By JOHN CHUBB
Saturday’s Isthmian Premier League action saw Hornchurch keep hold of one of the play-off spots despite being held to a goalless draw at home to Bognor Regis Town.
Urchins are fourth and unbeaten in their last 9 league matches, but they were held at bay by the Sussex side.
Elsewhere in the Premier Bowers & Pitsea secured a vital three points in their away match at Potters Bar Town, where a goal in each half from Bradley Warner secured a 2-0 win and 17th spot in the table for Rob Small’s side.
In the Isthmian North Maldon & Tiptree’s FA Cup activity meant that neighbours Heybridge Swifts’ 4-2 home win over Great Wakering Rovers propelled them to the runners-up spot, thanks to an Alex Teniola hat-trick and a goal from Harrison Chatting.
Jack Stevenson – making his Wakering return after re-signing from Romford, for whom he made just one appearance – and Dan Walker replied for the visitors who are now in 9th place.
Coggeshall Town’s 1-1 draw away to Bury Town meant that the Seedgrowers kept hold of third place and the hosts stayed top.
Cemal Ramadan put Bury ahead before the break but Robert Harvey’s second-half equaliser gave Coggeshall a share of the spoils.
Grays Athletic held on to the final play-off position thanks to their 2-0 win at home to Hullbridge Sports, who are in 16th spot.
Joao Carlos and George Purcell were the home team’s marksmen.
Just behind Grays are their landlords Aveley, who triumphed 4-1 in their game at Cambridge City with Perry Dunn – making his third Millers debut after re-signing for the club – George Sykes and Shad Ngandu (from the penalty spot after Sykes was fouled) all adding their names to the scoresheet.
Ryan Sharman netted a last-minute consolation for the home side.
But it wasn’t a happy afternoon for Canvey Island, who were soundly beaten 3-0 by Histon at Park Lane with the goals coming from Max York (via a penalty), Simon Swinton and Dan Brown.
To make matters worse for the Gulls they had Michael Finneran dismissed a minute from time, after he had a goal disallowed and reacted angrily to the decision.
Canvey are in 13th place and Witham Town are just behind them, after they won 2-1 at Soham Town Rangers.
Scott Kemp and Brandon McCarthy got them three points despite Soham being awarded a last-minute penalty, which was converted by Tom Newman.
In the North’s basement battle of the day Basildon United got the better of Brentwood Town in a 5-goal thriller at Gardiners Close.
The Bees moved up to 17th spot thanks to goals from Harry Doyle, Ernest Okoh and Jimmy Cox giving them a 3-2 victory.
Marcus Milner and Andrew Freeman scored the goals for Brentwood, who remain 19th.
Phoenix’s Leigh (@beakster99) watched that match and his report can be seen here.
Romford’s home match against Tilbury was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
In the South Central Division Harlow Town remain fourth despite losing 2-1 at home to Northwood.
Tayo Oyebola got one back for the Hawks after Eric Lopes and Ethan Flanagan had given the Middlesex men a half-time lead.
Waltham Abbey are now up to seventh after securing a 1-0 victory at struggling Ashford Town, thanks to a late goal from Prince Domafriyie.
And Barking are up to 9th following their 2-1 win at Chipstead.
Michael Dixon and Jack Hayes were the Blues’ marksmen before Dan Moody replied for the hosts 9 minutes from the end, following a handball.