Yellows off colour as their unbeaten run is halted
Bowers & Pitsea 2
AFC Sudbury 0
Lee Norfolk described Saturday’s end to AFC Sudbury’s six-game unbeaten run as ‘a bad day at the office all-round’ and expects a reaction ahead of hosting Witham Town this weekend (3pm).
The Yellows had pushed themselves up into the top 10 after a run of form which saw them register four straight wins before a goalless draw at Tilbury was followed by toppling runaway league leaders AFC Hornchurch at King’s Marsh last time out.
But Saturday’s visit to second-placed Bowers & Pitsea saw the run end after a goal either side of the interval, with Ben Sartain breaking the deadlock in the 34th minute, followed by David Knight’s strike four minutes after the restart.
Assistant manager Norfolk felt it was a flat performance from start to finish.
“It was a scrappy game we never got going in,” he said.
“They made it difficult playing direct but the pitch was conducive to good football.
“It was poor defending for both goals and we have been defending really well of late.
“Other than Joe Whight hitting one from 40 yards, which the goalkeeper had to tip over, we did not really have a chance.
“We did not do ourselves justice and it was just a bad day at the office all round.”
Manager Mark Morsley decided to use all three substitutes just after the hour mark, with Max Booth, Will Crisell and Tom Dettmar all coming on. And Norfolk feels all three helped to stake their claim for a starting place when 17th place Witham Town visit on Saturday.
“The door may be open to one or two,” he said.
“Those players who came on had an impact and lifted the team a bit.”
The result saw Suffolk rivals Bury Town, who drew 0-0 at home to Waltham Abbey, leapfrog AFC into ninth place and leave them 10 points from the top six guaranteed play-off places.
But while the management team have not made light of the fact the play-offs is not the target this season, as they look to rebuild for a full-on promotion charge next term, Norfolk said they still want to get another run going, starting on Saturday.
“We have been on a good run so we are hoping Saturday proves to be a bit of a blip and hopefully we can go again with another one, starting against Witham.
“We want to be as competitive as we can between now and the end of the season.
“We have a lot of points to play for still and we want to finish as high up the table as we can.”
Witham beat Sudbury 4-0 in the reverse fixture just before Christmas but the AFC number two feels the Essex side, who are without a win in their last six (two draws), will be coming up against a very different proposition.
“Like Saturday, we did not do ourselves justice at Witham and we feel we owe them one,” he said.
“We are a better side than those days now as that came when we were up and down.
“We have showed more consistency of late and hopefully we can bounce back this weekend.”
• At King’s Marsh on Saturday, AFC Sudbury Reserves led promotion-chasing Framlingham Town in their Thurlow Nunn League First Division fixture until late in the game with goals from Isaac Skubich and Callum Vincent. But the visitors pulled the scores level just before full-time to take a point away with them.
The reserves, who sit in 11th, are at Downham Town on Saturday (3pm).
•AFC Sudbury have announced Kevin Keegan OBE will be the guest speaker at their Vice President’s Club’s Sporting Dinner on Friday, May 18 in the giant marquee. For information on tickets, call the club on 01787 376213.