Colchester United loanee Femi Akinwande strikes twice as Maldon & Tiptree stay three points clear at the top

Aaron Condon, celebrating a goal for Brightlingsea against Bury from earlier in the season, netted h

Aaron Condon, celebrating a goal for Brightlingsea against Bury from earlier in the season, netted his 30th and 31st goals of the campaign to help the R's to victory over Aveley on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

The top five in the Ryman North all won on Saturday, with Maldon & Tiptree maintaining their three-point lead over local rivals Brightlingsea Regent.

Striker Femi Akinwande, on loan from Colchester United, netted a first-half brace as Maldon clinched a narrow 2-1 win at Ware.

Akinwande struck in the 29th and 35th minutes, breaking the deadlock from close-in before doubling the lead with a strong run from the half-way line.

Ware pulled a goal back early in the second half through Gareth Price, who squeezed home a shot between keeper Daniel Wilks and the near post on 49 minutes.

However, the Jammers held on to retain top spot, going into their final 10 league games of the season.

Brightlingsea have two games in hand, and so are in the box seat, and James Webster’s men maintained their unbeaten start to 2017 with a 3-1 home win over play-off hopefuls Aveley.

The R’s have won nine and drawn the other two of their last 11 fixtures, and they struck twice before half-time to take command at North Road on Saturday.

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A headed own goal by Tommy Spillane handed the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute, and three minutes later the prolific Aaron Condon ran through to double the lead. Condon made the game safe by beating three defenders before smashing home Regent’s third in the 49th minute, with what his 31st goal of the season.

Aveley netted a late consolation through Russell Malton’s headed own goal.

Meanwhile, Witham Town suffered a 2-1 home defeat to play-off contenders Haringey Borough.

The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when Anthony McDonald was waiting at the post to score, but Nathan Korenteng equalised on the stroke of half-time with a well-struck penalty.

Both teams improved slightly after the break, and Korenteng and Tommy Robinson squandered chances for Witham, before Christopher Benjamin slotted home a close-range winner for the visitors, deep into injury-time.

Heybridge Swifts suffered only their second defeat in their last eight league games, losing 2-1 at home to VCD Athletic. A below-par first-half display allowed VCD to lead through Kojo Awotowi (25). Rashid Kamara (64) doubled the lead, before Reece Grant netted for Swifts a minute later.

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