TWO Suffolk strikers dominated the first-half Ryman North action yesterday (Saturday). Michael Brothers set the ball rolling with a first-minute goal for leaders Leiston against visiting Romford and went on to complete a hat-trick by the 21st minute.
Then, across the county, Needham’s Lee McGlone took over, with a 24th-minute goal that set him on the way to a 14-minute hat-trick against bottom club Ilford.
Leiston were hanging on by the end of their game. Kurt Smith threatened to outdo both Suffolk men by scoring twice in a minute soon after half-time but the hosts held on to win 3-2.
Needham went 4-0 up through Duane Wright in the 49th minute but failed to add to it. Ilford hit back with a Rob Carter header 12 minutes from time and made it 4-2 with a last-gasp strike from Sunday Olanipekun.
Leiston remain two points clear of Enfield Town, who won 2-1 at Waltham Forest. It took an hour for Town to go ahead through Leon Osei and Liam Hope netted his 20th goal of the season eight minutes later. Forest had Elton Sackey sent off but pulled a goal back three minutes from time, Arian Retkoceri converting the rebound after Joel Palmer’s penalty was saved.
Needham strengthened their grip on third place as the two sides behind them, Grays and Harlow, fought out a 1-1 draw.
David Cowley, who recently returned to Harlow after a spell at Grays, put the Hawks ahead with a third-minute free-kick and they stayed in front until 13 minutes from the end, when Craig Pope headed home a corner.
Tilbury moved up to sixth with a 2-0 win at Ware. The damage was done in the first 12 minutes by Alex Read, with a penalty, and Gary Henty.
Brentwood slipped back to seventh after a second-half penalty miss by Ryan Doyle cost them victory at Potters Bar. Fabion Simms put the hosts ahead after 11 minutes and Ryan Edgar made it 1-1 nine minutes before the interval. Brentwood dominated after that but failed to take their chances.
Sudbury also dropped two points in a 2-2 home draw with Great Wakering, who slipped to the foot of the table a week earlier. The shock must have done them good, for they have collected four points from two away games since then.
Dan Williams put Wakering ahead in the 20th minute but Sudbury recovered to lead by half-time thanks to a goal from Danny Charge and a header by James Smith.
Wakering squared it when Ryan Henshaw was sent off midway through the second half and player-manager Dan Trenkel lashed home the resultant free-kick.
Redbridge are right in the thick of the play-off race after their 3-2 home win over struggling Soham. Mitchell Das gave them an early lead and, after Andy Coleman replied, Joe Ellul’s header put the Motormen 2-1 up after 22 minutes.
Ellul struck again with 18 minutes to go but a late header by Dubi Ogbonna gave Soham vain hope of stealing a point.
There was plenty of action, as usual, at Waltham Abbey whose 30 games this season have produced 127 goals. This time they went down 3-2 at home to Thamesmead after taking the lead eight minutes before half-time through Louis Bristow.
Theo Fairweather-Johnson turned it round with two goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half but Abbots though they had saved a point when Tim Shaw squared it in the 87th minute. Then David Noel was brought down in added time and Ashley Probets won it from the spot.
Garry Tilley’s 19th-minute goal was all Chatham needed for victory at Heybridge. Lee Hales had the chance to double the lead four minutes later but missed a penalty. It could have been costly, but plenty of Heybridge pressure led to nothing better than a shot by Luke Callander which hit a post.
The other game, between Cheshunt and Maldon, finished goalless. Josh Hutchinson hit the bar for the home side.
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