Worthing got back to winning ways on Saturday at Wingate and Finchley, coming from behind to win 3-2, and travelled to face Bowers & Pitsea knowing that another win would put them back into the top five. Bowers got back to winning ways last Tuesday night when they defeated Bishop’s Stortford, but then lost the second of a run of four consecutive home league matches when Margate beat them by the only goal of the game at the weekend. The match was goalless for eighty minutes, both sides having chances, and then the deadlock was broken by Thomas Chalaye for the Mackerel Men. Ollie Pearce made it two right at the end to seal victory- although there was still time for Bradley Warner to pull one back for Bowers.
Stortford started the night four points but only one place better off than Bowers, and Jamie Cureton’s side travelled to Margate, who- as mentioned above- won at the weekend; a much needed victory after they were hammered at Hartsdown Park by Bognor Regis Town last Tuesday night. It was the visiting Blues who got their noses in front, David Manu with the breakthrough in the twenty third minute- and Jamie Cureton made it two just before the break.
In the second half Elliot Reeves halved the deficit for the home side, and although Shomari Barnwell restored Stortford’s two goal advantage they couldn’t hold it for long, Noel Leighton making it two-three and giving Margate renewed hope. Leighton then did even better, and got an equaliser with thirteen minutes to go; but the visitors broke home hearts right at the end, and it was their manager who did it, Cureton making it four-three and getting his second of the night.
Potters Bar Town had gone off the boil a little lately, with only one point from their last nine, but they were quickly up to one hundred degrees last night as Josh Hutchinson gave them a third minute lead. Visitors Merstham haven’t been able to buy a win recently, and they were two goals down on the hour, Bradley Sach scoring his seventh of the season to give the Scholars a little security. Not too much security, however, as the Moatsiders made it two-one a few minutes later- we’re still waiting for confirmation of the scorer- but it wasn’t enough and Town held on for all three points.
In the North Division Heybridge Swifts hosted AFC Sudbury. Swifts knew that victory would take them top of the table, but didn’t expect to have it all their own way, as The Yellows had been impressive of late, particularly when defeating higher level opposition in the FA Trophy- Harrow Borough and Worthing being on the receiving end of fantastic performances. The first half ended goalless, but the breakthrough came twenty minutes after the break- and it went the way of the visitors, Callum Harrison with the goal. It turned out to be the only goal of the game, and the visitors climb to eleventh.
Soham Town Rangers, with only one point from their last nine, and Tilbury, who lost against Basildon United on Saturday, were both looking to get back to winning ways at Julius Martin Lane. The first half saw neither side find a way through, and indeed we had to wait ninety minutes for a goal- and when it came, the Dockers got it, Ola Ogunwamide sending them ninth.
Three of the top six in the South Central Division were in action. Leaders Hanwell Town- also the only unbeaten side in the division- put their perfect home record on the line as Chipstead travel around the M25. The Chips had won only one of their five away matches this season, but that was the last one, at Northwood, which they won by three goals to nil- and they started this match as they ended the last one, Allan Tait putting them ahead in the third minute.
The lead lasted twenty minutes before Harry Rush gave the Geordies an equaliser, but nine minutes before the break the visitors were in front once more, an own goal handing them the lead. The Chips couldn’t hold out, however, and before the half time whistle could blow Town were level once more, Tayshan Hayden-Smith with the equaliser.
Chipstead were back ahead for the third time only four minutes after the break, as Sam Bell got their third; but again they couldn’t hold it, Rob Laney equalising for the Geordies and setting up a rip-roaring last quarter of an hour. No more goals meant a point each, and the Geordies five points clear at the top.
Uxbridge, in fourth place, travelled to face a Northwood side who put five consecutive defeats behind them on Saturday to defeat Ashford Town. The Red Army came back from the dead to draw with Bedfont Sports, at the weekend, had lost only two of their last ten league matches, and announced two new signings just before kick off- see our news pages for details. Woods struck first, Harry Ludovica giving them the lead in the twenty third minute, but they held it for only a minute before Mark Bitmead pulled the visitors level with his seventh goal of the season. Mahlondo Martin struck next for Uxbridge, seven minutes from half time, and the visitors held that lead until five minutes from time, when Charlie Hayford got an equaliser from the spot.
Right at the end Northwood shocked the visitors and snatched victory, completing their comeback as Luke Holness got the winner. Woods climbed to seventeenth.
Tooting and Mitcham United, who fell to their first defeat of the season against Hanwell Town at the weekend, had the chance to bounce straight back as they hosted Staines Town. The Swans thrashed Chalfont St Peter by six goals to one at the weekend- their first win of the season- but were soon behind last night, David Castanho putting the Terrors ahead in only the fourth minute. They were level before the break, however, Ashley Lodge finding the back of the Tooting net in the thirty seventh minute, and after the interval went ahead, Arif Hattabi with a sixty first minute goal. The Swans held on to climb to fifteenth.
Westfield hosted Waltham Abbey aware that a victory would put them back into the top five. Field had faltered a little of late, whilst The Abbotts were still searching for consistency, having won four and lost five of their last ten matches- but they did win 5-1 at the weekend, so would have been hoping to carry that form forward- and they started the better, Leonne McKenzie putting them ahead six minutes before the break. With twenty one minutes to go Field got an equaliser, Max Blackmore with his eleventh of the season, but their parity was short lived as Kouadio Ehui put Abbey in front once more. There was still time for an equaliser, however, and Aaron Watson got it from the spot right at the end to ensure both sides left with something to show for their efforts.
In the South East Division Three Bridges hosted Whitehawk in a Sussex derby. Bridges had gone six matches without a victory, but started superbly, Andrew Sesay giving them the lead in the very first minute. They didn’t hold the advantage for long, however, Henry Muggeridge equalising for Whitehawk only eleven minutes later, but Ruben Soares Junior restored the Bridges lead twelve minutes before the break, and there was still time for Brannon O’Neill to make it three-one before they trooped off for their half time oranges.
Lucas Rodrigues pulled one back for the Hawks seven minutes after the restart, and then with twenty one minutes to go he got another to draw his side level. Suddenly the momentum had changed entirely, and the Hawks went ahead, Matias Torres making it three-four. Less than a month since Three Bridges had turned a three-nil half time lead against Herne Bay into a five-three defeat, their fans must have been inconsolable- and it was three-five once more soon afterwards as Rodrigues claimed his hat trick. No more goals were scored, and Whitehawk climbed to fifth.
The FA Trophy saw Bedfont Sports entertain Paulton Rovers, the winners travelling to Sholing in the next round. Sadly Sports soon had an uphill struggle, two-nil down after only thirteen minutes, and it was three five minutes after the break. A fourth and fifth came before the end, and Sports bowed out.
In the Velocity Trophy, we had matches in a number of groups.
In Group 7 Ashford United entertained Faversham Town, and Levi Gold made an early breakthrough for the Nuts and Bolts, putting them ahead in the thirteenth minute. Jake McIntyre made it two twelve minutes before the break, and when Theo Osinfolarin made it three early in the second half it was surely game over? Or not, as Max Morgan gave the visiting fans something to shout about, pulling a goal back just after the hour, and then Anthony Adesite made it three-two with seventeen minutes remaining. Was the comeback on? No. Mohammed Kamara stepped up to make it four-two to Ashford, and that’s how it finished.
Ramsgate hosted Herne Bay, and Rory Smith made the breakthrough for the home side nine minutes after the break- the only goal of the game.
In Group 6 Basildon United took on Canvey Island, and we had a flurry of early goals, Taylor Lawrence giving the Gulls a fourth minute lead, Ayomikun Odukoya equalising for the Bees only a minute later, and Ryan Melaugh restoring the visitors advantage just after the quarter hour mark. Once again the lead didn’t last, however, Luke Jackson equalising for the hosts after twenty three minutes, but two minutes later Melaugh got his second of the game to make it 2-3! There was still time for a sixth goal before the break, and it went the way of the home side, coming behind for the third time through Ernest Okoh.
The next goal came fifteen minutes from time, and not only was it an own goal, but it put the hosts ahead for the first time. They made the most of it, and made sure in the last minute, Jeffrey Cobblah making it five-three.
Group Four saw Haywards Heath Town entertain Chichester City, and the hosts got the breakthrough straight after half time, Trevor McCreadie with the opening goal. McCreadie got his second two minutes from time to seal victory.
In Group One Maldon and Tiptree took on Bury Town- our top two from the North Division facing off. Jake Brice-Wiffen broke the deadlock for the Jammers just after the half hour, but Emmanuel Machaya equalised shortly afterwards. The Jammers were almost immediately back in front, however, Jorome Slew with their second goal, and Hamza Kaid gave them a two goal advantage nine minutes after the break. It was four-one not too long later, Slew with his second, and Kaid also soon had a double as the Jammers made it five. Still they weren’t done, and Charlee Hughes made it six three minutes from time, but mercifully for Bury that was the last one.
Finally, in Group 10, Whyteleafe welcomed Chertsey Town. We went eighty five minutes before we got a goal- that’s one hundred and seventy five minutes for the Leafe faithful- and when it came they’d rather it hadn’t, as the Curfews got it, Ethan Etukudo getting the winner.