Essex Senior League
Venue: Southchurch Park
2019 – 20 Season: Match 50
Saturday 4th January 2020 – 3pm KO
Southend Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
St Margaretsbury: Red & Black Hooped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Manor strike late to grab a huge three points over St Mags at Southchurch
Southend Manor 2 – 1 St Margaretsbury
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with additional photos by Andy Wilkins [Twitter: @wilkins_media]
The first match of 2020 saw me return to Southchurch Park in an important match for the struggling hosts as they welcomed St Margaretsbury in an Essex Senior League encounter. Prior to this match, Manor were winless in their last five league matches which saw them lose ground on rivals Clapton and Enfield. Craig Waters named Josh Harrison in goal, with a back four of Dylan Bradford, Brandon Williams and centre-backs Joe Elliott and skipper Reece Latimer. Michael Ogboin led the line, with support from Max Makaka, Grant Frances and Louie Hunt. The likes of Josh Brocklebank, Jordan Chambers and Harry Rogers were options from the bench.
St Mags have also found wins hard to come by recently and fielded ex-Clapton & Basildon Utd goalkeeper Emmanuel Olajide between the posts, with a defence of Jacob Evident, Akwasi Marfo, captain Dan Palmer and Issa Farouk-Alhassan ahead of him. The returning Kyle Roberts led their forward line, with Kirk McPherson and Jermaine Nicholson just behind in the formation. Aiden Read, Isaac Stevens and Ali Bangura completed their options from the dug-out.
Before the match, I thought this may be a ‘slow-burner’, particularly given the pressure on the hosts to accumulate the points they need to climb out of their current precarious position. The home defence had a warning two minutes in as a good ball played in by box-to-box midfielder Tom Opoku found forward Kyle Roberts though his header lacked the fizz needed to bypass Manor custodian Josh Harrison. Moments later, good link-up play between Manor wingers Louie Hunt and Grant Frances on the right-side on the penalty box ended up with Frances blazing over the woodwork from a narrow angle. Also in the early stages, Manor centre forward Michael Ogboin was linking up well with his support forwards nd with twelve minutes gone, he weaved past his marker before unleashing a stinging goal-bound effort which visiting goalkeeper Emmanuel Olajide did well to keep out.
As we passed the midway point of the half, St Mags had some promising forays forward with the energetic runs of Roberts being well stopped by committed tackle by home right-back Dylan Bradford. St Margaretsbury had several near-misses in the remainder of the half, with the skill and delivery of Ryan Reed and Jermaine Nicholson only just evading a team-mate. Just past the half-hour mark, a Reed free-kick was hastily cleared at the second time of asking by the home backline, though in the next phase, skipper Dan Palmer’s header was gathered by Harrison.
Ten minutes before the break, Manor had a set-piece which Frances angled in toward the St Mags goalmouth, though captain Reece Latimer headed just over the goal frame. Another warning came for the hosts’ defence as full-back Jacob Evident sprinted down the right flank though the finish was awry and deserved better. St Mags could have gone into the break ahead though Reed blasted over the woodwork after bypassing his marker and moments after, a goalkeeping error by Harrison wasn’t punished as Roberts could only loft his strike harmlessly over the crossbar.
Half-Time: Southend Manor 0 – 0 St Margaretsbury
My instinct said this match wouldn’t stay in a bleak stalemate and so it proved. Three minutes after the resumption, Reed fizzed another free-kick narrowly over the woodwork though moments later, the hosts were not so fortunate. Following-up after an initial St Mags attack was rebuffed, Nicholson sent a low drive past a crowded six-yard area past Harrison into the left-side corner to give St Mags the lead on 52 minutes. Manor looked edgy at this point and on the hour, Roberts unleashed a blistering drive from 30 yards which didn’t miss by much.
That being said, Manor did recoup their belief and put the pressure back on the visiting defence. They got a crucial leveller with 72 minutes on the watch as Louie Hunt was in the ‘right place, right time’ from close range, striking low past Olajide. The St Mags custodian earned more kudos shortly afterward as he denied substitute Luke Jackson and Ogboin in quick succession. As it turned out, the St Mags defence had a defensive lapse with minutes remaining and it cost them a point. Ogboin had another strike denied by Olajide though Latimer was there to lash home the rebound and give Southend Manor a much-needed win, their fifth of the season.
To be fair to both sides, the second half was a real see-saw encounter which could have gone either way on a surface which is already showing signs of wear, ahead of a busy schedule coming up for it in the next few months. St Mags showed enough to say they will settle and probably end up in mid-table come April. After this match, Manor rose up to 16th, two points clear of rivals Clapton, who drop to second-bottom after defeat at Walthamstow. St Mags remain in 11th spot.
Manor skipper Reece Latimer shows his delight with the hosts’ second goal [Image: Andy W]
Full-Time: Southend Manor 2 – 1 St Margaretsbury
In summary, Manor got the points late on though the result was a bit harsh on St Mags, who had enough periods of the game to lay a good claim to a point here, despite Olajide being the busier goalkeeper in the latter stages. In terms of stand-out performances, Manor full-back Dylan Bradford had a fine game showing good tackling, good energy and determination. Louie Hunt also had a good game and deserved his goal, while centre-back Reece Latimer led his defence well and forward Michael Ogboin showed his presence in attack. Grant Frances also did well on the left flank for Craig Waters’ team. For the ‘Bury, ‘keeper Emmanuel Olajide pulled off a number of good saves to keep his side in the game. Ex-Manor full-back Jacob Evident shone against his former club, with Jermaine Nicholson, forward Kyle Roberts and advancing midfielder Tom Opoku also having good games for Ray Bartlett & Tony Wild’s side.
Finally, I would like to thank Southend Manor for their welcome and their media man Andy Wilkins for the usage on the additional photographs provided in this report. Happy New Year to all the readers of my blog.
Teams (with shirt numbers)
Southend Manor | Manager: Craig Waters | Assistant: Gary Pond
1 Josh Harrison (GK), 2 Dylan Bradford, 3 Brandon Williams, 4 Kiah Froud (12 Josh Brocklebank 69’), 5 Joe Elliott, 6 Reece Latimer (Capt), 7 Louie Hunt (14 Jordan Chambers 81’), 8 Ruben Kennedy, 9 Michael Ogboin, 10 Max Makaka (16 Luke Jackson 58’), 11 Grant Frances
Goal-scorers: Louie Hunt [72’], Reece Latimer [87’]
Booked: None | Sub Not Used: Njodzeka, Rogers
St Margaretsbury | Joint-Managers: Ray Bartlett & Tony Wild
1 Emmanuel Olajide (GK), 2 Jacob Evident (14 Isaac Stevens 69’), 3 Akwasi Marfo (12 Aiden Read 38’), 4 Tom Opoku, 5 Dan Palmer (Capt), 6 Issa Farouk-Alhassan, 7 Ryan Reed, 8 Andy Greenslade, 9 Kyle Roberts, 10 Kirk McPherson (15 Ali Bangura 77’), 11 Jermaine Nicholson
Goal-scorers: Jermaine Nicholson [52’]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: James Keane
Assistant Referees: Trevor Williams & Joe Lannon