By JOHN CHUBB
A Chris Dickson hat-trick helped Hornchurch remain in the hunt for promotion from the Isthmian Premier League, after a 3-2 win away to struggling Wingate & Finchley on Saturday.
The veteran marksman opened the scoring after just five minutes, before doubling his team’s lead with a 16th minute penalty after colleague Jordan Clark was brought down in the box.
The home side fought back though, first via Charlie Ruff’s 22nd minute goal.
And when Ruff was tripped in the penalty area he took the resultant spot-kick, but Urchins goalkeeper Joe Wright saved it.
But Ruff set up Alphonso Kennedy for a 37th minute equaliser to make it two apiece at the break.
Dickson then ensured all three points for Mark Stimson’s men five minutes after the restart, when he struck the winning goal which meant they stay in fourth place.
Eighth-placed East Thurrock United also tasted victory against a North London club, John Coventry’s side coming out on top against Haringey Borough at Rookery Hill with a 4-2 win.
Anthos Solomou snatched the lead for the visitors in the 24th minute, but Rocks fought back in style with goals from Darren Foxley, Amos Nasha and Frankie Merrifield giving them a 3-1 lead at half-time.
Ryan Gilbey added a fourth on the hour mark before Chidubem Onokwai scored what turned out to be a consolation for Haringey 10 minutes from time.
Rob Small’s Bowers & Pitsea remain in 17th spot, but they produced a superb performance at Enfield Town where they scored four goals without reply.
Lewis Manor (2), Quentin Monville and Jamie Dicks all registered their names on the scoresheet.
In the Isthmian North Maldon & Tiptree returned to the top of the table with a 1-0 triumph away to Hullbridge Sports, Charlee Hughes scoring the only goal of the match 12 minutes from time.
The Jammers remain unbeaten and have games in hand on all the other sides in the division.
Just behind them are Aveley, for whom one goal was also enough as they picked up three points at Great Wakering Rovers, thanks to George Sykes who scored his sixth league goal of the season a minute before half-time.
Rovers dropped one place to 10th in the table.
Heybridge Swifts are still in the play-off spots despite being beaten 3-2 by Canvey Island at Scraley Road.
New boy Sam Bantick had given Canvey a 2-0 lead by the 13th minute with his early brace, before Jordan Cox netted his first of the season for Swifts with the game nearly half an hour old.
Then Jason Hallett scored the Gulls’ third in the 62nd minute before Alex Teniola reduced the deficit 13 minutes from time, but Canvey held on for the three points and climbed one place to 12th.
Grays Athletic and Coggeshall Town fought out a goalless draw at Parklands, which resulted in Coggeshall stay in the play-off spots in fifth whilst Grays dropped to sixth.
And Tilbury are now in 9th place after a strong first-half showing clinched them a 3-1 victory away to Dereham Town.
Brian Moses, Lee Burns and David Knight (with a penalty) were all on target before the break for the Dockers, Adam Hipperson scoring a consolation for the Norfolk club 13 minutes from time.
Basildon United’s recent improvement in results was halted as they were beaten 3-1 by Witham Town at Gardiners Close, but the Bees remain in 17th spot.
Scott Kemp gave Witham an early the lead before Adam Vyse equalised for Basildon on 20 minutes.
But in the second half Marcus Bowers put the visitors back in front, before Kemp grabbed his second of the match to move Witham up a place to 13th in the league standings.
Brentwood Town moved out of the bottom two with a vital 2-1 win over Soham Town Rangers at the Brentwood Centre Arena.
Sewa Marah was the Blues’ hero, his second-half brace proving enough to grab three important points despite a late reply from Soham’s Ryan Auger.
And Romford won their first match under Glenn Tamplin –only the club’s second league triumph of the season – as they travelled to Felixstowe & Walton United and came away with a 2-1 victory.
Dominic McHale put the Boro in front on 23 minutes before Armani Schaar levelled for the Suffolk side four minutes before half-time.
But two minutes later Adam Morgan scored, and the ex-Liverpool striker’s goal was enough to give them three points although they are presently still propping up the league, just behind Felixstowe who are now 19th.
In the South Central Division Harlow Town have now dropped out of the play-off positions and down to seventh, after going five games without a victory.
The Hawks lost 2-1 at Uxbridge, for whom Alex Paine and Mark Bitmead were on target before Tayo Oyebola got one back for the Hawks 9 minutes from time, but it wasn’t enough and the third-placed Middlesex side held on for the win.
Waltham Abbey leapfrogged Harlow into the top five, as their good run of results continued.
Abbey got the better of visitors Staines Town right at the death, in a seven-goal thriller at Capershotts.
Prince Domafriyie gave them the lead after 14 minutes before Dara Dada-Anite equalised for Staines five minutes afterwards.
Then the visitors went 2-1 up on 66 minutes through Joey Taylor, but the hosts soon levelled thanks to Leonne McKenzie.
With 12 minutes left on the clock Staines were once again in the ascendancy via a Klajdi Cani goal, but a further reply from McKenzie and an injury-time winner from Charlie Edwards gave Abbey a 4-3 win.
Barking’s fine recent run of league form was brought to an abrupt halt, as they travelled to South Central leaders Hanwell Town who soundly beat them by five goals to nil.
Gianna Critchlow (2), Harry Rush, Tayshan Hayden-Smith and Gareth Chendlik were all on target for the home side, but Barking are still in 9th place.