Saturday's Round-Up: Vanarama National League South

By Steve Whitney

It's neck and neck at the top of the Vanarama National League South after wins for both Dartford and Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday saw the Darts lead the table by a single goal.

Dartford made it six wins on the bounce after a 33rd minute header from Danny Mills proved the difference at Priory Lane against Eastbourne Borough.

So, the title race looks like going right to the wire as the Hawks won 2-1 at Westleigh Park against play-off chasing St Albans City.

Goals from Wes Fogden after 25 minutes and Jason Prior on 38 minutes saw the home side come from behind after falling behind to an early 10th minute Jamie Sendles-White goal.

Chelmsford City are third, but the battle for a top seven spot is tight, with Bath City down in tenth spot still not out of the race.

The Clarets had Scott Fenwick bagging all four of their goals as they won the Essex derby against East Thurrock United at the FutureFuel Stadium.

It was also the second time in succession that Fenwick netted three times from the spot!

He gave the Clarets the lead from open play as early as the 3rd minute but Sam Higgins equalised 19 minutes later.

Fenwick`s first penalty conversion came just before the break and he added two more in the 57th and 68th minutes to seal victory.

Chelmsford moved above Hampton & Richmond Borough, who dropped points for the fourth consecutive match as they were held at home to Gloucester City.

Max Kretzschmar’s 41st minute strike cancelled out Joe Parker’s 39th minute opener for the visitors in what was a lively opening half where Hampton were definitely the better side.

Gloucester held out to claim a point, as the Beavers slipped to fourth in the table.

Hemel Hempstead Town moved up to fifth after they won 3-2 and condemned Bognor Regis Town to relegation.

Last Tuesday, the Rocks saved themselves by beating St Albans 2-1, but it was another 'must win' against another Hertfordshire visitor but this time it was a bridge too far, despite a brave late rally.

They were behind to a 2nd minute Sanchez Watt effort and the former Arsenal man bagged a second 12 minutes later to give the Rocks a mountain to climb.

And when David Moyo eventually made it 3-0 with 19 minutes to go, the writing was on the wall, although Ollie Pearce after 82 minutes and Justin Amaluzor in the 89th minute made it a nervy finale.

Truro City slipped down a place to sixth after falling to a 2-0 defeat at Hardenhuish Park against Chippenham Town.

However, it was a pretty evenly-matched affair with genuine chances at a premium for either side until Chippenham managed to break the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Andy Sandell managed to find the net.

But the White Tigers fell two goals behind with just 6 minutes to go when Michael Jones scored the Bluebirds` second.

Braintree Town left it late – very late – before earning a dramatic 2-1 Essex derby win over a still-not-safe Concord Rangers at The Ironmongery Direct Stadium.

The first half was goalless and then the Iron were stunned when Adam Topley’s spectacular strike put the Beachboys ahead after 75 minutes.

However, Dan Thompson converted Ricky Gabriel’s cross with 4 minutes remaining and then, almost 9 minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game, Luke Allen grabbed Braintree’s last-gasp winner.

The win leaves Braintree two points behind the top seven, while Rangers hold a five-point cushion over the bottom three with four games remaining.

Braintree moved above Welling United after the Wings suffered a 2-1 defeat at the TerraPura Ground against second-bottom Whitehawk, whose place in the division is still hanging by a thread, being a full ten points behind the safety-mark.

Lloyd Macklin had put the Hawks ahead after 14 minutes but a mnute before the break, Gold Omotayo saw red after an off-the-ball incident to leave the home side down to ten.

Olu Durojaiye's strike levelled things up 4 minutes after the break and then Elliot Benyon made it 2-1 to the Hawks on 78 minutes, seconds after coming off the bench.

The Wings also went down to ten-men but was 3 minutes into stoppage time when Tom Bradbrook was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Nassim L'Ghoul.

Bath remain in tenth with a five-point gap still separating them from seventh-placed St Albans with three games to go after hammering another relegation-threatened side, Hungerford Town, 5-0 at Twerton Park.

Matt Richards converted the opener from the spot after just 9 minutes, and Opi Edwards made it 2-0 just before the interval with Andy Watkins notching the third shortly after half-time.

Jack Batten after 63 minutes and former Hungerford striker Nathaniel Jarvis in stoppage time made it a nap hand to leave the Crusaders five points above the drop zone.

Poole Town pulled to within five points of Hungerford after recording a first win in six games at the Black Gold Stadium against Wealdstone.

The Stones led at the break, courtesy of a 15th minute Matty Whichelow effort.

But the Dolphins levelled from the spot from Steve Devlin on 67 minutes and were in front less than a minute later with Warren Bentley`s strike keeping their survival hopes just about alive.

The day`s other game saw Weston-super-Mare win 4-2 at the Woodspring Stadium against Oxford City.

Gethyn Hill`s early 5th minute penalty gave the Seagulls the lead that Kevan Cotter and then Robbie Sinclair turned round in the 26th and 31st minutes respectively.

Jarrad Welsh took the teams into the break all-square with a 52nd minute leveller and 7 minutes after the restart, Aaron Parsons restored Weston`s lead – a lead they added to 11 minutes from time with a second for Hill.

Where next?

Waddock Urges Stalling Shots To Cut Out Mistakes Gary Waddock was left with a feeling of déjà vu after his Aldershot Town side were beaten at play-off rivals Tranmere Rovers.
Saturday's Round-Up: Vanarama National League Leyton Orient stalled Macclesfield Town's title celebrations a little by holding the champions-elect to a 1-1 draw at the Moss Rose in front of the live BT Sport cameras on Saturday lunchtime.

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