Cementing fifth position is key for play-off chasing Suffolk side AFC Sudbury
Goalkeeper Marcus Garnham says AFC Sudbury have no excuses as they aim to cement the Ryman North’s final play-off spot in the remainder of the season.
The Yellows have been on the verges of the play-offs for the majority of the campaign, and currently sit just three points and three places off the top five positions in the Step 4 division.
Sudbury are one of three teams sat on 42 points – a list that includes a Thurrock side who have played fewer games than their play-off rivals and Ware, who upset Sudbury’s Suffolk rivals Needham Market at Bloomfields last month in a 1-0 victory.
Dangerous duo Dereham Town and Soham Town Rangers are only a point behind on 41 points, while Brightlingsea Regent, who triumphed 1-0 at Sudbury on Boxing Day, are now just two points behind the Yellows after rapidly climbing up the league table.
“I think it’s really important to try and get into that fifth spot as quick as possible and maintain some distance between ourselves and the rest of the teams chasing it,” said Garnham, who joined forces at the Wardale Williams Stadium from Ryman Premier Division strugglers Bury Town earlier this season.
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“We have had a few distractions in the cups but they are gone now so we can concentrate on the league and have no excuses.”
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Brightlingsea Regent saw the in-form visitors take the points as Ollie Canfer decisively struck in the 88th-minute to frustrate Sudbury.
In an end-to-end encounter, James Baker had a fifth-minute chance to give the hosts a lead but, with goalkeeper Andrew Plummer beaten, his shot was cleared off the line.
Phil Kelly (twice) and Ben Newson went close for Regent, while David Batch’s Sudbury were unlucky when Jack Wilkinson’s corner hit the top of the bar and Ben Robinson’s dipping shot was expertly saved by Plummer.
Terry Rymer was then denied a goal against his former club of whom he top scored for in three of his four seasons at the Essex club.
Garnham did well to deny Amir Berkane from giving Regent the lead with 12 minutes to go, but the on-loan Bury goalkeeper was finally beaten with two minutes remaining, Canfer lashing home from the edge of the box.
Sudbury now travel to Needham Market on New Year’s Day, the start of a crucial three-match run which also sees fixtures against play-off rivals Ware and Soham Town Rangers.