Ryman League division north

HEYBRIDGE Swifts suffered a narrow defeat against Waltham Abbey in a poor encounter at Capershotts.

Darelle Russell’s clever 60th-minute goal proved enough to decide the contest between two sides looking to cement their safety from the drop zone.

On a poor pitch, the first half was devoid of any real goalmouth action apart from a couple of scrambles at each end.

Both defences dominated and with two good keepers on duty in Lewis Lockyer and Lewis Moore, it always looked as though one goal would decide it. Harry Morgan was industrious as ever in midfield as Swifts struggled to put passes together on a surface that made ball control almost impossible.

Swifts keeper Moore beat away Romaric Logon's 20-yard strike but apart from that, there was hardly a shot on target before the break.

The second half was a open affair as both sides attacked and the home side always looked dangerous on the counter attack but still struggled to create chances.

Adam Bolle missed a good chance to put Swifts ahead when he headed over from close range just after the break.

And with Jack Cawley’s long throws causing problems, it seemed only a matter of time before Swifts scored.

But it was Abbey who broke the deadlock when Russell scored what proved to be the winner, on the hour.

He turned Lewis Dark and slotted home with his left foot, following a ball in from ex-Stoke City full-back Glasgow.

Swifts battled hard to find an equaliser and had to resort to a longer ball game to create chances.

Centre-back Eli Benoit and keeper Lockyer working overtime to defend the large number of crosses and long throws.

Both came out on top in the end and Swifts left West Essex pointless, despite a hard-working second half.

One bright spot for Swifts was the debut of ex-West Ham United academy player Taylor Tombides who came on as a late substitute and who looked a very good prospect with some strong runs and driven crosses.

Swifts boss Jody Brown is assembling a good young squad who will have learned so much this season and who will be a good deal stronger next season as a result of it.

Swifts travel to play Aveley this weekend for one of the hosts' last-ever games at their Mill Field stadium, before they move to a newly-built venue in June.