We already knew that Dorking Wanderers had won the title. We already knew that Haringey Borough had qualified for the playoffs. So after today, with two matches still to play, are we certain of anything else?
At the top of the Premier Division table we have six points between third and ninth, and two points between fifth and ninth. At the bottom, all we know at this point is that three of Harlow Town, Burgess Hill Town, Wingate & Finchley and Whitehawk will go down. With only three points between the four of them, who knows which three?
Marcus Bowers scores for Tilbury at Dereham Town- image from Alan Palmer
Dorking Wanderers continued to do what they’ve done for most of the campaign, win. This time it was two-nil, Luke Moore and Elliot Buchanan finding the net in the first half against Bognor Regis Town- and our headline image is from that match, taken by Simon Roe. You can find the rest of Simon's marvellous photographs here. Second placed Haringey Borough seem to have relaxed after having playoff qualification confirmed, falling sixteen points behind Wanderers after a four-nil thrashing at Folkestone Invicta, who close to within a point of fifth place. Adam Yusuff got two, Ian Draycott and Johan Ter Horst the others.
Leatherhead were hoping to leap into the playoff picture with victory at Brightlingsea Regent, but the home side had other ideas and Aaron Condon got the only goal of the game one minute from the end. The Tanners are still only two points off that last playoff berth, but drop to ninth.
Bishop’s Stortford recorded their sixth victory in a row to jump into the final playoff spot. The Dripping Pan was the scene of their latest three points, Ryan Henshaw, Luke Callander and Johnville Renee getting their goals as they ran out 3-1 victors over Lewes. Charlie Coppola scored for the Rooks. Merstham are level on points with Stortford and Worthing, and sit in seventh place after Gus Sow’s early goal gave them three points at Whitehawk.
The Hawks joined every club in the bottom four in losing this weekend, but stay out of the relegation places on goal difference. Wingate & Finchley were the subject of our Bostik Matchday feature, which you can read HERE, and lost by the only goal of their game at home to Margate, whilst bottom side Harlow Town went down 3-1 at home to Enfield Town. It looked as if the Hawks of Harlow were going to get a point after Matt Foy equalised Kezie Ibe’s opener, but two goals right on the stroke of full time from Mathew Johnson and Joshua Davison saw the Towners take the spoils.
Kingstonian are eight points clear of the relegation places so safe, but they undoubtedly can’t wait for the season to end after they fell to yet another defeat, AFC Hornchurch the latest side to leave King George’s Field with three points. Goals from Lewwis Spence for the Urchins and Delano Sam-York for the K’s left it level at half time, but Ronnie Winn and an own goal saw Hornchurch take a three-one lead within three minutes of the restart. Sam-York was able to reduce the arrears ten minutes from time, but the Urchins held on for a point.
Our other match saw Corinthian-Casuals jump into a two goal lead inside eight minutes, Reyon Dillon and Jack Strange finding the Potters Bar Town net, but the Scholars struck back with two of their own within five minutes of the second half, Dernell Wynter and Bradley Sach ensuring the points were shared.
Finally the winning run of champions Bowers & Pitsea came to an end. Fifteen consecutive victories is much to be proud of, but yesterday, of course, visitors Heybridge Swifts needed the points far more, and left with them. Martin Stokes gave Bowers the lead, but Tobi Adeyemi equalised just before the break, and after it Dan Walker and Kreshnic Krasniqi made sure of victory.
Swifts remain in fifth place, behind Coggeshall Town on goal difference after the Seed Growers also picked up victory, defeating Felixstowe and Walton United 2-1. Tevan Allen and Nnamdi Nwachukwu got the goals, with a reply from Henry Barley sandwiched between them.
Sixth place Bury Town defeated visitors Grays Athletic by four goals to two, despite falling behind when Correy Davidson put Jim Cooper’s side ahead. Ollie Fenn soon equalised, and Jake Chambers-Shaw put the home side ahead, only for Grays to level through Michael Toner. The match was then settled by two goals from Emmanuel Machaya.
Tilbury won a five goal thriller at Dereham Town. It looked like the Dockers would canter to victory after Ollie Spooner, Marcus Bowers and Harry Watkins put them three up, but goals from Dion Frary and Matthew Castellan for the Magpies made it an interesting last five minutes- but the home side couldn’t find an equaliser. Our image above comes from the lens of Alan Palmer, and shows Bowers making it two- see the rest of Alan's shots here.
At the bottom, a resurgent Romford moved level on points with Witham Town after a 5-2 thrashing of Soham Town Rangers. A few weeks ago the idea of Boro staying up seemed rather fanciful, but three straight wins have given them real momentum. Even more remarkably, after forty minutes yesterday they were two goals down, Jack Mochalski and Mark Lovell putting the visitors firmly in the driving seat, but they were level before the break through Danny Nesbitt and Phillip Brown-Bampoe and in the second half scored three goals in eight minutes, starting with Jimmy Cox on the hour before Ayo Olukoga made it four and Greg Akpele got number five.
Witham remain ahead of Romford on goal difference, but their fifth consecutive defeat, this time at Brentwood Town, leaves them hanging on to safety by the ends of their badly chewed fingernails. Without a victory since 19th January they looked as if they’d grab a valuable point yesterday when Johnny Ashman cancelled out Alfie Hilton’s opener for Brentwood, but eight minutes from time Nathan Fox put the Blues ahead and four minutes later Charlee Hughes made the game safe.
Mildenhall Town still hold up the rest, and their fate seems certain, as they are six points behind their two relegation rivals with only two matches remaining. The terrible luck they’ve had this season was played out again at home to Canvey Island yesterday, as they had the lead going into the last minute yet left with nothing. Thomas Debenham put them ahead in the 38th minute, but that lead lasted only three minutes before Ryan Melaugh equalised. Nineteen minutes from time Hall had the lead again, Matthew Hayden with the goal, and this time it looked to be the winner, until Frankie Merrifield popped up with an equaliser from the spot as the game drew to a close, then got another almost immediately.
Basildon United fell to defeat at home to Barking, Nana Boakye-Yiadom with the only goal of the game four minutes from time.
It must be difficult to be a Molesey fan this morning. Yesterday they entertained our champions, Hayes & Yeading United- a match which even the most committed optimist must have felt would be a step too far- and went two goals up, only to leave with nothing. Ashley Lodge put the Moles ahead from the spot in the first half, and seventeen minutes after the break Ashby Charles made it two- surely setting them on the way to three points? But you don’t get to be champions by giving up, and three goals in five second half minutes- the 74th, 75th and 79th- saw Connor Toomey, Josh Chamberlain and Chid Onokwai steal the points and leave Molesey heartbroken.
Had they held on to those three points they’d have climbed out of the bottom two, but instead they are two points behind South Park, who picked up an excellent draw at promotion-chasing Marlow. Great Evans opened the scoring for Sparks from the spot in the tenth minute, but Kameron English equalised in the second half.
Marlow are third, level on points with Cheshunt but four behind Marlow Town, who surely secured themselves a home Playoff Semi-Final with a one-nil victory over Chipstead. Liam Ferdinand got the only goal of the game from the spot, eight minutes from time. The Ambers picked up a three-nil win at home to Northwood, Jason Hallett opening the scoring in the very first minute and Taylor Miles adding two more, the first as we approached half time and the second as we approached full time. That’s eight matches unbeaten for Craig Edwards’ men, who also have only one defeat in their last ten.
Our top four sides in the form table over the last ten matches are our top four sides, rather unsurprisingly, with fifth place Westfield sitting in sixth in that particular contest. Field yesterday all but confirmed their playoff place in opening a six-point lead over Tooting & Mitcham United, scoring three goals at Waltham Abbey. An own goal in the sixty eighth minute was soon followed by two from George Frith and Aaron Watson, and only a miraculous upsurge in Tooting goal difference- coupled with two wins for the Terrors and two defeats for Westfield- could see the Woking side overhauled. Tooting were yesterday held to a one-all draw by Chalfont St Peter in front of their home support, Adam Kirby putting the visitors ahead only for Ajani Domingo-Carrington to equalise after the break.
The side who sit between our top four and Westfield in the form table- but not in the actual table- are Hanwell Town, who have lost only one of their last ten. Sadly for the Geordies their resurgence came too late for them to trouble the promotion picture, but they have moved up to eighth, and yesterday drew 0-0 with relegation-threatened Hertford Town. Town now sit three points clear of second-bottom Molesey with two matches remaining.
The other side who aren’t yet mathematically certain to stay up are FC Romania- although it would take something rather remarkable from Molesey and South Park to see them overhauled. Yesterday the Wolves fell to a 2-0 defeat at Uxbridge, Charlie Malin and Craige Tompkins with two very late goals.
Relegated Egham Town entertained Ashford Town, and it was the Tangerines who took the points, Nebay Haile and Adam Baigent sealing victory despite Ashley Carew replying with a penalty.
Cray Wanderers received a guard of honour from Three Bridges at Jubilee Field after confirming the championship last weekend, and goals from Freddie Parker and Joseph Taylor ensured that they remained eight points clear at the top. Horsham remain second, and remain in excellent form, yesterday sealing their fourth successive victory in some style with a four-nil hammering of Faversham Town. An own goal got them on their way, George Hayward made it two before the break, and in nine minutes after half time Lee Harding added two more, leaving the Hornets five points clear of third place Hastings United.
United, who have a game in hand, travelled to Sittingbourne and defeated the Brickies 3-0. Davide Rodari got the first, Lanre Azeez followed up on the half hour, and Daniel Ajakaiye rounded matters off twenty minutes after the break.
Ashford United are in fourth, and Haywards Heath Town in fifth opened up a four point gap over sixth placed VCD Athletic with a 0-0 draw at Ramsgate.
At the bottom of the table it’s advantage Greenwich Borough- but only by the narrowest of margins. Only one side goes down after the sad demise of Thamesmead Town, and although Borough were held 0-0 by Whyteleafe defeat for Guernsey at Phoenix Sports saw the Green Lions slump into the relegation place. Guernsey are a point behind but with a game in hand, so will be desperate for victory on Easter Monday- the only problem is that they host Horsham. Yesterday’s match saw Sports go into the break two goals up, both from Jeff Duah-Kessie, only for Guernsey to draw themselves level with two goals in a minute midway through the second half, Dave Rihoy and Tom De La Mare finding the net. Four minutes from time Jack Hopkins sealed the win for Sports.
East Grinstead Town are on course to record the best season in their history, and yesterday a Greg Cundle hat trick- which followed a Karn Miller-Neave opener- saw them thrash Whitstable Town 4-0. That victory sees the Wasps go twelfth.
Sevenoaks Town are also having an excellent campaign, and went tenth with a two-one win over Herne Bay. An own goal gave Oaks a short lived lead, Danny Leonard equalising for Bay, but Frankie Sawyer was able to get the winner eleven minutes from time.
We’ve a full programme on Easter Monday- see the fixtures that matter HERE.