By JOHN CHUBB
AFC Hornchurch are now 100% sure of being in the Bostik Premier League next season, after a superb 3-2 away victory away to Kingstonian who themselves – thanks to other results – secured their own step three status for the 2019/20 campaign.
Ks’ O’Halloran was fouled shortly before half time, and his team mate Sam-Yorke tired home the resulting penalty to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.
But Lewwis Spence levelled for the Urchins just before the break, before Ronnie Winn put Mark Stimson’s side in front almost immediately after the restart. Then a Richmond own goal put the visitors 3-1 in front before Sam-Yorke scored a consolation for Kingstonian 10 minutes from time.
Bottom club Harlow Town still have a slim chance of holding on to their Premier League status for next season, but a 3-1 defeat at home to Enfield Town did them no favours.
Ex-Chelmsford City man Kezie Ibe put the visitors ahead on 39 minutes before Matt Foy scored a second half equaliser, but late Enfield goals from Johnson and Davidson ensured all three points went to the Towners. Harlow are three points from safety with two games remaining, and given their current goal difference of -50 face a massive task to avoid the drop.
In the Bostik North Romford had another massive win in their gallant battle to avoid the drop, as they staged an incredible comeback at home to Soham Town Rangers. Mochalski and Lovell fired the visitors into a 2-0 lead before goals from Danny Nesbitt, Phillip Brown-Bampoe, Jimmy Cox, Ayo Olukoga and Greg Akepele gave Boro a 5-2 victory, and in spite of still being in the drop zone this put them on level points with 18th placed Witham Town, who were beaten 3-1 at Brentwood Town.
Alfie Hilton put Brentwood in front with 12 minutes gone, before Ashman equalised for Witham but goals in the final 10 minutes from Nathan Fox and Charlee Hughes meant the Blues took all three points.
Elsewhere Maldon & Tiptree beat Great Wakering Rovers 3-1, Eddie Louis-Dsane Liam Hope and Tariq Issa putting the Jammers ahead whilst Wakering – down to 10 men after Bobby Mason’s late dismissal – netted an injury time consolation thanks to Joshua Wiggins.
Third placed Aveley scored a comprehensive 6-0 win at home to AFC Sudbury. Alex Akrofi netted a hat-trick for the Millers, Sam Bantick Tyler French (o.g.) and Bobby Vaughan being the other goal-getters.
Heybridge Swifts, another side assured of a play-off place secured an impressive 3-1 win away to already crowned league champions Bowers & Pitsea. Martyn Stokes put the home side ahead on 16 minutes before Toib Adeyemi, Dan Walker and Kreshnic Krasniqi sealed victory for Swifts.
Grays Athletic went down 4-2 in an away match at Bury Town. Correy Davidson put the Thurrock side ahead after 24 minutes before Fenn and Shaw gave their hosts the lead. Michael Toner gave Grays a 66th minute consolation.
Tilbury scored a 3-2 win at Dereham Town. Oliver Spooner, Marcus Bowers and Harry Watkins put the Dockers 3 goals ahead, before the Norfolk side netted late in the second half via Frary and Castallan.
Basildon United have already secured their Bostik North status for next season but were defeated 1-0 by Barking at Gardiners Close. Nana Boakye-Yiadom scored the only goal of the game for Blues four minutes from the end.
And Canvey Island secured a very late 3-2 victory in their away match at bottom club Mildenhall Town. After Debenham had given the Suffolk side a 38th minute lead Ryan Melaugh levelled for the visitors three minutes later.
Hayden put Mildenhall back in front on 71 minutes, before Frankie Merrifield scored a penalty in the final minute of normal time after being pulled back. Then Merrifield scored a very late winner which pretty much condemned their hosts to relegation.