Millers go three clear as Rams held

By Ian Townsend

Cray Valley extend their lead, City make it eight wins in a row, Bridges open up a two point gap in fifth, and we’ve wins for Ashford, the Bears, The Ites and Sports

Cray Valley PM stretched their lead at the top of the Pitching In Isthmian South East table to three points, with closest rivals Ramsgate held by third place Sittingbourne. The Millers welcomed Sevenoaks Town to the Artic Stadium, and went ahead early on, Danny Waldren taking his total for the season to nine by scoring after just six minutes. The Oaks didn’t give up, however, and the levelled ten minutes before the break, Jerald Aboagye with the equaliser- but the winner arrived seventeen minutes from time, Freddie Parker, who had been on the pitch for only five minutes, earning his side three points. Cray Valley still have only one league defeat this season- Oaks are down in eleventh.

Second place Ramsgate had a nightmare start in front of one thousand, four hundred and thirty three fans at Southwood, visitors Sittingbourne going ahead after just two minutes, Chris Harris making the breakthrough. Twenty one minutes later the Brickies- and Harris- did it again, going two-nil up, but they had sixty seven minutes to hold on against the most potent attack in the Division, and they couldn’t quite manage it. Five minutes after the break the Rams got a goal back, and, of course, it was Joe Taylor who got the goal- this one, from the spot, his forty fifth of a rather remarkable season. The equaliser arrived twelve minutes from time, Joe Turner delivering it, and neither side could grab a late winner. The Rams slip to three points behind the Millers- and the match between the two on the coast on Saturday 13th April is looking more and more like it might decide the outcome of the title.

The Brickies are fifteen points behind the leaders in third, but perhaps more importantly for them at this point eleven points clear of sixth place Lancing.

Chichester City have opened up a six point gap between themselves and sixth place after another victory, this one over Littlehampton Town. Josh Clack put City ahead on fifteen minutes, Jimmy Wild added a second on sixty four, and that was their eighth win in a row- and, perhaps even more remarkably, their ninth successive clean sheet. The Golds are just above the drop zone, seven points ahead of Erith and Belvedere.

Image- Neil Holmes.

Three Bridges opened up a two point gap in fifth place- and made it nine matches unbeaten- by winning a five goal thriller at Burgess Hill Town. Bridges went ahead after just three minutes, Tressor Difika with the opener, and went two goals up just after the start of the second half, Ibrahim Jalloh with the second. Hill then found their feet, getting a goal back just after the hour through Tahjae Anderson, and quickly levelling through Jake Goodman. It was a case of next goal wins, and the next goal arrived three minutes from time, Callum Donaghey giving the visitors three possibly crucial points. Six hundred and seventy six were in attendance.

We had one lunchtime match, as Horndean welcomed Lancing. The Deans were hoping to get back to winning ways following their defeat to Sittingbourne, and prior to that had three wins from four, whilst the Lancers had fallen out of the top five after a run of one win from six, and had conceded eleven goals in their last two matches- and really couldn’t afford another defeat if they were to reignite their promotion hopes. As the match approached half time goalless, there was finally some action- but not the kind of action we might have liked, as deep in added time three players were dismissed after a mass confrontation, Daniel Howick and George Taggart for the visitors, Connor Duffin for the hosts, ten v nine for the second half.

It took until sixteen minutes from time for the expected Horndean goal to arrive, Zack Willett with it- but the nine men weren’t done, and they managed an equaliser in added time, Lucas Franzen-Jones scoring his twenty fourth goal of the season. Lancing are sixth, two points behind fifth place Three Bridges having played a game more.

Herne Bay’s promotion hopes took a hit as they fell to defeat at Ashford United, falling three points behind fifth place Three Bridges as a consequence. Thomas Penfold and Josh Bayliss gave the hosts a two goal lead before Michael Salako’s twenty fourth of the season got the visitors back into the game just before half time. The visitors chance of a comeback ended eight minutes from time, Max Walsh adding a third for the hosts who are only one place- albeit ten points- behind their seventh place opponents.

Broadbridge Heath got back to winning ways with victory at Merstham. The only goal of the game arrived on twenty two minutes, Jamie Chesworth with it, and as a consequence the Bears are ninth- after a fabulous run of six wins (and a draw) from eight matches. The Moatsiders are fifteenth.

Sheppey United ended a five match losing run with a comprehensive victory over Hythe Town, Cannons manager Steve Watt announcing an end of season departure after this loss. Jerson Dos Santos was the Sheppey star, scoring their first and third goals on twenty nine and sixty six minutes, a Connor Wilkins goal on fifty six minutes the Ites second. Nine hundred and sixteen turned out to watch, as Sheppey leapt above their visitors into tenth. It appears there will be no late run to the play offs for Hythe this season, as they are now fifteen points away from the top five and have only two games in hand.

Phoenix Sports did their survival hopes a power of good- but did those of hosts Beckenham Town no good at all. Becks went ahead after just three minutes at Eden Park Avenue, Finley Roberts with his fifth in his last four matches, but Sports were quickly level through Denzelle Olopade, and the same player then got what proved to be the winner after only nineteen minutes. Sports are nine points above the drop zone, Becks ten points from safety.

East Grinstead Town and Erith and Belvedere played out a one-one draw, a better result for the hosts than their visitors as it maintains the seven point gap between the clubs. The Deres broke the deadlock on sixty eight minutes through Matt Holmes, but only six minutes later the hosts levelled, Glenn Wilson earning them a point. The Deres are second bottom, not only seven points from the Wasps but seven points from safety.

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Where next?

Cannons boss to depart at seasons end Steve Watt announces an impending Hythe Town departure
Bad weather and the Chats delay the Urchins party once more Chatham get four, Horsham win by the odd goal in NINE, Towners and Wingate win with three, whilst Robins, Billericay and Hastings still hope for a top five finish after victories. The Tags hit Borough for five

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