BRANTHAM ATHLETIC suffered heartache after conceding late goals in their dramatic, top-of-the-table contest at home to Stowmarket Town.

The Thurlow Nunn League premier division clash was perfectly poised before kick-off, with Brantham third and Stowmarket fourth.

The Imps were a point better off with a game in hand, so a tight, tense contest was on the cards – and that was the way it panned out before the visitors wrapped up a 4-2 victory.

Both first-half goals came in the closing stages, with Michael Brothers putting Brantham ahead.

The joint player-manager curled home a beauty of a free-kick, from inside the D, after a clear trip on Sam Newson.

Stowmarket were level in the seconds before half-time, though.

David Cowley delivered a low cross into the box and Ace Powell flicked the ball home for the Suffolk side.

It was no more than the visitors deserved, having previously forced three saves from keeper Callum Robinson.

The home shot-stopper had been called into action to deny Josh Mayhew, from a one-on-one position, and Howell twice.

On the last occasion, the follow-up was hammered goal-wards but cleared off the line by Ed Nobbs.

Robinson was called into action again soon after the restart to deny Anton Clarke but Brantham went even closer to adding a second when Brothers’ shot came back off a post.

There was then plenty of drama in the last five minutes with both sides adding to their tallies.

Brantham regained their lead thanks to a cracking strike from Jack Smith, who cut in from the left before firing home from 20 yards.

However, Stowmarket were immediately back on terms with a goal direct from Cowley’s free-kick.

There was even better to come for the visitors in stoppage time, when Ollie Brown fired past Robinson.

And there was time for one more goal when Cowley teed-up substitute George Bugg and he fired into the net via the left-hand post.

Elsewhere, COGGESHALL TOWN maintained their own challenge near the top of the table with a thumping 6-1 success at home to Fakenham Town.

Ross Wall scored a hat-trick and he was joined on the scoresheet by Tom Monk (two) and Aaron Cosgrave.

STANWAY ROVERS celebrated an excellent 4-1 victory at Newmarket Town.

After falling behind, Kem Izzet’s side roared back thanks to goals from Joe McCracken, Reuben Mudd, James Crisell and substitute Finn O’Reilly.

New WIVENHOE TOWN boss Chris Hudson took charge of his first home game as the Dragons lost 2-1 at home to Great Yarmouth Town.

The Bloaters took the lead when a corner was headed in at the near post.

Jack Charnock put the hosts level with a shot into bottom corner but the visitors grabbed their winner with a close-range header.

FC CLACTON were involved in an eventful game at Thetford Town.

Three-down in 20 minutes, they pulled a couple back before the break but ended up crashing to a 6-2 defeat.

There was a reduced fixture list in the first division, with frozen pitches claiming the matches involving LITTLE OAKLEY, HALSTEAD TOWN and BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES.

However, HOLLAND FC were in action at home to AFC Sudbury Reserves and drew 0-0.

New joint-boss Jon Willis was in the dug-out for the first time, alongside Rob Batten.