RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: AFC Sudbury 1 Wroxham 0: David Batch hailed his side’s ability to grind out results after they secured a last-gasp victory over his former club Wroxham on Monday.
In their third game in the space of a week, AFC made it five league wins in a row, extending their unbeaten run to 15 games in Ryman League Division One North as Jack Cawley’s injury-time volley saw the Yellows climb into the final play-off spot for the first time this campaign.
Despite not being overly impressed with his side’s performance in an even and entertaining match, which also saw the visitors’ Kieren Joseph dismissed for two bookable offences late on, the manager is aware another maximum-points haul was the main objective.
“We didn’t play very well, but we managed to grind out a result and that is all that mattered,” he said. “If we can’t win playing well then I know my players have the ability to grind out results as they’ve shown and that is important.”
After a cautious approach from both sides at the start of proceedings that saw Ryan Horne for the hosts and the dangerous Remy Gordon for Wroxham both spurn chances, the visitors came closest to opening the scoring in 36th minute.
The pace of Gordon again proved a problem for AFC as he beat the offside trap to race on to a long ball and skipped past the Yellows’ goalkeeper, who had hesitated.
However, with the goal at his mercy, Gordon could not capitalise as his goal-bound effort was superbly scooped off the line by Horne.
A similar sequence of events followed just five minutes later.
This time it was Joseph who was released and beat Archer, but just as Gordon before him, his effort was cleared off the line by Ryan Henshaw to ensure the score remained goalless at the break.
The first meaningful chance of the second half saw Matt Daniels’ powerful effort tipped over after 64 minutes, before James Baker and substitutes Michael Shinn and Steve Spriggs also saw opportunities come and go as Wroxham remained dogged in defence.
However, after Shinn saw another effort from the edge of the area flash wide with just five minutes remaining, and the sides looking set to settle for a draw, Cawley dealt the decisive blow deep into injury time.
Shinn’s free-kick from the right-hand side was only partially cleared to the left-hand side of the area where the left-back was waiting to fire a volley through a crowd of bodies and past Robert Juhasz, who could have done better.
In the aftermath of the goal, Joseph was given his marching orders for dissent, having been booked for the same offence just minutes earlier as his frustrations boiled over that the home side had snatched victory to maintain their push for promotion.
AFC: Archer 7, Mitchell 7, CAWLEY 8, Daniels 7, Henshaw 7, Crane 7, Swatman 7 (Spriggs 45 7), Clarke 7 (Shinn 60 7), Baker 8, Akintunde 6 (Thompson 60 6), Horne 7. Subs not used: Carus, Hughes. Attendance: 305.