AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold agreed with his Bury Town counter-part that Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in the A134 Derby at Ram Meadow was a fair reflection, despite the champions having the better chances to win the game late on.
After mid-table Bury, having gone into the game on the back of five straight defeats, surprisingly dominated the first half against their rivals, who clinched the championship with a 1-0 win at Tilbury on Saturday.
Ex-AFC striker Ollie Hughes’ 36th minute header, for a 1-0 lead at the break, was the least they deserved from the opening 45 minutes.
But AFC showed their quality in the second half, soon equalising through Luke Callander’s scrappy 52nd minute finish with the striker going closest to winning the game at the death with his chipped effort over Neil O’Sullivan coming back off the foot of the post before he put the rebound wide, while former Bury loannee Joe Maybanks passed up a great chance with the goal gaping.
But Godbold, whose side can set a record points total for the Ryman League Division One North should they win at Phoenix Sports in their penultimate match on Saturday (3pm), felt satisfied with what his side were able to take out of the last league derby for some time, with the sides set to be a division apart for their next campaigns.
“Yes, it probably was a fair result over the course of the 90 minutes,” he said.
“They probably edged the first half; Marcus (Garnham) was far too busy for my liking.
“But we were the dominant team in the second half. We hit the post and I thought we were the ones that were going to go on to win the game. But a draw was probably fair result.
“It was always going to be a strange game, having won the championship on Saturday.
“But like we said in the changing room, we want to enjoy the remaining two games of the season. And the only way we will do that is by working hard and winning football matches and putting a shift in.
“I was pleased with a point and it keeps a really good away record intact.”
AFC’s unbeaten record on the road stands at 14 games ahead of the trip to xxx tomorrow, last losing at higher-league Haringey Borough (3-1) in the FA Trophy on November 14.
Their last league away defeat was on October 10 at Thurrock - 17 games ago - in a 5-1 defeat.
And Godbold was pleased with the way his side reacted to going in behind at the break in Wednesday’s derby.
“They scored at a good time for them. They deserved their goal,” he said.
“Marcus kept the ball out of the goal on three or four occasions, but we managed to regroup at half-time and sort a few things out.
“I don’t think they entered our half too many times in that second half.
“Cally (Luke Callander) hit the post at the end.
“We kept probing and Joe Maybanks had two good chances in the last 10 minutes when he came on but it was a strange game with a strange atmosphere.
“We have not played without any pressure for a while now and it was kind of about how we would react to that.
“But it was obviously a great position to be in.
“But, like I’ve said, we will enjoy the next two games if we still put in a shift.”
Champions AFC Sudbury will have to wait until their last game of the season, home to second-placed Harlow Town a week on Saturday (3pm) to lift the Ryman One North trophy.
But they could get captain Sam Clarke (leg) back before then, despite the midfielder not making a planned appearance from the bench on Wednesday after feeling uncomfortable in the warm-up.
Godbold said, along with regular left-back Jack Wilkinson (knee), he would not rush him back though, if he feels tomorrow’s game is too soon.
* Don’t miss this week’s Suffolk Free Press print edition for a picture special on AFC Sudbury capturing the title, while you can watch a video of their title celebrations here