High Easter came on the wrong side of a nine-goal Christmas cracker in Division One of the Braintree & North Essex Sunday League - losing 5-4 to neighbours AFC Barnston.

The heavy pitch cut up the longer the game went on but both teams still played some excellent football.

Barnston took an early lead with Matt Bennett scoring from close range but it did not last long, George Paola equalising with an excellent lob over Barnston keeper Louis Martins.

And within minutes of the restart George Paola smashed in his second goal to put High Easter 2-1 in front.

Their own goalkeeper, Harrie Irving, had to make some fine saves himself while midfielder Lewis Roe had a great game throughout.

AFC Barnston drew level when Matt Bennett grabbed his second goal and the visitors then went back in front thanks to a James Little goal just before half-time.

It wasn't the last action of the half though as Paola got his third to make it 3-3 after a breathless 45 minutes.

Irving was called into making some decent saves early in the second half but he could not stop Dan Still from scoring for AFC Barnston, taking the score out to 4-3.

That was stretched to the first two-goal advantage as Josh Fouche converted what turned out to be the winner in style from the penalty spot.

But with the game heading to the final few minutes High Easter continued to make Martins life difficult with plenty of shots.

And they got one back with a brilliant headed goal from Christian Roles.

There was to be no more drama though as Barnston closed out the 5-4 win.

Takeley's hopes of backing up their 4-1 win over Saffron Walden Town last week were dashed when they fell to a 3-1 loss away to Hoddesdon Town in the Essex Senior League.

Theo Campbell had put them ahead early on but Hoddesdon were level by half-time thanks to Ethan Rookard and an own goal plus one for Harry Andic sealed the win for the Lilywhites.

They sit 11th in the table while Stansted remain third despite not playing.

Takeley host FC Clacton on Saturday while Stansted go to West Essex.