Chris Smith has eyes on the East Men's League Division 1 title with Sudbury
With promotion virtually secured, Chris Smith has his sights on Sudbury going up as East Men’s League Division 1 champions, writes Alex Moss.
A thrilling 6-5 win against promotion rivals Upminster last Saturday saw Sudbury close the gap on top spot to just one point with two games to go.
With the top five all earning promotion at the end of the campaign, third-placed Sudbury can now only miss out on a top-five berth by goal difference.
Smith knows the job is almost done, but ahead of a trip to relegation-threatened Harleston Magpies II on Saturday, the Sudbury captain is focusing on finishing at the summit.
“We’re pretty much there now after last Saturday, that was an important game for us,” Smith said.
“I think one more point will secure it, but we’ve got two very difficult games to end the season.
“We’re against two teams who are both fighting to stay in the league, so we’re definitely not taking them for granted.
“We would like to go up as champions. We said it at the start of the season. We were really ambitious with what we wanted to achieve.
“We knew going in that the top five would get promoted, but we wanted to try and go up as champions.
“We’ve taken it one game at a time all season. We know that the top two have to play each other on the last day, and we’re only one point behind both of them.
“We want to go into that final weekend with everything still to play for, but to do that we’ve got to first win on Saturday.
“Harleston is a difficult place to go to, but if we can get three points then it sets us up nicely for the final game of the season.”
It was certainly a game for the neutral at the Great Cornard Sports Centre last weekend, as Sudbury and Upminster served up 11 goals between them.
Trailing 2-0 inside the first five minutes, goals from Will Chrystal and Dan Birch clawed Sudbury back on level terms, before Chrystal found the target again to make it 3-3 at the break, after Upminster had edged back in front again.
Two more goals for Chrystal in the second half, taking his tally for the day to four, and a goal from Brendan Mayers, put the hosts 6-3 up, before Upminster struck twice to set up a nervy finish.
- Sudbury IV secured third place in Division 6NE(S) after winning 1-0 away at Ipswich IV in their final game of the season.
Tim Lucas scored the only goal of the game to ensure Sudbury ended the campaign with a victory.