AFC Ludlow topple leaders Team Dudley 2-1 at Showtime Stadium

AFC Ludlow 2 Team Dudley 1

MANAGER Dave Cooper has told his players that AFC Ludlow’s promotion bid is back on track.

Nathan Hodge and Sam Pearson struck to shoot down table-topping Team Dudley in front of a bumper crowd at the Showtime Stadium.

Now Ludlow are fourth in the table, just three points behinds second-placed Wolverhampton Sporting Community in the West Midlands League Division Two.

But Cooper admits last weekend’s superb triumph will count for little if they crash to defeat at Warstone Wanderers this Saturday.

“It was our best result of the season after the cup win over Market Drayton Town,” said Cooper.

“I thought we played much better against Penkridge Town and lost.

“A lot of matches were called off locally because of the wet weather and we had a big crowd, in the region of 130 and 140 people watching.

“We defended very well and, if was to choose someone, it would be someone in the back-four and possibly Rob Vass. But I thought we had 14 men of the match. Aaron Hodge played at centre-half because Ludlow Town Colts did not have a game.”

Nathan Hodge put Ludlow ahead on the AGP surface after a fine ball from Pearson, who normally plays for Leominster Town.

And Pearson struck a long-range winner for the hosts with 20 minutes remaining.

Cooper explained: “Sam Pearson texted me and wanted to play because Leominster Town’s fixture was postponed on Friday night.

“We were just about to substitute Pearson when he picked up the ball and, without any back-lift, hit a rocket from 35 yards which zipped off the pitch and flew into the net.”

It was Team Dudley’s fourth league defeat of the season and the match was halted for a short time after a hail storm.

Cooper said: “We had never seen anything like it and the referee took us off the field for 10 minutes.

“The assistant-referee was wearing glasses and he could not see anything.

“We did want to come off but, at one point, I thought the dug-outs were going to be blown over.

Martin Jusko is still away, but Jake Pryce is expected to return after suspension for Saturday’s trip to ninth-placed Warstone Wanderers.

Cooper said: “Earlier in the season, we were drawing with them 1-1 and they scored twice to beat us 3-1. Our win against Team Dudley will count for little if we get beaten at Warstone.”

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