GAS Recreation moved into a strong, probably unassailable, position in the Essex and Suffolk Border League premier division following a resounding home win against Hatfield Peverel.

At the same time, their immediate challengers dropped vital points.

Gas' 4-0 victory puts the leaders nine points clear and on course for their 13th championship title.

Second-place West Bergholt were beaten 2-1 at home against fourth-place Alresford Colne Rangers, while Tiptree Heath were held at home by Lawford Lads in a competitive 1-1 draw.

Joe Chester scored for the home side while Oliver Mann replied.

Referee James Kelly had a busy afternoon, brandishing seven yellow cards.

At the other end of the table, Brantham Athletic Reserves already look doomed but several sides need points to extricate themselves from the drop.

Kelvedon Social gained a good point at The Chase in a goalless draw against mid-table Hedinghams United but Barnston are in a precarious position following their 3-0 defeat at Wormingford Wanderers.

Ben Fowler, Luke Whybrow and substitute Ashley Stoneman got the goals.

They have played more matches than their closest rivals and will need to show vast improvement to escape this time.

They were reprieved last season when finishing bottom of the premier division but this may be a bridge too far on this occasion.

Earls Colne will be looking over their shoulders following their demise at Great Bentley.

It was their fourth consecutive defeat, again having played more games than the lower-positioned sides.

They were well beaten 3-0.

Elsewhere in the premier division, White Notley won 4-2 at Dedham Old Boys to consolidate fifth place in the table.

John Vitelli was again among the goals for the home side with a brace while the visitors' marksmen were Regan Farley-Hearn (two), Josh Godfrey and Lee Ifield.

In the first division, Alresford Colne Rangers Reserves stretched their lead at the top to five points with a 3-2 win at Ford Lane against struggling Little Oakley A, who are third from bottom.

Roger Smith hit two and Russell McLean the other while Christopher Stratton replied with two for the visitors.

Tiptree Engaine, while remaining second, lost ground, having been held to a 1-1 draw at Burches Meadow.

All the goals came in the first 45 minutes in the clash between third-place Flitch United and struggling Gas Recreation Reserves.

The home side won 4-2, with two goals each from Daniel O’Brien and Shane Pyne, and are nine points adrift from the leaders with four games in hand.

Mid-table Bures United beat Bell Vue Social with goals from Samuel Fairless and Robin Martyr replied for the visitors, who had Michael Lewis dismissed following two yellow cards.

The top match in the second division saw second-placed Long Melford Reserves thrash third-place Tollesbury 9-2 to enhance their promotion credentials.

Those on the scoresheet were Will Howe, Sam Newton and substitute Stuart Tricker with two each and further goals from Maxwell Maughn, Cory Willings and Perry Newman.

The runaway division two leaders Stanway Pegasus were without a game as FC Clacton Reserves, amazingly, were unable to raise a side.

AFC Sudbury A were also on the rampage with a comfortable win over Ramsey & Mistley at Furze Hill.

The 7-0 victory saw Fred King strike five times and the two remaining goals came from Ethan Mayhew and Ethan Mills.

Third division leaders Gosfield United beat Bradfield Rovers 7-1 and have opened up a five-point gap between them and Tiptree Engaine Reserves, who drew 1-1 at Barnston Reserves, for whom Christopher Atkinson scored for the hosts.

Results: Premier division: Dedham Old Boys 2 White Notley 4, Gas Recreation 4 Hatfield Peverel 0, Great Bentley 2 Earls Colne 0, Kelvedon Social 0 Hedinghams United 0, Tiptree Heath 1 Lawford Lads 1, West Bergholt 1 Alresford Colne Rangers 2, Wormingford Wanderers 3 Barnston 0.

Division one: Alresford Colne Rangers Res 3 Little Oakley A 2, Brantham Athletic A 1 Colne Athletic 4, Bures United 3 Cressing United 2, Flitch United 4 Gas Recreation Res 2, Tiptree Engaine 1 Tiptree Jobserve 1.

Division two: Boxted Lodgers Res 0 Mersea Island 6, Hatfield Peverel Res 2 Rowhedge 2, Lawford Lads Res 0 Cavendish 4, Long Melford Res 9 Tollesbury 2, Ramsey & Mistley 0 AFC Sudbury A 7.

Division three: Barnston Res 1 Tiptree Engaine Res 1, Elmden Rovers 0 Great Bentley Res 0, Gosfield United 7 Bradfield Rovers 1, Harwich & Parkeston Res 1 Tavern 0, Shrub End United 3 Dedham Old Boys Res 4, Tiptree Jobserve A 3 Oyster 1.