By JOHN CHUBB
Ageless Jamie Cureton rolled back the years with his first goal for Hornchurch at Potters Bar Town on Saturday.
But the much-travelled striker – now 44 and who moved to Bridge Avenue from Isthmian Premier League rivals Bishops Stortford during the week – was unable to prevent his new side from slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Potters Bar Town, although they remain in play-off contention in fourth spot.
An early Ben Ward-Cochrane double – the first of which was from the penalty spot – put the hosts 2-0 up before Cureton replied on 17 minutes.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, there was also disappointment for East Thurrock United who lost 2-1 away to struggling Wingate & Finchley, as result that took the home side off the bottom of the table.
John Coventry’s side led for most of the match after Darren Foxley’s fourth minute opener, but goals Tage Kennedy and Charlie Ruff in the final 11 minutes gave the hosts a vital three points in the fight for survival, whilst Rocks slipped to 10th place.
Bowers & Pitsea are still 15th after a 1-1 draw against Merstham at the Len Salmon Stadium.
Callum Leahy gave the hosts a 10th minute lead, but the away side levelled on 69 minutes through Calvin Ekpiteta despite being reduced to ten men following Luke Ige’s 54th minute red card.
In the Isthmian North Maldon & Tiptree returned to pole position in style with a comfortable 5-0 win at home to Hullbridge Sports, who dropped a place to 14th.
Danny Parish, Charlee Hughes, Ryan Charles, Jake Cass and Conor Hubble managed a goal each for the Jammers.
Making way for them at the top of the table were their local rivals Heybridge Swifts, who had to settle for a share of the spoils in an eight-goal thriller at Canvey Island.
Matt Price and George Cocklin put Swifts 2-0 up in the first half before George Okoh replied with a penalty, but Evans Kouassi gave the visitors a 3-1 lead just before half-time.
After the break a Matt Lock free-kick gave Canvey a lifetime but despite Emmanuel Osei restoring Swifts’ two goal cushion, Michael Finneran and Tobi Joseph’s late goals for the Gulls made the final score 4-4.
Canvey’s point left them in seventh spot behind fifth-placed Tilbury, who won 1-0 against Dereham Town at Chadfields thanks to a late Eljay Worrell goal, and Coggeshall Town who are sixth after beating 12th-placed Grays Athletic at West Street by the same scoreline, Nnamdi Nwachuku scoring the only goal in the second half.
Elsewhere Witham Town climbed to 13th in the standings after a 1-0 win at home to 17th-placed Basildon United, Oliver Bell’s goal seven minutes from time proving the difference between the two sides.
And Brentwood Town – for whom Adam Flanagan began a second spell as manager this week – are, like Basildon still looking over their shoulders in 18th spot, having lost 2-1 at Soham Town Rangers.
Charlie Johnson gave Soham the lead before Andrew Freeman levelled from Brentwood 15 minutes from the end, but then Sam Mulready ensured the Cambridgeshire club took all three points by scoring 9 minutes from the end.
And Romford won the basement battle against Felixstowe & Walton United – one place above them in the table – by three goals to one.
Oliver Canter had given the Suffolk side the lead six minutes after the break, but Louie Theophanous and Adam Morgan (2) gave Boro a vital three points, Morgan’s first being a quite incredible lob from the halfway line.
Glenn Tamplin’s side still prop up the table, and are six points from safety but have games in hand on all but two of the teams in the entire division.
In the South Central Division Waltham Abbey remained in play-off contention with a 2-0 win away to strugglers Staines Town, thanks to a Rob Clark double which left his side in seventh place.
But Barking suffered a narrow home defeat for the second Saturday in succession, Ogo Obi’s second-half penalty giving league leaders Hanwell Town a 1-0 win at Mayesbrook Park.
The Blues are currently 10th and five points away from a play-off spot.
But it looks increasingly like Harlow Town will once again be plying their trade at step four next season.
The Hawks now have only one win in their last six league outings after a 1-0 loss at home to Uxbridge, Mark Bitmead’s second-half free-kick consigning them to 13th place.