Essex Senior League
Venue: Chalk Lane
2020 -21 Season – Match 20
Saturday 12th December 2020 – 3pm KO
Cockfosters: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red & White Socks
Sporting Bengal: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Second-half goal blitz sees ‘Fosters to victory over Sporting Bengal
Cockfosters 4 – 0 Sporting Bengal Utd
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
With the continuing uncertainty this Football season, I decided to make the long trek to North London and Chalk Lane for this Essex Senior encounter between Cockfosters & Sporting Bengal Utd. Ryan Wade fielded Brad Robinson between the sticks with an attack-focused full-back pair of Luke Marshall and recent signing Vinny Durrant, with a front two of Carl Mullings and James Verney supported by George Beattie. A threadbare bench featured fellow recent signing Kyle Roberts and Matt Turpin, who scored in the London Senior Cup in midweek. Sporting Bengal have had a tricky start to the campaign and named skipper Rokib Choudhury at right-back, Tanvir Ahmed at left-back and D’Norfe Diaz Vaz and Chaka Barnett on the flanks, supporting Soulyman El Amri and lynchpin Joel Ramos in attack. Among their replacements were technical winger Carlos Hubner and defenders Raul Gazi and Manraj Gill.
The match got underway with a flourish from the hosts, with some early crosses giving the Bengal defence one or two nervy moments. Those nerves continued on five minutes as home full-back Vinny Durrant broke through the visiting defence and stroke home crisply from close range, with Sporting stopper Aires Ferreira unable to keep it out despite getting a hand to it. Bengal responded with forward Joel Ramos blasting over the goal frame from thirty yards out, but on the quarter-hour winger George Beattie played the ball in to Durrant but he twice couldn’t find the target, on his weaker foot. Sporting Bengal did find their way into the contest in the second part of the half as winger Chaka Barnett spurned a half-chance by shooting wide of home custodian Brad Robinson’s right-side post when in a promising position.
On twenty-six minutes, Ramos was in the action again as a free-kick from about thirty yards was well-struck and needed Robinson to superbly tip the ball onto the post as it was sliding in. Bengal’s speedy and good passing moves were gaining momentum at this point, with midfielder Gianfranco Mici also blasting wide from twelve yards when he could’ve done better. At the other end, eight minutes from time during another probing attack from the hosts, another fine centre from the right flank from Marshall found tall forward Carl Mullings though he was well thwarted by visiting skipper Rokib Choudhury’s challenge with the striker poised to strike.
Half-Time: Cockfosters 1 – 0 Sporting Bengal Utd
It was still well-poised at the interval though Ryan Wade’s side did need to ‘up the ante’ after the break. They certainly started the second half as they did the first. Moments into the half, ‘Fosters winger Rueben Campbell spotted a chance to chip from the right flank and it needed Ferriera to be alert and parry it over with Campbell’s effort arrowing towards the top right corner. Centre-back Marcus Crowther also headed powerfully off-target moments later which only endorsed the home side’s keenness to seal the points. With the hosts still strongly in command, forward James Verney played in strike partner Mullings though only a strong interception from Bengal centre-back Shayan Ghamarinezhad denied him. Perhaps it was the hosts’ day as just after the hour mark, a rare blemish from Robinson allowed Bengal substitute Carlos Hubner to rob him of possession by Hubner could not make him pay as he lobbed his strike over the crossbar.
The chances that Bengal had were to further highlighted as midway through the half, ‘Cockfosters doubled their goal tally. Mullings sprinted down the right channel and fed Beattie though Ferriera was able to block his close-range strike, only for Verney to be in ‘the right place at the right time’ to poke home from close range. ‘Fosters added a third goal only four minutes later as another fine cross by Marshall evaded everyone but found Mullings ghosting in at the far post to fire home well, past Ferriera to more or less seal the win there and then.
Wade’s side then added further pain on the visitors on seventy-one minutes as Beattie ghosted past the Bengal backline to slot home. It was harsh on Bengal but it underlines the fact that you can’t ‘switch off’ against this sort of quality for any period of time. To their credit, Bengal did not allow their heads to drop, with Ramos denied by substitute Charlie Morgan’s tackle with four minutes remaining. Verney then missed a decent opportunity soon after, clipping the ball wide at the near post. Then, with full-time approaching, Bengal replacement Abraham Richard-Tagoe breezed past the tackles of the home defenders but couldn’t get his strike away with any venom to test Robinson.
Full-Time: Cockfosters 4 – 0 Sporting Bengal Utd
In summary, Cockfosters deserved the win in the end on a tricky surface, although in parts of the game Bengal did show their speed and technical ability, particularly in attack. Unfortunately though for the visitors, defensive lapses cost them dearly here and conceding three goals in six second-half minutes absolutely snuffed out any chance of getting something from the game. Manager Imrul Gazi will know that you cannot gift chances to the calibre of players that the ‘Fosters have they can take positives from this encounter.
For my stand-out performers, the hosts were livened up by a strong front three of James Verney, Carl Mullings and chief support George Beattie who were a threat all match but really forced the pace after the interval. Right-back Luke Marshall also put in some superb crosses which added to the visiting defence’s problems and also showed good energy levels too. Lastly, custodian Brad Robinson made a terrific save before the half-hour when Sporting had a good phase of the match.
For the visitors, forward Joel Ramos was their chief outlet going forward and he also did well looking to stretch the home backline by going into the right-side channel and was unfortunate to not get on the score-sheet. Full-backs Tanvir Ahmed and Rokib Choudbury also showed good willingness to support their attacks and also made good individual interceptions under pressure. Midfielder Gianfranco Mici also showed some neat passing and finally, centre-back Shayan Ghamarinezhad also made some well-time tackles to stifle the strong home forward line at times.
Finally, I’d like to thank Cockfosters for their welcome, particularly Deputy Chairman Mike Bell. It was great to return to Chalk Lane, which is a ground with its own character and is good to visit. Was good also to catch up here with both management teams as well. I wish both sides well for the rest of the season.
Cockfosters | Player-Manager: Ryan Wade | Assistant: Nick Mountford
1. Brad Robinson (GK), 2. Luke Marshall, 3. Vinny Durrant (14 Charlie Morgan 58’), 4. Matty Thomson (Capt), 5. Danny Haigh, 6 Marcus Crowther, 7 Rueben Campbell, 18. Kaidyn Michael, 9. Carl Mullings (12 Kyle Roberts 73’), 10. James Verney, 11. George Beattie
Goal-scorers: Vinny Durrant [5’], James Verney [65’], Carl Mullings [69’], George Beattie [71’]
Booked: Mullings | Sub Not Used: Turpin
Sporting Bengal | Manager: Imrul Gazi
1. Aires Ferriera (GK), 2. Rokib Choudhury (Capt), 3. Tanvir Ahmed, 4. Anthony Murray-Bruce, 5. Lee Sharpe (17 Manraj Gill 66’), 6. Shayan Ghamarinezhad, 8. Gianfranco Mici, 14. Chaka Barnett (7 Carlos Hubner 60’), 9. Joel Ramos, Soulyman El Amri (12 Abraham Richard-Tagoe 73’), 11. D’Norfe Diaz Vaz
Booked: Ghamarinezad | Subs Not Used: R Gazi, Konjuvca
Referee: Alistair Potter
Assistant Referees: Andy Tregoning & Katie Dorling