DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 3
Brentwood Town 0
‘A massive three points’ and a ‘weight off everyone’s shoulders’ was how Jamie Godbold described Tuesday’s first league win of the campaign — with no hint of the news he was about to be sacked.
The full-time whistle had been met with Godbold leading a huddled arm-around-shoulders debrief with the players in the centre-circle, before subbed Tevan Allen embraced the management team as they walked off to clapping and cheers from the home support.
It all totally belied what was to follow an hour later when a statement was released by the club at 10.43pm announcing Godbold and his number two, Andy Reynolds, had been relieved of their duties.
The first 45 minutes of Tuesday’s game had encapsulated the side’s season so far, with lots of huffing and puffing but being unable to knock the door down as their superiority was unrecognised on a goalless scoreboard at the break.
But the relief around the King’s Marsh Stadium was palpable when Jake Turner blasted home in the 68th minute, before Mekhi McKenzie notched up his maiden first-team goal just four minutes later and Adam Mills finally got the goal his night deserved a minute from stoppage time.
Seemingly totally unaware of what was to follow, Godbold was adamant his side had played no better than in their previous four games, when they had sat one place off the bottom after only picking up one point following their relegation, but got their rewards, on this occasion.
“It does feel good and I think it was well deserved,” he said.
“We had plenty of chances — no more than we have perhaps created in the last three or four games, but tonight we have taken them and more pleasing was to keep a goals against column of zeros.
“We kept at it after the first half and JT has popped up with one and taken a weight off everyone’s shoulders and we were able to relax a bit after then and started hitting the target, so that was pleasing.”
He added: ‘The three points was massive tonight for many different reasons. One was to get us off the foot of the table and two for confidence and recognition that we can beat any team in this division.
“It has been a tough year but we have confidence in the players that we were never going to be where we were at the end of the season, or come Christmas. We just need a little bit of time to gel.
“I have to stop using that now though as we have had plenty of time and we don’t have many more excuses, we have got to pick up the points that our performances and us as a team and club deserve.”
Time had clearly already run out for the AFC Sudbury board though, whose minds had already been made.
After losing 3-2 at Cheshunt on Saturday, making it three straight league defeats, sandwiched between a draw and a FA Cup replay win over Mildenhall Town, Godbold made one enforced change for Tuesday’s visit of 19th-placed Brentwood, with injured striker Louie Blake replaced by Rhys Henry.
The former Needham Market player never looked at the races in the lone striker role and things started to knit together better once academy graduate McKenzie came off the bench before the half-hour mark.
Henry should have done better than steer a teasing Mills cross over at the back post in the second minute, and it was the latter who became Brentwood’s tormentor-in-chief from wide on the left.
After Freeman’s angled effort, which fizzed wide of the far post, served as a warning at the other end, it was almost all wave-after-wave of Yellow attacks, with Anthony Page beating out one Mills effort while another, following a corner, saw the summer signing whack an effort against the crossbar.
On another occasion, with Page stranded, it was a covering defender who cleared Dave Cowley’s goalbound effort away to safety.
The second half began much more open, with Allen putting another delightful Mills cross into the side netting before Paul Walker was required to push Freeman’s effort round his left-hand post at the other end.
The home contingent’s frustration was beginning to build until Turner rifled in from inside the area after the ball was played neatly between the lines of midfield and defence via McKenzie and Cowley’s telling pass.
Another Mills solo run and shot, which was spilled out into the path of McKenzie minutes later, allowed the tall striker to tuck inside the right-hand post and effectively sealed the points.
Mills went close twice more before his cross saw McKenzie’s header go over off the top of the bar, in a move where solid-looking claims for a penalty were dismissed.
But the striker got his name on the scoresheet in the 89th minute when his electric pace saw him get to a loose ball ahead of Page and clip it neatly past him into the far corner.
AFC Sudbury: Walker, Carroll, Claridge, Turner, Smith, French, Allen (Wright, 70’), Clarke (c), Henry (McKenzie, 27’), Cowley, Mills. Unused subs: Grimes, Dunlop, Peters.
Free Press Man of The Match: Adam Mills. Attendance: 143
n AFC Gold week 19 winners: £100 (236) J Smith, Catesby Meadow, Sudbury; £10 (268) L Childs, Newmans Rd, Sudbury; £10 (244) K Fairbrother, Bradford Drive, Colchester.