Sudbury forward Craig Parker insists the Ryman North title’s not secured yet
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
AFC Sudbury could strengthen their position at the top of Ryman North tonight with victory at Maldon & Tiptree, but prolific goalscorer Craig Parker is refusing to consider title glory as a foregone conclusion for Jamie Godbold’s side.
Victory in Essex and an unlikely defeat for Harlow Town at home to third-bottom Wroxham, would see Sudbury move 13 points clear at the top with 12 games to go.
The west Suffolk side gained another valuable three points, at Thamesmead Town on Saturday, adding to their midweek home win against Tilbury a week ago.
However, those victories came after a heavy 4-0 home setback to promotion hopefuls Thurrock who, in turn, lost their next two matches – against Harlow and, more significantly, 17th-placed Witham Town.
While those defeats for Thurrock softened the blow of a damaging home loss for Godbold’s men, Parker insists the potential for an upset in the division means they can’t take finishing top as a formality.
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“There is a long way to go,” explained Parker.
“I have been around a few title races in this league and with 13 games to go, there will still be plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns.
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“We lost at home to Thurrock which was disappointing, but then they lost their next two games and that is the nature of the league as you get closer to the end of the season.
“There will be teams fighting for survival and others going for promotion and the pressure will be on. I think we will see more points dropped before the end of the season. We have just got to try and win each game.”
The recent Thurrock defeat could end up being a defining moment in the season, as Sudbury had to deal with the shock of losing, following 11 wins from 12, and produce a positive reaction.
If their last two games are anything to go by, then the scars seem to have healed pretty quickly and there has been no lasting damage.
“It was disappointing to get beaten in that manner, but we bounced back and it was vital to do that as soon as possible,” added Parker.
“I don’t know what happened against Thurrock, we didn’t deserve to win as nothing happened for us, but we have based our season on having a big team spirit.
“The manager (Godbold) and (assistant) Andy Reynolds have instilled that in us and hopefully that will keep us at the top of the division.”
Tonight’s opponents are currently mid-table, but have yet to beaten since manager Steve Ball took over the hotseat six games ago.
Ball managed Parker at Leiston and Sudbury’s 24-goal top scorer knows he and his team-mates will be in for a tough battle tonight.
“Maldon are going to be strong, tough opponents and have recently brought in Joe Francis (on-loan), who I played with at Leiston, who is a good player,” said Parker.
“Bally (Steve Ball) is a great guy and I enjoyed my time playing under him at Leiston, so it will be good to see him again.”