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Leaders Lose Kent Derby

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Whitehawk kicked off at noon on Boxing Day knowing that a home victory over Hastings United would take them to….

….the top of the Ryman League Premier Division table, at least for a few hours.

So they must have been disappointed with a 2-2 draw, especially as they took the lead in each half through Charlie Walker and Joe Keehan.

Bradley Goldberg made it 1-1 in added time at the end of the first half, and Hastings claimed their point with a goal by Tom Vickers with 9 minutes left.

By the end of the day, though, Hawks must have been fairly pleased with themselves. Wealdstone, who battled out a goalless draw at old rivals Harrow Borough, were the only other side in the top nine to get any reward.

Leaders Margate went down 1-0 at home to Cray Wanderers, for whom Leigh Bremner’s 19th minute goal was enough.

Bognor Regis Town were on the wrong end of the same scoreline at Lewes.

Kane Wills missed a first half penalty for Rocks, who went down to an 80th minute strike by Nathan Crabb.

Sam Clayton, who switched from Kingstonian to Metropolitan Police earlier this month, dealt a huge blow to his old team-mates at Imber Court.

K’s took an early lead through Wade Small and held it until soon after half-time, when Clayton equalised.

Another recent signing, David Knight, put the Met ahead shortly afterwards and they wrapped up their 4-1 home win with late goals from Howard Newton and Knight.

Carshalton Athletic, with only one away point in ten previous attempts, upset the odds to win 1-0 at eighth-placed Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Nathaniel Pinney found the net 9 minutes before the interval and, when Hampton had the chance to reply, Craig Holloway blasted his penalty over the bar.

The Robins stayed bottom despite their success, but drew closer to the teams above them.

Two of the other leading clubs, Bury Town and Lowestoft Town, had their meeting at the Ram Meadow postponed. They, too, must have enjoyed seeing the other scores.

Canvey Island started the day in ninth place, ahead of neighbours Concord Rangers on goal difference. But it was Concord who claimed offshore bragging rights in style with a 3-0 home win.

They had Nicky Cowley sent-off midway through the first half but were already 2-0 up, thanks to a Harry Elmes double.

Canvey striker Bradley Woods-Garness hit a post just after Cowley’s departure but that was as close as his side came to starting a recovery and James White wrapped it up for the Beachboys with 5 minutes left.

Hendon moved well clear of the drop zone and left Wingate & Finchley deep in trouble.

It looked certain to be a goalless draw, even though Wingate had Andre Scarlett sent-off with around 20 minutes left. But in the 89th minute former Hendon man Scott Shulton handled on the line, he became the second home player to make an early departure, and Julian Owusu-Bekoe converted the penalty.

Wingate remain twentieth, a point ahead of Thurrock who now have four games in hand after their visit to borough rivals East Thurrock United fell victim to the weather.

Leiston maintained their improvement with a 3-1 home win over Enfield Town – the team they pipped for the Ryman North title last season.

Gareth Heath and Emmanuel Osei put them 2-0 up but Mitch Hahn put Enfield back in the game until Heath grabbed his second in the 78th minute.

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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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