Saturday’s Round-Up: Vanarama National League South

2 months ago By Steve Whitney

Dartford remain top of the table on goal difference with an amazing five teams all level on points in the fight for the title.

And to make it an even more exciting festive period, the three teams below that are also level on thirty-six points, meaning the top eight are separated by just three points!

The Darts were held by one of those other teams on thirty-nine points, Braintree Town, at Princes Park on Saturday.

A crowd of 936 saw the home side take a 17th minute lead through Andy Pugh, although it was against the run of play.

But Braintree scored a controversial equaliser a minute before half-time.

Danny Mills appeared to be fouled on the half-way line, but the referee allowed play to continue and when Ricky Gabriel sent in a low cross, Marcel Barrington hammered the ball home from close-range.

Havant & Waterlooville are second a comprehensive 4-1 win at Priory Lane against Eastbourne Borough.

Theo Lewis gave the visitors a 1-0 interval lead with a goal after 11 minutes.

But the Hawks ran riot in the second period, adding further goals from Jordan Rose a minute after the restart, Wes Fogden on 56 minutes and sub Matty Tubbs on 70 minutes.

Boro netted am 83rd minute consolation from Shaun Okojie.

Chelmsford City are third after matching the Hawks, beating another play-off chaser in Welling United, 4-1 at Melbourne Park.

The Clarets got off to a great start when Matt Johnson scored inside the opening 2 minutes.

And just 4 minutes later, the Wings were already facing an uphill battle when Luke Daley made it 2-0.

Seven minutes before half-time Kudus Oyenuga added City`s third.

A more subdued second period saw Chris Dickson eventually add a fourth for the hosts in the 72nd minutes, with Bradley Goldberg replying with the Wings` consolation 4 minutes later.

Hampton & Richmond Borough dropped to fifth after being held to a 0-0 draw at Oxford City, who returned to action following a two-week break.

And City fought hard for a point in a stop-start game in which both sides had their chances to grab all three points with City's Matt Paterson striking the post in the second half before an acrobatic stop from visiting `keeper Sam Howes prevented an own goal with virtually the last kick of the game.

Hemel Hempstead Town are sixth but they too had to settle for just one point as they were held 1-1 at Vauxhall Road by lowly Concord Rangers.

It was goalless at the break, but the visiting Beachboys were the ones to break the deadlock after 67 minutes with a goal from Harry Lee.

The Tudors equalised 7 minutes later though, through Will Hoskins.

Truro City complete the top seven but they were also held to a draw in the `battle of the Tigers` against Gloucester City at Treyew Road.

Despite most of the pressing being done by the home side, it was the visitors who went on to take the lead with 17 minutes left on the clock when Tom Webb was brought down inside the area and Ed Williams stepped up to fire home from the spot.

The White Tigers were able to level matters on 80 minutes when a neat move ended with the ball falling at the feet of Ben Harding who lashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Sitting in eighth, level on points with Truro and Hemel, are St Albans City after they won 3-1 at Grosvenor Vale against Wealdstone.

Rhys Murrell-Williamson gave the Saints a 15th minute lead that Abobaker Eisa cancelled out 10 minutes later to send the teams into the break all-square.

But just 2 minutes after the interval, Murrell-Williamson restored the visitors` lead and on 65 minutes, Zane Banton ensured the points went back to Hertfordshire.

East Thurrock United are just a couple of points behind St Albans after a comfortable 4-2 home win over a Whitehawk side who look virtually doomed already, being a massive eighteen points adrift of fourth-bottom Oxford City.

It was actually the Hawks who drew first blood when new signing Nathaniel Pinney put them ahead inside 10 minutes.

Sam Higgins hammered the home team level after 19 minutes.

And Ryan Sammons struck 2 minutes before half-time to put East Thurrock ahead.

And the same man doubled his account on 55 minutes to put the home team firmly in charge.

Tom Richardson scored the fourth goal of the afternoon for the hosts with 15 minutes remaining.

Another new boy, Gold Omotayo, scored a late consolation second for the visitors.

Bath City, hammered at home in the second game of the season by neighbours Chippenham Town, claimed back A4 derby bragging rights with a 3-0 win at Hardenhuish Park.

Midfielder Tom Smith was the away side`s hero in front of a large Bath following in the excellent 1,502 pre-Christmas crowd.

He gave Bath an early 7th minute lead, and then added a third after 67 minutes, with Jack Compton sandwiching the other after 28 minutes.

Neighbours Weston-super-Mare are now thirteenth after beating Hungerford Town 2-1 at the Woodspring Stadium.

Dayle Grubb, who is shortly to depart for SkyBet League Two side Forest Green Rovers, bagged another brace for the Seagulls in the 17th and 78th minutes.

Nick Bignall had equalised on 38 minutes for a Crusaders side who are in need of points over Christmas and New Year to avoid being sucked any deeper into trouble.

Third-bottom Poole Town met second-bottom Bognor Regis Town at Nyewood Lane and in finished honours` even.

But it will be hugely disappointing for the visiting Dolphins as they led through Warren Bentley`s 65th minute effort until 5 minutes into stoppage time when Doug Tuck rifled home the Rocks` equaliser.

Where next?

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Saturday’s Round-Up: Vanarama National League North Salford City still lead the table by six points going into Christmas, but they were victims of a tremendous performance by visiting Chorley on Saturday, who left the Peninsula Stadium with a 3-0 victory and eighth place.