Bovingdon were not at their best but they now sit nine points clear at the top of Spartan South Midlands League Division Two after a battling 2-1 victory at Berkhamsted Raiders on Saturday.

A two-goal burst inside five first-half minutes ultimately proved enough for the Herts Senior County League champions to continue their unbeaten start to the new campaign with a seventh win in eight games and further strengthen their grip on top spot, although second-placed Pitstone & Ivinghoe do have three games in hand.

It took Bovingdon a while to adjust to playing on the artificial surface as their hosts started lively and looked dangerous on the attack.

But the visitors were to take control by the break thanks to goals from Jay Welsh and Joe Slade.

Raiders halved the deficit with 30 minutes remaining following the award of a controversial penalty which George Carnery converted.

With goalkeeper Harrison Rodgers in fine form though, the table toppers were able to cling on for the win.

Oxhey Jets would probably welcome a win without playing well after their loss of form continued with a disappointing early exit from the FA Vase after extra-time at Harefield United.

Tim O’Sullivan’s side looked set to scrape through the second qualifying round tie after Luke Jones had scored with the visitors’ first attempt on target to give them a late lead.

But then it all went wrong for Jets as their hosts equalised deep into injury time to force the additional half-an-hour in which the scoreline was given a completely misleading look as Harefield scored a further three times to win 4-1.

Although unavailability meant O’Sullivan was unable to name his strongest line-up, he would expected much better of a side that failed to assert themselves on the game throughout.

A niggly contest in which tempers became increasingly heated did little to help Jets’ cause, as for the most part they huffed away with little imagination at the sharp end.

With time running out Jones though, looked like he’d won it when he dispatched the rebound after the United keeper had been unable to hold a shot.

However, Oxhey were to be the architects of their own downfall when a loss of marking and concentration allowed Harefield to equalise.

It remained 1-1 until the second half of extra-time when the visitors were caught in possession in defence and United capitalised.

Forced to chase the game, Jets felt badly aggrieved when Andrew Brennan was taken out after bursting through and the failure to show a red card caused a loss of composure which their opponents made the most of to score twice more.