Jolt for champions as managers resign
KEITH PEEL AFC Sudbury manager Gary Harvey and his assistant, Michael Cheetham, will be leaving King's Marsh Stadium at the end of the season.
AFC Sudbury manager Gary Harvey and his assistant, Michael Cheetham, will be leaving King's Marsh Stadium at the end of the season.
Players and committee members were told of their shock resignations after Saturday's victory over Kirkley.
Their three years at the helm included back-to-back Ridgeons League Premier Division titles and successive FA Vase final appearances.
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“This has been the hardest decision I've ever made in football and one that I had been thinking about for some time,” said Harvey.
“I have spent 30 years in local football and the last three seasons at AFC have been exceptional - but very demanding personally.
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“My family and business interests will require more of my time from next season and it is not an option to manage this club and not be able to give the 100pc commitment this position deserves.
“After a short break from football, I will continue in my role as a director of AFC and I look forward to being involved in their future success from behind the dug-out.”
A spokesman for the club's directors said: “Naturally we are disappointed at their decision because AFC Sudbury is losing two individuals who have represented this club with distinction.
“They have both expressed individual needs to take a break from the demanding responsibilities at this level of football and we appreciate they both require time to explore other interests outside football.
“As a club we respect their decisions and we wish them every success in the future. They will always be welcome at King's Marsh Stadium.”
Sam Banya hit a hat-trick as Sudbury won 3-1 against Kirkley, for whom Ben Goddard replied.
From one match more, they stay one point ahead of Lowestoft Town, who beat Harwich 2-0 at Crown Meadow.
“Our destiny is in our own hands at the moment, so we have to concentrate on ourselves and keep our current run going,” said Lowestoft joint manager Micky Chapman, whose side have won their last nine games, five of them in the league.
“If we win all our remaining matches then nobody can catch us. That's a nice position to be in at this stage of the season, but we're under no illusions. We know we face a tough run-in with some difficult fixtures, as do our rivals, so it's still very open.”
Darren Cockrill (third minute) and Gary McGee (53rd) scored for Lowestoft, who are also still in contention for the League KO Cup, the Suffolk Premier Cup and the East Anglian Cup.
Third-placed Bury Town, now four points behind Lowestoft with a game in hand, were in FA Vase semi-final, first leg action yesterday.
They drew 1-1 with Hillingdon Borough at Ram Meadow, where Steve McGavin gave them a 12th-minute lead and Darl Craft equalised from a penalty in the 35th minute. The second leg is next Sunday.
Wisbech Town stay fifth in the table after a 7-0 spree against bottom team Clacton, the goals coming from Liam Harrold (3), Darren Jimson (2), Andy Lodge and Liam Nimmo.
Wroxham are 10th after beating Newmarket 4-1 at Trafford Park, where Lee Gilman hit a hat-trick, with Justin Fox also on target.
Diss Town, who lost 1-0 to Ipswich Wanderers at Brewers Green Lane, where Keith Hetherington scored in the 42nd minute, are 11th, ahead of Dereham Town, King's Lynn Reserves and Kirkley.
Goals from Danny Wright (2), Graham Barrett (penalty) and Joe Kerry earned Dereham a 4-2 win over Cambridge City Reserves at Aldiss Park. Lynn beat third-from-bottom Norwich United 2-0 at Plantation Park, where Luke Fell and Lee Hyde scored in the last three minutes.
Swaffham Town are sixth in Division One after a 2-0 defeat of Long Melford at Shoemakers Lane, where Hammond and Scott Vout were the marksmen.
Fakenham Town are 11th after losing 4-2 to Cornard at Clipbush Park, where Jamie McManus and Kieran Doherty were their scorers.
Yarmouth Town beat March 3-0 at Wellesley Road and are 13th, with Gorleston 18th after a 2-1 (Adam Ferguson) defeat at Whitton.
Downham Town lost 6-1 (Matt Elden) at Felixstowe and are third from bottom, just above Thetford Town, who were beaten 4-0 by Fulbourn Institute.
t Wisbech have withdrawn their application for promotion to Step 4 of the National league System at the end of the season.
They cite three main reasons - immediate agreement on a new ground move is highly unlikely, uncertainty over the number of places available within the proposed new structure and an inability to complete work required to get Fenland Park to the standard required for promotion.