Loss proved to be the catalyst
Ollie Berquez feels a heavy defeat to their title rivals Thurrock was the best thing that could have happened in AFC Sudbury’s title quest.
Since that 4-0 embarrassing home drubbing on January 30, Jamie Godbold’s side have embarked on another impressive run of form — stringing together five straight wins.
It has seen the Yellows stack up an 11-point advantage over Thurrock, after they won on Tuesday and Harlow Town lost one of their two games in hand, at the summit of the Ryman League Division One North and they look strong favourites to be lifting silverware on their way up a step of the football pyramid.
“We got beaten quite heavily by Thurrock and that was a bit of a wake-up call that we needed to treat every game on its own merits and get back to basics,” said veteran midfielder Berquez. “The management have always been preaching one game at a time and a professional approach, but I think we just got outplayed and outfought and were second best all day.
“It has made us aware now that we have got to be on it every game.
“We have bounced back with five straight wins now and that shows good qualities.”
But ahead of hosting another of the teams at the opposite end of the table, in bottom side Redbridge on Saturday (3pm), the 35-year-old is confident they will make sure the chances of slipping up are minimal.
“Barkingside (1-0 home win) proved a couple of weeks ago that these teams can be hard to break down and you have to go into every game in this league with the right approach; that you will have to fight for the points.”
The oldest statesman of the team, Berquez has won three league titles, including winning promotion to the Conference with Canvey Island in 2004 and will be passing on his experience to a largely young squad of how to see out the job.
“At the moment we know we are in a good position, with the points difference.
“But the mentality of the squad is we are just taking it one game at a time, though we are positive at the same time.
“We cannot go into the last 10 games looking at the prize or worrying about what other teams are doing, or it could hurt us.”
n The Free Press’ long-serving AFC Sudbury correspondent Pat Arbon is recovering in hospital following a stroke that has affected movement down one side, but he remains alert and able to communicate clearly. Everyone at the SFP wishes him a speedy recovery.
n AFC Sudbury’s kitchen has been awarded the top rating by district council officers.