Essex Olympian League – Division Two
Venue: Wadham Lodge (Inter. Grass Pitch)
2020-21 Season: Match 29
Tuesday 27th April 2021 – 6.30pm KO
Ryan: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Epping: Sky Blue Shirts, Sky Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
Incredible match sees Ryan deny Epping a much-needed win
Ryan 5 – 5 Epping Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
After an adventure of a journey getting to this midweek Olympian League Division Two match between Ryan and promotion-chasing Epping Town at Wadham Lodge, I was hoping for a good match but crikey was we unprepared for what we got. Ryan are an unpredictable side, as they have been in recent seasons, whereas Epping’s away form needed to improve to really be amongst the top three by the end of next month. Ryan manager Declan Murphy named a front two of Aymen Mekni and top-scorer Scout Bown who had six leagues goals before this encounter but I remember from his days at Roydon that he is a threat. The hosts’ skipper was Ross Bourke and the options from the sidelines included Bruce Aghaji, Aaron Ige and Jamal Elliott. Epping were still missing a few layers including the likes of Sam Law, Joe Rickett and George Clarke. However, the back four were comprised of full-backs Tyler Sanago-Ismael and Harry Banister plus centre-backs Charlie Pollard and player-boss himself Stuart Hoskins. Town’s front-line was led by Callum Turner, with support from Daniel Hurwood and Graeme Turner. The visitors’ options on the bench were restricted, but could still field player-coach David Limber and Peter Paoletti along with Jamaine Belle.
The match got underway with the curious quirk of having no less than three goals chalked off in the opening five minutes. Graeme Turner for Epping and the pair of Tom Craig and Aymen Mekni for Ryan were all slightly aggrieved. Even so, that did rather set the tone from then on as on twelve minutes, Ryan midfielder Sam Bentley blasted over the goal frame as the hosts looked to get ahead early. But it was Epping who broke the deadlock on 18 minutes as a good run by skipper Joe Rudkin down the right channel evaded the generous marking of the home side and Rudkin’s cross found Callum Turner whose firm header found the net, evading home stopper Ciaran Glazebrook. The end-to-end nature of this match was only starting to rev up at this point as both sides spurned chances. Just short of the half-hour, Graeme Turner for Epping was denied a decent chance on goal by the well-timed interception of Ryan centre-back Rubin Dershi.
Soon afterward, Epping should really have been further ahead but Callum Turner skewed a strike wide when in a decent position, and then fellow forward Daniel Hurwood curled agonizingly wide of the far corner from no more than six yards out. On 35 minutes, it was Epping’s turn to have a let off as custodian Will Skingley misjudged his run to claim the ball ahead of a opposition forward but the hosts’ Tom Craig could not make him pay by slotting wide of an unguarded goal. You knew more goals ere coming and we were not disappointed (even before the interval) as two minutes later, Skingley again rushed out of his goal a bit too keenly, with substitute Bruce Aghaji in on gal but the ball fell to forward Scout Bown who made no mistake to open his account for the evening and level things up.
What followed was hectic to say the least. Ryan made the most of a recovering Town side as a minute later, forward Aymen Mekni slotted home past Skingley to give the hosts the lead for the first time. But again, the lead didn’t last long as on 41 minutes, a fine free-kick from Chris Gormley evaded Glazebrook and found the top corner. Now it was 2 – 2 but there was still room before the break for another twist. From a far-side set-piece, an angled ball unfortunately found a visiting defender who couldn’t avoid taking the ball in to give Ryan a narrow advantage at the break.
Half-Time: Ryan 3 – 2 Epping Town
If this scribe thought the pace of the game would suffer because of the energetic first-half, it was soon shown there was more drama to come. There were more forward moves from both sides. Just shy of the hour, a well-directed free-kick from Tyler Sanago-Ismael was gathered by Ryan custodian Glazebrook. Eight minutes later, there was yet another goal chalked off (made it four in the match) as substitute David Limber was the unfortunate party. The visitors did level things up again on 71 minutes as a fine centre from the right flank by Graeme Turner found Gormley at the far post for a comfortable tap-in.
But as was the way this match evolved, it didn’t stay that way for long. Ryan took the advantage again three minutes afterward as a powerful strike from Bown deflected off a defender and sailed in past Skingley to make it 4 – 3. Town had more half-chances in the moments following Ryan’s fourth goal through Limber & Sanago-Ismael but they just needed one clear-cut opportunity. The recovery job for Stuart Hoskins’ side got bigger on 79 minutes as Bown evaded the visiting defence again before slotting home from point-blank range with only Skingley to defeat.
If anyone thought this game was going to peter out, then they had another thing coming. Within six minutes, Epping had neutralised that lead again as first, Callum Turner’s decent header made it 5 – 4 with seven minutes to play and soon after, tugging in the penalty box gave Limber a chance to level from twelve yards, which he duly took to incredibly make it 5 – 5. Moments after that, Glazebrook was dismissed, possibly for remonstrating with referee Kevin Nicholson regarding that spot-kick that was given so Ryan were down to ten men and had to put an outfield player in goal.
There was still two good chances that followed in added time, with Gormley being well-denied by stand-in ‘keeper low down before the hosts nearly pinched it as skipper Bourke’s free-kick cannoned off the post after Skingley had got something on it. That ended up being the final action and the hosts must’ve been relieved to hear the final whistle.
Full-Time: Ryan 5 – 5 Epping Town
In summary, this match may not win many awards for out & out quality but when you’re talking about the very soul of entertaining, dramatic Non-League Football and indeed Sport along with it, this tie was hard to beat. I’ve seen some brilliant games in the Essex Olympian League this season and this match goes right with them. As some fellow attendees remarked, it was hard to deny this was a fair result as both teams fought so hard for the three points.
Talking about stand-out performances is hard also but for the hosts, forward Scout Bown once again showed how predatory he is in front of goal with a well-taken treble, which really added to the course of the match. Centre-back Rubin Dershi made a number of well-timed interceptions in defence and stood out, as did forward Aymen Mekni who made a few good runs down the channels as well. For Epping, forward Callum Turner was a constant presence and his movement and finishing were telling. Winger Chris Gormley got arguably the goal of the game with a fine free-kick and made telling runs and passes. Skipper Joe Rudkin also did well and looked to drive his side on in a big way. His cross for Turner’s first goal really did set the tone at that time.
Epping rise to fifth but lost ground on the top three. Ryan remain in eighth spot after this match. To round off, I have to pay trubute to the spectacle of a match these two sides put on and it is a credit to the Olympian League and their Division. Best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign.
Ryan | Manager: Declan Murphy
Starting XI: 1 Ciaran Glazebrook (GK), 2 Tom Craig, 3 Joseph Iseghoimen, 4 Ross Bourke (Capt), 5 Rubin Dershi, 6 Sam Bentley, 7 Scout Bown, 8 Billy Stewart, 9 Aymen Mekni, 10 Mamadi Mendes, 11 Oscar Tribe
Subs On: 12 Bruce Aghaji [29′], 14 Aaron Ige [41′], 15 Jamal Elliott [45′], 16 Brendan Allen [64′], 13 Eru Avgousti [74′]
Goal-scorers: Scout Bown [37′,74′ & 79′], Aymen Mekhi [38′], OG [43′]
Sent Off: Glazebrook | Subs Not Used: None
Epping Town | Player-Manager: Stuart Hoskins
Starting XI: 1 Will Skingley (GK), 2 Harry Banister, 3 Tyler Sanago-Ismael, 4 Joe Rudkin (Capt), 5 Charlie Pollard, 6 Stuart Hoskins, 7 Chris Gormley, 8 George Spillane, 9 Daniel Hurwood, 10 Callum Turner, 11 Graeme Turner
Goal-scorers: Callum Turner [18′, 83′] , Chris Gormley [41′, 71′], David Limber [pen 85′]
Subs On: 16 David Limber [52′], 17 Peter Paoletti [61′], 14 Jamaine Belle [77′]
Booked: Limber | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Kevin Nicholson