The league’s last unbeaten record has gone. After eighteen games without defeat, and fourteen….
….consecutive wins, Ryman League Division One North leaders Maldon & Tiptree finally succumbed on Boxing Day.
They went down 1-0 at local rivals Heybridge Swifts, for whom Luke Callander netted his fifteenth league goal of the season with 14 minutes left.
The victory lifted Swifts into second place but Maldon still have a thirteen-point cushion and a game in hand.
At the other end of the table, the weather dealt a cruel blow to Ware. Two goals from Spencer Knight and one apiece from Tony Martin and Rob Green gave them a 4-2 lead over Harlow Town with only 18 minutes left.
But constant heavy rain eventually made conditions unplayable, the match was abandoned and Ware were denied a probable victory that would have lifted them two places in the table.
Five of the ten scheduled games in the division were postponed – all in Essex – and so only four matches were completed.
The most significant of them was at Chatham Town where Thamesmead Town won 3-2 and climbed into the top five.
It was a close-run thing – Stuart Zanone’s decider came 3 minutes into added time. It was the third time the visitors had taken the lead. Earlier efforts from Rob Carter and Lea Dawson were answered for Chats by James Lawrence and Garry Tilley.
The result was settled in added time at Soham Town Rangers as well. A foul on Ross Durrant gave visitors Wroxham a penalty and, although Angelo Harrop’s kick was saved, he followed up to make it 3-3.
It was the third time the Yachtsmen had hauled themselves back on to level terms. Durrant and Ben Thompson answered strikes by James McCabe and Rob Mason for the hosts, and McCabe must have thought his second goal, an 86th minute curler, was going to be worth three points.
The points were shared in less dramatic style at AFC Sudbury, whose clash with Needham Market failed to produce a goal for the crowd of 322 – the division’s second-highest of the season.