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AFC Sudbury boss Marc Abbott aware side needs ‘a bit of a miracle’ to beat the drop in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central





AFC Sudbury boss Marc Abbott admitted his side need ‘a bit of a miracle’ to survive in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central but still believes they can get the job done.

The Yellows, who occupy the final relegation spot in the table, find themselves seven points from safety after their 3-0 loss at table-topping Needham Market on Monday, and 18th-placed Hitchin Town’s 2-1 win at already-relegated Berkhamsted.

The defeat to their Suffolk rivals came after they were beaten 4-2 at home to St Ives Town on Saturday, in which goals from Jacob Pinnington and Josh Allen were not enough for AFC to get a result at The MEL Group Stadium.

New AFC Sudbury signing Simeon Jackson takes on Jacob Lay Picture: Steve Screech
New AFC Sudbury signing Simeon Jackson takes on Jacob Lay Picture: Steve Screech

Sudbury need to win three of their remaining four matches to stand a chance of beating the drop, and could be relegated as early as Saturday, if they were to lose at home to 10th-placed Coalville Town (3pm) and Hitchin took three points at Leiston.

“We understand the toughness of the situation,” said Abbott, speaking after his side’s loss on Monday.

“I’ve still got belief in this group that we can do it. I think we looked fragile on Saturday and against Needham, but we’ve played against two good teams.

Luton Town loanee Jacob Pinnington drives at Tommy Smith in Sudbury’s defeat at Needham Market Picture: Steve Screech
Luton Town loanee Jacob Pinnington drives at Tommy Smith in Sudbury’s defeat at Needham Market Picture: Steve Screech

“On Saturday, we’ve got to be harder to beat and more resilient in the tougher moments.

“Is it impossible? Absolutely not. Do we need a bit of a miracle? I think so.

“I had a good chat with St Ives’ manager Ricky (Marheineke) on Saturday. He was in a similar position where he needed points, and needed to win, and he won four of his last six, including a last-game win at Tamworth.

“But we’ll keep going and ultimately the players who want to turn things around and want to get us through the season will be the ones that are playing on the pitch Saturday.”

Simeon Jackson battles with Dan Morphew. Picture: Steve Screech
Simeon Jackson battles with Dan Morphew. Picture: Steve Screech

After a quiet first half on Monday, which saw them 2-0 down at the break, after goals from Adam Mills and Seth Chambers, Sudbury created Needham more problems in the second period and tested their ex-goalkeeper Marcus Garnham on three occasions.

Simeon Jackson took a quick free kick that set Ben Hunter on his way however, with options left and right, his shot from just outside the box was beaten away, before Callum Page cut in from the left and unleashed a curling right-footed strike, but Garnham was also equal to the former Marketmen attacker’s effort.

Striker Joe Neal tried to catch Needham’s ‘keeper off guard at his near post, after the hosts added a third via Dylan Williams’ 25-yard stunner, but again Garnham batted away Sudbury’s effort on goal.

Post-match, Abbott acknowledged that the visit of Coalville on Saturday will be labelled as a must-win game.

He said: “We beat a good Coalville team away 3-0 when we had Adam Mills in the team, and that was an outstanding performance. We’re going to need something very similar.

“They’ve picked up under a new manager, and a good manager, who is very tactical and they’re going to be a good side. It’s going to be a very tough game again but one that we have to get points from.

“It’s going to be a very exciting end to the season, we hope, but we need to show a greater version of what we can produce over the next four games.”