Wroxham still need a point for the title

Wroxham came within five minutes of clinching the Ridgeons League Premier Division title on Saturday, only for a late equaliser to put the champagne well and truly on ice.

Wroxham came within five minutes of clinching the Ridgeons League Premier Division title on Saturday, only for a late equaliser to put the champagne well and truly on ice.

Needing all three points at Stanway Rovers to be sure of finishing top, the Yachtsmen took the lead on 31 minutes when Lee Gilman latched on to a poor defensive clearance to chip the ball home.

Their cause appeared to have been helped still further when home striker Marlon North was sent off for crashing into keeper Robert Woodcock, but the Essex outfit refused to throw in the towel and grabbed a late equaliser through Ben Newson.

Wroxham would still have clinched the title at the weekend had only challengers Mildenhall dropped points, but they were in scintillating form at home to fourth-placed Lowestoft, winning 6-0 to close the gap at the top to five points, with two games remaining.

Damian Hilton's men will clinch the title on Saturday if they beat relegation-threatened CRC in their final home match or Mildenhall fail to take maximum points from their trip to Dereham. Wroxham would also effectively be champions if they drew the game, owing to their vastly superior goal difference (+80 as opposed to Mildenhall's +50).

But if the Norfolk side lost at weekend and Mildenhall won then it would all go down to a dramatic final day decider at Recreation Way on Saturday week, with the hosts merely needing to make home advantage count to pip their long-term challengers by a single point. Hilton is determined to avoid that scenario at all costs and will be challenging his men to finish the job against a CRC side who will be equally desperate for points to stay out of the bottom three.

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"Quite simply we can not afford to slip up in our last home game against CRC on Saturday when one point will suffice," he said. "Most certainly we do not want to visit Mildenhall the following week with uncertainty hanging over us."

The Wroxham boss knows his men will have to pick themselves quickly after being within touching distance of the big prize on Saturday.

"Quite honestly I believed our one goal would have been enough to win the title," he added. "On a very hard dustbowl of a pitch it simply did not suit our passing game and we lost our concentration right at the end, allowed their midfield too much scope and left their player completely unmarked when he hit their equaliser."

Lowestoft remain well placed to claim third spot despite their six-goal mauling, while local rivals Kirkley are looking good for a top-six finish after recovering from an early deficit to beat bottom side Halstead 3-1 at Walmer Road. Paul Highfield, Justyn Chenery and Danny Stokeld were the home scorers. Dereham will have similar ambitions to Kirkley after winning 3-0 at Felixstowe.

At the other end of the table, Diss kept their hopes of survival alive with a crucial 2-0 victory over Histon Reserves.

The Tangerines went ahead in the 10th minute when Olly Savage shot in left footed at the far post following a fine David Lawrence centre. They clinched their third home win of the season four minutes later when Josh Hull put in a teasing cross which Histon failed to cope with and Stuart King's shot was turned into his own net by Matthew Bannister.

"We played well to be 2-0 up at half-time," said manager Paul Tong afterwards. "The second half was not very pretty, but at this stage we need wins."

The result left Diss second from bottom in the table, three points short of the current safety mark and with the sides around them all having games in hand. But at least they have a chance of staying up and all they can do now is hope other results go for them before they round off their season with a trip to Soham a week tomorrow and a home clash with Stanway the following Saturday.

King's Lynn Reserves, who drew 2-2 at home to Norwich United, and CRC, who beat fellow strugglers Clacton 3-0, are the two sides in Tong's sights as the season heads for a thrilling climax.

In Division One Walsham-le-Willows have one foot in the Premier Division after beating Godmanchester 5-0, but it's desperately tight below them, with one of Ely, Haverhill and Swaffham almost certain to be disappointed.

Swaffham and Haverhill drew 0-0 at Shoemakers Lane in the game of the day, while Ely won 3-0 at Fakenham, whose long run without a goal continued.

Yarmouth beat Downham Market 2-0, with goals from Thompson and Didwell, while neighbours Gorleston lost an amazing game at Tiptree, scoring three times but still crashing to a 10-3 defeat.