Any two from three for the play offs, any one from two for the drop

By Ian Townsend

Horsham and Billericay win- and Wingate lose- in the battle for fourth and fifth, whilst at the bottom only goal difference separates Cheshunt and Margate for the prize that no-one wants

Cup winners Chatham Town welcomed fifth place Horsham. The Chats are just about confirmed in second or third, whilst the Hornets were only three points ahead of Billericay Town with a game in hand, so had far more to worry about. It was the visitors who made the breakthrough, Reece Myles-Meekums with the opener on twenty minutes, and they doubled their advantage four minutes into the second half, Daniel Ajakaiye making it nil-two. Three minutes later the visitors added a third through Jack Mazzone, and although the Chats got a goal back in added time through Danny Kedwell the Hornets had three crucial points, and remain three points ahead of Billericay Town with two games left- they could confirm a play off spot with just a point at Cheshunt in midweek, although that’s a match which is rather important to their hosts, too!

Carshalton Athletic saw their play off hopes depart last weekend, but they knew that they could still have an impact on the chances of their visitors, Billericay Town. The visiting Blues started the weekend three points away from fifth place Horsham with two matches left- the Hornets also having a game in hand- so were aware that a defeat might virtually end their chances. It was the Robins who went ahead on twenty six minutes, Charlie Kennett with the opener, but the Blues hit back in the early stages of the second half, Moses Emmanuel with the equaliser. Three minutes from time Alfie Cerulli, so often Billericay’s main man, restored their hope with what turned out to be the winner. The Blues remain three points behind Horsham, but are now also three points behind Wingate & Finchley, who play at Carshalton next weekend.

Margate absolutely had to defeat fourth place Wingate & Finchley to keep their battle against relegation alive, whilst the visitors needed just one point to confirm a play off spot. The opening goal arrived on forty seven minutes, and it sent the home crowd wild, as Jeremiah Pinder put Gate ahead- which, coupled with news that Cheshunt were behind, saw hope echo around Hartsdown Park, but the sound echoing around the stadium was silence only a minute later, as Ruben Carvalho levelled. Gate knew how much they needed victory, and they regained the lead on sixty eight minutes, Ben Greenhalgh’s fourteenth of the campaign making it two-one- a lead they held. They are now behind Cheshunt only on goal difference, but the Ambers have a game in hand- and that goal difference is substantial.

Cheshunt welcomed Canvey Island, hoping for three points which would virtually guarantee their Premier Division status- but will have been concerned that the visitors had suddenly found form, defeating Champions Hornchurch and Potters Bar Town over the last week. They looked right to be concerned when Sam Higgins scored for the third match in a row to give the Gulls the lead on seventeen minutes, and it got worse for the Amber faithful when Higgins added a second seven minutes later. The hosts got a goal back with fourteen minutes to go, perhaps spurred on to greater endeavour by news of the scoreline from Margate, Nathaniel Orafu halving the arrears, but it was the visitors who got the next goal, Rob Girdlestone making it three-one five minutes from time. That was that, and the Ambers are out of the bottom four only on goal difference- albeit with a game in hand.

Hastings United saw third place Enfield Town travel to Pilot Field. United have had a fine season, but have fallen just short of fulfilling their play off dreams, whilst the Towners knew that another point would secure their place in the end of season finale, and that three points would take them closer to securing home advantage. The Towners broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half, Jake Cass with the opener, and the lead was doubled on sixty three minutes when Sam Youngs got his twenty seventh of the season, this one from the spot. The third arrived in added time, Lewis Taafe with that one, and Town are confirmed as play off qualifiers, and they could secure a home play off with victory at Whitehawk in midweek.

Relegated Concord Rangers played host to Whitehawk, the Beachboys having improved markedly since relegation was confirmed- and they opened the scoring five minutes into the second half, Fred Agyemang with the opener. The Hawks snatched a point in added time, Kai Jennings with the equaliser- that’s six games unbeaten for the visitors.

Cray Wanderers played their last ever match at Bromley’s Hayes Lane, Wands moving into their very own Flamingo Park in the summer. It promised to be a rather emotional day, and the first emotion for the home fans was joy on seven minutes as Nyren Clunis put them ahead against Bognor Regis Town, but the next emotion was rather different, Tommy-Lee Higgs quickly levelling, and eight minutes before the break Jasper Mather put the visitors ahead. The Wands party was certainly spoiled when Craig Robson added a third just before the hour, and fourteen minutes from time Alfie Bridgman added a fourth for the Rocks. There was no mercy from the visitors, and in added time Mather made it five-one. That was how it ended, Bognor thirteenth, Wands down in seventeenth. Rocks fans were certainly in party mood- our image comes from Dion Sampson.

Folkestone Invicta hosted Dulwich Hamlet, and the visitors were quickly out of the blocks, Josh Shonibare putting them ahead after just four minutes and Danny Mills adding a second only seven minutes later. Hamlet looked to be running riot when Ryley Scott made it three on twenty six minutes, but Invicta quickly got a goal back through Seidou Sanogo- his eighth of the season. It was two-three with sixteen minutes to go, Ed Allsopp scoring for the hosts, and the equaliser arrived five minutes from time, David Smith with the sixth goal of the afternoon. That was that, a point each the outcome.

Kingstonian and Haringey Borough met in a match between two relegated sides, and it was Borough who made the breakthrough, Mekhi Leacock-McLeod putting them ahead on fourteen minutes. The second goal of the match also went to the visitors, Olu Dorojaiye making it two-nil from the spot just before the break, and when Leacock-McLeod added a third there was no longer any doubt about where the points were heading. Borough are up to twentieth, the K’s will finish bottom of the table.

Lewes boss Tony Russell announced his end of season departure in the run up to this match, whilst Hashtag United looked to bounce back after cup final defeat- and it was the Tags who made the breakthrough, Max Cornhill breaking the deadlock on twenty three minutes. Lewes levelled just after the hour, Bradley Pritchard making it one-one, and ten minutes from time Olu Ogunwamide completed the turnaround to put the Rooks ahead. That was how it finished, Lewes up to seventh after a fourth win in a row.

Potters Bar Town and champions Hornchurch went ninety minutes without managing a goal, but the Urchins hope of a one hundred point finish are still alive as they got a winner in added time, Lewis Manor -of course, formerly a Scholar- making the difference.

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Where next?

Millers and Rams hit four- whilst the Brickies guarantee third, and Becks survival hopes remain in the balance Littlehampton hit four to secure safety, Bridges and Bears win late, Ites get three, and Becks make it ten points from twelve- but survival remains out of their hands. Sitingbourne and Lancing are also victorious
Highlights: Ramsgate 2 Cray Valley PM 2 Ramsgate come from two down to snatch a draw- but the Millers look to have the smallest of advantages in the title race

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