Tonbridge Angels still lead the Premier Division, and Cray Wanderers still lead in the South East- but otherwise it’s all change at the top, with Bowers & Pitsea and Hayes & Yeading United taking over at the summit. Let’s take a look at what happened.
We started each match with a minute of silence in memory of those sadly lost at Leicester City last weekend, proof positive that some things are far more important than football. Then we got on with the action- and there was lots of it.
There’s a symmetry about Tonbridge Angels recent form. Over the last six league matches their record reads, ‘loss, win and score two, loss, win and score two, loss’…so you already know what happened yesterday, when Whitehawk visited Longmead. Angels left it late, an own goal eleven minutes from time being added to by Joe Turner just before the end, but it’s enough to see Steve McKimm’s men sit two points above their closest rivals.
Silence at Margate
Angels have lost more matches than anyone else in the top four, but their supremacy comes from their ability to turn potential draws into victories. One side who will need to do that better are Enfield Town, who took a point for the seventh time yesterday at home to Haringey Borough despite holding a 2-1 half time lead at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Rakim Richards gave Borough the lead in the fourth minute, and equalised for the side in yellow six minutes after the break, after first Billy Bricknell and then Sam Youngs had scored for Town. That drops Town to third, with Dorking Wanderers up to second. Wanderers are in fine form, ten league matches unbeaten with seven victories, and yesterday early goals from Tom Richards and Jason Prior saw them ease to victory despite having Rob Sheridan sent off on the half hour. Corinthian-Casuals worked hard, but couldn’t find a way back.
Yesterday we reported how Reece Meekums had returned to Worthing on loan from Bromley, and my goodness they’ll be glad he did. The Mackerel Men were hosting Folkestone Invicta, and with only seven minutes remaining it looked like Neil Cugley’s men were heading home laden with points, as they led 2-1, Kane Rowland and Ronnie Dolan wiping out an equaliser from Sam Rents. An own goal then brought the home side level, and a minute from time up stepped that man Meekums to find the winner.
Worthing are fourth, just ahead of Sussex rivals Lewes who came away from Kingstonian with nothing, despite playing most of the match against ten men. James Daly put the K’s ahead, but when Tommy Brewer managed to pick up two yellow cards in ten minutes the Rooks must have had their hopes raised. Jonte Smith found an equaliser, but Kingstonian weren’t to be denied and Elliot Buchanan stepped up to do what he does best six minutes from time. Bognor Regis Town are sixth, and they left it very late to get anything from their match at leatherhead, Bradley Lethbridge equalising deep into added time after Shaun Okojie and Ibrahim Olutade had seen the Tanners look home and dry. Tommy Scutt had scored the Rocks first equaliser.
Marc Weatherstone became Wingate & Finchley’s record appearance holder yesterday, turning out for the four hundred and fifty second time. Congratulations to Mark, but it won’t be a day he’ll remember positively for any other reason, as Potters Bar Town crashed home four goals. Dernell Wynter got three of them in the first thirty five minutes, with Bradley Sach adding the fourth two minutes from time. The Scholars are seventh, just ahead of Bishop’s Stortford, for whom a goal from Johnville Renee was enough for victory over AFC Hornchurch.
Witham Town U15's with their first team before Friday night's clash with Heybridge Swifts
Carshalton Athletic are ninth, after a 2-0 win at Brightlingsea Regent. Jacob Mendy in the first half and Jerson Dos Santos in the second did the damage.
And then we come to the Premier Division comeback of the day. Margate must have thought themselves home and dry; two goals up- Alex Flisher and an own goal- after fourteen minutes, particularly given that their opponents, Burgess Hill Town, had won only one league match all season. But evergreen Pat Harding gave the Hillians hope, Tom Cadman drew them level half way through the second half, and Andre McCollin found the winner for the away side two minutes from time, sending most of the 481 at Hartsdown Park home to cry into their fish and chips. Margate are tenth, Hill twentieth.
Merstham were the other big winners of the day. Despite falling behind to a first minute goal from Harlow Town’s Nathan Koranteng, they equalised soon afterwards (Tayshan Hayden-Smith), and took the lead through Walter Figueira six minutes after the restart. And that’s how it remained right until the end, when first Tom Kavanagh and then Tom Bird widened the gap to see them leave with a 4-1 win. The Moatsiders move up to twelfth, whilst the Hawks are two points behind the Tanners at the bottom.
Basildon United aren’t really very good at winning first v second battles, narrowly losing twice to Aveley in such contests recently in League and Trophy. Yesterday, however, they lost anything but narrowly when they came up against a still-unbeaten Bowers & Pitsea, crashing to a 4-0 home defeat and relinquishing their place at the summit in the process. Quentin Monville got one in each half, and to give us some symmetry so did David Knight, as Bowers go two points clear.
Coggeshall Town are third, and they also scored four, coming back from behind to win at Mildenhall Town. Jarid Robson gave the home side an early lead only for Curtis Hayes Brown to equalise, before the customary Sam Bantick goal gave the Seed Growers a half time lead. Ross Wall made it three-one, and although Emmanuel Osei-Owusu closed the gap, Tom Monk had the last word to make it 2-4.
The Millers are fourth, and could go level on points with Bowers if they win their match in hand. Yesterday they went to Ram Meadow and defeated Bury Town 2-1, goals from Andrew Freeman and Thomas Richardson half way through the second half too much for the home side, although Jake Chambers Shaw halved the arrears.
Maldon & Tiptree are next, a George Sykes goal enough for victory over Soham Town Rangers, whilst sixth place Heybridge Swifts drew at Witham Town on Friday night, Andrew Tirivanhu giving Town the lead with Harrison Chatting equalising for Swifts.
Grays Athletic climbed to seventh, winning a five goal thriller which had two own goals- one for each side- and two goals, again one for each side, in the last five minutes. Grays went into the break ahead, and then the returning Kieran Bishop made it 2-0 after the break, before another own goal for Tilbury narrowed the gap. Aron Gordon made it 3-1, but three minutes from time Lewis Smith made it 3-2 and set up an exciting finish, Athletic holding out to take the points.
Canvey are ninth, second half goals from Jordan Cox and Ryan Melaugh giving them victory over Romford, whilst Felixstowe and Walton United won the early kick off at Mayesbrook Park in style, three first half goals helping them to a 4-2 win over Barking. Josh Kerridge, jack Ainsley and Miles Powell gave them the advantage before Daniel Cheema got one back for the Blues, and when Joe Bruce made it 2-3 three minutes before the end barking had hope, but Joseph Francis had time to extinguish that.
Dereham Town are eleventh, David Hinton and Adam Hipperson giving them a 2-0 lead at Brentwood Town, for whom Kojo Apenteng got a consolation. Finally, Great Wakering Rovers are twelfth, drawing 1-1 at home with AFC Sudbury yesterday. Brandy Makhendi gave Rovers the lead, but an own goal two minutes later levelled matters.
Four of the top five in the South Central Division have lost only one league match so far this season, and four of the top five didn’t lose it yesterday! Hayes and Yeading United are now top of the pile, a double from Lee Barney and one from Duncan Culley giving them a 3-1 win at Ware, for whom Alaa Oudji got a last minute consolation. That’s- rather incredibly- an average of four goals a game for United so far this season. When we saw them take on Tooting & Mitcham United for a Bostik Matchday feature in September we only saw them get three- we were robbed!
Bracknell Town, sadly, are ONLY averaging just over three goals a game, and yesterday scored only two, Ashleigh Artwell and Gavin James giving them victory over Hertford Town, whilst third place Marlow got four, Kameron English managing three of them as they thrashed an in-form Chipstead 4-0. Marcus Mealing ensured that the away side had definitely had their chips with a ninetieth minute fourth.
Waltham Abbey, in fourth, fell to a resurgent Tooting & Mitcham United at Capershotts. When we described the Terrors as promotion contenders after that Hayes defeat a number of Tooting fans queued up to tell us that we didn’t know what we were talking about, and whilst that may yet be the case Isiah Jones and Danny Bassett yesterday fired the South Londoners to their fourth win in a row- indeed their fifth from their last six games- and sees them in sixth place.
Cheshunt are fifth, Bradley Woods Garness giving them the lead as they hosted Chalfont St Peter yesterday only for Michael Kalu to get a very late equaliser. Had the Ambers held on for two more minutes they’d be third- indeed there are but three points between first and fifth.
Hanwell Town are seventh, three-nil winners at South Park, for whom new manager Jay Lovett led his team out for the first time. He now knows the size of his task, after seeing first half goals from Gareth Chendlik, Tom Collins and Calum Duffy give the points. Northwood are eighth, and they also got three, with two from Ben Pattie and one from Sam Tring giving them a comfortable victory over Ashford Town.
Our Bostik Matchday feature came from Westfield, and you can find out how the home side saw off FC Romania by clicking HERE, whilst if Bedfont Sports could translate their away form into their home form they’d be much further up the table, goals from Ogo Obi, Abdeen Temitope Abdul and Scott Harris giving them the points at Uxbridge yesterday. Brian Testolin and a late effort from Matthew Woods notched for the home side.
Molesey won for the first time this season, goals from Marley Hamilton and Dre Grobler giving them victory over Egham Town and moving them above both Town and South Park into eighteenth.
South East Division
Cray Wanderers remain six points clear at the top of the South East Division, and they left it late to maintain that margin yesterday, travelling to Haywards Heath Town and taking the points only in the 89th minute, Ben Mundele scoring the only goal of the game.
Hastings United are second, but were less irrepressible than usual, two goals from Youssouf Bamba giving them a 2-1 win over Three Bridges, for whom Brannon O’Neill had opened the scoring- whilst Hythe Town are third, Chris Kinnear leaving it late to beat the Brickies. It had looked easy on the half hour, after a Junior Aikhionbare double had given the Cannons the lead, but Dan Parkinson and then Tom Loynes struck back to level before the break, only for Kinnear to settle matters in favour of the home side with sixteen minutes remaining.
It was Teniola time at Phoenix Sports, Alex equalising after Harry Stannard had given Ramsgate an early lead. Sports are fourth.
The performance of the day undoubtedly came at Herne Bay, but whether that accolade goes to VCD Athletic- who scored seven goals- or to veteran striker Charlie MacDonald, who got four of them, is open to debate. MacDonald’s quartet came in the first thirty six minutes, and although Thomas Carlton got one back for the home side Alistair Gordon made it five-one at half time. There was no mercy in the second half, Ali Fuseini adding two more. VCD are fifth.
Whyteleafe are sixth, a goal in each half from Trey Williams and Bradley Wilson making the points safe at Whitstable Town, and then we come to the comeback of the day, which of course came from comeback kings Horsham. The Hornets are very, very good at grabbing something despite going behind, so Ashford United perhaps should have shut up shop at half time, after Danny Parish and Sam Corne had given them a 2-0 lead. But even without striker Rob O’Toole, who was celebrating becoming a father for the second time (congratulations on the arrival of Grace), the Hornets had enough to win, Chris Smith narrowing the gap and then Tyrell Richardson-Brown getting two, the last coming deep into stoppage time, to leave Homelands shellshocked. The Hornets are now seventh.
Sevenoaks Town also left it late, an own goal in stoppage time lifting them to tenth at the expense of Greenwich Borough, whilst, finally, Faversham Town got a late winner at home to Guernsey, Luke Harvey striking right at the end after first Harry Goodger and Thomas Dodds had cancelled each other out. Faversham are up to thirteenth.