Sittingbourne open up an advantage in the battle for third place- and the Deres are down

By Ian Townsend

Victory for the Brickies against nine man Hythe, Horndean win late, Ites defeat Hill, and Erith are relegated

Sittingbourne had already qualified for the play offs, but our third place side, who for much of the campaign had looked a shoe-in for home advantage in their forthcoming Semi-Final, had stumbled towards the finish line of late, allowing Chichester City to close to within a point and Three Bridges to within two.

The Brickies headed to Hythe Town without a win from their previous four- albeit three of them ended in draws- and wanted to get back to winning ways against a Cannons side who were in freefall, but had appointed a new manager just before the match, Sammy Moore taking over at Reachfields. The first statistic of note was a red card for Hythe, Josh Stirman taking an early bath after just half an hour, which made it less of a surprise when Chris Harris got his seventeenth Brickies goal of the season ten minutes later. Just before the end, Kian Garlinge saw the Cannons down to nine men with a red card, and the Brickies took the points.

At the other end of the table, Littlehampton Town started the evening four points clear of second bottom Beckenham Town, and went into their match with bottom side Erith and Belvedere aware that victory would not only see them safe but would relegate their opponents. The Deres started the campaign by hammering the Golds six-nil in the FA Cup, and they also won the first league match between the sides by two goals to one, so Town had a collection of reasons for revenge, and went ahead on twenty six minutes, George Gaskin with the opener. The Deres equalised on sixty four minutes, Macey Malyon making it one-one, but that was that- and sadly they are relegated. The Golds are now five points clear of Becks.

Burgess Hill Town welcomed Sheppey United. The Ites were in good form, with four wins from their previous five, and they went ahead five minutes after half time, Dan Bradshaw’s sixteenth goal of the season. Ten minutes later Jacob Lambert made it two, but Marcus Allen made the closing stages interesting by getting a goal back for the hosts three minutes from time. Sadly for the home faithful, that was as good as it got.

Horndean played host to Ashford United, fifteenth v eleventh. The Deans were six without a win, and they didn’t have the best of starts, Noah Carney opening the scoring after just four minutes, but in Zack Willett they have a regular goalscorer, and he levelled just after the hour, his twenty sixth of an impressive season. Deep in added time the hosts were awarded a spot kick, and up stepped Tommy Scutt, making no mistake and delivering a two-one win and three Deans points.

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Where next?

It's TONIGHT! We head to Aveley FC tonight as Chatham Town take on Hashtag United in the Velocity Cup Final. Here's our preview- and a link for advance tickets
Horsham slip gives Billericay hope, whilst the Urchins suffer their biggest defeat of the season Canvey shock Hornchurch, Lewes shock Horsham, the Hawks get three- and the Scholars get back to winning ways

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