Essex Olympian League – Senior Division Two
Venue: Stambridge Memorial Ground
2019 – 20 Season: Match 58
Saturday 15th February 2020 – 2.00pm KO
Corinthians: Sky Blue & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Rochford Town: Red & Yellow Striped Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
Corinthians get important win over local rivals Rochford at wind-swept Stambridge
Corinthians 3 – 1 Rochford Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
On the weekend that ‘Storm Dennis’ heavily reduced the local action across the Non-League divisions, I made the return trip to Stambridge to see this EOFL Senior Two tussle between local rivals Corinthians and Rochford Town. Chris Stoneham’s hosts welcomed Nathan Warren back in goal, with a back four of George Fulcher, Brad Smith, Sammy Ayres and skipper Alfie Knight. The attack-minded Nathan Dewberry and John Bolton-Smith were supported by wingers Bill Wilton and Jake Hodder. Leo Clarke, Ollie Brickwood and Jordan Stoneham completed a depleted bench, with the likes of Dan Cooksley, Ethan Lemmon and Theo Cannon all unavailable here.
Rochford named Elliott Pattison between the posts, with Jack Clarke and Josh Ledger in central defence, skipper Freddie Pettitt on the right flank and a front two of Jordan Ginty and Josh Fryer, with top scorer Tommy Dominguez alongside the likes of Harry Ford and Joe Lovett on the bench.
Even when I got to the ground, it was quite clear that the hosts had done well to get the game on as the rain drifted in to join the blustery wind close to kick-off. It was also one of those afternoons where you could understand those involved wouldn’t be so keen to play or watch so fair play. In the early stages of the contest, both sides were looking decent going forward as the hosts were going into the wind. Rochford forwards Jordan Ginty and Josh Fryer were linking up well on the counter-attack in the early minutes, though it was Corinthians who has the first sighters of goal as first, Nathan Dewberry’s free-kick dribbled wide of the far post and soon after from a corner, Jake Hodder’s prodded effort was just gathered by visiting custodian Elliott Pattison. The hosts had their fair share of possession at this stage but with the conditions affecting long-range passing, they just needed that bit more composure which they later found.
On 18 minutes, energetic forward John Bolton-Smith fired another effort off-target for the hosts and then a couple of minutes later, another free-kick in a promising position was curled in by Dewberry though Pattison did well to palm away from the danger zone. Town were conceding a few set-pieces at this point and from Matt Burrell’s corner, Corinthians were adamant that the ball had wafted over the goal-line though it wasn’t given. This seemed to charge up the hosts as midway through the half, they took he lead. A good run into midfield by centre-back Alfie Knight ended by feeding a neat through ball to Hodder who only had Pattison to defeat and his low finish got the better of the Rochford stopper.
Corinthians doubled their advantage only a few minutes later as fine curling finish by Bolton-Smith found the top corner from inside the area. Just past the half-hour, Rochford did have a rare surge forward which saw skipper Freddie Pettitt put in a good centre, though the home defence stood firm to clear their lines. Pattison was called into action again for Rochford soon after, as another good pass by Knight found Bolton-Smith though the latter’s header was clawed away by the Town goalkeeper as it was heading in under the crossbar. The hosts kept the pressure on as from a Luke Owen corner, Pattison palmed the ball away for another set-piece. From that very corner, Bolton-Smith’s in-swinging delivery got caught up in a gust and trickled past everyone into the net, past an unfortunate Pattison to make it comfortable for the Stambridge-based side.
Just shy of the interval, a rasping 20-yard drive by Rochford midfielder Rinor Zeqiri fizzed wide of Nathan Warren’s goal though for the most part, the home side deserved their lead.
Half-Time: Corinthians 3 – 0 Rochford Town
You have to credit Rochford for their response after the break, despite the declining conditions. Three minutes after the re-start, Town forward Josh Fryer was well found in the area though with only Warren to bypass, the home glovesman did well to deny Fryer with a firm one-handed save. In what was a slighter quieter second-half overall, Owen had a decent strike saved by Pattison nine minutes into the half. As we entered the last twenty minutes, Town forward Jordan Ginty’s well-struck strike powered wide of the right-side post, a reminder that the visitors were not ‘downing tools’.
Moments afterward at the other end, a searing cross by Dewberry was inch-perfect for Bolton-Smith though he couldn’t get the direction on it as it went over the goal frame. Dewberry also gave us a small reminder of his fancy footwork as well to get past his marker before angling a tame effort wide. Town did get a goal back as a good ball found onrushing midfielder Jack Power and he tucked home well past Warren with twelve minutes remaining. And then late on, substitute Jordan Stoneham was played in, one-n-one with Pattison though the Town ‘keeper did well to deny him to crown off a good personal display.
Full-Time: Corinthians 3 – 1 Rochford Town
In summary, Corinthians showed enough purpose and had more than enough chances to deserve the points, though to be fair, Rochford were also decent at times going forward, although they were at risk of getting overloaded in defence, thanks to the hosts’ passing and movement, not to mention the finishing too.
In terms of stand-out performances, for Corinthians, I felt centre-back Alfie Knight had a strong game, not only doing his defensive duties but also making surging runs forward into midfield and also got an assist for the first goal too. Forward John Bolton-Smith and winger Jake Hodder also did well, stretching the Rochford defence as well as getting all three home goals between them, while full-back George Fulcher also showed good energy and purpose at both ends of the pitch.
For Rochford, forward Josh Fryer put in a combative display and kept the home back-line busy at times with skipper Freddie Pettitt being a useful creative outlet as well as putting in a hard-working display in both boxes. Goalkeeper Elliott Pattison also did well with decent handling in the tough conditions & also produced some good saves too, plus midfielder Jack Power also made a good contribution, along with his goal.
Finally, my thanks as ever to the hosts for their welcome; they are a credit to themselves and the Olympian League. I’d also like to note that it is good seeing Rochford in action again, as they are my local club. I wish both clubs well for the remainder of this hugely interesting Division Two campaign.
Corinthians | Manager: Chris Stoneham
Starting XI: 1 Nathan Warren (GK), 2 George Fulcher, 3 Brad Smith, 4 Sammy Ayres, 5 Luke Owen, 6 Alfie Knight (Capt), 7 Bill Wilton, 8 Matt Burrell, 11 Jake Hodder, 9 John Bolton-Smith, 20 Nathan Dewberry
Goal-scorers: Jake Hodder [22’], John Bolton-Smith [25’ & 38’]
Subs On: 12 Leo Clarke [57’], 14 Ollie Brickwood [67’], 15 Jordan Stoneham [67’]
Rochford Town | Stand-in Manager: James Cooper
Starting XI: 1 Elliott Pattison (GK), 2 Jacob Hubble, 3 Alex Gray, 4 Rinor Zeqiri, 5 Jack Clarke, 6 Josh Ledger, 7 Freddie Pettitt (Capt), 8 Jack Power, 9 Jordan Ginty, 10 Josh Fryer, 11 Matt Welsh
Goal-scorer: Jack Power [78’]
Subs On: 12 Harry Ford, 15 Tommy Dominguez, 13 Joe Lovett
Booked: Fryer | Subs Not Used: Browne, Holyland
Referee: Stuart Nixon