Redbridge ended Leiston's ten-match Ryman North winning streak with a 1-1 draw in Suffolk on Saturday, but Leiston still took a step closer to the title. Danny Smy gave Leiston a good start, scoring after eight minutes, but they were unable to build on their lead and Joe Gardner’s reply midway through the second half gave the Motormen deserved reward.
Leiston, though, moved eight points clear with five games left as Enfield Town crashed to a 3-0 home defeat against Harlow, their first defeat at their new stadium. To make matters worse, Harlow were reduced to ten men as early as the 23rd minute when Jeff Hammond was given his marching orders. Hawks shook off the blow and took a 2-0 lead by half-time with a scrambled effort by Luke Marshall and a Dave Cowley free-kick. Bertie Brayley’s solo effort in the 67th minute made quite sure.
Harlow remained sixth, a point behind Tilbury who maintained their play-off spot with a 2-0 win at Heybridge. Emiel Aiken gave them the lead on the hour, snapping up the rebound after Alex Read’s penalty was saved, and Tom Wraight added the second.
Grays stayed three points ahead of Dockers with a vital 2-1 victory at Sudbury. Had Sudbury won it would have been a three-way tie for fourth place, but defeat dropped the Suffolk outfit to seventh. Harry Agombar put in-form Grays ahead after only three minutes only for James Baker to reply in the 11th minute. The dismissal of Sudbury’s James Smith just before half-time tipped the scales and Bradley Thomas headed the winner in the 66th minute.
Third-placed Needham stayed four points ahead of Grays and moved within four points of Enfield with a lone-goal victory at Great Wakering. Bradley Barber did the trick with a long-range shot in the 65th minute and a post denied Julain Okai a last-gasp equaliser.
So Wakering stay in the relegation places, two points behind Ilford who held out for 54 minutes at Chatham before going down 2-0. Lee Hales broke the deadlock and Ilford had Johnathan Glowacki sent off before Garry Tilley doubled the score with 20 minutes left.
It looks grim for bottom club Ware, still six points adrift of safety with games running out after their 3-1 home defeat by Maldon. The scoresheet was blank after 70 minutes but Ware’s troubles certainly did not come singly as they found themselves 3-0 down five minutes later. Junior Luke broke the deadlock and Sos Yao added a quickfire double. Lewis Rolfe’s free-kick gave Ware some late consolation as their survival hopes took another knock.
Darren Blewitt gave Brentwood a fifth-minute lead at home to Soham, who replied through Dubi Ogbonna moments before half-time only for Steve Butterworth to restore Brentwood’s advantage immnediately after the break. That was enough to give Brentwood a 2-1 win but results elsewhere mean that their play-off hopes are now very slim while Soham look almost safe from the drop.
Like Harlow, Waltham Forest overcame an early dismissal to take all three points. They recovered from the 17th-minute departure of Adrian Clifton to beat Cheshunt 2-1. Inaki Ordono’s free-kick gave them the lead right on half-time and Manu Dagher made it 2-0 on the hour, Andrew West replied two minutes later.
There was also an early exit at Potters Bar but in this case it was due to an injury to home keeper Ricky Burbridge. Theo Fairweather-Johnson had already given Thamesmead a seventh-minute lead and he beat stand-in Denis Paratusic, an outfield player, in the last minute of the first half. Jack Hopkins completed Thamesmead’s 3-0 win with 20 minutes left.
Kurt Smith scored twice in the first 16 minutes for Romford but visiting Waltham Abbey responded with goals from Adam Bolle and Tom Bruno in added time at the end of the first half. It finished 2-2 after an uneventful second period.