DIVISION ONE NORTH
AFC Sudbury 0
Soham Town Rangers 1
Robbie Mason is hoping his side can grow from finally being rewarded for a hard-working display, following their 1-0 victory at rivals AFC Sudbury on Tuesday.
In many ways it was a perfect away display from his side, as they soaked up pressure from the hosts, who rarely threatened Josh Pope, before snatching victory with a goal on the break, finished by Craig Gillies shortly after the hour mark.
“It was a tough game,” said Mason. “They had a lot of possession but didn’t get anyone running in behind us.
“We worked hard for it and I knew we would have that chance.
“We had four or five clear-cut chances in the first half, and I said to the lads at half-time to keep doing what we do best, and get it out wide and put balls into the box as we have got a big lad in there, and he ended up hitting it in from the six-yard box.”
The win ended a run of three straight league defeats — including Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Grays Athletic — to leave The Greens 15th in the table, ahead of hosting 17th place side Tilbury on Saturday (3pm) before the side currently above them, Witham Town, on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“It is a great three points for us, especially with the last two games,” said Mason.
“With Grays, we were arguably on top for half the game. Again, we had the more clear-cut chances, but our mistake led to their goal.
“It was nice to be on the other side of it tonight.”
“I had the table up in the changing room and said ‘that is very important now’.
“We have six or seven teams around us that have a game in hand on us and we need to start climbing.
“Sudbury aren’t a bad team. They are a young team who have had a big change around but they play football and we have to take a lot out of that.”
With an unchanged starting XI from Saturday, Josh Pope made a good low early save at his near-post from AFC’s Max Booth, but it was the visitors who looked the more likely to open the scoring early on.
Joe Carden drew a save from Sudbury goalkeeper Paul Walker, while Lee Chaffey could not direct a free header at goal and Walker then had to beat out Jon Kaye’s effort, all inside a frantic opening 15 minutes.
Sudbury began to dominate the ball but could not find a killer ball, while Soham players were on the receiving end of a flurry of cards as the referee looked to clamp down on back-chat.
Just before the break, Joe Walker had to clear off the line from Joe Bennett.
The second half saw fewer chances as Sudbury’s probing failed to yield any rewards.
But Soham always looked dangerous on the counter, and it was from one such move that they scored what proved to be the game’s only goal as Joe Carden carried well before seeing his shot pushed out by Paul Walker, only for Gillies to gobble up the rebound.
While defensively Soham were limiting chances to long-range efforts, substitute Marcus Hall should have wrapped things up in the 82nd minute, but dragged his shot wide.
There was almost late drama when Billy Holland’s effort following a corner had to be hacked off the line by Will Gardner.
Mason kept a new signing, in former Clapton forward Aundre Wholas-Spencer, on the bench, but said he can have a big part to play for the club
“He has moved up here from Clapton and he has good experience,” he said. “He has come out of Luton (Town academy) and he has a few goals.
“Tonight I didn’t want to risk it but he will get his chance and will be another great addition to the squad.”
Soham: Pope, Mochalski, Gardner, Endacott (c) (Hobbs 58’), Chaffey, Norman, Carden, Kaye, Gillies (Hall 77’), Clayton, Bennett (Russell 90’). Unused subs: Wholas-Spencer, Conway.
Journal Man of The Match: Craig Gillies.