AFC Sudbury face Brentwood Town in Ryman North Premier play-off tonight

James Baker celebrates a goal for AFC Sudbury

James Baker celebrates a goal for AFC Sudbury - Credit: Archant

AFC Sudbury will be one game away from the Ryman Premier Division, should they overcome Brentwood Town at the Wardale Williams Stadium tonight (7.45pm).

The Yellows finished third at the end of the regular Ryman North season and entertain the Essex side who finished one position and five points behind Jamie Godbold’s in-form team.

The winners of this one-leg shoot-out will face the victors of tonight’s other clash between runners-up Harlow Town and fifth-placed Thurrock, on Sunday.

The final will be played at Harlow should they progress tonight, but if AFC and Thurrock go through, the shoot-out will be held at Sudbury.

Runners-up in the FA Vase for three consecutive seasons during the last decade, AFC motored to the end-of-season play-off lottery, despite mid-season managerial upheaval – David Batch leaving for St. Neots and being replaced by Kirkley & Pakefield boss Godbold.

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Guided by caretaker manager Danny Laws in the interim period, AFC were just inside the play-offs on Godbold’s arrival, but that position was strengthened dramatically with the incoming boss leading his new charges to 10 wins and two draws in his first dozen league games.

“The change of manager made the boys come closer together and Jamie (Godbold) has enhanced what we had with a few additions,” said Baker.

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“After the manager (Batch) left, the boys just came together in that period and we discussed what we wanted to achieve from the season.

“We are very excited about the game on Wednesday and it would be nice to return to the Premier Division, having played there with Braintree.

“The club has spent quite a few years at this level but the signings that have come in are all capable of playing at a higher level and that shows a real intent from the club.

“There are a lot of good things happening at the club with the new pitch (the club has just submitted plans to the district council to lay a new pitch) and the clubhouse has been ready to host a higher level of football for the last five years. Hopefully we are getting it right on the pitch too.”

Normally a striker, Baker is likely to start in central defence for Godbold’s side tonight and has become an integral part of the AFC backline this season.

“It’s been nice to play there although I wasn’t sold on the idea at first,” added the club’s top scorer for the past two seasons.

“I was put there a few times and then it became more of a permanent thing and it’s been fantastic because the team have been winning games.”

AFC (from): Garnham, Robinson, Kemp, Berquez, Mitchell, Baker, Henshaw, Newby, Clarke, Callander, Paker, Blackwell, Rymer, Coley, Kerridge, Kemp, Johnson.

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