Essex Olympian League – Division Four
2018-19 Season: Match 66
Saturday 6th April 2019 – 2.30pm KO
Venue: Stambridge Memorial Ground
Corinthians: Sky Blue & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Galleywood Res: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Yellow Socks
Corinthians finish strongly to secure a vital win
Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend’s match took me on a different path to a ground I have intermittenly seen a couple of times in the last few years. This match was a crucial one in the Essex Olympian League Division Four title race as relative newcomers Corinthians faced Galleywood Reserves. The hosts knew that anything less than a win would virtually hand the title to Epping Town, managed by former pro Billy Cove. I was fortunate to be given a warm welcome by Chairman/Secretary Ben Adams, who explained that the bulk of the current team is made up of the former Under-21 side that did well in both the Olympian League U-21 division last season and also won the Essex Junior Trophy last season.
Last weekend, Corinthians fought back from a poor start with a slightly-depleted side to draw at Lakeside’s second side which increased the need for a win in this match. With a side that has scored 72 goals in 19 league matches prior to this one, you knew they had the firepower but would it happen for them here?
Well, the answer we got in the early stages of the game wasn’t positive as it was the ‘Wood side that started the stronger, with winger Sam Rawlinson providing a real outlet down the left flank with his pace, trickery and crossing. The hosts showed their willingness to bomb forward although a lack of a final ball and losing out to the sturdy Galleywood defence was definitely frustrating Chris Stoneham’s side. It was the visitors who took the lead on nine minutes as a pearler of a 25-yard free-kick by Craig Robertson passed the outstretched hand of the home ‘keeper John Eckhett and into the top corner.
Although the hosts improving towards the interval, they arguably could not keep hold of the ball well enough, and you could feel the nerves coursing through the side. The home side boasted forwards Leo Clarke and Theodore Cannon in support of central striker John Bolton-Smith. Five minutes before the break, Clarke peeled off from the left wing, before blasting a drive which was deflected wide.
Half-Time: Corinthians 0 – 1 Galleywood Res
At the break, Galleywood would have been the happier side though also knew they would have to ‘weather the storm’ after the interval. As it turned out, the home side were level only four minutes into the second period as Clarke broke free of his defender before sliding in an unselfish ball in across the six-yard box for substitute Jake Lang who stroked home from close range. There was little doubt who was the stronger side after that with Clarke & Bolton-Smith in particular testing a tiring ‘Wood backline with their running and trickery.
There was an element of fortune about the next crucial part of the match as just shy of the hour, Corinthians took the lead as midfielder Luke Owen’s free-kick from deep managed to evade everyone and bounce its way into the top corner. ‘Wood responded with a rare second-half foray forward though Robertson fired a looping shot just over the bar from 20 yards out. The hosts secured the points, in front of watching Epping boss Billy Cove on 74 minutes as creative midfielder Jordan Stoneham’s dangerous corner found Owen who planted a thumping header high into the net.
The hosts could have won by more though were denied twice by fine saves by the Galleywood goalkeeper. Bolton-Smith should have scored late on well though his dribbled finish could only hit a post with the ‘keeper beaten. In closing, the hosts were made to work hard here though in the end they deserved the points and they know wins in both their final matches will see them go up in style.
Full-Time: Corinthians 3 – 1 Galleywood Res
Goal-scorers: (Cor): Jake Lang [49′], Luke Owen [58′ & 74′]
(Gal): Craig Robertson [9’]