Heybridge Swifts came out on top in the battle of first versus second as they produced a 1-0 smash and grab win over Bowers & Pistea, reports Dean Wootten.

Charlie Kendall scored what proved to be the winner, tapping home from close range to steal the points for Swifts at the Aspen Waite Arena.

Despite Heybridge creating the first chance of the match through former Bowers man Luke Wilson, it was the visitors who came close to opening the scoring.

First, Quentin Monville saw his cross to the back post hit the crossbar, before David Knight rounded Chris Haigh but saw his shot cleared off the line by Toib Adeyemi.

Tom Stephen tested Haigh from range, the Heybridge stopper making a good save, in a Bowers attack that had been assisted by referee George Laflin after he had played advantage following Wilson taking out Brad Warner.

On the half hour mark Stephen found Warner with a clipped ball forward which he in turn stood up to the back post. Martyn Stokes was waiting but he could only head into the side netting.

Heybridge had been poor on the ball throughout the first half but produced a rare attack when Wilson put a ball in the channel for Matthew Price to chase. Price obliged and was able to tee up former Basildon United midfielder Jack Adlington-Pile but he skewed his effort horribly wide.

On the stroke of half-time a Lewis Clark clearance was dummied by Warner and Knight was able to spring the offside trap. However, Haigh came to Swifts’ rescue once more as he saved Knight’s effort with his legs.

Having been quiet in the first half, Heybridge manager Julian Dicks hauled off Harrison Chatting and replaced him with Chris Millar, but the one-way traffic continued with Warner firing over after he was picked out by Ben Sartain.

However, despite all their chances Bowers fell behind just after the hour mark. A free-kick from Kreshnic Krasniqi was controlled by Wilson and he was able to put the ball under Andy Wilton, with Charlie Kendall on hand to poke the ball home from a yard.

James Thomas, who had been booked in the build-up to Swifts’ goal, was then extremely lucky not to see red after clashing with Adlington-Pile off the ball.

Substitute Lewis Manor was immediately involved, heading Warner’s cross over as Bowers set about scoring an equaliser. Knight was the next to see his header go over, grazing the bar on its way over.

Manor thought he had snatched the equaliser when he connected with another Warner corner, but Adeyemi was in the right place at the right time once more to clear off the line, with Stokes smashing the second ball over.

Bowers continued to huff and puff but could not grab an equaliser as Heybridge stood firm to close the gap to Bowers, who stay top of the Isthmian North, to just three points.

Bowers & Pitsea: Wilton, Sammons, Stephen, Stokes, Clark, Leahy, Monville, Sartain, Warner, Knight (Hirst 90), Thomas (Manor 73)