What next for unpredictable Heybridge? They followed up a 5-0 victory at Romford in their last Ryman North away game by going one better at Ilford yesterday (Saturday), hitting six unanswered goals. Promotion form indeed, were it not for the 8-2 home defeat by Soham in between those two away triumphs!
Michael Cheek put them ahead in the 10th minute at Ilford and fluked another midway through the half when a defensive clearance hit him and cannoned into the net.
Then came a three-goal blitz in the last five minutes of the first half: a deflected shot by Ben Newson, a Cheek effort that went in off the bar to complete his hat-trick and a header by Luke Callander from a cross by Solomon Ofori, who added the sixth goal himself after 67 minutes. It was his tenth goal in league and FA competitions, making him the fourth Swift to reach double figures. Cheek has 18 goals, Callander and Newson 16 apiece.
Maldon’s Jamie Guy is one ahead of Cheek and Callander at the top of the division’s scoring charts after his 12th-minute penalty, his 15th league goal, earned the unbeaten leaders a 1-0 home win over Thamesmead. It extended their 100 per cent home record to nine games and their winning overall run to 13.
They are now 12 points clear at the top, though they were tested to the full by a lively Thamesmead side who almost got the equaliser they would have deserved when Chris Edwards hit the bar with a free-kick.
Grays moved into second place despite being held to a 1-1 home draw by Witham, for whom Lewis Goldbold scored in the ninth minute. Joe Sweeney replied after 21 minutes with a deflected shot.
Aveley dropped to third after going down 2-1 at Romford. Petrit Elbi put Millers ahead after 11 minutes and was denied a second by a post. Romford made the most of that slice of luck. Billy Hunt squared it just before the interval and Matt Toms nodded a 69th-minute winner when a Nick Reynolds header came back off the bar.
Heybridge and Thamesmead complete the top five, though Thamesmead now lead Potters Bar only on goal difference after a 43rd-minute free-kick by Josh Urquhart earned the Scholars a 1-0 home win over Waltham Abbey.
Ware gained the first victory of the season in their second game under new boss Nick Ironton, beating Waltham Forest 2-0 at Wodson Park. It might have been different if Corey Whitely’s shot had given Forest the lead instead of hitting the bar.
As it was, Ricci Crace put Ware in front five minutes before the interval and substitute Tony Martin scored with his first touch midway through the second half. Ware had Martin Standen sent off but it was too late to offer Forest a lifeline.
Ware are now just one point behind Ilford in the fight to avoid the sole relegation place. Ilford in turn are three points adrift of Redbridge, who moved above them with a 3-1 victory at Wroxham.
Jacob Cleaver was the axeman, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes with Ben Thompson netting for the Yachtsmen in between. Lee Martin clinched it for the Motormen in the fourth minute of added time.
Soham were involved in a goal feast for the second successive Saturday, but they came down to earth after that stunning win at Heybridge with a 6-3 defeat at Brentwood.
Rob Mason scored a hat-trick for the visitors but he was topped by Alex Read, who slammed a hat-trick – his fourth in recent weeks – in ten minutes as a rapid response to Mason’s 24th-minute opener.
Abs Seymour made it 4-1 at half-time and Daryl Robson added another before Mason got his second. A foul on Abs Thompson allowed Read to score his fourth from the spot with ten minutes left. Mason’s third was only a consolation goal but it was Soham’s 31st away from home, the most in any division.
The frustration goes on for Needham Market, still without a home win after nine attempts. They could hardly have come closer this time. Danny Bloomfield put them ahead on the half-hour and Piers Wixon replied for Harlow ten minutes after the break.
Duane Wright put the Marketmen ahead again with 16 minutes left but two great saves by Bertrand Bossu denied them a clincher and Wixon made it 2-2 deep into added time.
An early goal by Rodrigue N’Diane set Chatham on their way to a 2-0 home win over Sudbury, who had much of the possession but could not make it count. Liam Hickey got the second in the 37th minute.
Cheshunt were also given a boost by an early goal, a seventh-minute effort by John Megicks. Tilbury keeper James Marrable saved a Tony Burke penalty to deny the hosts a second before the interval but Courtney White made it 2-0 in the 58th minute, pouncing after Tommy Fletcher’s shot hit the bar, and Dave Greene added another before Jake Pooley’s late consolation for the Dockers.
Image: TGS Photo.