Over the Easter weekend, the race for the Vanarama Conference South title tightened up with only two points separating the top four sides that consist of: Boreham Wood, Bromley, Basingstoke Town and Havant & Waterlooville.
Boreham Wood returned to the top of the table after beating Sutton United 2-0 at Meadow Park – but have only two more games to play – while second-placed Bromley and third-placed Basingstoke Town have three left. Wood did what they had to do by beating the U’s with a brace from Lee Angol in the 25th and 66th minutes.
Bromley were held to a goal fest at York Road in a 4-4 draw with relegation threatened Maidenhead United. A real thriller saw the Magpies burst into a 2-0 lead with a brace from Adrian Clifton in the 6th and 14th minutes. The visitors battled back to level with two goals in three minutes midway through the half from Anthony Cook and Moses Ademola. However, three minutes after the half-way interval, the hosts restored their lead through Dave Tarpey. However, back came the title-challengers and Pierre Joseph-Dubois on 62 minutes and Reece Prestedge four minutes later pushed them into a 4-3 lead. The final twist was a fine volley from Tarpey in stoppage time to rescue a vital point for Johnson Hippolyte’s side.
Basingstoke remain third in the table after earning maximum points against relegation-threatened Farnborough at the Camrose. Simon Dunn put Town ahead two minutes before the break. Nine minutes into the second half Courtney Fearn levelled. Liam Enver-Marum restored the home side’s advantage from the penalty spot on sixty-three minutes before Lloyd Macklin added a third with only five minutes remaining.
Havant & Waterlooville who are currently placed fourth – with only two games left, including one against Basingstoke – remain on target for a play-off place after a 2-0 win over Bath City. Scott Donnelly crashed home a long-range drive in the 37th minute to give the Hawks the lead. Harry Cornick sealed the win the second with sixteen minutes of the game remaining.
Havant’s final game of the season is at home to Whitehawk, who are back in the top five after a 2-0 win against Hayes & Yeading United at the Enclosed Ground. Danny Mills proved to be the Sussex side’s hero, scoring a brace in the 33rd and 70th minutes to leap-frog Gosport Borough and back into fifth spot.
However four other teams are looking to bag the final play-off spot, including Gosport.
Outsiders are Ebbsfleet United, who have four games remaining but have to win them all as they trail Whitehawk by seven points. They beat Wealdstone 1-0 at Grosvenor Vale, in front of a bumper crowd of 901, courtesy of an unlucky own goal by Elliot Godfrey in the 18th minute. The Stone’s misery was compounded when they had veteran striker Jefferson Louis given his marching orders for violent conduct in the 68th minute.
Two other play-off contenders: Hemel Hempstead and Concord Rangers met at the Aspect Arena on Canvey Island with the visitors grabbing a 1-0 win despite having only nine men. Eddie Oshodi scored the decisive goal in the 19th minute from a Jordan Parkes corner. However, Parkes became the first Tudor player to go when he was shown his second yellow just before the break. He was followed by the goal scorer who received a straight red near to the end. Hemel hung on to move level on points with Concord but two behind Gosport.
Elsewhere in Essex, Chelmsford City beat Bishop’s Stortford 4-2 in a local derby at Melbourne Stadium, despite coming back from a 16th minute Anthony Church goal. Marvin Ekpiteta equalised 11 minutes later before Clarets’ skipper Mark Haines gave the lead with seconds before half-time. Rohdell Gordon then scored a penalty to make it 3-1 before sub Hugo Skepelhorn added a fourth on his league debut. Church grabbed a second three minutes later as a consolation.
Staines Town’s Elliot Buchanan gave the Swans a 1-0 lead with a minute before half-time. Dayle Grubb equalised for Weston-Super-Mare on the hour mark, but sub Josh Cooke won it for the visitors with five minutes to go.
St Albans City beat fellow mid-table side Eastbourne Borough 3-0 at Clarence Park. Steve Wales put the Saints ahead after 21 minutes and 5 minutes before the break Simon Thoman doubled their advantage. Jack Green made the points safe for St Albans with 65 minutes gone on the clock.
Basingstoke Town 3-1 Farnborough
Boreham Wood 2-0 Sutton United
Chelmsford City 4-2 Bishop’s Stortford
Concord Rangers 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town
Havant & Waterlooville 2-0 Bath City
Maidenhead United 4-4 Bromley
St Albans City 3-0 Eastbourne Borough
Wealdstone 0-1 Ebbsfleet
Weston-Super-Mare 1-2 Staines Town
Whitehawk 2-0 Hayes & Yeading