Bostik League division north

Both Witham Town and Heybridge Swifts saw their Bostik League division north runs ended by a 1-1 draw between the local rivals at the Village Glass Stadium.

A crowd of 273 turned out to watch the Friday evening action between the near neighbours, but there was nothing between the two despite them occupying places at different ends of the table.

Second-from-bottom Witham were looking to end a run in the league that had seen them lose their previous five games, while the fourth-placed Swifts came into it on the back of four straight wins since Julian Dicks had come in as manager.

And the visitors started confidently in the opening minutes, with Harrison Chatting firing over from an early break.

However, Witham settled themselves quickly and were also effective in getting forward as Johnny Ashman went close from a free-kick and Heybridge keeper Chris Haigh had to claim the ball from an Alejandro Seonne-Barber headed effort.

A long throw-in by Jack Kemsley on 17 minutes caused disarray in the Heybridge area and Haigh had to make a smart save from an Elias Siligato shot at his near post, before Seonne-Barber headed over again from the resulting corner.

But Witham got rewarded for the positive play just two minutes later with an opening goal.

With the visitors on the back foot, it came when Ashman drilled a ball low across the Swifts area on the diagonal and it was met by Andrew Tirivanhu who rammed it into the net from close range.

The lead was no more than Town deserved, but, after their spell of dominance, it was short-lived as they were caught by a sucker punch on 25 minutes.

A Heybridge break down the right was ended by a superb delivery into the Witham box by Kreshnic Krasniqi and Chatting showed enough desire to get to the ball and head home under pressure.

The goal certainly lifted the visitors and the game developed into an end-to-end battle as both sides fought hard to gain the upper hand.

Witham almost regained the lead twice in quick succession when the ball came off the head of Krasniqi and Haig had to save smartly to prevent an own goal, before Danny Norton fired just wide from the resulting corner.

It stayed 1-1 at half-time, but the second half began at a similarly fast pace, with Krasniq firing just over for Swifts and Ashman forcing Haig into a good stop at his near post in a busy opening 15 minutes.

It then took an excellent save by Haig, with his feet, on 68 minutes to deny Seonne-Barber when he broke clear of the Swifts’ back line following good work by Kemsley on the edge of the box.

With neither side able to find the breakthrough for a second goal, though, the game became rather nervy and scrappy as it headed into the latter stages, with both knowing that any mistakes could be costly.

It meant clear-cut chances were rare at both ends of the field although a frantic finish saw close-calls for both sides from set pieces in a fast-paced finish to the action.

The closest of these was when Elias Siligato deflected a free-kick inches over the visitors’ bar, but while neither set of players gave up the fight, the final whistle came with them locked together and having to settle for a point apiece.

Witham Town: Luca Collins, Michael Osei, Alejandro Seonne-Barber (Tom Blackwell 83), Danny Norton, Pat Ahern, Jack Kemsley, Johnny Ashman, Sam Owusu, L’Heureux Menga (Alfie Cerrulli 80), Andrew Tirivanhu (Jack Isherwood 68), Elias Siligato.

Subs not used: Liam Whipps, John Watson.

Heybridge Swifts: Chris Haigh, Guillem Ramon-Carreno, Jeysilva Sivapathasundaram, Odei Martin-Sorondo, Alieu Njie, Toib Adeyemi, Kreshnic Krasniqi, George Craddock, Daniel Walker, Harrison Chatting (Alex Clark 77), Matthew Price (Reuben Mudd 86).

Subs not used: Luke Wilson, Elliot Capel, Joe Gardner.