AFC Sudbury utility man Lee Townrow has been booted out of the club after stamping on a player against Waltham Abbey.
And the subsequent departure of Dubi Ogbonna this week, after just three games, has left AFC short on players, with Nicky Smith living up to his word of taking a tough stance on discipline.
The Essex-based police officer has sent a warning out to his squad he will put behaviour on the pitch over his side’s chances of promotion, leaving the club with just two recognised strikers - one being 17-year-old Liam Whittaker - after Ogbonna moved to King’s Lynn.
A better financial package is said to be behind the coveted Nigerian’s short-lived stay at AFC, which saw him score a blistering strike on his debut before finding himself on the bench against Waltham Abbey, where Townrow, his replacement after returning from suspension, was shown a straight red.
Sudbury manager Smith was unavailable for comment this week, but captain Sam Clarke told the Free Press losing former Halstead Town top-scorer Townrow will have a big impact, but they must respect the decision and move on.
“He is a big personality in the changing room and everyone got on with him,” said Clarke. “But on the pitch (against Waltham Abbey) he let everyone down, he stamped on someone and got sent off, which could have cost us the points.
“The gaffer spoke to the chairman and they were not pleased with what he did and released him.
“At training on Tuesday, Smudge (Nicky Smith) was watching Brentwood-Tilbury, but Lurch (assistant Chris Tracey) had a chat with everyone and said the club could not tolerate it.
“He would have been suspended for five games and there are only 14 left. The boys are a bit upset, but it is one of those things.”