Saturday local football round-up: Soham Town Rangers move up to 15th in Bostik North while Hadleigh and Thetford win crucial relegation battles
Soham Town Rangers have moved another three points clear of the Bostik League North's drop zone, after a 1-0 away win at Witham Town.
Sam Mulready scored in the 48th minute in what proved to be the game's only goal – with new forward Mark Lovell also making his debut.
Mulready moves up to third in the league's top scorers with his 17-goal tally from league outings.
The game was a bad-tempered affair with Will Gardner shown red in the 68th minute for the visitors before Witham had a player sent to the showers in the 87th minute.
The winning result leaves Soham in 15th position in the league and now nine points clear of Mildenhall in 19th.
Mildenhall had looked like they might pull off a league upset, with Abouhadje Kouassi putting the home side a goal up against the visiting league leader in Bowers & Pitsea.
Holding on to their 27th minute goal into the interval, and then seeing Bowers' Callum Leagy shown a red card on the hour mark, all hinted at a Mildenhall upset but the visitors found another gear as they equalised in the 70th minute before nicking all three points two minutes from time.
It was a much better day for AFC Sudbury, who recorded back-to-back victories with an impressive 4-0 away dismantling of Basildon United.
Billy Holland scored in the 22nd minute to put the side ahead with Callum Harrison doubling the lead seven minutes later.
Phil Kelly scored the team's third in the 36th minute to take them in 3-0 up at the break before Harrison netted his brace, and the club's fourth, in the 81st minute to wrap up a strong performance.
There was also a strong performance from Hadleigh United in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, as they halted a three-game losing run with their 3-1 home win over basement side Framlingham Town.
Hadleigh got off to a great start, with Kyron Andrews firing in on the quarter-hour mark before Kyle Cassell doubled the Brettsiders lead in the 21st minute.
But Cyrus Thorpe gave the visitors hope with a score in the 40th minute before new arrival Mekhi McKenzie – on loan from higher-league AFC Sudbury – fired home the killer shot in the 45th minute to seal the win as no score came after the interval.
The Castlemen, on the other hand, had been keen to back up their 1-1 draw to a top five side in their last, but were instead condemned to suffer their 22nd league loss of the season.
The defeat leaves them 10 points adrift of the nearest team at the foot of the table with something special now needed to survive at this level.
But Hadleigh, who have flirted with the relegation zone this season, picked up a vital three points to move them clear of a developing three-team fight for the final demotion spot.
Thetford Town also moved themselves out of the danger zone with a 2-1 victory, at the cost of their defeated visitors' Ely City.
Ely went ahead in the 55th minute and so the score remained until a late Nathan Clarke brace changed the course of the game.
His header in the 85th minute brought the scores level before a 90+1 minute shot secured maximum points for Thetford.
Newmarket Town were also the victors in their visit to Stoneylands against a struggling Long Melford, whose last league win came in the reverse fixture on January 5.
But The Villagers could not repeat the feat, as The Jockeys returned home with three points courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline after late goals.
The deadlock was not broken until the 82nd minute, with skipper Jack Watson converting a penalty before Lewis Whitehead doubled Newmarket's score in the 86th minute.
League leaders Histon hosted Stowmarket Town in a goalless clash that does not alter either side's league position.
Stow are now seven points adrift of a top two spot.
Meanwhile, Walsham-le-Willows' great season continues to unravel as they fell to a 5-2 away defeat to relegation threatened Great Yarmouth Town.
The visiting team – who have enjoyed a top five spot for the majority of the season – were optimistic about their prospects against a side who have conversely spent the majority of the season in a bottom-two league spot, but have claimed just one point from six on offer.
They pulled back from a two goal deficit to record a draw two weekend's ago but were unable to do the same on the road, as The Bloaters proved too strong on the day.
Walsham have dropped to seventh in the league table after one point from their last four outings.
In the Evo-stik South Premier Division Central, Needham Market were on the losing end of a 2-1 scoreline, despite Joe Marsden again scoring from the penalty spot.
The Marketmen were away to Banbury United, four places below them in the league, hoping to overturn a bad run in February, but proved unable – on this occasion – to turn things around.
Banbury went ahead in the fifth minute to leave Needham chasing the game, with Marden's 45+5 minute score from the spot equalising.
But Banbury again netted in the 84th minute for the 2-1 win.
In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Needham Market Reserves moved off the foot of the table for the first time this season, with their 2-1 home win over Downham Town.
It is their fourth win in a row, to see them move up to 17th.
Lakenheath recorded an impressive 4-1 defeat at home to Swaffham Town – with a brace for debutant Shaun Avis after moving from Newmarket Town.
Ryan Weaver and Reece Clarke also scored.
Cornard United were also on the winning end of their visit from Diss Town, with a 3-1 victory.
Both teams sit comfortable in a mid-table 12th and 14th.
But Haverhill Borough's search for a first league point in 2019 continues, as they fell to defeat by the odd goal in seven at home to Ipswich Wanderers.
Kevin Parson's team had looked on the cusp of their first win under his watch but ultimately lost 4-3.
League leaders Harleston Town were also defeated – by a narrow 1-0 scoreline – at home to Fakenham Town but remain three points clear at the top.
AFC Sudbury Reserves were also on the losing end of their home game, with Debenham LC inflicting a 3-1 defeat.
The reserves side have now lost their last three outings, while Debenham have recorded back-to-back victories.
Finally, Halstead Town have kept up their pressure on the top two sides in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South, with a 2-0 home win over Lopes Tavares.
Haverhill Rovers were on the end of a heavy 4-1 away defeat to Godmanchester Rovers in a Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division clash on Friday night while Bury Town were not in action in the Bostik League North Division this weekend.