Non-League Round-Up…

Vanarama National League South Play-Off Final

Braintree Town returned to the fifth tier of English football for the first time since 2019 following a pulsating 4-3 Vanarama National League South Play-Off Final victory at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium.

The Iron took the lead through Dominic Odusanya in the twenty-third minute before Ollie Pearce, with his forty-sixth goal of the season, made it 1-1 just before the break.  Jack Spong put Worthing 2-1 up in the fiftieth minute before former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Aaron Blair restored parity just after the hour mark.

Charlie Wakefield’s spectacular strike made it 3-2 to the visitors in the sixty-sixth minute only for Danny Cashman’s equaliser just two minutes later to send the match into extra time. 

Alfie Payne thought he had won the game for the Iron in the hundredth minute only for his goal to be disallowed after he was adjudged to have knocked the ball out of keeper Oliver Wright’s hand but the win – and Braintree’s promotion – was sealed when sub Reggie Lambe’s low diving header following Wakefield’s cross found its way through Wright’s legs at the near post three minutes into the second period of extra time.

Pitching-In Isthmian League North Play-Off Final

Bowers & Pitsea quickly returned to the Isthmian League Premier League, bouncing back at the first time of asking after a penalty shoot-out win over Brentwood Town following a 1-1 draw at the Len Salmon Stadium. Chris Millar put Bowers 1-0 up in the sixteenth minute before Matt Cripps equalised for the Blues just after the half-hour mark.  

The hosts had the chance to win the game in regulation time after referee Ben Woomer adjudged Cripps to have handled – only for Ben Williamson to see his penalty saved by former Concord Rangers teammate Melvin Minter.

In the shoot-out, with the scores standing at 3-2 to Bowers, Brentwood’s Marlon Agyakwa needed to net from the spot to keep Brentwood’s hopes alive – only for keeper David Hughes to deny the much-travelled frontman and in the process secure promotion for James Collins’ men.

Essex Senior Football League Play-Off Final

Sporting Bengal United clinched promotion to the Pitching-In Isthmian League North following a 3-1 win over Isuzu FA Vase finalists Romford at Rookery Hill.  The ‘Bengal Tigers’ took the lead in the thirty-second minute when Steve Carvell crossed for Jay Knight to head home before Joe Gregory and Rian Patel both netted twice more to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.

Finlay Dorrell pulled one back for Romford in the sixty-third minute but by then it was too little too late for the Boro as Sporting Bengal hung on to seal the win that next season will see them playing in Step 4 for the first time since the club’s formation in 1996.      

ProKit UK Essex Olympian Football League

League leaders Rayleigh Town ran out 4-0 victors at Harold Wood Athletic with Owen Barratt, Alfie Larkin, Joe Olley and Adam Wright all on the scoresheet.

Third-placed Sungate romped to a 6-1 victory over Springfield at Springfield Hall Park. 

Dilone Millett (2) Sam Harrington, Kacper Gruszynski and Sam Dulieu netted for Runwell Sports in their 5-1 win over Toby at Runwell Sports & Social Club.  Harry Skitmore was Toby’s scorer.

Catholic United enjoyed a 3-1 win over Shenfield Association at the Len Forge Centre, with Marlon Stratford on target for the visitors.