A one hundred percent record, a Manager of the Month Award, eight goals in midweek and Rob Tolfrey making his record five hundred and fifty eighth appearance- before kick off today Kingstonian had much to celebrate. They were celebrating again after just eleven minutes against Brightlingsea Regent as Gus Sow opened the scoring from the spot, but Regent have been in good form and weren’t going to lie down, and Charlie Durling drew them level eleven minutes after the break. Daniel Ajakaiye restored the lead eighteen minutes from time- the seventh of the season for the former Hastings United man- and Jason Banton made sure with a third eight minutes from time as the K’s end the day two points clear.
Headline image courtesy of the K's.
Enfield Town, who started the day in second, were on the road, travelling to Lewes. The last time the Rooks had defeated the Towners was back in March 2015, but they went ahead in this one, Bradley Pritchard breaking the deadlock after twenty seven minutes. It was two eleven minutes before the break, Joe Taylor doing what Joe Taylor does with his sixth of the season, and then three- Taylor Maloney putting proper daylight between the sides five minutes from half time.
Early in the second half Mo Faal got a goal back for the visitors, but it was soon wiped out as Killian Colombie made it four for the Rooks, who are up to seventh.
Folkestone Invicta, in third at start of play, welcomed Horsham. Only Enfield Town had managed to take anything from Invicta so far this season, whilst the Hornets were beginning to find their sting, unbeaten in four matches in all competitions- and they stung first in this one, too, Shamir Fenelon opening the scoring on fifty eight minutes.
Invicta had won the last seven matches between the two, and they weren’t lying down in this one, Ian Draycott equalising only two minutes later, and then they made it two-one nineteen minutes from time, David Smith with his fifth of the season. That was that, and Invicta are second.
Haringey Borough had quickly put opening day defeat to Kingstonian behind them, winning every match since to start the day in fourth. They hosted a Corinthian-Casuals side full of confidence after knocking Worthing out of the cup in midweek. Borough won the last two meetings between the clubs, but this Casuals side weren’t going to lie down and took the lead nine minutes from time through Alfie Bendle- and that turned out to be the only goal of the game, Casuals first league win of the season giving them much to celebrate.
Margate, starting the day in fifth, had been great at the back but not scored very many at the other end- although perhaps put that right when scoring four at Thame United in the cup in midweek, Jake Embery getting a hat trick. The Blues hosted a Leatherhead side who picked up a welcome cup replay win on Tuesday, and it was the hosts who went ahead eleven minutes before the break, Dan Thompson with his third of the campaign- and they were two up almost immediately, James Bessey-Saldanha doubling their advantage. Alex Sami struck back for the Tanners on fifty eight minutes, but Ben Greenhalgh restored the Blues two goal advantage soon afterwards. Again the Tanners were able to narrow the deficit, Sami with his second of the match and sixth of the season, but the hosts made sure right at the end, Vance Bola with number four- and they end the day in third place.
Carshalton Athletic travelled to Bognor Regis Town, as twelfth hosted sixth. Athletic were undefeated in their last four matches, winning three of them, but went behind in this one, Craig Robson breaking the deadlock twelve minutes from time. That turned out to be the only goal, and the Rocks climb to eighth.
Hornchurch, who scored four in the cup in midweek, also got four in their last league match, against Potters Bar Town, so looked to build on that as they travelled to Bishop’s Stortford. The Blues were still searching for their first league win but did wallop Lowestoft Town three-nil in the cup last Saturday, and went ahead in this one, Frankie Merrifield scoring five minutes after the break. That first win was confirmed, and the Blues are up to sixteenth.
Worthing had been surprisingly up and down so far this campaign, losing two and drawing one of their last three matches in all competitions, and they were more down than up at the start of this one, Johnny Ashman putting visitors East Thurrock United one-up on the quarter hour. The Rocks hadn’t haven’t lost since the opening day of the campaign, so we shouldn’t have been too surprised by their good start, but the Mackerel Men were level just after half an hour, Ollie Pearce with his fourth of the season. The Rocks struck back and regained their lead four minutes before the break, Paulius Ditkevicius viciously upsetting the home support, but it was level by half time, Alfie Young making it two-two.
The next goal was all-important, and Aaran Racine got it for the hosts on fifty eight minutes, ensuring that a day that had started down ended decidedly up! Worthing climb to sixth.
Cheshunt hosted Merstham. The Ambers had only lost to Enfield Town so far this season, whilst the Moatsiders had lost three of their four league matches so far, but form apparently meant nothing as the visitors took the lead three minutes from half time, Tahjae Anderson with the goal. That’s how it remained, and Merstham leapfrog their hosts into thirteenth.
Bowers and Pitsea hosted Wingate and Finchley. The visitors scored six a couple of miles away from the Len Salmon in midweek, but their first mark on this match was a red one, Alieu Njie marching to the dressing room before his colleagues a few minutes prior to half time. Lewis Manor immediately scored from the spot- his sixth of the season, to give the hosts the lead at the break- and a second spot kick, also converted by Manor. Manor then showed he didn’t only score from twelve yards, making it three and grabbing his hat trick on sixty seven minutes, and whilst Junior Mubiayi got one back for the Blues four minutes from time that was how it finished.
Cray Wanderers host Potters Bar Town on Sunday.
We had a Friday night football feast as Maldon & Tiptree and Grays Athletic- both with 100% records- met at Park Drive. This was Athletic’s first match with Paul Joynes in charge after the retirement of Jim Cooper. The last time the visitors won a match between the two sides was in April 2013, and that didn’t change as the Jammers Charlee Hughes notched twice to confirm victory. Anointed Chukwu did get one back, but it wasn’t enough.
Barking knew that they could go top if they defeated Tilbury and Athletic don’t get three points- and they took advantage of the Grays slip up to take over at the summit. Phil Roberts gave the Dockers an early lead, Barney Williams almost immediately struck back, and eight minutes after the break Kieran Jones confirmed a Blue victory. Barking are two points clear at the top, Maldon are third.
Witham Town hosted Romford. Witham also started the day with a one hundred percent record, but they fell behind in this one, Christian Adu Gyamfi with his third of the season just before the half time whistle- and gave themselves an even bigger challenge when Luke Ige saw red. It was quickly two-nil, Gyamfi once more scoring for Boro- his fourth of the season coming nine minutes from time. Romford climbe to tenth.
Unbeaten AFC Sudbury travelled to face a Basildon United side who must have be smarting after conceding six to Wingate and Finchley in midweek, and they conceded another one just after the restart, Romario Dunne opening the scoring for the yellows. Jamie Shaw made it two with twenty minutes left, and Dan Gilchrist made quite sure with number three, three minutes from time. Sudbury are up to second.
Dereham Town, starting the day in sixth and three points off the top, hosted Great Wakering Rovers. The Magpies had followed three consecutive victories in league and cup with two consecutive defeats, whilst you never know which Rovers you are going to get- the side who had lost every league game so far or the one which had won each cup match. The visitors went ahead on the half hour through Ashley Nzala, but the Magpies pegged them back on the hour, Jerry Dasaolu with the equaliser. Nzala then saw red, but that was the last of the action and the two got a point apiece.
Brentwood Town hosted Stowmarket Town with both showing real signs of progress this season, and it was the hosts who took an early lead, Tom Richardson scoring after just three minutes. They held the advantage until four minutes from half time, Josh Mayhew with the equaliser- and no further goals meant points shared.
Canvey Island hosted Hashtag United. The Gulls were five matches unbeaten until FA Cup replay defeat in midweek, and soon had their noses ahead in this one through Connor Hubble on fourteen minutes, and doubled their advantage four minutes later through that livewire Evans Kouassi. When Matt Price made it three- his sixth of the season so far- after only twenty four minutes it seemed like the Tags had a long afternoon in prospect. It took until four minutes from time for goal four, Kouassi with his second, and even a red card for Elliott Ronto couldn’t dampen the home celebrations. Joshua Osuoe also saw red, for the visitors, right at the end, and the Gulls are up to sixth.
Aveley brought Hullbridge Sports to Parkside, and neither managed a goal despite the Millers unveiling striker Alex Teniola.
Coggeshall Town hosted Felixstowe and Walton United, with the Seed Growers still searching for their first victory and coming into this one on a three match losing streak. Sam Bantick put the hosts ahead just before half time, but there was still time for an own goal to send the Seasiders off for their half time Haribo level. Jermain Francis put the hosts ahead once more with eleven minutes remaining, and they held on for that first three points.
Bury Town hosted Heybridge Swifts with both perhaps feeling a little underwhelmed by their starts to the season. The last three meetings between the sides had gone the way of Swifts, with the last Town victory coming in March 2018- but they looked like turning that statistic on its head when Cemal Ramadan gave them the lead from the spot seven minutes before the break. A red card for the visitors Matthew Hayden boosted the hosts, but not for long, as the ten men equalised four minutes from time through Andrew Fennell. Into added time we went, and up popped Jake Chambers-Shaw to take the points for Town, who climb to ninth.
Basingstoke Town led the way at start of play, one of only two sides with a one hundred percent record- and they were soon ahead against Chalfont St Peter, Conor Lynch scoring his customary goal- his seventh in six matches. A red card for Saints Shimron Eaton hardly improved matters, and when Brad Wilson scored from the resultant spot kick it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for the visitors- but the ten men halved the deficit on thirty minutes thanks to Dawid Rogalski. The same player then drew the visitors level six minutes before the break- could the Manager of the Month curse hurt the hosts? Saints held on for a famous point, that hundred percent record departed, and Town slipped to third.
Bracknell Town hosted Bedfont Sports as second played fourth, with both sides unbeaten in the League and separated only on goal difference. The Robins started quickly, Seb Bowerman striking after only three minutes, and had a man advantage too when Ricardo Andre saw red after the break. Bowerman made it two from the spot with twenty four minutes left, but Charlie Postance got one back with twelve minutes left- could we have yet another late goal show from the visitors? In short, no- and the Robins took advantage of Basingstoke’s draw to go top.
Uxbridge, in third, hosted South Park- both having departed the FA Cup in midweek replay defeats. The hosts started unbeaten in the league and had won each of the three league meetings between the sides, but they fell behind in this one, Melford Simpson opening the scoring for the Sparks. The equaliser took a long time to come, and it arrived right at the end. Ryan Haugh got it for the hosts, in the very last minute- and if that wasn’t enough for the visitors, Tony Mendy managed to find a winner and send his side second.
Chipstead, starting the day in fifth, hosted Binfield. The Chips scored nine goals in their last two League matches and got another early in this one, Andy Kabuikusomo scoring on twelve minutes. Callum Bunting pulled the Moles level on the half hour, and soon after the break the visitors were ahead, Ollie Harris with the third of the afternoon. Tom Collins drew the hosts level twenty one minutes from time, his seventh of the season, and that was that.
Marlow came into their match with Westfield undefeated in League and Cup, but had played a game fewer than all of their rivals at the top. In all competitions, however, it was four matches and four wins, a superb start- and they got their noses in front in this one, too, Nnamdi Nwachuku with the first goal of the day nine minutes after the restart. It turned out to be the only goal of the game, but five matches in all competitions, five wins, up to fourth- it’s been a superb start to the season for Marlow.
The Curfews played the Kingfishers as Chertsey Town hosted Thatcham Town. It was the visitors who opened the scoring, Alex Miller finding the back of the home net on twenty four minutes, but the hosts were soon level, Ashley Lodge finding the net four minutes later. The Kingfishers then went ahead once more with twenty minutes left, Balai Dembele restoring their lead, but once more the hosts hit back, Magnus Abisogun ensuring the points were shared one minute from time.
Ashford Town, who picked up our Performance of the Month award for their walloping of Staines Town on Bank Holiday Monday, followed that by knocking Tilbury out of the cup. The Tangerines hosted another side filled with cup confidence, Sutton Common Rovers, who killed a giant- Cray Wanderers- last weekend, and took the lead six minutes before the break through Daniel Brown, his third of the campaign. The visitors equalised just after the hour, Kyle Henry with the goal, and then went ahead through Adam Allen- and that saw Rovers take the points and climb to thirteenth.
Finally, Northwood hosted Staines Town. The Swans had lost all three matches in all competitions so far this season and conceded ten goals in the process, whilst the Woods were also awaiting their first league win, but they were ahead in this one midway through the first half, Joakim Ehui with the opening goal. Adam Cash made it two on twenty five, and then the Woods did their best to inflict injury on themselves when Gradi Milenge saw red. It didn’t seem to matter much, however, as Shakeel Morris made it three just before the break, and it was four right at the end, Leo Decabo from the spot. There was still time for a fifth, Mo Sahnoun making it two five-nil defeats in a row for the Swans and helping the hosts up to ninth.
Haywards Heath Town have had a magnificent start to the season- a start which won manager Shaun Saunders our Manager of the Month Award for August. They had a magnificent start to this match, too, Jordan Clark putting them ahead against VCD Athletic after only four minutes, his third of the season. Jack Barry got Vickers level soon afterwards, and that was that, Heath falling to fourth and Athletic ending the day in eleventh.
Herne Bay also picked up an award, Performance of the Month, which comes without a curse- usually! Bay hosted Phoenix Sports, second v eleventh, the hosts having scored eight goals in their last two matches. Sports were unbeaten in their last four, and they won three of those, but they went behind in this one, JJ Naiwo putting Bay ahead nine minutes after the break. Zak Ansah made sure of the points three minutes from time- his fifth of the season, and Bay hit the summit- one of four sides with ten points.
Ramsgate, in third at start of play, hosted Chichester City. The Rams were unbeaten in four prior to last weekend’s FA Cup defeat at Step Three Harrow Borough, whilst City looked to have found their groove, defeating Northwood and Lancing whilst scoring a total of seven goals in their last two games. City were victorious the last time they travelled to Ramsgate, back in August 2019, and they started well in this one, Ethan Pritchard putting them ahead on fourteen minutes. The Rams struck back twelve minutes before the break, Callum Peck with the equaliser, and then went ahead, Joshua Ajayi from the spot on fifty eight minutes. City weren’t finished, and Tyrone Madhani drew them level with twenty one minutes left- who would get the winner? Nobody, and a point each was the outcome.
Cray Valley PM travelled to Faversham Town as seventh hosted fourth. The Millers had won their last two matches, and took the lead in this one just before the break, Ali Tumkaya breaking the deadlock. They had another just after the restart, Hassan Ibrahiym doubling their advantage, and when the same player made it three that seemed to be that. It certainly was when Marcel Barrington made it four, and the Millers move up to second.
Ashford United travelled to Whitehawk unbeaten in the league and in fifth place, helped by Tommie Fagg’s five goals. The Nuts and Bolts last visited the Hawks in September last year, winning an FA Cup tie two-nil, and they were quickly ahead in this one, too, and it was Fagg who again found the net, his sixth of the campaign. He had his seventh on twenty seven minutes, and the hosts were (sea) shell shocked four minutes from half time when Jay May made it a bad day with the third. The Hawks hit back just after the break through Javaun Splatt- could they? No. Luke Burdon made it four with nineteen minutes left, and the Nuts and Bolts were up to third.
Sittingbourne, starting the day in sixth, travelled to Corinthian. The side in green and white went ahead after only nine minutes when Oscar Housego scored from the spot- his third of the season- but the Brickies drew level just before the break when Johan Caney-Bryan got his fourth of the campaign, and went ahead with eighteen minutes remaining, Harrison Pont with their second. Jack Mahoney saw red late on for the hosts, and the Brickies took advantage to get a third, Tom Loynes with that one- and a fourth, from Ahmed Abdulla. Sittingbourne end the day in fifth place.
Three Bridges and Burgess Hill Town played out a Sussex derby. The Hillians had lost every game in the league but have been a different side in the cup, as they showed last weekend when defeating Bracknell Town, whilst Bridges league form, putting aside that walloping at Herne Bay, had been rather more solid. Bridges traditionally don’t do well against the Hillians, and were without a win over these opponents in their last eight attempts, and that remained the case after nine- but they did get a point; indeed both sides did, as neither managed a goal.
Hastings United had got six goals without reply from their last two matches and were beginning to look like their old selves again. They travelled to Sevenoaks Town, who somehow managed to let slip a three goal lead in the cup in midweek to lose four-three, and Oaks conceded another early on when Gary Elphick put the visitors ahead. It was two on twenty two, Ben Pope with his fourth of the season, and three just after the break through Sam Hasler. Town got one back with twenty eight minutes remaining through Hayden Skerry- could they launch their own famous comeback? No, they couldn’t. Ben Pope made it four with ten minutes left, and United are up to seventh.
The sides in sixteenth and seventeenth met, as East Grinstead Town hosted Hythe Town. It took sixty nine minutes to break the deadlock, and the goal went to the visitors, Frannie Collin scoring from the spot. That was that, the Cannons up to eighth.
Two sides without a point met at Culver Road, where Lancing entertain Whitstable Town- and we knew that at least one of them would have a point- or three- by the end. Lancing opened the scoring after nine minutes, Brad Campbell-Francis with the goal, and they held on for the next eighty one plus added time to record that much-awaited first win at Step Four. Congrats to the Lancers, who move off the bottom, a space now occupied by their visitors.
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