Weekend round-up: Nathan Clarke salvages draw for AFC while Sudbury rugby have to call off

AFC Sudbury rescued a vital point in their play-off chase at home to fellow promotion-hopefuls Redbridge on Saturday, with defender Nathan Clarke firing in a dramatic 88th minute equaliser to cancel out a first-half strike.

The result, in front of 225 at a rainy MEL Group Stadium, leaves Sudbury in 6th and now three points adrift of Grays Athletic in 5th ahead of a massive away game at 4th-placed Tilbury on Saturday (3pm).

Sudbury Rugby Club’s Suffolk Cup game with Colchester, set for Whittome Field on Saturday, had to be postponed due to Suds not having enough available forwards due to injury.

In the Ridgeons League Long Melford’s pursuit of a top 10 finish in the First Division, to guarantee a spot in next seasson’s FA Cup, suffered a blow after they were defeated 1-0 at Downham Town.

Cornard United’s hopes of avoiding finishing bottom of the league were not helped by neighbours Halstead Town suffering a shock defeat to strugglers Stowmarket Town at Rosemary Lane, the Gold and Blacks winning 2-1 in front of a crowd of 43.

Hadleigh United lost 2-0 at home to title chasers Wroxham (attendance 82) in the Ridgeons Premier Division, while Cornard were without a game in the First Division, though face leaders Thetford Town at home on Saturday (3pm).

In the hockey Sudbury Mens’ first team beat Dereham II 4-2 to keep them in second position, four points behind leaders Ely who have played a game less as the season draws towards its conclusion (Sudbury have two games left to play).

The womens’ side drew 0-0 away at St Ives to leave them third bottom, but eight points ahead of basement dwellers Norwich City with two games remaining.

In the Premier League football Norwich City have dropped to 13th in the table after a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle’s St James Park on Sunday, with Papiss Cisse’s first-half strike proving the difference.

Meanwhile, Ipswich Town continued their impressive recent home run by beating East Anglian rivals Peterborough 3-2 at Portman Road to leave them 15th following Aaron Cresswell’s late winner, his first for the Blues since switching from Tranmere in the summer.

Ipswich host Burnley, who drew 0-0 with Cardiff on Sunday, at Portman Road on Wednesday, where our columnist Russell Claydon will be doing a lap of the pitch in a Norwich City strip to raise money for Sport Relief (you can sponsor him at: my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/canaryforaday ).

*FOR a full round-up of local sports results, including match action, reaction and previews to the week ahead, as well as our regular Talk of the Town Ipswich Town column, see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press.