penalty area.

The home side began to move the ball around with great confidence but gradually saw their opponents’ attacks begin to outnumber their own the longer the half went on.

Sudbury goalkeeper Danny Gay gathered Murat Karagul’s low shot at the second attempt before Sam Clarke stung Ware glovesman Rhys Madden’s fingertips from 20 yards.

Gay then had to pull off a fine diving save to turn Tom Querry’s 20-yard free-kick out for a corner before Karagul lashed home minutes later only to see the offside flag rule it out.

Madden just got away with a heavy touch from a backpass with Charge running in before he was picking the ball out of his net three minutes after the restart after a communication mix-up. Danny Johnson had his head firmly in his hands after nodding the ball past Madden from Smith’s deep cross.

But it was Smith, up to that point the best AFC player on the pitch, who was at fault for letting Ware get a lifeline when he was caught in possession after 69 minutes and the ball broke for Karagul to lift a left-footed shot over the out-rushing Gay.

A nervy passage of play ensued with AFC dropping deeper, but the home side were able to wrap the three points up a minute from time from the penalty spot. Vince Rispoli was sent off after he received two contested yellow cards within two minutes when he was judged to have shoved Baker over when running on to a throughball. The striker himself dusted himself off to slot home his 20th of the season, arrowing the ball down the middle of the goal.

*FOR match ratings and match stats, see this week’s paper.