The FA Vase Third Round (Last 64)
Venue: Lower Road
2017-18 Season: Match 43
Saturday 2nd December 2017 3pm KO
Hullbridge Sports: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Enfield 1893: Green & White Shirts, Green Shorts, Green Socks
Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On FA Vase Third Round day, Hullbridge Sports welcomed ESL stable-mates Enfield 1893 to Lower Road for an intriuging cup-tie. For the hosts, Russell Harley got the nod between the sticks, with Harry Watkins making his first start and skipper Jimmy Cox and Michael Salako leading the line. Regarding the visitors, they lost full-back Matthew Claxton in the warm-up because of a hamstring injury, David Ottley filled in while ex-Ilford winger Luke Thomas lined up on the right flank with forward John Bricknell being supported up top by Ben Bradbury. Jayden Hocking-Rising and Josh Sykes were options for Matt Hanning’s side from the bench.
This much-anticipated tie (with radio’s BBC Essex also in attendance) got underway with Hullbridge having the first real chance as Cox’s cross from the left found Salako though he couldn’t direct his header past visiting ‘stopper Michael Corderoy. The visitors did have more of the ball in the early stages, with the hosts arguably sitting too deep. Enfield winger Thomas was a consistent threat down the right flank with his direct running and pace.
As we got to the mid-way point of the 1st half, both sides were lacking that final ball to unlock defences thus far. Midway into the half, home midfielder Joe Pattison’s drive was blocked in the area, the referee pointed to the spot after adjudging it to be a handball. Cox stepped up and buried the spot-kick in the right corner.
Enfield nearly levelled on the half-hour as Bricknell’s free-kick shaded past the top-right corner with home custodian Russell Harley beaten. On the stroke of half-time, Hullbridge midfielder Harry Watkins’ free-kick was saved by Corderoy.
Half-Time: Hullbridge 1 – 0 Enfield 1893
The second half didn’t begin well for the visitors. Already aggrieved at the manner of the first spot-kick given against them, Enfield conceded another penalty two minutes after the re-start. Cox once again duly stepped up for Hullbridge and converted it well, low into the right corner of the net. On the hour mark, Salako was well-denied by Enfield full-back Joe Clark when poised to strike.
On 68 minutes, Clark’s cross from the left found midfielder Joe Johnson though he shot wide at the back post. Five minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty after a foul on Thomas, with Bricknell dispatching it well. So, 2-1 with a little over a quarter-hour to play – you knew it was going to get a bit frantic.
The ‘chaos meter’ went up a notch again with 11 minutes of allotted time left as Hullbridge substitute goalkeeper Jamie Merralls, who had only been on the pitch 12 minutes, was dismissed for reacting to being fouled. Home forward Cox had the unenviable task of taking the goalkeeper’s jersey.
The action was far from over though as with nine minutes of normal time remaining, the hosts increased their lead with a pearler of a free-kick from Watkins, which past Corderoy into the left corner. Enfield showed more guts though a few minutes later to halve the deficit through Thomas’ strike from close range. As we entered six minutes of added-time, Enfield defenders Ryan Cosson and Clark had to be alert to deny Salako another sight of goal. Enfield by this time were peppering the home defence with balls into the box, though the defiant back-line, led by centre-backs Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn and Jordan Meikle dealt with it well though Enfield substitute Jayden Hocking-Rising’s shot did test stand-in stopper Cox.
As the full-time whistle sounded, unsurprisingly the Hullbridge players & staff showed their delight though they knew they had been in a real battle here, for which credit should go to Enfield. There really wasn’t much to seperate these two sides today, though it is Hullbridge who take their place in the next round of the competition.
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 3 – 2 Enfield 1893
As ever, I’d like to thank Hullbridge for their hospitality, club photographer Neil for the use of his superb images and wish Enfield the best for the remainder of the league campaign. It was also good to be joined by respected colleague Peter Dudley today and we both spoke to Hullbridge boss Darren Manning post-match which you’ll be able to hear on this week’s Grassroot Football Show on Thursday night (7th December).
Russell Harley (GK) (Jamie Merralls 67′), Jordan Meikle, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn, Tom Ranger (Michael Edgar 39′), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Charlie Buffin
Goal-Scorers: Jimmy Cox [Pen 23′, Pen 47′], Harry Watkins [81′]
Sent Off: Merralls [79′]
Subs Not Used: Offord, Kimmence, Pallett | Booked: Watkins
Michael Corderoy (GK), David Ottley (Josh Sykes 76′), Joe Clark, Ryan Cosson, James O’Brien (Capt), Joe Johnson, Luke Thomas, Joe Staunton, John Bricknell, Ben Bradbury, Harry Prince (Jayden Hocking-Rising 65′)
Goal-Scorers: John Bricknell [Pen 73′], Luke Thomas [84′]
Subs Not Used: Thoma, Tirivanhu | Booked: Thomas, Bradbury, Sykes