NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Player-coach Groves in the goals as Soham enjoy success at Sudbury ahead of FA Trophy test

Player-coach Lloyd Groves left scored once at the wrong end and twice at the right end as Soham Town

Player-coach Lloyd Groves left scored once at the wrong end and twice at the right end as Soham Town Rangers won at AFC Sudbury. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Assistant boss Erkan Okay believes there is currently a major buzz around Soham Town Rangers.

The Greens climbed back into the Isthmian League North Division top-eight with an exciting 4-2 success at AFC Sudbury last Saturday.

It was a victory which featured a hat-trick of sorts from Rangers player-coach Lloyd Groves who struck twice at the right end after scoring an own goal during an eventful second half.

Lewis Clayton put Soham ahead early on but his effort was soon cancelled out by the hosts. Groves then gifted AFC Sudbury the lead just after the hour but then levelled four minutes later.

Strike ace Sam Mulready completed the Rangers turnaround before Groves struck again to seal the points.

"I felt we were good value for the win," said Okay, who was part of the Rangers team. "The own goal that put Sudbury ahead in the second half really brought the game into life.

"Getting back level so quickly was crucial and that gave us the momentum to go and get another great win.

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"Beating a decent footballing side away from home on their 3G pitch - and coming from behind to do it - is really pleasing.

"The atmosphere around the club is really good.

"There is a real determination to make things better on and off the pitch and that's exciting for the future."

It was a particularly sweet success for Okay as he suffered a career-threatening cruciate ligament injury at the same ground back in 2017 when playing for AFC Sudbury.

Soham were then beaten 3-1 on penalties at Histon in the Velocity Trophy on Tuesday after a 1-1 deadlock.

Rangers led through a full debut goal for teenager Josh James while their side also included Alfie Connor following the midfielder's return from a spell at St Neots Town.

Defender Lee Chaffey and midfielder Marcus Hall were also involved after lengthy injury lay-offs.

Rangers are bottom of their group with one game - at home to Ware on November 5 - to go.

They have a much more significant cup clash this Saturday when travelling to higher-level St Ives Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy, 3pm.

Okay admits the Greens will be underdogs for the all-Cambridgeshire clash against a Saints side struggling in the Southern League Premier Division Central.

"It looks St Ives are having a tough season," added Okay. "They are clearly struggling for form, but they are still an established Step 3 club and it will take a huge performance from us to get through."