Venue: Leslie Field
Monday 2nd April 2018 – 3pm KO
2017/18 Season – Match 60
Takeley: Royal Blue Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
FC Romania: Red Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
With photos by Andy Wilkins (Twitter: @andywilkins2015) and Adam Richardson (Twitter: @ELRFootball)
On a damp afternoon at Burnham’s Leslie Field, the first ESL Cup final of the season saw holders Takeley face FC Romania in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Final. Team-wise, Takeley were hampered by player unavailability here with Alex Martin leading the line with George Wappett and Mitchell Das on the flanks. FC Romania lined up with Sergiu Pitaru, Mihai Circiumaru and Florin Pop in a three-man attack.
The side in the ‘away’ dug-out started the stronger here, as FC Romania dominated possession and having a series of efforts on goal that didn’t really test Takeley goalkeeper Ronnie Yates. Nine minutes in, after good build-up play by Florin Pop, his shot was saved by Yates though fellow forward Mihai Circiumaru shot wide, following up.
Takeley defender Andre Humphrey symbolised his side’s committed defending by making a couple of inportant tackles on the edge of the penalty area in the first third of the match. To be fair, Takeley did have forays forward at times and with 22 minutes on the clock, Nick Barrett blazed a free-kick over the bar.
FCR had another great chance three minutes later as Florin Pop was one-one-one with Yates and although the ‘keeper got the better of that exchange, the ball trickled out to Sergiu Pitaru who couldn’t find the target. FCR custodian Adrian Darabant was largely untroubled in the opening half though had to be alert to gather a good cross in from the left flank, ahead of the on-rushing Mitchell Das. As the interval beckoned, Yates was in the action again, only this time pulling off a good save to stop Humphrey putting through his own goal.
Early in the second period, Takeley started the brighter of the two sides and eight minutes in, captain Jason Todd had a good chance to break the deadlock but shot just wide after being fed by target-man Alex Martin, who led the line quite well, although he was quite isolated at times. Takeley did have the ball in the net with twenty minutes or so remaining, though Mitchell Das’ strike was ruled out for off-side.
As we entered the latter stages, FCR kept going well as attacking full-back Sergiu Maximov delivered a good ball into the box from the right flank though couldn’t find a team-mate in the box. Five minutes before the 90, FC Romania did break the stalemate as substitute Attila Kelemen broke free of the attentive Takeley defence and slotted home past Yates to send the travelling Wolves’ support delirious.
Takeley did keep Darabant and the FCR defence honest in the last few minutes though the FC Romania goalkeeper punched a corner away from danger.
Full-Time: Takeley 0 – 1 FC Romania
All in all, you can argue that FCR had more chances in this match and lacked a bit of clinical finishing though for the most part, they defended well against a Takeley forward line that was missing Carl Mullings and Will Green. Marc Das’ side may just be starting to feel the effects of their intense fixture congestion and they will have better days than this. Credit to them though as they defended the trophy they won twelve months ago with characteristic vigour and passion. In my view, FC Romania deserved their victory here.
My thanks to Burnham Ramblers for their hospitality and it was good to be amongst ‘the great and the good’ of the Essex Senior League today including the various League officials.
Takeley | Manager: Marc Das
Ronnie Yates (GK), Bryn Thorpe, Andre Humphreys, Nick Barrett, Mike Castle, Matt Hurley (Frankie Oatham 74′), Mitchell Das, Freddie Burrell, Alex Martin, Jason Todd (Capt), George Wappett
Booked: Burrell, Barrett | Subs Not Used: Bartram, Gill, Green
FC Romania | Manager: Ion Vintila
Adrian Darabant (GK), Sergiu Maximov, Felix Lupu, Gabriel Ghinea (Cosmin Sandu 60′), Constantin Arotaritei, Andrei Baciu, George Taban (Capt), Adrian Balsanu, Sergiu Pitaru (Attila Kelemen 72′), Mihai Circiumaru (Mihai Botosan 54′), Florin Pop
Goal-scorer: Attila Kelemen [85′]
Booked: Circiumaru, Arotaritei | Subs Not Used: Stroe, Carter