Leiston will clinch the Ryman North title if they win at Maldon on Saturday, having beaten Needham Market 3-0 on Monday to go seven points clear at the top. The all-Suffolk battle remained scoreless until the 57th minute, when Gareth Heath found the target. Marketmen stayed in contention until six minutes from time, when Leon Ottley-Gooch made it 2-0, and Heath added a late penalty.
Second-placed Enfield, having made up three points on Saturday, handed two of them back in a 1-1 home draw with Waltham Abbey. And they were relieved to manage even a point after Loren Maxwell gave the Abbotts an 89th-minute lead. There was just enough time for Walid Matata to reply.
Needham remain third but now lead Tilbury only on goal difference after the Dockers grabbed a last-gasp winner at Great Wakering. Alex Read, the division’s top scorer, netted his 24th league goal from the penalty spot in the 13th minute only for Jay Nash to reply for Wakering seven minutes later. That was it until the fourth minute of added time, when Emiel Aiken sealed a 2-1 win and sent Wakering to the foot of the table.
Grays should have made it a triple tie on points for third place after Joao Carlos scored twice soon after half-time at Romford. But Jack Barry pulled one back in the 80th minute and Kurt Smith made it 2-2 two minutes later.
So Grays dropped to fifth place and are only two points ahead of Sudbury, who enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 home win over Soham. That included a hat-trick for James Baker which took his league tally to 23, just one behind Read. He opened the scoring in the 17th minute and Chris Bryan added another before the interval. Dubi Ogbonna reduced the arrears with a penalty in the 68th minute but Soham immediately conceded a spot-kick at the other end and Baker obliged before completing his treble with 11 minutes left.
Two points further back are Redbridge, who maintained their play-off hopes with a 7-2 romp at Waltham Forest. James Robinson, Joe Gardner and Mitchell Das, with a penalty, put them 3-0 up before Nicolas Bondon gave Forest a glimmer of hope on the stroke of half-time. It was short-lived, for Gardner and Robinson each scored again in the first eight minutes of the second half. Dominic Okianu got Forest’s second but Gardner responded with his own third before Eddie Hart completed the rout.
Harlow slumped to their second 1-0 defeat of the weekend to slip six points behind Grays and almost out of the picture. Jordan Gill’s 33rd-minute penalty earned Ware their second Easter victory and they are off the foot of the table.
They remain six points adrift of possible safety, however, thanks to Ilford’s 3-1 away success over Brentwood in a game played at Redbridge because of a problem with Brentwood’s own ground. Much improved of late, Ilford scored twice in the closing stages of the first half through Johnathan Glowacki and Rob Carter. Martyn Stokes pulled one back six minutes after the interval but Carter struck again on the hour to lift Ilford into 19th place, above Soham on goal difference.
Thamesmead won 2-1 at Chatham, taking the lead with a David Noel goal five minutes after half-time only to lose it to an instant equaliser from Brad Potter. Jack Hopkins nabbed the winner in the 70th minute.
Heybridge won the battle of Maldon on home turf thanks to a 32nd-minute goal by Luke Callander and a penalty save which denied Ollie Berquez a Maldon leveller.
Cheshunt’s Ryan Wade made no mistake in a similar situation. His 73rd-minute penalty gave Cheshunt a 1-1 draw at Potters Bar, for whom Josh Urquhart had provided a lead just after the break.