Essex Olympian League – Premier Division
Venue: Polo Fields
2020 -21 Season – Match 37
Saturday 22nd May 2021 – 2.30pm KO
Hutton: Red Shirts, Red Shorts & Red Socks
Buckhurst Hill: Blue & Navy Blue Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Buckhurst Hill deny spirited Hutton comeback to claim the win
Hutton 3 – 4 Buckhurst Hill
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The penultimate weekend of my Non-League season saw me head to Polo Fields for this intriguing contest between Hutton, seeking a top-four finish and Champions Buckhurst Hill who were playing their second-to-last match as a Step 7 side before being elevated to the Eastern Senior League South next term. Matt Singh’s Hutton side were missing several players here with Alfie Cerulli, Stephen Judge, Kyle Linzell and forward Will Marlowe among those unavailable. They did field regular stopper Adrian Faherty between the sticks, with their centre-backs being Jonathan Hilliard and Tarik Moore-Azille. Jamie Moore and Joshua Seal provided the ammunition from the flanks, with Brad Freeman leading the line. Their options from the bench were also limited, with forward Ben Stanton and player-assistant boss Robert Lorkins being said options. Buckhurst Hill were also missing a few here with Nathan Sollosi, Josh Banfield, Zachary Davidson and Louis Wynter all not part of their 13-man squad. Daniel Blockley was the goalkeeper as usual, with a central defensive pairing of Henry Day and Jonah Gregory. The forward line was spearheaded by talisman & 20-goal forward Suleyman Zuhdu, with Max Nicholson and Daniel Whitehead in chief support.
This writer was hoping for a good battle, given it was likely also my last Essex Olympian League match of the 2020-21 campaign. The visitors were switched on in the opening minutes as a enterprising run by Hutton winger Joshua Seal ended with Buckhurst defender Henry Day denying him a firm effort at Dan Blockley’s goal. Minutes later, a really good run by visiting forward Suleyman Zuhdu was well rebuffed by home centre-back Tarik Moore-Azille down the right-sided channel. The first real chance of note came on eight minutes as a fine pass down the right by wing-back Liam Foster found winger Daniel Whitehead who then sent a fierce drive at goal, which was well tipped over by Hutton custodian Adrian Faherty. The hosts responded just short of the quarter-hour mark as a fine run by right-back Tom Stephens didn’t quite get the end it deserve as his effort on goal fizzed wide of Blockley’s far post.
Buckhurst were starting to gather momentum and gave their hosts another warning on 27 minutes as influential winger Sam Sollosi struck a first-time effort but Faherty could gather at the second attempt. Said warnings were up as just past the half-hour, midfielder Tyler Dolan weaved past two defenders well before slotting home calmly but inside the penalty area to finally break the stalemate in the game. Zuhdu nearly doubled his side’s advantage five minutes later after another searing run was too strong for the home defence and after evading Faherty, the declining angle saved the hosts as his strike cannoned off the left-side post. Whitehead also fired wide moments after as Mark Williams’ side looked to really gain a foothold. That second goal did arrive four minutes before the interval as after turning his marker inside-out, winger Max Nicholson fizzed a great strike past Faherty and into the net.
Half-Time: Hutton 0 – 2 Buckhurst Hill
Straight after the restart, it was the hosts who had to be alert as Sollosi again was well-placed but his chance was snuffed out by the well-placed Josh Brocklebank. The visitors were building their rhythm going forward at this stage of the match, as substitute Alfie Harris made a searing run down the right flank, and his centre was cleared almost off the goal-line by energetic right-back Tom Stephens, with fellow replacement Callum Ibe ready to pounce for a tap-in. This did prove important as with an hour played, a good free-kick from the edge of the penalty area by Seal managed to get past the Buckhurst defenders and find the on-rushing Brocklebank who helped himself to a goal from a few yards out. Looked simple but it was well-worked. Unfortunately for Hutton, Buckhurst soared up the other end on a counter-attack and Jack Griggs got past the home backline and his strike just escaped the clutches of Faherty before trickling home into the corner of the net, much to the custodian’s derision. This gave Buckhurst their two-goal cushion back and to be fair, on another day Buckhurst should have been ‘home & hosed’ in this match in the following fifteen minutes of the contest.
Midway into the half, forward Ibe made another of his trademark enterprising runs before his fierce strike was well clawed over the crossbar by the impressive Faherty. Hutton responded with twenty minutes to play as another Seal free-kick was on-target but lacked the power to bypass Blockley, who pushed it over the goal frame. From that resulting corner, substitute Ben Stanton narrowly nodded wide of the right-side post. Buckhurst again counter-attacked as Ibe was in a promising position again and a well-thought out chip was parried up by Faherty before needing to be cleared off the goal-line as well by more committed defending from the hosts. In truth, it wasn’t Ibe’s day as he and Sollosi was both denied on at least three more occasions through a combination of good blocks and wayward finishing.
Just as you were starting to suspect the hosts were tiring, they roared back into the match as a fine cross in from deep found Stanton who arrowed in a fine header at the far post to make it 2 – 3 with ten minutes remaining. Again though, Hill responded two minutes later as Nicholson’s well-taken strike again found the net, moments after Faherty pulled off another fine save in the previous attack. But the scoring was not done yet as the tension was rising before Stanton’s low finish bypassed both the defender and Blockley to find the net on 87 minutes and give the Champions some more nervy moments.
The visitors did hold out and the final whistle came without further incident as Mark Williams’ side could celebrate and without delay, they were presented with the Essex Olympian League Premier Division trophy.
Full-time: Hutton 3 – 4 Buckhurst Hill
In summary, Buckhurst Hill took a little while to reach their destructive best and arguably spurned several chances after the break to score a hatful of goals before the dramatic late goal surge here. Every credit to Hutton though as well who showed the gritty attitude that has served them well this season, particularly in the second half of the match. The only thing they were lacking if you were being really critical was more of a goal threat as hard-working forward Brad Freeman was slightly isolated at times, though he was well-marshalled by the adept Buckhurst defence in fairness.
In terms of stand-out performances, for the Champions Buckhurst Hill – it’s hard not to mention two-goal star winger Max Nicholson who took his goals well and importantly gave his side a decent lead at the interval. The Influential Sam Sollosi also kept his side ticking in attack and although he should have been on the score-sheet, he is excellent at creating moves with well-thought out passes. Ball-playing centre-back Henry Day also had another fine afternoon with several good interceptions and right wing-back Liam Foster also deserves a mention for giving the visitors an outlet making gallivanting rapid runs down the flank too.
For Hutton, I felt right-back Tom Stephens had an excellent match, covering a huge amount of ground all over the pitch, making good passes, showing good energy levels and making crucial clearances in the nick of time to aid his fellow defenders and crucially, keep Hutton in the match. Centre-back Tarik Moore-Azille also showed good tackling, good pace to keep up with Hill’s star forward Zuhdu and looks a good prospect. Winger Joshua Seal was a threat from set-pieces and gave everything here, plus goalkeeper Adrian Faherty who may feel he should’ve done better with one of the goals, but that is outflanked by the four really good saves to deny Buckhurst a thumping win.
All that is left for me to add is that is a been a delight to cover the Essex Olympian League again this season, and it would be remiss not to thank all the clubs and managers of all the matches I’ve written about this season. Thank you also to the League and it was a nice bonus to see Buckhurst presented with the Premier Division trophy post-match, which is a fitting reward for boss Mark Williams sticking with the club for as long as he has done. Best wishes to both Buckhurst Hill and Hutton for next season.
If you’d like to have a read of the wider action in the Essex Olympian League divisions, this week’s round-up is available here:
Hutton | Manager: Matt Singh | Assistant: Robert Lorkins
Starting XI: 1 Adrian Faherty (GK), 2 Tom Stephens, 3 Josh Brocklebank, 4 Jack Lelliott, 5 Jonathan Hilliard, 6 Tarik Moore-Azille, 7 Jamie Moore, 8 Lewis Scott, 9 Brad Freeman, 10 Sean O’Callaghan, 11 Joshua Seal
Goal-scorers: Josh Brocklebank [60’], Ben Stanton [80’ & 87’]
Subs On: 16 Ben Stanton [70’], 17 Robert Lorkins [70’]
Booked: None | Sub Not Used: None
Buckhurst Hill | Manager: Mark Williams
Starting XI: 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster, 3 Bradley Gayer, 4 Henry Day, 5 Jonah Gregory, 6 Jack Griggs, 7 Sam Sollosi, 8 Tyler Dolan, 12 Max Nicholson, 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Daniel Whitehead
Goal-scorers: Tyler Dolan [31’], Max Nicholson [41’ & 82’], Jack Griggs [60’]
Subs On: 9 Callum Ibe [46’], 15 Alfie Harris [46’]
Booked: Gayer, Zuhdu | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Adekola Adeyemi
Assistant Referees: Martin Smith & Maragrit Tsekov