BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT moved nine points clear at the top of Ryman League division north after beating Bury Town and seeing second-placed MALDON AND TIPTREE slip up at home to Brentwood.
The R’s pipped Bury 1-0 at North Road, thanks to a second-half header from Aaron Condon.
Maldon, meanwhile, lost by the same score at Park Drive.
Third-placed AFC Hornchurch could only draw with Wroxham while fourth-placed Thurrock lost at Soham Town Rangers.
Brightlingsea are now firmly in the driving seat regarding the title and promotion to the premier division, with just six games remaining.
Their winner came midway through the second half, following a scrappy first period in which both sides only had half-chances.
The hosts started brightly after the resumption, though, and went close through Conor Hogan and Tom Richardson before Condon’s goal. Both were denied by the Bury keeper.
The crucial goal that followed was well-worked and followed a perfectly-weighted right-wing cross from Phil Kelly.
Condon met it at the far post and nodded home.
Over at Park Drive, there was a disappointing result for hosts Maldon, who had been hoping to get back on track following last week’s defeat against Cheshunt.
Lamar Reynolds scored Brentwood’s winner in the 34th minute.
Elsewhere, HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS looked on course for an excellent 3-1 victory at Romford – only to be pegged back by two last-gasp goals and draw 3-3.
Romford drew first blood thanks to a third-minute opener from David Fallah.
However, Reece Grant soon levelled and more first-half goals followed from Lewis Godbold and Adam Adeoye Yuseff.
But Romford had the last laugh after scoring in the 92nd and 95th minutes, through Ryan Mallett and James Ishmail.
Swifts remain 19th.
WITHAM TOWN had no game on Saturday.