HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS dropped into the Ryman League division north relegation zone after a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at neighbours MALDON AND TIPTREE, on Monday afternoon.
Jody Brown’s men, who were defeated in the closing seconds, are now fourth from bottom and facing a fight for survival, heading into the final round of fixtures next Saturday.
Maldon, meanwhile, have nailed down second spot in the table and will definitely have home advantage in the second leg of their promotion play-off.
Haringey Borough, in fifth, look set to be their opponents.
To compound matters for Heybridge, fellow strugglers Ware romped to a 4-1 victory at home to Cheshunt while Soham Town Rangers pocketed a point from their 1-1 draw at Bury Town.
Swifts have 48 points, Soham 50 and Ware and Waltham Abbey 51.
There is very little between the sides’ goal differences so a tense last day of the season beckons, with Swifts bringing the curtain down on their season at home to play-off chasing Phoenix Sports.
It is a repeat fixture as the last day of last season, when Heybridge secured their Ryman League status with a 2-0 victory.
Maldon drew first blood in the 19th minute, following a goal from Sam Newson.
The striker slotted home from a one-one-one position to give his side a half-time lead.
Reece Grant levelled five minutes before the hour-mark but the Jammers grabbed their spectacular winner right at the death through Liam Nash.
The striker unleashed a powerful volley from wide on the right and was elated to see his effort fly into the top corner.
The derby was watched by a bumper crowd of 252.
Elsewhere, there was a promotion party at BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT as the division north champions won 3-1 at home to Dereham Town.
The club were presented with their championship silverware afterwards and, to cap a glorious afternoon, they took their points tally for the season past the 100-mark.
Tom Richardson’s gave them a dream start with a headed effort after just five minutes.
Aaron Condon delivered the pinpoint cross and it was Condon who netted his side’s second, from the penalty spot, after a trip on Ricky Griggs.
Adam Smith halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time but Russell Malton’s cross-shot sailed into the net on 61 minutes to make it 3-1.
WITHAM TOWN were in action at Brentwood Town and were defeated 1-0.
Harrison Georgiou scored the only goal of the game, after 17 minutes.
In addition to Swifts v Phoenix on Saturday, Maldon finish with a trip to Soham, Brightlingsea travel to Cheshunt and Witham play host to Waltham Abbey.