Saffron Walden Town suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat away at Takeley on Saturday in a blow to their Essex Senior League Premier Division play-off ambitions.

After a bright start to the season, The Wardens hit a difficult patch in November, losing three of their four games and dropping down the table.

A meeting with mid-table Takeley looked like the perfect opportunity to turn their form around, but Kieran Southgate put the home side ahead at the FSI Stadium on 33 minutes.

Saffron Walden battled back and found an equaliser through Olly Miles before the break, sending the teams into half-time level.

Both sides went in search of the goal to put them ahead in the second half, and it was Takeley who got it when a deflected free-kick fell to Jordan Westcott in the box on 70 minutes, and he turned the ball home.

The floodgates opened from there and it was 3-1 just three minutes later as George Powell met a corner with his head to send the ball looping into the Saffron Walden net.

Shellshocked and low on confidence, the away side could not find a way back into the game, and it got worse in injury time as Takeley got another, this time through Glenn O'Hanlon who fired in after some good build-up play in the penalty area.

The result leaves The Wardens sixth in the Essex Senior League Premier Division table with 37 points from 20 games.

Despite their lofty league position, Jason Maher will be concerned by his sides recent form, having won just one of their last five games.

The busy festive period does provide them with a chance to turn that around and pick up some much-needed points, but with three games against teams in and around them, it could be a testing spell.

Saffron Walden travel to Stansted on Saturday, who sit in third and six points ahead of their play-off rivals.

That game is followed by consecutive home matches at Catons Lane against eighth-placed Cockfosters and seventh-placed Enfield, with both teams keen to climb to the Premier Division table.