Swifts avoid relegation in dramatic fashion by over-turning 2-0 deficit

Heybridge Swifts manager Jody Brown

Heybridge Swifts manager Jody Brown - Credit: Archant

Heybridge Swifts avoided relegation in dramatic fashion by rallying from 2-0 down to beat Phoenix Sports 3-2 in a thrilling Ryman North contest at Scraley Road on Saturday.

The Swifts began the day in the bottom three, and were staring relegation full in the face when trailing 2-0 at half-time.

But Jody Brown’s responded in superb style to score three unanswered goals in the second half, and so avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth.

In fact, it was by the slenderest of margins – a one-goal better goal difference than Ware, with both clubs finishing on 51 points. Ware ended on minus 18, Heybridge on minus 17 (goal difference).

Kweku Ansah (15) and Zak Byron (25) put Phoenix Sports 2-0 up and in the driving seat, but Lewis Godbold (49) and George Cole (54) brought it back to 2-2. The Swifts still needed a winner to be in with a chance of staying up, and they were reduced to 10 men by Reece Grant dismissal (65).

However, Godbold scored the winner in the 75th minute to save the Swifts, and bring joy to the bulk of a bumper crowd of 231.

Meanwhile, already-promoted Brightlingsea Regent finished their season with a 2-2 draw at Cheshunt. The R’s twice took the lead, initially through Robbie Rees on 15 minutes. Jason Hallett equalised just nine minutes later.

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Billy Hunt made it 2-1 to the visitors (63), only for Tom Bruno (78) to secure a point for the hosts.

James Webster’s side ended the season 12 points clear at the top, having suffered only seven losses.

Witham Town signed off with a 2-1 home win over Waltham Abbey, who only avoided relegation by goal difference. Scott Kemp (17) and Luke Mallet (31) scored for Witham.

Maldon & Tiptree, assured of finishing in second spot, lost 4-3 at Soham Town Rangers, who in the process saved themselves from relegation. Joshua Pollard (24) equalised for the Jammers in a 1-1 half-time score.

Twice Maldon took the lead via Kieran Bailey (56) and Sam Newson’s 68th minute header, only for Lloyd Groves (58) and Sam Mulready (85) to net equalisers.

Groves scored the winner with his second of the match in the 88th minute, to rubber-stamp Soham’s Ryman League status.

Maldon entertain Haringey Borough in the Ryman North play-off semi-final this Wednesday.

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