AFC Hornchurch yesterday confirmed what the rest of us have known for months- that they’ll be plying their trade in the Bostik Premier Division next season- and they did it in the style that has typified their entire campaign, walloping hosts Witham Town 6-1 to spark celebrations. Brad Walker and George Purcell made it 2-0 at the break, and although Liam Whipps got a goal back five minutes after the restart the Urchins weren’t to be denied, Purcell getting his second- and their third, Alex Bentley the fourth, Brad Walker getting his brace ten minutes from time to make it five, before Chris Assombalonga got in the act just before the final whistle. Congratulations to Urchins everywhere, but particularly to manager Jim McFarlane, currently recuperating from illness. Jim described himself in an interview with this website as “The world’s worst loser,” but the work of he and his team this season means that he hasn’t had to experience that very often!
Carshalton Athletic had their promotion confirmed by Corinthian-Casuals failure to win at Ramsgate, but at the time they were 3-1 down at home to Whyteleafe and the party had gone a little flat. A 93rd minute winner certainly livened it up again, and you can read about their triumph, and a simply magnificent game of football, HERE as it was our Bostik Matchday feature.
In the Premier Division only one of our top five sides managed to pick up three points, and that team was Dulwich Hamlet, who came out on top in a hard-fought clash with Thurrock. Ash Carew gave the home club a half time lead, but Thurrock equalised from the spot at the start of the second period- Jordan Clarke the scorer- and it looked like Hamlet would be frustrated, but they were not to be denied, and Nathan Green confirmed the points were staying pink and blue, nodding home eleven minutes from time.
Hamlet are in second place, a point behind Billericay Town. The Blues, fresh from scoring two goals in the last three minutes to draw level before winning the Velocity Trophy in extra time earlier this week, had to stage another late show against Wingate & Finchley yesterday. After a goalless first half, Reece Beckles-Richards and Sean Cronin gave Wingate a two goal lead, only for Matt Paine to reduce the arrears and then, right at the death, Sam Deering found an equaliser. The Blues remain at the summit with a game in hand over Dulwich.
Folkestone Invicta fans saw eight goals for the second time in two days, and once more were unable to leave with a victory, falling 5-3 to Dorking Wanderers after their 4-4 draw with Staines Town on Thursday. Two first half goals from James McShane and another from Giuseppe Sole, replied to by Sam Hassler for Invicta, saw Wanderers go into the break 3-1 up, and although Joseph Taylor pulled it back to 3-2 McShane and Lewis Putman made the game safe before Ronnie Dolan got what was to be only a consolation for Invicta.
Fourth place Hendon were held to a goalless draw at Kingstonian, whilst Margate, in fifth, conceded two late goals to draw 2-2 at Staines Town. Jack Evans and Liam Friend struck for Gate just before and after the break, but the deadly duo of Elliot Buchanan and Mohamed Bettamer saw the Swans come from behind for the second time in two days.
Leiston are one point behind Margate with a game in hand, and they dumped Burgess Hill Town back to the bottom of the league with two second half goals from Jack Ainsley. In seventh sit Leatherhead, rather ominously four points off the playoff places but with three games in hand, but yesterday they could only pick up a point, a goal from Jack Midson cancelling out a Tutu Henriques effort for Merstham.
Moving into mid table, Tonbridge Angels sit tenth, but they were given a lesson at Longmead, going down 4-1 at home to Enfield Town. Brad Wadkins gave the away side the lead before Alex Akrofi found an equaliser, but in the second half it was all Enfield as Aaron Greene, Sam Youngs and Wadkins once more firmly clipped the Angels wings. Met Police are eleventh, but the big story from their match at Imber Court yesterday was that visitors Lowestoft Town made themselves safe from relegation with victory, a first half goal from Armani Schaar the difference between the sides. Congratulations to the Trawler Boys, who looked to be in freefall a couple of weeks ago but have hauled themselves out of the mire.
Another side attempting to haul themselves from the mire are Tooting and Mitcham United, and yesterday they climbed off the bottom with a 1-1 draw at Harrow Borough. Kurtis Cumberbatch gave Borough the lead, but Dominic Morgan-Griffiths managed an equaliser and earned the Terrors what could be a rather precious point. With two matches to go they and the Hillians are separated by only one point.
Two first half goals gave Harlow Town victory over Brightlingsea Regent, Alex Read and Matt Foy with those, whilst Worthing boss Adam Hinshelwood celebrated a new three year contract and a marvellous turnaround to the Mackerel Men’s season with a 1-0 win over Needham Market, Joel Colbran with the goal.
In the North Division, Potters Bar Town occupy the second automatic promotion spot, but they were only able to manage a goalless draw away to Romford, a result which saw the Boro move off the bottom, to be replaced by Norwich United who lost 3-1 at Barking. The Scholars will be looking over their shoulder at third place Bowers and Pitsea, one point behind with two games in hand, after goals from David Knight, Adam Vyse and Callum Leahy gave them victory over Mildenhall Town, for who Thomas Debenham got on the scoresheet. Haringey Borough are fourth, two goals in the last two minutes brightening up the Borough fun bus for the journey home, Chinedu Mckenzie and Jordan Edwards the scorers at Dereham Town.
Canvey Island sit a further seven points back in fifth place, and two goals from Martin Tuohy gave them a first half lead which was only slightly reduced by Ricky Light for Hertford Town, whilst a last minute goal from Ryan Henshaw earned Heybridge Swifts three points and a 2-1 victory over Tilbury, which keeps them three points ahead of neighbours Maldon & Tiptree. The Jammers also recorded victory yesterday, and theirs was rather more impressive, 5-0 at previously in-form Aveley. Chris Millar, Lee Barnard and an Eoin McKeown hat trick gave them the victory.
Ware are now only three points from mathematic safety after a 3-1 victory over Cheshunt, whilst an Ollie Hughes double gave Bury Town victory over fourth bottom Brentwood Town. Cheshunt eased their relegation fears too, a 1-0 victory over Grays Athletic moving them six points clear of bottom side Norwich United, and in the other match Soham Town Rangers recorded a 2-1 victory at Waltham Abbey.
The fight for the South Division title looks like going right to the end of the season, and Lewes confirmed their lead- for now- with a 2-0 victory over East Grinstead Town, Jonte Smith and Marcus Elliott with the second half strikes. The Rooks are two points ahead of Carshalton Athletic, but the Robins have a game in hand. Cray Wanderers are third, and they demolished South Park EIGHT nil at Hayes Lane, adding symmetry by scoring four in each half. Lea Dawson, Brandon Scott, Aaron Rhule and Jay Leader scored in the first period, and a double from Charlie MacDonald was added to by Junior Dadson and Brandon Scott in the second as the Wands were quite magic!
Greenwich Borough got back to winning ways against former boss Gary Alexander at Ashford United, two Jack Barham goals giving them the victory despite Joshua Oyinsan reducing the arrears for the Nuts and Bolts, whilst Corinthian-Casuals are fifth, letting a two goal lead slip to draw 2-2 at Ramsgate. Hythe Town occupy the final promotion place, their magnificent run continuing with a 5-3 home victory over Chipstead- a result which puts them five points clear of Walton Casuals, who lost 2-1 at Thamesmead Town after taking the lead. Casuals do have a game in hand over Hythe, but after being in the playoff places all season their destiny is no longer in their hands.
Hastings United continued their great recent form but only managed a 1-0 win over bottom side Shoreham, a result which relegates the Musselmen, whilst Phoenix Sports drop to eleventh after for so long being on the coat tails of the playoff places, a 1-0 home defeat to Sittingbourne adding to their recent inconsistent form. Herne Bay are twelfth, but went down 3-1 at home to Guernsey, whilst thirteenth place Horsham fared little better, losing 3-0 at home to Faversham Town.
Finally, a point for second bottom Molesey saw them safe after a draw with VCD Athletic.