Essex Senior League
2019 – 20 Season: Match 52
Saturday 18th January 2020 – 3pm KO
Hashtag Utd: Yellow & Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
Redbridge: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
Hashtag overwhelm Redbridge to claim another fine win
Hashtag Utd 4 – 1 Redbridge
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
– Non-League & ESL Writer
On another weather-affected weekend in the Essex Senior, I made the trip to Chadfields to see promotion-chasing Hashtag Utd face fellow form outfit Redbridge. Jay Devereux named a very strong side with Louis Hawes in goal, a back four of Simon Peddie, Jack Martin, and centre-backs Farai Tsingano & Luke Wilson and forwards Kris Newby and the prolific George Smith. Their bench was filled with experience with Harry Honesty, Neil Richmond, Ryan Adams, Joshua Osude and goalkeeper Tim Pitman all there. Redbridge are continuing to look for a top-ten finish this term, and they named a back four of Jack Blackledge, Jordayne Henry with centre-backs being Joe Maskell and Dean Hall. Hassan Nalbant led the line with support from skipper Tom Harvey and Kurt Smith. Liam Burgess, Charles Opoku and Charleston Browne were among the options from the sidelines.
It was the Tags who did start the match on a strong footing, with leading scorer George Smith having two efforts on goal though he couldn’t beat visiting goalkeeper Florent Gislette. The chances continued to come for Jay Devereux’s side as on seven minutes a brisk strike from 25 yards from recent signing Tom Anderson fizzed wide of the target. As we approached the midway stage of the half, a peach of a cross by right-back Simon Peddie found Anderson though his header went just wide. Redbridge were dealing with balls coming into their penalty box in the air though struggled to contain the pace and purpose of the Hashtag attacks. With 26 minutes on the watch, following yet another Tags corner, winger Albert Keith’s pass fed midfielder Samraj Gill and after evading oncoming defenders, he could only blaze over the woodwork.
The Motormen gradually had some possession and did launch a few forays forward themselves, with forward Hassan Nalbant doing well to carve out a half-yard of space on the ‘ark of the D’ before curling a well-struck effort agonizingly wide of home custodian Louis Hawes’ far post, ten minutes before half-time. Nalbant also did well to ghost in at the far post though lost his footing on a heavy pitch at the crucial moment. Hashtag did deservingly take the lead with 37 minutes played as a searching long ball wasn’t dealt with by Gislette who mistimed his leap to clear and although the visitors may have felt he was impeded, the ball looped over the ‘keeper with George Smith able to strike home into an empty net from about 12 yards out.
It could’ve been better before the break for the hosts as a bullet header by Anderson was well kept out by Gislette though Smith incredibly skied the rebound over when well-placed to strike. Also before the interval, a hefty challenge meant Tags midfield stalwart Ricky Evans had to be substituted with what was revealed later to be a broken arm, we wish him well in his recovery and it ended up being his last game for the club unfortunately.
Half-Time: Hashtag Utd 1 – 0 Redbridge
Any nerves among the home fans here soon dampened as they were awarded a spot-kick two minutes after the restart, with rapid winger Joshua Osude bundled over in the box. Smith stepped up to blast home into the top corner to extend Hashtag’s lead. The visitors didn’t settle and conceded again four minutes later as the impressive Keith got in ahead of the visiting defence and Gislette and his low lob found its way into the corner, keeping ahead of a covering defender. Hashtag were in command at this point though credit to the Motormen as they pulled one goal back five minutes later as a fierce strike from 20 yards by midfielder Connor Okus beat Hawes and gave them a glimmer of hope in the match.
That ‘glimmer’ didn’t last long though as on 62 minutes, Smith again got the better of the Redbridge defence and although his first effort was well-saved by Gislette, the ball cannoned back to the Hashtag forward and the rebound flew unstoppably into the top corner of the net. As the clock wore on to the last fifteen minutes, the sheer energy expended was starting to tell on the visitors and after a full-scale brawl ensued, Redbridge skipper Tom Harvey was dismissed, along with several bookings for both sides.
Hashtag spent the last ten minutes or so of this contest looking to improve their margin of victory though Gill couldn’t get the better of Gislette when one-on-one and skewed an effort wide. Osude also found himself in on goal with only Gislette to bypass two minutes afterward, though also blasted over. The final chance of note was on the stroke of the ninety as Osude’s neat cross found debutant Kris Newby who could only fire wide for Hashtag, though overall it was a more than promising display by the hosts, who moved above Walthamstow into second spot with this win, five points adrift of leaders Saffron Walden.
Full-Time: Hashtag Utd 4 – 1 Redbridge
To summarise, the match was a tad scrappy in the first half though Hashtag still had more chances which they couldn’t quite convert. Unfortunately for the visitors, they could not withstand the pace and finishing of Hashtag in the opening salvos of the second half and it could have been a more convincing score-line as the tension ramped up in the latter stages. For the Tags, George ‘Smudger’ Smith grabbed another treble to add to an already fine campaign thus far, though full-back Simon Peddie, winger Albert Keith, tricky midfielder Samraj Gill and centre-back Farai Tsingano all had good games too. For Redbridge, striker Hassan Nalbant made his presence felt and on another day could’ve had a fine goal. Connor Okus also impressed in midfield, as did the backline who stubbornly resisted in the first period.
Finally, I’d like to wish both teams well for the rest of the season. It looks undeniable that the Tags will be in the mix again for another elevation in the next few months.
Hashtag Utd | Manager: Jay Devereux | Assistant: Joe Keith
1 Louis Hawes (GK), 2 Simon Peddie, 3 Jack Martin, 4 Farai Tsingano, 5 Luke Wilson, 6 Ricky Evans (Capt) (12 Joshua Osude 43’), 7 Albert Keith (9 Ryan Adams 81’), 8 Tom Anderson, 15 Samraj Gill, 14 Kris Newby, 10 George Smith
Goal-scorers: George Smith [37’, (pen) 47’ & 62’], Albert Keith [51’]
Booked: Evans, Newby, Martin | Subs Not Used: Honesty, Pitman (GK)
Redbridge | Manager: Micky Wetherall | Assistant: Richard Oxby
1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Jack Blackledge (12 Charles Opoku 52’), 3 Jordayne Henry, 4 Harvey Brown, 5 Joe Maskell, 6 Dean Hall, 7 Kurt Smith (16 Charleston Browne 69’), 8 Connor Okus, 9 Hassan Nalbant, 10 Tom Harvey (Capt), 11 James Barlow (14 Liam Burgess 62’)
Goal-scorers: Connor Okus [56’]
Booked: Smith, Nalbant, Maskell, Henry | Sent Off: Harvey | Subs Not Used: Tuitt, Abiola
Referee: Graham Swanton