Before kick off today we knew, with certainty, that we would have at least two clubs in Monday’s draw for the First Round of the FA Cup- because four of our clubs were playing each other. As it happens, we’re going to have at least three- good luck to Bishop’s Stortford as they try to make it four on Monday night!
Our first all Pitching In Isthmian tie featured Canvey Island and Cray Wanderers. There may have been a division between them but both were in good form, and the Gulls got off to a flier as Evans Kouassi, who joined the club in the summer after being a key part of Heybridge Swifts’ success over the last two seasons, put them ahead after only two minutes. Kouassi then got another eight minutes later as Wands looked anything but magic, and on twenty three minutes Connor Hubble gave the visitors a mountain to climb as he got number three.
Joe Taylor got one back on the hour from the spot to give visiting fans hope, and Lee Lewis doubled that hope- and their tally- with twenty three minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish- but the Gulls held on.
Next, we had a big match between two of our sides who have been marvellous in the cup in recent years, as Maldon and Tiptree hosted Haringey Borough. The match had only one goal, and it came to the hosts, Shomari Barnwell getting the winner from the spot two minutes from time. The Jammers cup love affair continues- headline image courtesy of Ben Pooley- see more here- soon!
Cray Valley PM had what looked like a difficult trip to take on National League side Maidenhead United, and so it appeared as the hosts went two up after half an hour, but Ade Yusuff got one back in the thirty first minute and then Connor Dymond drew the Millers level just before the break. Right at the end the side from Step Four entered dreamland, as a goal from Francis Babalola sent them through to the First Round!
Bury Town travelled to Banbury United- who sit in thirteenth place in Pitching In Southern Premier Central- unbeaten in the league and with four FA Cup wins already under their belts. United quickly found out why Town had managed to start the season so well as Ollie Hughes put the visitors ahead on twenty three minutes, but struck back to score two of their own after the break.
Cambridge City had a long trek up the A1 to face Darlington. The Quakers had lost both of their National League North matches so far this season, but had been much better in the cup, walloping Tadcaster Albion six-one at Blackwell Meadows in the last round, and started well in this one, going ahead after only nine minutes. It was two-nil midway through the first half, and that’s how it remained as City battled valiantly but departed the competition.
The Pitching In Isthmian Premier Division was slightly short on matches this weekend due to some of our clubs being in FA Cup action- but what we had looked marvellous, and so it proved.
Leaders Worthing were away from home- but they’d been away from home every match this season so far and it hadn’t made a blind bit of difference to their performances, so the trip to Rookery Hill probably didn’t worry them too much. They were two-up by the break, Mo Diallo’s sixth of the season and Joel Colbran’s second leaving them comfortable, but they were should have been less comfortable when Cameron Tutt’s red card left them with ten men. It didn’t seem to make a difference, however, as Omar Koroma made it three on his debut- and although Ezekiel Bademosi got one back for the hosts just before the end it made no difference to the outcome, the Mackerel Men staying at the summit.
Cheshunt hosted Kingstonian, perhaps buoyed by the memories of their three-one win over the K’s last January- and they were quickly ahead in this one, Taylor Miles with the first Premier goal of the day after just four minutes. It was two-nil after fourteen minutes, Reece Beckles-Richards doubling the advantage from the spot, but that woke up the visitors and they were level six minutes later, Elliott Buchanan and Tom Kavanagh- also from the spot- wiping out the Amber advantage. They did have an advantage just before the hour, however- a manpower advantage as Fabio Saraiva saw red for the K’s- and they soon had a goal advantage once more as Anderson Pinto made it three-two. The Ambers are second, level on points with Worthing having played two games more.
Enfield Town travelled to Carshalton Athletic looking to turn around away form which had seen them lose their last three matches on the road. They perhaps could have picked an easier place to do it, as the Robins had won every home match this season- but the two didn’t manage a goal between them in the first half. The opener came after fifty four minutes, and it came to the Robins- Tommy Bradford with his third of the season- and the same player made sure of the points five minutes from time, the Robins climbing to third, just above their visitors.
Leatherhead were stunned by three first half goals at Brightlingsea Regent on Tuesday night, and needed to bounce back at Corinthian-Casuals. After a goalless first half- we had a goalless second half, leaving the Tanners tenth and Casuals sixteenth.
Hornchurch returned to form with a bang last weekend, walloping Carshalton, and then proved it wasn’t a fluke by hammering Cheshunt on Tuesday. Visitors Horsham probably expected to have to work hard to get something from the game, and work hard they did, Rob O’Toole putting them ahead after twenty seven minutes. The equaliser came twenty minutes from time, Chris Dickson firing home from the spot, and neither could find a winner.
We had a seaside special in front of five hundred and ninety seven as Bognor Regis Town hosted Margate. The visiting blues have struggled in recent weeks, and it was perhaps no surprise when Brad Lethbridge put the Rocks ahead after sixteen minutes. Lethbridge made it two three minutes before the break, and the hosts ended the day in sixth. Margate are twentieth.
Brightlingsea Regent changed their manager earlier this week and then changed their outlook, walloping Leatherhead three-nil on Tuesday night, a result which lifted them to nineteenth. They were undoubtedly delighted to have a second home match this week as Folkestone Invicta came to call, but perhaps less delighted when Alfie Paxman put the visitors ahead just before the break. Invicta got their second on the hour, David Smith with his sixth of the season- but Jake Clowsley got one back for the hosts with twenty four minutes left to set up a frantic finale. Invicta held on, and ended the day in fifteenth.
Merstham went bottom in midweek with a narrow defeat at Lewes. The Moatsiders had been perhaps a little unlucky, given they had a goal difference better than nine of the clubs above them in the table despite winning only once, and they must have had hopes of turning a corner against Potters Bar Town this afternoon- but the afternoon didn’t start well, as Ken Charles put the Scholars ahead from the spot after eighteen minutes. It then got worse for the hosts, as Joe Payne made it two four minutes before half time, and before they were able to regroup Nana Kyei got number three, another from the spot. The hosts got one back five minutes after the restart, an own goal giving them hope, but it was extinguished by a second goal from Charles eight minutes from time. The Scholars end the day in fourteenth.
Pitching In Isthmian North Division
With no match for Tilbury and Maldon & Tiptree in cup action, there was a chance for a number of other sides to make inroads at the top end of the table. Great Wakering Rovers started the day in third, and only needed a point to go above the Jammers into second place- but their opponents, Histon, started in fourth and would also go second with a win. First blood came to the home side, Kojo Apenteng putting them ahead after six minutes, but Histon struck back through Danny Gould and then went ahead, Josh Dawkin with their second nine minutes before the break.
Histon gave themselves a two goal cushion when Evan Key made it three-one just after the restart, but almost immediately an own goal got Rovers back to touching distance. They drew level thirteen minutes from time, Apenteng with his second, but within a minute were behind again as Ed Rolph charged up the other end and restored Histon’s advantage. The visitors held on and went second.
Soham Town Rangers will spend next week feeding- for free- the children of the community, but didn’t want to give away anything that Grays Athletic could feast on. The two sides started the day tied on seven points with both having only one league defeat- and the hosts went ahead eight minutes before the break, Cameron Watson making the breakthrough. That proved to be the only goal of the game, and Rangers ended the day in third.
The other of the four clubs who started the day on seven points, Dereham Town, hosted Coggeshall Town – and the visitors went ahead just before the half hour, Matthew Price finding the back of the Magpies net. The hosts hot back early in the second half, Rhys Logan scoring from the spot, and both had to settle for a point.
Hullbridge Sports travelled to Felixstowe and Walton United, who started the day in fourteenth but were only one point behind their visitors. It took eighty two minutes for the first goal to arrive, and it came to the Seasiders, Miles Powell opening the scoring- and just before the end the ubiquitous Ollie Canfer made it two, sending his side up to seventh.
Aveley, starting the day in an unaccustomed mid table spot after an unexpected blip in recent weeks, hosted a Witham Town side who sat at the bottom of the pile at kick off. It took the hosts eleven minutes to take the lead, George Sykes scoring from the spot, and they went two up eleven minutes later, Alex Clark doubling their advantage. Usman Adeniji halved the deficit just before the half hour, but Sykes second, in the fifty fourth minute, restored the Millers two goal advantage- and soon that advantage was three, as debutant David Knight got their fourth. They had a man advantage too after sixty four minutes, Dan McCullock seeing red for Town, and although Greg Akpele got one back for the ten men the Millers comfortably held on to go fourth.
Brentwood Town travelled to AFC Sudbury, the Yellows having won their opening league match and their opening cup match but not managed a win since. It was the visitors who opened the scoring, Andy Freeman breaching the home defence after twenty four minutes, but that woke up the hosts, and an own goal drew them level a minute later and they were ahead when Billy Holland made it two-one eleven minutes before the break. The match was level once more before half time, however, as Freeman got his second, and that’s how it ended.
Finally, Heybridge Swifts took on Basildon United, and the Swifts struck first, Andrew Fennell putting them ahead in the seventeenth minute. They struck next, too Isaac Nkosi sealing victory just before the end to send his side twelfth.
Pitching In Isthmian South Central
Waltham Abbey have had a wonderful season so far, and went into today three points clear at the top and still unbeaten. The Abbotts hosted Northwood, but were stunned when the visitors took a tenth minute lead through Aaron Morgan- but they were only stunned for one minute, Jason Hallett equalising with his fifth of the season. Hallett then got his second- sixth- ten minutes later, and when Billy Holland made it three-one after twenty five minutes the visitors looked down and out. Hallett had a first half hat trick and the Abbotts fourth eleven minutes before the break, and it was no surprise when Nathan Korenteng made it five midway through the second half to maintain that three point advantage.
If the Abbotts had slipped up and fallen to defeat, Hanwell Town needed a win at Chalfont St Peter were they to hit the summit. Not only did they not get that win, they didn’t get anything at all, as Owen James got the winner from the spot for the Saints one minute from time. The Geordies slipped to seventh, the Saints climbed to fourteenth.
Ashford Town started the day in fourth, and travelled to Harlow Town, who signed five new players yesterday in the hope of ending their slump. The Hawks new arrivals didn’t help much at the start, as Jack French put the Tangerines ahead after two minutes, but they were level four minutes before the break, Christian Adu Gyamfi with the equaliser. The Tangerines got the winner three minutes from the end, Brad Sweeney giving them altitude sickness as they went second.
Staines Town, who started the day in fifth, entertained eighth place Tooting and Mitcham United on the back of a three match unbeaten run which had seen them score nine goals and pick up seven points. If they were to win today, however, they’d need to do it with ten men- defender Tom Jewers getting his marching orders in the twelfth minute- and it was no surprise when the Terrors went ahead, Troy Walters breaching the Swans rearguard. It was two-nil fourteen minutes from time, Elijah Simpson doubling the Terrors lead, and three soon afterwards, Jake Rose getting in on the act. Dan Williams ended a happy day for United with number four in the last minute, sending them third.
Ware, starting the day in sixth place, looked to kill off Kenny’s mates as they travelled to South Park- but it was the Sparks who struck first, Bas Savage with the opener midway through the first half. Albert Adu drew the visitors level in the thirty third minute, and before the half time whistle Ware were ahead, Leigh Rose with their second goal. Adu got the visitors third just after the hour, and Alaa Oujdi made sure with number four right at the end, sending them fourth.
Another side who seem to have grown in stature since last season are Hertford Town, who travelled to Chertsey Town, the hosts experiencing a bit of a blip with only one win from their last six matches. It looked as if the blip might be over as Jake Baxter struck after sixteen minutes- his fourth of the season- but the visitors were level ten minutes later, Sam Faniyan levelling. The Curfews soon had their noses in front again, Magnus Abisogun scoring just after the half hour, and ensured victory when Scott Day got their third with twenty one minutes left. Baxter’s second eight minutes from time rubbed salt in the wounds and sent the Curfews sixth.
Marlow had striker James Clark in fine form, with seven goals in his last three matches and nine for the season so far. They travelled to another side who seem to be in a good place at present, Bedfont Sports, and it was the hosts who struck first- Michael Kinsella with the breakthrough in the thirty third minute. Kinsella later saw red, but it didn’t affect the result and Sports climbed to ninth.
Westfield had seen the wheels come off their season in recent weeks, whilst visitors Barking hadn’t been able to find their wheels yet- but with so few matches played that could be forgotten in an instant with three points- and Barking grabbed those points with the opening goal eighteen minutes from time, Isaac Westendorf liftig them off the bottom and up to seventeenth.
Uxbridge had gone four matches unbeaten, but visitors Chipstead would have been buoyant after taking a point from the leaders in midweek. The hosts went ahead early on, George Fenton with the goal, but the Chips weren’t down for long, Chris Boulter getting the equaliser on fourteen minutes- and the visitors went ahead on the hour through James Dickson. A red card for Jon-Jo Bates ended the contest for the hosts near the end, and Dickson made quite sure with number three right at the end.
Pitching In Isthmian South East
VCD Athletic started the day at the top but were without a game, so knew that they could end the day off the summit- and so it proved.
Hastings United had been ominously climbing the table, and had their chance to go top if they won at Sevenoaks Town- but Oaks also had an outside chance of topping the pile with victory. It took fifty six minutes before the game got a goal, and it came to the visitors, Ryan Worrall beating the home defence. That turned out to be the only goal of the game, but it was enough to send Hastings home happy- and first.
Hythe Town, who started the day two points off the top in third place, travelled to face Haywards Heath Town. Heath propped up the rest without a win and with only one point, but they went ahead after half an hour through Kieran Rowe. Dean Beckwith drew the Cannons level six minutes before the break, but Heath were in front once more before the referee brought the first period to an end, Michael Hill making it two-one. The hosts were well on their way to that first win when Hill’s second of the day put them three-one up after sixty five minutes, and made quite certain when Tom Gilbert made it four with twenty two minutes remaining. Nick Dembele got one back for the visitors in the last minute, but it was too little, too late.
East Grinstead Town, in third, hosted Whitstable Town, in sixth. Both sides had the same number of points at kick off but that statistic looked a little hollow given that the Wasps have played only half the matches of their visitors- but it was the Oysterboys who made the breakthrough, Luke Medley scoring nine minutes before the break. The hosts hit back ten minutes into the second half, Sean Clohessy with the equaliser, but the next goal came to the visitors, Aaron Millbank looking to have sealed victory- but no! In the last minute Seidou Sawoga was able to level for the hosts. Both sides end the day as they started it.
Seventh place Faversham Town put their unbeaten record on the line as they travelled to face an improving Whitehawk- and looked as if they would extend it as Harry Harding put them ahead on the hour. Marvin Hamilton drew the Hawks level just after the hour, but there were no more goals, so the Lilywhites stay seventh and remain unbeaten. The Hawks are sixteenth.
Whyteleafe travelled to Sittingbourne. The Brickies had defeated East Grinstead Town in the Trophy and drawn with Ashford United in recent weeks, and looked to be finding good form, and they went ahead in this one in the very first minute, Johan Caney-Bryan with the early opener. Leafe drew level eight minutes after half time, Omari Hibbert with his seventh of the campaign, and were soon ahead, Ryan Gondoh getting his eighth of the season from the spot. Hibbert seemed to have made sure of the points with number three with twenty two minutes to go, but when Kane Rowland reduced the arrears Leafe were left with a nervy last sixteen minutes. They held out to climb to fourth.
Herne Bay hadn’t started the season quite as strongly as we expected, but defeated our leaders VCD Athletic last time out- so would have been confident as Chichester City arrived at Winch’s Field. The visitors soon punctured that confidence, however, and as usual it was Gicu Iordache that did it, grabbing his fifth of the campaign- and after twenty minutes it was two, Emmett Dunn doubling the advantage. Zak Ansah pulled a goal back just before the break, but that was the last goal action. City climb to thirteenth, Bay are eleventh.
A point separated Burgess Hill Town and Ramsgate, who met in Mid Sussex. That gap is now two points, but in favour of the visitors. The Rams made the breakthrough, Luke Carey opening the scoring in the thirty fourth minute, and three minutes later it was double-Ram, as Josh Ajayi made it two. Treble-Ram came in the fifty sixth minute, Ashley Miller putting the visitors out of sight.
Finally, Three Bridges entertained Phoenix Sports- and entertained their fans very quickly as Lee Hall put them ahead in the first minute. In the last minute of the half they made it two, Tom Tolfrey doubling the advantage, and five minutes after the restart Andy Sesay got number three. Any doubters amongst the home support were given peace of mind when Tolfrey got number four with eighteen minutes remaining, and there was still time for a fifth, from Alex Barbary, and a sixth, from John Lansdale. It got worse for the visitors, who had Danny Young and Lee Bird dismissed as the game moved towards the end. Bridges are up to twelfth.