A LAST-MINUTE goal by Harrison Chatting lifted Billericay to the top of the Premier Division table yesterday (Saturday).
The Essex club, who have crept up almost unnoticed, won 1-0 at Met Police, who had to play with ten men for three-quarters of the game after Elliot Taylor was sent off for pulling back Dave Knight.
It was still not easy for Billericay, who were indebted to keeper Nicky Morgan for a fine save from Joe Sheldon, but Chatting emerged as the last-gasp hero when he intercepted a pass on halfway and raced clear to score.
Craig Edwards’ men are a point clear in a leading group as congested as the M25 in rush hour. The top seven are covered by just two points.
Lowestoft, who were top, slipped back to second after being held to a 0-0 draw at Wealdstone. Peter Dean missed a golden chance to win it for Stones in the closing stages.
Early-season table-toppers Hendon are back up to third after their 2-0 victory at Hastings. It was a one-sided game, but the Greens had to wait until the 74th minute before defender Michael Peacock headed home a corner to break the deadlock. Elliott Charles added the second three minutes later.
Also a point behind the leaders are Lewes, who made the most of a bright start to win 2-1 at Canvey. Michael Malcolm scored twice in the first 20 minutes to put the visitors in control (his second goal is pictured above by Paul Chesterton). Alex Rhodes gave Canvey hope with 16 minutes left but Lewes held out despite missing a chance to clinch it when Paul Booth’s penalty was saved by James Russell.
Three teams are a further point back, headed by Cray who started the day in second place but went down 4-2 in an action-packed game at Kingstonian. It was the third successive win for K’s, who seem to have put their poor start to the season well behind them.
Jack Clark put Cray ahead after six minutes, Simon Huckle responded four minutes later and Cray went ahead again just before the half-hour through Chris Saunders. The game turned on its head when Gary MacDonald equalised in the 57th minute and Ali Chabaan put K’s ahead within seconds of the restart. Allan Tait wrapped it up 12 minutes from time.
Behind Cray on goal difference are Hornchurch, whose fifth away victory in six attempts came courtesy of a lone Lewis Smith goal 18 minutes into their game at East Thurrock.
Bury complete the top seven thanks to a 2-1 home success over bottom club Leatherhead. Danny Cunningham scored early in each half for Bury, while Greg Andrews converted a penalty in the 32nd minute to put Tanners on terms for a while. They are still without a league win and are four points adrift.
Concord, though, are off the mark. Their first win came in convincing style, 3-0 at Horsham who have yet to collect a home point after six attempts. The return of Tony Stokes from injury has given Concord the lift they needed and it was he who put them ahead in the fourth minute, adding another around the 20-minute mark. Harry Elmes got the third midway through the second half and Concord climbed to 20th place, overtaking their hosts.
Aveley moved out of the bottom four, replaced by East Thurrock, after beating Tooting 2-1 in south London. Millers dominated the first half but had to settle for a single goal, headed home by Sherwin Stanley in the 32nd minute after Daryl Robson’s header came back off the bar. Danny Francis added an overdue second in the 78th minute but Millers almost paid the penalty for a host of missed chances when Lee Newman replied for Terrors in the closing stages and Andy McCollin almost snatched an equaliser.
The final game in the division was at Margate and yes, it was an away win. Kwesi Appiah hit a post for the hosts before Paul Vines netted the only goal in the 69th minute to give Carshalton the points.
That meant that seven of the day’s ten Premier Division games were won by the visitors, and there have now been 55 away victories in the section compared with just 39 occasions when the home side have come out on top. Only Leatherhead have yet to win away while no fewer than seven teams are still seeking their first success on home turf.
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