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Bostik Premier Title Race Still Open

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A late winner kept Dulwich Hamlet in the Bostik League Premier promotion hunt after Billericay Town earned a last-gasp home draw with Wingate & Finchley.

After a goalless opening 45 minutes, Wingate took the lead just 2 minutes into the second half through Reece Beckles-Richards.

And then the visitors were awarded a penalty 8 minutes later which Sean Cronin duly converted.

But Matt Paine reduced the deficit after 65 minutes and 2 minutes later, Wingate`s Jack Humphrey was shown to quick yellow cards – the second for preventing a clear counter attack – and was sent-off.

Billericay finally made their extra man count in the 3rd minute of stoppage time with a goal from Sam Deering.

Dulwich eventually saw off a stubborn Thurrock side that were kept in the game by a string of fine saves by keeper Ben McNamara.

Hamlet led through Ashley Carew`s 27th minute effort, but Jordan Clark pulled the Essex visitors level from the spot just 3 minutes into the second half.

But a goal from Nathan Green 11 minutes from time sealed Hamlet`s win.

The title race now looks like being between the top two after third-placed Folkestone Invicta suffered a 5-3 defeat at Westhumble by Dorking Wanderers.

It was a bad day for Neil Cugley`s side, who fell behind to a 6th minute James McShane goal.

Sam Hasler equalised 16 minutes later, only for Dorking to lead 3-1 at the break, thanks to Guiseppe Sole and McShane again.

Joe Taylor reduced the gap 8 minutes after the break, only for sub Lewis Putman to restore Dorking`s two-goal lead in the 75th minute.

Ronnie Dolan pulled the visitors back to within a goal of their hosts, only for another sub, Tom Tolfrey, to add a fifth in stoppage time.

Fourth-placed Hendon and Kingstonian battled out a goalless draw with two good defensive performances in a game of few chances at Fetcham Grove.

Hendon were reduced to ten-men after Casey Maclaren’s dismissal in the 29th minute for handball, this after being booked in the 5th minute. However, K’s were unable to make the most of the man advantage and the match became one in which defences were dominant.

The point keeps Hendon a point above sixth-placed Leiston in the play-off race with three matches left.

Margate hold the other top five spot and they too were held to a draw, 2-2 at another play-off contender, Staines Town.

The point wasn`t really what either wanted, but as Gate led 2-0 with goals from Jack Evans after 42 minutes and Liam Friend 11 minutes later, the fact that Elliot Buchanan and Mo Bettamer`s goals coming in the final 8 minutes will seem like a victory for the Swans, who are five points behind the Kent side with two games in hand.

Leiston are just a point behind Margate after beating a Burgess Hill Town side who returned to the bottom of the table after Tooting & Mitcham United picked up a point.

At the LTAA, a Jack Ainsley brace in the 69th and 90th minutes – the second from the spot – sealed the Suffolk side`s win.

Leatherhead are still in top five contention and have five games left to play, but a 1-1 draw at Moatside against Merstham leaves them four points behind Margate.

Tutu Henriques` goal right on the stroke of half-time was cancelled out by the Tanners` Jack Midson in the 69th minute.

Tooting kept their survival hopes alive by grabbing a point from a 1-1 draw at Earlsmead against Harrow Borough, whose Kurtis Cumberbatch opened the scoring after 11 minutes.

Dominic Morgan-Griffiths equalised in the 69th minute.

Lowestoft Town are virtually safe though after that draw and their 1-0 win at Metropolitan Police, thanks to a 16th minute Armani Schaar goal.

Harlow Town also secured safety after a 2-0 home win over Brightlingsea Regent, thanks to Alex Read`s 11th minute penalty and a 27th minute goal from loanee Matt Foy.

Elsewhere, a 14th minute goal from Joel Colbran extended Worthing`s home unbeaten run to ten matches, although they did have Joe Clarke sent-off for a late tackle on Jake Dye in the 68th minute.

Enfield Town won 4-1 at inconsistent Tonbridge Angels, with a Brad Wadkins brace, Aaron Greene and Sam Youngs outgunning Alex Akrofi.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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