By JOHN CHUBB
With just two games to go Leyton Orient are still in the National League’s pole position, after a 2-0 home victory over Harrogate Town.
Josh Coulson gave the O’s an early lead with only three minutes on the clock, then late substitute Matt Harrold made sure of the points with a strike in the second minute of injury time near the final whistle.
Orient are two points clear of second placed Salford City and three clear of third placed Solihull Moors – the other two teams who can still win the title – and tomorrow (Easter Monday) Justin Edinburgh’s side travel to Solihull in a crucial encounter, before ending their league campaign at home to already relegated Braintree Town.
Dagenham & Redbridge scored a second successive league victory and climbed to 16th place in the table, after an excellent 2-0 win over play-off chasing Eastleigh at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. Goals either side of half-time from Oliie Harfield and Chike Kandi gave Peter Taylor’s men the three points.
In the National League South three Essex clubs are still vying for a play-off spot.
Fourth placed Chelmsford City missed the chance to confirm a final top 7 spot and put pressure on the two sides above them, as one of those sides – third placed Welling United – beat them 2-0 at their Park View Road ground with a brace from Goldberg, the second of which was a spot kick after Clarets’ Chez Isaac had held back Wings midfielder Kiernan in the penalty area, for which he received a red card.
Billericay Town forced their way back into the play-off mix, as they won 2-1 against Hemel Hempstead Town at the AGP Arena. Joe Kizzi put Blues ahead after 35 minutes before Hemel’s Amu levelled two minutes after the restart. But the prolific Moses Emmanuel claimed all three points for Harry Wheeler’s side in the 64th minute, to move them up to sixth place.
Concord Rangers ended the weekend in seventh place and with their own play-off hopes still very much alive, after an excellent 2-1 win away to second placed Woking. The Beach Boys led 2-0 at the interval courtesy of strikes from Alex Wall and Joan Luque, before Kretzschmar pulled one back from the penalty spot in the second half.
Concord are ahead of St Albans City on goal difference, and on Monday the two sides meet in what will be a crucial encounter at the Aspect Arena. And it was St Albans who left East Thurrock United‘s lingering hopes of avoiding relegation hanging by a thread.
John Coventry’s men were in front with five minutes of normal time remaining, after Amos Nasha’s strike broke the deadlock 18 minutes from the end. But then Kamdjo headed home for the Hertfordshire hosts, and grabbed the winner in the 8th minute of injury time.
With two games left Rocks are still in 21st place and five points from safety, so they must win both of their remaining games (at home to Welling and away to Hungerford) and have other results go their way if they are to stand any chance at all of retaining their step 2 status for next season.