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Dorking, Bowers and Hayes close in on promotion- whilst Cray slip up

By Ian Townsend

Bowers, Hayes and Dorking win to almost confirm their titles- Cray slip up, but remain well ahead. It's our comprehensive round up of yesterday's action.

Dorking Wanderers continued their relentless march towards the Bostik Premier Division title, making the long trip to Brightlingsea Regent in a match which saw the same number of goals as it did red cards. The goals both went to Wanderers, Jason Prior and Tom Richards getting one in each half, whilst the red cards both went to strikers; Billy Hunt getting his marching orders for Regent with nineteen minutes remaining, before Giuseppe Sole joined him in taking an early bath eight minutes from time.

Wanderers remain eleven points clear of Haringey Borough, with only five matches left- so there is every chance that Marc White’s men could clinch the title at Tonbridge Angels on April 13th.

Borough and Angels remain the only two sides who can stop them from lifting the trophy, and both won yesterday. Borough hosted Lewes, and Coby Rowe put them ahead just after the quarter hour, but their lead lasted only six minutes as Ben Pope, who has now well and truly found his shooting boots, found an equaliser- and his fourth Rooks goal. Borough wouldn’t be denied, however, and Cypriot international Dimitrius Froxylias got the winner early in the second half. Borough also saw fan favourite Mark Kirby hit the post, as they looked to make the points safe.

Angels hoped to attract six hundred and fifty fans to Longmead for the visit of Harlow Town. They didn’t quite manage it, but the six hundred and thirty two who did turn up were treated to the site of a Chinedu McKenzie hat trick as Angels ran away with the match, the Hawks remaining four points from safety. Matt Foy got their late consolation.

Worthing are in fourth place, leapfrogging Merstham and continuing their recent form by defeating AFC Hornchurch at Woodside Road. Eight hundred and four watched the match, and they saw Kwame Adubofour-Poku give the home side the lead in the first minute, David Ajiboye double it from the spot, and Callum Kealy make it safe six minutes from time. The Urchins did get one back just before the end, Joe Christou with it, but it was too little, too late.

The Moatsiders fell to fifth, and in so doing saw Burgess Hill Town give themselves hope of yet another great escape as they did the double over Hayden Bird’s promotion-chasing side. The Hillians got three in the first fixture at the Green Elephants Stadium, but they had to be happy with two at Moatside, both coming in the second half and both coming from Tommy Wood. That sees Hill move to within five points of safety- although they have a vastly inferior goal difference to fourth bottom Wingate & Finchley.

Carshalton Athletic could have jumped above Merstham- and into the playoff places- with victory at Corinthian-Casuals, and the odds were on them doing just that, given they were unbeaten in thirteen matches and had five straight victories to their name. Casuals had no respect for statistics, however, and defeated their former South Division promotion rivals when Majed Osman got the only goal of the game five minutes from time.

Carshalton are two points behind the Moatsiders, and Leatherhead are a point further back after winning by a single goal at Enfield Town. Ibrahim Olutade headed it home after twenty three minutes, and it was a double-blow for Enfield Town, who not only lost the match but went three points behind their visitors, slipping to eighth- six points off fifth spot.

A Mason Walsh double saw Bognor Regis Town move level on points with the Towners, as well as stopping the Wingate & Finchley revival in its tracks. The Summers Lane Blues had won their last two matches to climb out of the bottom three, but had to play most of this match with ten men after the dismissal of Donovan Makoma midway through the first half, and could hold out only until the seventieth minute. Walsh got his second five minutes later and it was game over.

The good news for Wingate was that Whitehawk couldn’t take advantage of their slip up, or of the fact that Bishop’s Stortford arrived at the Enclosed Ground only ten minutes before the scheduled kick off and with only three substitutes. It was our featured match- and you can read about the Hawks 2-0 defeat HERE. .

Potters Bar Town are two points clear of Wingate & Finchley, and five clear of that final relegation spot- but the gap should perhaps have been more, as they lost a two-nil lead by conceding two goals as the match entered its dying embers. Folkestone Invicta were the visitors, and after Nana Kyei and Bradley Sach had put the home side two up it seemed a long way ack for the stripes. They rescued themselves, however, with two goals in a minute, the first coming from Ira Jackson three minutes from time before Adam Yusuff gave them what had seemed an unlikely point.

Finally, Margate continued their magnificent form with victory over Kingstonian. Noel Leighton got the only goal of the game on nineteen minutes.

North Division

Who can stop Bowers & Pitsea’s inexorable march to the Bostik North title? It would seem that the answer to that question is “nobody”- and one more point, at home to Dereham Town next weekend, will do it as Rob Small’s men went fifteen points clear with only five matches to play. In truth, given their goal difference is more than double that of their nearest rivals they don’t just have one hand on the trophy, they have nine fingers- and they picked up their usual victory yesterday, Brad Warner getting the only goal of the match at Soham Town Rangers, one minute from time.

Maldon & Tiptree, in second place, needed victory yesterday to give themselves even a slim chance of picking up the trophy, but they fell to a three-two defeat at Felixstowe and Walton United. The Seasiders fell behind after just five minutes, Matt Briggs with the opener for the Jammers, but they were ahead before the break, an own goal and a Jack Ainsley penalty doing the damage. Liam Hillyard made it three-one on the hour, and although Laste Dombaxe pulled a goal back that was the last goal of the match. Felixstowe are up to eighth.

Heybridge Swifts are up to third, but they left it late at home to bottom side Romford. With ten minutes left it was one-one, a Reece Hewitt spot kick for Romford equalising Elliot Ronto’s early goal for Swifts, but in the last nine minutes Swifts got two more, Matt Price getting a double. Romford remain nine points from safety.

Fourth place Coggeshall Town had to come back from behind twice at Great Wakering Rovers. Firmin Ngandu gave Rovers the lead just before the break only for Conor Hubble to level matters, but Rovers lead was restored through Shomari Barnwell. They couldn’t hold onto it, however, Nnamdi Nwachuku scoring from the spot to guarantee the Seed Growers a playoff place from their first ever Step Four campaign.

Another side who guaranteed their playoff place was Aveley, but they did it due to an AFC Sudbury defeat as they were beaten at home by Tilbury. An Ollie Spooner double sandwiched a Lewis Smith goal for the Dockers, their three-one victory only slightly marred by Sam Bantick’s goal for the Millers.

AFC Sudbury were falling to defeat at a much improved Dereham Town. The Magpies have been on a magnificent run of late, and second half goals from David Hinton, Rhys Logan and Shaun Wones earned them a three-nil victory which, although leaving Sudbury in sixth, ended any mathematical chance they had of breaking into the top five.

Bury Town are seventh, goals from Emmanuel Machaya and Ollie Hughes giving them the points at Barking, whilst Grays Athletic came from behind at Basildon United to end the day in ninth, Robinson Wokoma and Jacob Hutchinson cancelling out and then overturning Callum Taylor’s goal for the Bees.

Brentwood Town and Mildenhall Town shared the points- and four goals- at the Arena, Jarid Robson getting two for Hall, John Easterford and then Quba Gordon getting a late equaliser for the home side. Hall are seven points from safety.

Witham Town are the side with that seven point gap, although they lost yesterday, Zack Littlejohn getting a last minute winner for Canvey Island.

South Central

Hayes and Yeading are another side with all but perhaps half a finger on the title. Victory at FC Romania yesterday saw them remain seventeen points clear of a Bracknell Town side who have six matches remaining- although the Robins are also hamstrung by a goal difference a whole forty-four goals less than their rivals, despite having an excellent goal difference themselves.

The Robins had a tough match at Marlow yesterday, but came out winners due to Joe Gater getting the only goal of the game, whilst Hayes got two late goals to slay the Wolves, Lee Barney and Tommey Connor finding the net in the last twenty minutes of the match. Hayes could clinch the title at home to Chipstead next Saturday.

Cheshunt climbed above Marlow in the fight for home advantage in the playoffs, but they had to come from behind to take a point at Bedfont Sports. Brian Moses put the Ambers ahead in the very first minute, only for Jordan Sarfo to equalise eleven minutes later. Charlie Postance then put the home side ahead after the break, only for Shane Cojocarel to equalsie six minutes from time.

Fifth place Westfield took an early lead at home to Hanwell Town, George Frith scoring after fourteen minutes, but Ollie Duffy got the equaliser for Hanwell Town just before the break, and that’s how it remained. That’s not good news for Field, as sixth place Ware closed to within a point of the final playoff place with a 4-1 hammering of Chalfont St Peter. Albert Adu and Dave Cowley got two goals each, with Michael Kalu getting the consolation for the Saints.

Danny Bassett’s goal- the only goal of the game- gave Tooting & Mitcham United victory at Uxbridge and kept them in the playoff hunt, four points behind Westfield in seventh, but Waltham Abbey saw their hopes take a hammering at relegation-threatened Molesey, Dre Grobler and Ashley Lodge giving the Moles a 2-0 victory and moving them to within two points of now third-bottom Hertford Town. Town picked up their second point in two matches with a 0-0 draw at Chipstead, but that saw them leapfrogged by South Park, who won 2-1 at Ashford Town. Harry Pollard gave Sparks the lead before the break, only for the Tangerines to hit back straight after it through Samad Kazi. Ryan Healy’s goal fourteen minutes from time gave the away side a four point gap over second bottom Molesey, and a two point gap over Hertford- but the Moles have two games in hand over both of their rivals.

Egham Town are twelve points from safety but gave themselves an unlikely lifeline yesterday, Anthony Thomas and Brandon McCarthy scoring the goals that gave them victory at Northwood. That was the Sarnies first victory since 24th November- perhaps they don’t actually need a manager and can cope with just two Assistants?!

South East Division

The unthinkable happened yesterday- Cray Wanderers lost! A Harry Stannard goal twenty minutes from time was the only goal of the game at Whitstable Town, and saw the Oysterboys join Horsham and Hastings United as one of only three teams to inflict defeat on Wands in the league. Cray are now ONLY ten points of both second place Hastings United and third place Horsham, as both picked up three points yesterday.

Hastings hosted Ramsgate, and not only got three points but scored three goals. Bradley Stevenson got the opener after nine minutes, and United were two up by half time, Daniel Ajakaiye doubling their advantage. Ajakaiye got the third, too, six minutes from time.

Horsham also got three points and three goals, at home to Sevenoaks Town, but they also conceded one. A Rob O’Toole double sandwiched an effort from Chris Smith, with Adrian Stone getting Oaks consolation three minutes from time.

A point further back we find Ashford United, who also scored three goals. Jay May, Jake McIntyre and- of course- Danny Parish found the net, easily overcoming a Guernsey side who now find themselves deep in relegation trouble, only a point ahead of Greenwich Borough- we’ll come to that later!

Our final playoff place is filled by Haywards Heath Town, but they are now only six points clear of VCD Athletic as Vickers walloped their visitors at Oakwood. A double from Charlie MacDonald and a third from Ali Fuseini maintained the home side’s playoff hopes.

Hythe Town are in seventh place, but their playoff hopes now hand by a thread after they were walloped by the Wasps yesterday, East Grinstead Town finding the net five times at College Lane. Gregory Cundle and Mitchell Chapman gave the home side a two goal advantage only for Kieron Campbell and Zak Ansah to draw the Cannons level, but Cundle then put the home side 3-2 up before the break. After the interval Cundle got his hat trick and Ollie Boulding another as Wasps swept aside resistance to record a marvellous 5-2 victory.

Whyteleafe are eighth, but any lingering playoff hopes they may have harboured are as good as quashed after managerless Herne Bay defeated them 2-0 at Church Road. Ronald Sobowale and Tahjae Anderson got the goals, following the news that John Embery and Jermaine Darlington had left the club. Anthony Deer took the team and so far has a 100% record.

A Connor French double gave Three Bridges victory over Phoenix Sports, whilst Greenwich Borough remain in the one relegation place but gave themselves a lift with a two-one victory over Sittingbourne. Rhys Paul and T T Walter got the goals, with Billy Lewins- we believe- scoring for the Brickies. That leaves Borough only one point behind Guernsey and four behind Faversham Town in the fight to stay up.

Where next?

Bay managers depart- and club may follow Herne Bay managers walk away- and club contemplates its very existence, blaming 'social media trolls.'
Bostik Matchday: Hawks host a bride, but end up the bridesmaids Whitehawk gave us entertainment galore- off the pitch. On it, they had all of the play. But none of the goals.

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