After ten consecutive victories, Premier Division leaders Haringey Borough had perhaps their toughest test yet. Yes, they were playing Merstham, who had defeated Borough’s title rivals Lewes and Dorking Wanderers in their last two fixtures.
The Moatsiders did their very best to burst the Borough bubble, too, leaving with a point and stopping the Haringey run- although Tom Loizou’s men remain four points clear at the top of the league. Ralston Gabriel gave the Coles Park Bell End something to shout about in the tenth minute, but the always impressive Walter Figueira equalised just after the half hour, and whilst Anthony Mcdonald put the yellows ahead once more midway through the second half the lead lasted only five minutes, Kershaney Samuels equalising.
Dorking Wanderers were looking to bounce back from last weekend’s Moatside hammering, and they had the tough prospect of Meadowbank’s first ever Mole Valley derby, Leatherhead the visitors. One thousand, five hundred and twenty nine turned up to watch, and most left happy as Wanderers scored twice in the second half to claim the points, Guiseppe Sole and James McShane with the only goals of the match. Wanderers go second.
Enfield Town came into their match with Potters Bar Town at the Pakex yesterday on the back of three straight victories, and they moved up to third place by making it four. The match sprung to life in the first nine minutes with two goals, Sean Bonnett-Johnson opening the scoring for the Scholars only for Muhammadu Faal to equalise almost immediately. And then the scoring stopped until right before full time, when Town defender Mark Weatherstone made the difference, following up after two saves from Berkley Laurencin and a shot against the woodwork to fire home.
Worthing got back to winning ways after three consecutive defeats, a goal from Ollie Pearce and an own goal making the difference as they defeated Corinthian-Casuals 2-0 to move up to sixth, but seventh place Bishop’s Stortford weren’t so fortunate, as Brightlingsea Regent won their third match in a row- and their fifth from the last six. It took until the very last minute for the deadlock to be broken by Aaron Condon, who was at the centre of all the action, having already had a goal disallowed for offside and been the recipient of a tackle from Ryan Henshaw which had seen the Stortford man sent off. Congratulations also go to Jake Turner, who was making his 250th appearance for Regent.
Former leaders Tonbridge Angels looked unbeatable in the opening weeks of the campaign, but those days seem an awful long time ago, and yesterday they lost for the seventh time in eight matches as they fell to defeat at Carshalton Athletic. Tommy Bradford, a volley from Christie Pattisson and an own goal made the Christmas period a rather sad time for these Angels, as the Robins moved to within a point of their visitors in tenth place.
The last time AFC Hornchurch had tasted victory in the league was on 2nd October, when they’d scored four against Folkestone Invicta. Yesterday, at the thirteenth attempt, the Urchins finally found form once more, and scored another four goals. Victory didn’t look likely when Emile Aqcuah and Matt Foy put hosts Harlow Town 2-0 up, but then Sean Marks stepped up, pulling one back just before half time and adding two more in the second half. Jay Porter got the other for Hornchurch, but Marks will take the plaudits.
Bowers & Pitsea have lost only one league match this season, and yesterday they picked up their thirteenth victory when walloping four goals past Great Wakering Rovers. Three came before the break, David Knight, Martyn Stokes and Ben Sartain making the second half a thankless task for Great Wakering Rovers- although the promoted side would point out that they drew the last forty five minutes, Brian Moses grabbing their goal after Brad Warner had made it four-nil.
Maldon & Tiptree remain second, but they failed to keep pace with the leaders, and are now seven points behind Bowers after becoming the latest side to fall victim to the Witham Town resurgence. Sam Ashford scored the only goal of the game as Town, who are now unbeaten in six, recorded their fourth victory of that period; a run which has seen them climb to sixteenth.
The clash between the bottom two went the way of Soham Town Rangers, a Callum Russell goal immediately after the interval sending Rangers two points and three places above the Magpies, who haven’t managed a victory since 3rd November.
Our other two matches ended in draws. At the Arena Tilbury must have thought they had the points wrapped up against Brentwood Town, Oliver Spooney and Mitchell Gilbey giving the Dockers a two goal lead which they still held as the game entered its last three minutes. But Harry Doyle then delivered a thirty yard strike, and deep into added time Quba Gordon got the equaliser.
Mildenhall Town were twice ahead against Felixstowe and Walton United, but the game ended 3-3 at Recreation Way. Miles Powell put the Seasiders ahead after just six minutes, but that lead lasted for only three more as Thomas Debenham equalised, and then five minutes before the break Abouhadje Kouassi put the home side in front. Their lead didn’t last until the interval, however, as Rhys Barber found the net, but four minutes after the restart Jarid Robson struck to make it 3-2 Town. Joseph Bloomfield was able to equalise once more for Felixstowe, and the points were shared.
We’ve absolutely run out of superlatives for Hayes and Yeading United, so we’ll stop trying. Yesterday Hanwell Town, who last weekend were walloping Ashford Town, suffered an almighty walloping of their own- indeed they were properly ‘Yeadinged,’ conceding NINE goals in front of their own supporters. The side from the Skyex are the leading scorers in the top nine levels of English football, having now scored sixty-nine league goals in just sixteen matches, but none of these statistics will be of any consolation to the Geordies.
An Elliot Benyon double made it 2-0 at half time, and then just after the break Scott Bridges made it three. Harry Tamplin pulled one back, and then the floodgates opened, as Josh Chamberlain got one, Duncan Culley got two, and Lee Barney got a hat trick. Hayes are only two points clear at the top of the division, but have three matches in hand over their closest pursuers.
Marlow climbed back up to second place, goals from Junaid Bell, Adam Richards and Marcus Mealing more than enough to see off Northwood, whilst Cheshunt are up to third- although Craig Edwards’ men could only manage one point against Hertford Town, despite taking a first minute lead through Dave Kendall. Jay Lovell equalised before half time, and then Ben Ward-Cochrane put Town ahead. Mark Hughes found an equaliser, and then found a red card four minutes later, as the Ambers were frustrated.
Waltham Abbey slipped to fourth, a double from Albert Adu giving Ware the win despite a Christian Assombalona equaliser.
Sixth place Ashford Town travelled to Bedfont Sports and conceded four goals for the second weekend in a row. You can read all about the afternoon’s proceedings HERE, as it was our Bostik Matchday feature, but Sports got two goals, a red card, and then got two more, whilst the Tangerines managed to hit the woodwork three times in their pursuit of their hosts.
Tooting & Mitcham United are seventh, Stefan Ilic opening the scoring at Imperial Fields- but they couldn’t hold onto their lead, and an improving South Park grabbed an equaliser through Liam Harwood, which lifted them a point above Egham Town at the bottom. The Sarnies, under new management duo Dickson Gill and former Sparks boss Mick Sullivan, saw their side fall to a Chiduben Onokwai double, the FC Romania striker scoring for the fifth match in a row. He now has eleven goals in his last ten games.
Third bottom Molesey fell to a Tom Tolfrey goal for Chipstead, the on loan Dorking Wanderers striker scoring the only goal of the game at Walton Road to hand the Chips victory, whilst the match between Uxbridge and Chalfont St Peter ended goalless.
South East Division
Cray Wanderers are the English Paris St Germain, now eleven points clear at the top of the South East Division. Yesterday they had to grind out a result at Sevenoaks Town, but the mark of a good side is their ability to do that, and Freddie Parker’s goal two minutes from time was enough to send the points back to Hayes Lane.
Hastings United, in second, didn’t play- whilst Whyteleafe remain third, losing their chance to close the gap- and losing the game- at Three Bridges. There were five goals, and all of them came in the last thirty five minutes.
Toyo Adeshina gave Bridges the lead, but only for two minutes, Matthew O'Donoghue equalising. Eight minutes from time George Gaskin made it 2-1 to the home side, but that lead also lasted two minutes, Bryan Akongo levelling once more. Then, in the very last minute, Brannon O’Neill grabbed the winner. Bridges have now won six of their last seven, drawing the other, and climb to eighth place.
Another Sussex side who don’t know when they’re beaten at present are Haywards Heath Town. Yesterday was their seventh match in a row without defeat, but they’ll be disappointed to get only a point after turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead only to concede a last minute equaliser. Hosts East Grinstead Town were first out of the blocks, and goals from Gregory Cundle and Drew Cooney gave them a 2-0 advantage, but by half time they were 3-2 down, Karl Akehurst, Callum Saunders and Byron Napper the architects of a wonderful comeback. But in the very last minute of the match Cundle got his second for the Wasps, firing home from the spot to ensure that the spoils were shared.
Hythe Town got back to winning ways, a goal in each half from Zak Ansah and Kieron Campbell enough to defeat Whitstable Town, whilst a Jake Mackenzie goal have Ramsgate three points against visitors Faversham Town.
Finally, Sittingbourne lost a five goal thriller- but they’ll still be wondering how, as they were two goals up over Herne Bay after just twelve minutes. David Smith and Henry Woods gave the Brickies that advantage, but a Jake Embery penalty gave Bay hope before the break, and in the second half Ronald Sobowale and Connor Wilkins sent the points back to the Kent coast.
Sittingbourne are now only three points above their visitors.