Brightlingsea Regent and Maldon & Tiptree both hit the road as title race gathers momentum

Hunt flicks the ball on for Brightlingsea

Hunt flicks the ball on for Brightlingsea

Ryman North title rivals Brightlingsea Regent and Maldon & Tiptree are both on the road this afternoon.

Pace-setters Brightlingsea, nine points clear at the top with just six games remaining, are away at Haringey Borough, while second-placed Maldon are at Thamesmead Town.

On the face of it, the R’s have the tougher test against a Haringey side who currently occupy the final play-off berth, fifth slot.

Haringey are one of the in-form teams in the division, having won their last five league matches, scoring 12 goals in their last three league outings against Great Wakering Rovers (5-2), at Heybridge Swifts (4-1) and against Bury Town (3-0).

However, James Webster’s Brightlingsea are brimming with confidence. They have lost just once in 2017, and remain firm favourites to clinch promotion to the Ryman Premier.

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They extended their superb run to 14 wins in their last 17 matches, with a 1-0 success over Bury last weekend thanks to Aaron Condon’s second-half winner.

Maldon & Tiptree have stumbled in recent weeks, losing five of their last eight league games. Today’s hosts, Thamesmead, have not played for a fortnight, since a 2-2 home draw against VCD Athletic.

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Meanwhile, Heybridge Swifts, fresh from their battling point in a goalless draw at fourth-placed Thurrock on Tuesday evening, are at home to relegation-threatened Ware. Jody Brown’s men have stayed at arm’s length from the relegation zone in recent months, and remain five points clear of the bottom three.

Mid-table Witham Town are also at home, against Tilbury. Both sides are locked together on 53 points, although 12th-placed Witham have a better goal difference.

In National League South, play-off chasing Chelmsford City are at home to third-from-bottom Gosport Borough.

The Clarets won 2-1 at East Thurrock on Tuesday night, to cement their position in fourth slot. Rod Stringer’s men have lost just once in 10 league matches.

Gosport might be in the drop zone, but they are only two points adrift of safety after beating Bath City 1-0 in midweek, following on from a 4-0 success over StAlbans last weekend.

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