Essex Senior League
Venue: Lower Road
2018-19 Season – Match 35
Saturday 24th November 2018 – 3pm KO
Hullbridge: Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Sporting Bengal: Orange Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
‘Bridge edge an epic encounter with Bengal at Lower Rd
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with additional photos by @ABridgeTooFar16
This season’s Essex Senior League trail continued with this much-anticipated battle between leaders Hullbridge and Sporting Bengal, who started the day in 5th spot, at a bitterly cold Lower Road. Both sides unsurprisingly named strong starting XIs with Hullbridge going with a front two of Luke Hornsley and skipper Nathan Scarborough, with Shawn Coe and Sam Taylor as full-backs either side of centre-backs Perry Dunn and Luke McLeavy. Adebola Sotoyinbo, Jimmy Cox and Michael Salako were all on the bench. For goal-hungry Sporting, they started with a front three of Steven Carvell, Jay Knight and Bobby Redwood supported by playmaker Ashaan Siddik and powerful centre-back Kamarl Duncan skippering Imrul Gazi’s side.
The match was hardly slow in getting going as both sides were looking to keep the ball ‘on-the-deck’. The hosts struck first as on six minutes, a super left-wing centre by club stalwart Sam Taylor found forward Nathan Scarborough at the back post who headed home with aplomb. Bengal so nearly struck back only three minutes later though forward Bobby Redwood’s low strike was brillantly cleared off the line by ‘Bridge full-back Shawn Coe, after bypassing custodian George Marsh. Hullbridge had a good spell after that as they grew into the game with powerful forward Luke Hornsley unable to beat visiting goalkeeper Ibrahim Ugradar on two seperate occasions.
Bengal nearly levelled just before the half-hour though centre-back Kamarl Duncan’s powerful header was scrambled away. Mere minutes later, a good move involving attacking midfielder Matt Tapley and Hornsley led to Scarborough having an effort deflected over the woodwork. Two minutes after Scarborough headed wide another half-chance from Hornsley’s cross, the hosts did double their lead as a stray clearance by the Sporting back-line found midfield dynamo Emmanuel Okunja who lashed home from 12 yards.
Again, Bengal rallied as a good low effort by Redwood was well-denied by Marsh with his legs. Seconds later, forward Jay Knight got the better of Taylor on the right flank though lofted a strike wide before being denied a sight at goal by home centre-back Perry Dunn. A pulsating opening 45 minutes ended with a powerful strike by Scarborough being well kept out by Ugradar.
Half-Time: Hullbridge 2 – 0 Sporting Bengal
If the first half was good, then what followed in the second-half was utterly enchanting. Bengal roared back into the match with two goals in six minutes. First, three minutes after the interval, Duncan sent a dipping header right into the top corner of the net from a Carvell set-piece to halve the deficit. Five minutes later, a class ball in by attacking midfielder Ashaan Siddik found Knight who cooly slotted home past Marsh to level the match up. The tension continued to rise as both sides rose to the occasion though the twists were far from over.
Midway through the half, Imrul Gazi’s side took the lead as another superb delivery by Knight from the left found Carvell in space and the deep-lying forward made no mistake, burying a low strike right in the corner. Though again, that lead didn’t last long as only three minutes later the hosts were level, Hornsley swung in another pearler of a ball into the back post area to assist Scarborough who slotted home from close range. With 11 minutes remaining, substitute Adebola Sotoyinbo’s cool pass from the left side of the penalty area found Scarborough who blasted home to complete a excellent hat-trick.
The last ten minutes was again an end-to-end slugfest, rather like the latter rounds of a boxing contest as Hornsley had a strike blocked while Carvell’s audacious chip from 25 yards and a low strike by Siddik were both denied by Marsh. When the final whistle blew, it was perhaps relief more than anything for the hosts who claimed the points.
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 4 – 3 Sporting Bengal Utd
This match really could’ve been a draw, it could’ve been 5 – 5. It was that entertaining, right out of the top-draw – a superb advert for the Essex Senior League. As of this moment, heck knows who will win the championship this year, though what I do know is that these two sides could well be in the mix, given both the ability and character on display here. It’s little wonder that Bengal will be disappointed by the result, though progress is definitely being made and the plaudits they have gotten so far this season are justified.
Hullbridge will be happy with the points, especially given results elsewhere today. In my view, it was a proper team display by them, even if Scarbourough gets the headlines for his undeniably excellent treble.
Post-Match, I spoke to Hullbridge boss Darren Manning and Sporting’s Imrul Gazi, guesting for WD Sportz – https://youtu.be/Byn-FSm0RGA
Hullbridge Sports | Manager: Darren Manning
George Marsh (GK), Shawn Coe, Perry Dunn, Luke McLeavy, Sam Taylor, Jamal Allen, Joe Skeels, Emmanuel Okunja (Adebola Sotoyinbo 69′), Matt Tapley, Luke Hornsley (Michael Salako 85′), Nathan Scarborough (Capt) (Jimmy Cox 83′)
Goal-scorers: Nathan Scarborough [6′, 71′ & 79′], Emmanuel Okunja [36′]
Booked: Skeels, Okunja, Cox, Salako | Subs Not Used: Skinner, Pattison
Sporting Bengal Utd | Manager: Imrul Gazi
Ibrahim Ugradar (GK), Rokib Choudhury, Declan Nche (Marcus Lonsiquot 46′), Chris Greenslade, Kamarl Duncan (Capt), Charles Gregory (David Vaughan 83′), Ashaan Siddik, Jay Knight, Steven Carvell, Bobby Redwood
Goal-scorers: Kamarl Duncan [48′], Jay Knight [53′], Steven Carvell [68′]
Booked: Choudhury, Redwood | Subs Not Used: Ngandu, Haque, R Gazi