Non-league football round-up: Harleston Town and Halstead Town win play-off semi-finals while Mildenhall Town, Newmarket Town, AFC Sudbury and Thetford end with victories
The promotion dream still burns brightly for both Harleston Town and Halstead Town after their respective play-off semi-final victories at the weekend.
For Harleston, they ran out 2-1 winners from their Thurlow Nunn League First Division North clash with Framlingham Town.
First-half goals from Aedan Oliver and Nathan Russell did the damage and rendered Max Willett's response for the visiting Castlemen as nothing more than a consolation effort.
Click here for sports editor Russell Claydon's report on the events at Harleston, who will host fellow semi-final victors Downham Town on Saturday for the right to be playing Premier Division football next term.
First Division South outfit Halstead are also eyeing up a return to Step 5 for the first time since 2006/07 courtesy of their 2-1 victory after extra-time at Benfleet.
Calvin Poku's first-half goal was cancelled out late on by the hosts, but Halstead struck again during the extra 30 minutes – this time decisively – through Jordan Palmer to set up Saturday's final away at a Buckhurst Hill side that lost just twice in the league and amassed 27 more points than the Humbugs.
Higher up the pyramid in the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division, Stowmarket Town are now preparing for tomorrow's play-off semi-final at Brentwood Town after losing 1-0 at home to the same opposition as the curtain came down on their first ever regulation campaign at Step 4.
A win or a draw would have seen the Old Gold & Blacks have home advantage for the semi, but Andrew Freeman's goal four minutes from time earned the visitors the three points that moved them up to third and dropped Stowmarket down to fourth.
Stowmarket, who will be bidding to book their place in Friday's final, go into the encounter having won just two of their last nine league games.
Felixstowe & Walton United (5th) are also preparing for their semi-final at second-placed Canvey Island following a 3-0 home win at the expense of Coggeshall Town.
Chris Warren, Sam Nunn and Harry Knock were all on target for a Felixstowe outfit that have put together a six-match winning sequence to end the campaign.
Elsewhere in the division, AFC Sudbury continued their strong end to the season by winning 2-0 at home against Basildon United.
Lewis O'Malley and Marley Andrews scored in either half for the Yellows, who finished the season in seventh place after racking up four straight victories.
Meanwhile, Bury Town's disappointing season ended on a losing note as they were beaten 5-2 on the road at Heybridge Swifts.
Olly Hughes, who with Jake Chambers-Shaw announced his Bury departure at the weekend, scored alongside a penalty from Cemal Ramadan for the 12th-placed Blues.
In the equivalent level Pitching In Northern League Midlands Division, Soham Town Rangers' last match as a Step 4 club for at least 12 months ended in a 2-2 draw at Bedworth United.
The relegated Greens found themselves two goals down heading into the break but second-half goals from Windsor Elumelu and Hilton Arthur earned a share of the spoils that saw them finish three points ahead of bottom-of-the-table Wisbech Town.
At Step 3 in the Pitching In Southern League Central Premier Division, Needham Market were unable to build upon Thursday's Suffolk Premier Cup success as they ended the campaign with a 4-1 home defeat to champions Banbury United.
Seth Chambers netted for the Marketmen, who finished a season which saw them reach the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Trophy in 12th.
Seventh-placed Leiston played out a 0-0 draw at home with Peterborough Sports, while relegated Lowestoft Town head down to Step 4 with a 3-1 loss at Rushall Olympic.
Travis Cole's header had given the basement Trawlerboys the lead but three second-half goals earned the hosts the victory.
In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, Mildenhall Town sealed third place thanks to a 2-0 home win at the expense of March Town United.
Leading marksman Tanner Call and Natty Stewart both found the back of the net for Mildenhall, who earlier today announced midfielder Phil Weavers as their new manager following the recent sacking of Ricky Cornish.
Walsham-le-Willows ended an impressive season in seventh after drawing 1-1 at second-from-bottom Long Melford.
Jamie Griffiths scored from the penalty spot for the Villagers, who are hoping to receive a relegation reprieve, before Jamie Smith's lob earned visiting Walsham a point.
The match was also a last in charge of Melford for Jamie Bradbury after he announced his departure last week.
A place below Walsham in eighth are Newmarket Town after they wrapped up 2021/22 with a 5-2 home victory against neighbouring Haverhill Rovers (17th).
Captain James Seymour stole the headlines for the Jockeys as he helped himself to a hat-trick, with further goals coming courtesy of Ben Robinson and Dan Hobbs. Ryan Weaver and Josh Lee scored the goals for a Haverhill side that last weekend had secured their Step 5 status.
Kirkley & Pakefield (9th) finished up with an eye-catching 4-0 win at Norwich United, with their goals coming courtesy of Miguel Lopez (2), Cameron Russell and Kyle Haylock.
Twelfth-placed Lakenheath ended their first ever season at Step 5 with a 2-0 defeat at Gorleston – a scoreline that saw the home team crowned Premier Division champions. However, Lakenheath ensured it would be a nervy afternoon for the Greens, who did not break the deadlock until 10 minutes from time.
Having once been lingering in and around the relegation zone, Thetford Town (14th) finish 12 points clear of the drop after they recorded a 1-0 home win over Mulbarton Wanderers.
Dan Gilchrist scored the only goal of the game for the Brecklanders, who won five of their last six encounters.
Mason Ransome, who was later stretchered off with an injury, scored for 15th-placed Hadleigh United in their 2-1 defeat at Fakenham Town, while Whitton United (16th) lost 2-1 at bottom-of-the-table Swaffham Town and Brantham Athletic (18th) shipped three goals without reply at Wroxham.
Tuesday, April 26
Pitching In Isthmian League North Division play-off semi-finals
Brentwood Town v Stowmarket Town (7.45pm)
Canvey Island v Felixstowe & Walton United (7.45pm)