HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS and MALDON AND TIPTREE so nearly closed the gap on Bostik League division north leaders Bowers and Pitsea – only for the pacesetters to snatch an 88th-minute winner at Mildenhall Town.

Their 2-1 success means Bowers remain 11 points clear at the summit but Swifts and Maldon both stayed in the hunt with successes of their own, against Canvey Island and Dereham Town respectively.

Second-placed Swifts impressively ran out ran out 2-1 winners at Park Lane.

Both goals came in the second half, with Elliott Ronto’s opener soon followed by a second from Matthew Price.

Martin Tuohy pulled one back late on and Joe Claridge was red-carded for Swifts but Julian Dicks’ men held on for a precious victory – one that keeps them a single point above neighbours Maldon.

It was also one that surely made them deserving winners of our performance of the day award.

The Jammers’ success came courtesy of a 3-0 victory at home to Dereham.

Matthew Briggs put them ahead just past the midway point in the first half and their lead was doubled soon after the restart by Liam Hope.

Jack Cawley slotted home a late penalty to make the points absolutely safe.

COGGESHALL TOWN, in the last play-off spot, also notched a 3-0 victory, with their success coming at Barking.

Tevan Allen handed them a ninth-minute lead and it was doubled early in the second half by Michael Gyasi.

Conor Hubble put the icing on the cake eight minutes from time.

WITHAM TOWN suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Soham Town Rangers, with the only goal notched by Sam Mulready.

Both sides were reduced to ten men, with Will Gardner seeing red for Soham and Andrew Tirivanhu dismissed for Witham.

There was a familiar face on the bench for BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT’S 1-1 draw at home to Harlow Town.

Winger Rob Harvey has rejoined on a 28-day loan from Championship side Millwall.

Regent drew first blood just after the halfway point in the first half of the premier division contest, after an own goal from Fabion Simms.

However, Harlow levelled shortly before the break through Reece Price-Placid.