By JOHN CHUBB
Much of the Easter weekend’s sporting action took place on Good Friday, but there was still much taking place on Saturday to talk about.
West Ham United went into the weekend on a high after the men’s side’s superb Europa League triumph in France against Lyon on Thursday night, but there was no such joy for their female counterparts who lost their Women’s FA Cup semi-final at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, where Manchester City had what ended up being a smooth passage to the final with a 4-1 victory.
Meanwhile in the men’s FA Cup, the first of this weekend’s two Wembley semi-finals was won by Liverpool who got the better of Premier League title rivals Manchester City by them out in a 3-2 win.
In the Isthmian Premier League, Bowers & Pitsea ensured survival as although they lost 3-2 away to Margate, other results meant that outgoing manager Rob Small can take satisfaction in seeing his side once again consolidate their status at non-League step three.
And East Thurrock United earned what may prove to be a vital point from their match against Wingate & Finchley at Rookery Hill.
A comeback from 2-0 down and fellow strugglers Merstham’s 3-1 loss at home to Bognor Regis Town ensured that the Rocks will go into their wo remaining games outside of the bottom three in 19th place.
Our featured match was in the Isthmian North, where play-off contenders Grays Athletic faced Brentwood Town at Parkside.
Two first-half goals from Tom Richardson gave Brentwood all three points and edged Rod Stringer’s side closer to cementing a play-off spot, whilst it proved to be a costly defeat for the hosts who were leapfrogged into sixth place by Felixstowe and Walton United, who won 1-0 at home to Bury Town to claim the final play-off place with all sides now having two remaining matches.
But Grays remain in the promotion hunt, along with their landlords and league leaders Aveley and second-placed Canvey Island, whose hopes of returning to the summit were dented as they only managed a 1-1 draw away to Great Wakering Rovers.
The Thurlow Nunn Division One South title was decided in dramatic fashion.
Leaders Ipswich Wanderers had given themselves a massive advantage with a 2-0 win away to second-placed Buckhurst Hill during the week.
And they clinched the title at the Essex side’s expense with a 1-0 win at home to Barkingside, the goal coming ten seconds from time.
Buckhurst can still go up via the play-offs though, as can Benfleet who confirmed a top five berth with a 3-2 win at home to AFC Sudbury Reserves.
In Cricket’s County Championship Division One Essex were pushed to the wire by their hosts Somerset at Taunton, before securing victory by one wicket on day three – a match that saw veteran captain Alastair Cook pass a career milestone of 25000 runs.
This week’s playlist:
Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer
Shea Rafferty – Out Of The Blue
Spandau Ballet – Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)
Small Talk – Headstart
Liam Gallagher – Everything’s Electric
Tears for Fears – Break The Man
Harry and the Chicks – Snakes In The Streets
Booker Newberry III – Love Town
Coldplay feat Selena Gomez – Let Somebody Go
Blur – Coffee & TV
Killers – Somebody Told Me
Maximo Park – Great Art
George Michael – Heal The Pain
Supremes – Stoned Love
Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under
Beabadoobee – Talk
Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out
Matt Berry feat Emma Noble – Beatmaker
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Black Summer
Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia
Isley Brothers – Voyage to Atlantis
Teddy Pendergrass – Love TKO
Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys – Purple Zone
Change – The Glow Of Love