Key run of games on the AFC agenda
AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold has stressed the importance of picking up wins during what is a crucial run of fixtures for his side.
Following last week’s defeat at home to promotion chasers Havant and Waterlooville, The Yellows have embarked on a run of four games against sides all below them in the Ryman League Premier Division table.
AFC were seconds away from winning the first of those crunch ties at the weekend, as they led Hendon 2-1 before the match was controversially abandoned deep into second-half stoppage time following a clash between the two sets of players.
And after last night’s trip to Leatherhead was postponed, Godbold’s men now prepare for a home clash with Merstham this Saturday (3pm).
“I think we recognised it after the Havant game,” the Sudbury boss said. “We’ve got a run of games against teams below us and right behind us in the table, and we’ve started it off with three points hopefully.”
The final outcome of AFC’s abandoned game at Hendon is to be decided between the Football Association and the Ryman League.
Godbold is hopeful that ‘common sense will prevail’ and AFC will be awarded the three points, with first-half goals from Ryan Henshaw and Craig Parker having helped his side lead 2-1 before the referee called the game off seconds before its conclusion.
Kevin Maclaren, who was sent off for Hendon during the incident leading to the abandonment, and has since left the club by mutual consent, received the most significant punishment, a factor that according to the Ryman League’s rules could work in Sudbury’s favour.
Rule 8.3.4 states: ‘In the event of a match being abandoned due to the conduct of one club or its members or supporters, the board has the power to order that the match is not replayed and to award either one or three points to the club not at fault.’
AFC are currently 16th in the Premier Division table heading into the weekend, eight points adrift of the top half, but also just six points clear of the relegation zone.
“If we can come away with three wins from this run of games we’ll be looking up instead of down,” Godbold said.
“The lads responded well on Saturday after the Havant game. We were good value for the two goals and we showed good character in the second half when they came back at us.
“I would say I was pleased to come away with three points but I can’t say that. It’s best to wait for the verdict now and until it’s 100 per cent sorted out.”
Erkan Okay and Jordan Blackwell are both two to three weeks away from returning from injury, while Jack Wilkinson (hamstring) is set to return after a spell on the sidelines.
n AFC Sudbury academy starlet Tyler French, 17, has been invited to Premier League side Crystal Palace for a three-day trial this week, which got under way on Tuesday