WIVENHOE TOWN pocketed a useful point in their quest to avoid relegation as they came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Ely City.
The Dragons remain third from bottom in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division but they are now five points above neighbours FC CLACTON, who lost 1-0 at Mildenhall Town.
Wivenhoe suffered an early blow following a red card for Ben Gillifant.
The goalkeeper was sent off for allegedly handballing outside the area.
The first half finished goal-less but it was Ely who broke the deadlock after a low shot crept past substitute keeper Aaron Reid.
It was a setback for Mo Osman’s men but, to their credit, they kept battling and grabbed a deserved equaliser when Jamie Baker’s corner was headed towards goal and inadvertently turned into his own net by an Ely player.
Wivenhoe are now five points above Clacton, with a game in hand and a superior goal difference, ahead of the sides’ crunch meeting at the Rush Green Bowl on Monday afternoon.
The Seasiders returned empty-handed from their tough fixture at champions-elect Mildenhall, following a goal from Gareth Simpson.
Elsewhere, STANWAY ROVERS were pipped 1-0 at Great Yarmouth Town.
It was the first of two long away games over Easter for Karl Duguid’s sixth-placed side as they go to Kirkley and Pakefield on Monday.
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC came from behind as they drew 1-1 at home to Thetford Town.
The Imps had won six of their previous seven but looked out of sorts in the first period and could easily have been more than one-down.
It was Robbie Priddle who put Thetford ahead, nodding home Ross Bailey’s free-kick.
However, Brantham reacted well after the break and had a golden chance to level when they awarded a penalty.
Sean Gunn failed to convert, but the hosts had cause for celebration soon after following a scrambled equaliser from Ben Newson.
Brantham have no game on Monday.
In division one, third-placed COGGESHALL TOWN won 3-0 at Leiston Reserves and closed the gap on Haverhill Borough, in second, after the Suffolk side lost 1-0 at Woodbridge Town.
Darren Mills, Kamal Guthmy and substitute Tyrone Scarlett were on target for the West Street team.
HOLLAND FC netted a late penalty to secure a share of the spoils in their 1-1 draw at home to Diss Town.
BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES thumped Dereham Town Reserves 5-0, thanks to a brace from Harry Seal, Joe Jones, Regan Farley-Hearn and Arron Dyson.
HALSTEAD TOWN lost 2-0 at home to King’s Lynn Town Reserves.
Monday’s first division fixtures see Coggeshall at home to Wisbech St Mary, Halstead going to Needham Market Reserves and Holland making the trip to Whitton United.
Braintree have no match.