We were hoping to bring you an extensive programme of football tonight, but it seems that what we ended up with was a limited programme of football and an extensive collection of mud. A move to summer football, anyone? Here’s our round up.
Billericay Town’s attempt to jump back to the top of the Premier Division was postponed early on, as Longmead, home of Tonbridge Angels, was declared ‘unplayable.’ The match has been rescheduled for Thursday 22nd March. Lowestoft Town v Wingate & Finchley was next to bite the dust- oh, were it only dry enough to create dust- before Burgess Hill Town v Dorking Wanderers, after being confirmed on at lunchtime, was then postponed at 5.30 PM after a localised downpour- see the headline image to understand why that decision was made.
That left us with only two top flight matches, as Merstham entertained Hendon and Thurrock faced Tooting & Mitcham United.
Hendon top scorer Niko Muir had been having a lean spell by his standards, five matches without a goal, but it took him only twenty minutes to put the Greens ahead at Moatside. Merstham weren’t downhearted, however, and were level six minutes before the break, Simon Cooper with the goal- and that’s how it ended, leaving Merstham in thirteenth place whilst Hendon go two points clear of Staines Town in fifth.
Thurrock left it right to the last moments of the first half to take the lead, Charlie Stimson the scorer, but they held the lead for only ten minutes as Peter Wedgeworth equalised from the spot. The Terrors found their rearguard breached again, however, Joel Nouble putting the home side back in front with twenty minutes to go, and it got worse for the away side when Stimson got his second eleven minutes before the end. Ronnie Winn then sealed the, er, winn with a fourth for the home side with five minutes to go, three points which saw them up to twelfth place- and left Tooting six points clear of Burgess Hill in second bottom, although the Hillians now have four games in hand.
In the North Division we quickly lost Norwich United v Hertford Town, and that was joined by Tilbury v Haringey Borough around an hour before kick off. That left us with second place Bowers and Pitsea facing bottom side Romford, fourth place Canvey Island entertaining Essex rivals Brentwood Town, and the Scholars of Potters Bar Town taking on Heybridge Swifts- who would be only a point behind Bowers and three ahead of Potters Bar were they to win their games in hand!
Canvey got the first goal of the night in the fourth minute of their match, Ryan Charles cutting in from the right and finding the bottom corner of the Brentwood net with his left foot from the edge of the area. Brentwood then kept them out for almost half an hour, when George Craddock was able to take advantage of a deflection and double their lead, and that’s how it remained at the break. Just before the hour mark Sam Collins made it three-nil, Frankie Merrifield made it four with ten minutes to go, and Martin Tuohy scored the fifth three minutes before the end.
Swifts took the lead at the Pakex in the twentieth minute, Matthew Price with the goal, but Ben Ward-Cochrane snatched an equaliser twelve minutes later before the away side went down to ten men, with the dismissal of Jack Cawley. Unabashed, however, Swifts regained the lead just before the interval, Price once more the scorer. The man advantage began to tell in the second half, and after the Swifts woodwork was hit twice Lee O’Leary brought the home side level just after the hour- but it looked as if the ten men would hold out for a point until, right at the end, up popped Michael Murray to give all three to the Scholars and move them into fourth place.
It took twenty five minutes for the inevitable to happen at the Len Salmon, Lewis Manor putting Bowers ahead, and Jamie Dicks doubled the lead for the home side four minutes later. Manor then got his second just after the hour, and then collected the match ball with his third- and Bowers fourth- in the seventy first minute, as they close the gap on leaders AFC Hornchurch to still seemingly-unassailable eleven points.
South Division postponements began yesterday, with Shoreham v Guernsey called off after Middle Road became Middle Puddle, whilst Molesey v Herne Bay succumbed this morning. Sittingbourne versus Walton Casuals and the visit of third place Carshalton Athletic to South Park did go ahead, however- and although both games got to half time goalless, there had been three within twelve minutes of the restart. Athletic got two of them, Omar Koroma and Tommy Bradford giving them a distinct advantage, whilst Walton Casuals went ahead at Sittingbourne through a Harry Mills penalty. Youseff Bamba doubled Casuals advantage four minutes later, and that’s how it ended as Casuals leapfrogged Cray Wanderers into fifth place- and perhaps more importantly increased the gap between themselves and seventh place Hythe Town to seven points.
Koroma made it 3-0 to the Robins in the 63rd minute, and although Chris Smith managed two in three minutes for the home side just before the end Carshalton held on to move into second place, three points behind Lewes who play tomorrow (hopefully).
We also had a match at Imperial Fields, as Dulwich Hamlet used their new (hopefully temporary) home, courtesy of their good friends at Tooting & Mitcham United (there’s a phrase you thought you’d never read, all power to the Terrors stripy elbows) for the first time, as they took on Metropolitan Police in the Semi-Final of the Velocity Trophy. Ninety minutes saw no goals, and we went to penalties, where the Boys in Blue triumphed 4-1. Congratulations to Met, who will face Billericay Town in the Final at Aveley (where, incidentally, Billericay will face Dorking Wanderers on Thursday).
Image courtesy of Burgess Hill Town social media.