Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello all and welcome to the first of a new season of weekly round-up articles on Essex Olympian League divisions, The first weekend of action from Saturday 14th August saw a myriad of teams adjust to new divisions, and before the action is described I’ll put in a short listing of which sides are in each division. As ever, the focus is on the top four divisions with results from Divisions Four & Five.
Many thanks for the support and for reading.
EOFL Premier Division
Teams (15): Basildon Town, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, Canning Town, Catholic Utd, Galleywood, Harold Wood Athletic, Hutton, Kelvedon Hatch, Leigh Ramblers, Old Southendian, Ongar Town, Rayleigh Town, Shenfield AFC, Springfield, Sungate
In the Premier Division, Basildon Town overcame a spirited performance by their visitors as they defeated Rayleigh Town 4 – 3, in their first match at landlords Basildon Utd. Player-boss Marcus Bowers led the way with a brace for the hosts, with new signing Rhys Fatt also notching twice for his new team. Rayleigh responded through goals from Paul Morris, Shaun Gittleson and Liam Oliver but ultimately they fell to defeat. Old Southendian got a win on the opening day as they defeated Canning Town 2 – 1 at Garon Park. Sam Adcock and substitute Craig Paton got the important strikes there for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Kelvedon Hatch began their new campaign with a 3 – 2 win at promoted Galleywood. Drew Klessa-Smith nabbed a terrific treble for the visitors and that outshone strikes by Matthew Buckingham and Jamie Lockwood for Galleywood to give Darren Hunt’s side the win. Hutton also got a welcome three points as a Stephen Judge strike was enough to give them a 1 – 0 success over Catholic Utd at Polo Fields. Harold Wood Athletic let a two-goal lead slip before being held 3 – 3 by a new-look Springfield side at Harold Wood Park. Strikes by Jacob Roberts, James Pottle and Harry Clifford put Gary Willis’ side ahead but a double from replacement Jordan Sargeant and one from Charlie Nichols saw Dan Williams’ team make a good comeback and left with a point.
Also, Ongar Town began their season at Step 7 with a superb 4 – 1 home win over Leigh Ramblers. Jack Gardner got the goal for Mark Hunter’s visitors but the winning feeling continued for Richard Ponsford’s side, thanks to a brace from Frankie Goodall, plus strikes by Harry Rawlins and Rodney Wilson. Finally, Sungate won 2 – 1 at Shenfield AFC with Ben Carroll scoring for the home side.
EOFL Division One
Teams (11): Beacon Hill Rovers, Corinthians, Chingford Athletic, Epping Town, Herongate Athletic, Leigh Town, Old Chelmsfordians, Runwell Sports, Snaresbrook, Toby, Wakering Sports
Moving now into Division One, and Toby got a superb 4 – 0 triumph over Epping Town in Newbury Park. Albert Perry, Marc Porter-Brown, Louis Hill and new recruit Harry Barham all netted as Mark Jones’ team started strongly. Wakering Sports also grabbed an impressive 5 – 1 success against Old Chelmsfordians at Cupid’s, with Connor Burrows netting twice, alongside Ben Burrows, Matthew Catlin and Aaron Clark goals for Mitchell Gleeson’s side.
The new era at Herongate Athletic under Billy Cove also began with a victory as they defeated Snaresbrook 3 – 1 at Billericay Road. Robbie Farrell’s brace and one from Izaih Antoine did the job for the home side. Elsewhere, and Runwell Sports began life under boss Rob Hodgson with a creditable 1 – 1 draw with Chingford Athletic at St Luke’s Park. Dylan Hawley netted for Runwell, with Lewis Watson scoring for Ath. Also, Leigh Town began their journey as a second-tier club with a fine 3 – 1 victory at fellow promoted side Beacon Hill Rovers.
EOFL Division Two
Teams (12): ACD Utd, AS Rawreth, Harold Hill, Harold Wood Athletic Res, Hutton Res, Manford Way (fmrly Res), May & Baker A, Old Southendian Res, Rayleigh Town Res, Rochford Town, Showbury Town, Wakebury
In Division Two, ACD Utd got their first win as a third-tier club as they won 2 – 1 at new club Harold Hill. Player-boss Michael Wade got both goals for the visitors as they negotiated a tricky test well. Elsewhere, Shoebury Town started strongly in their new division as they won 4 – 1 against visitors Harold Wood Athletic Res at Cupid’s. Steven Sharpe struck twice here for Town, with Daniel Brooker and an OG accounting for the other goals. Ben Rowe responded for the Wood second-team.
In other action, AS Rawreth got their new era under Josh Hutchins started with a good 2 – 1 home win over May & Baker A. Alex Salmon and Ryan Kenyon provided the goals as they began the season well.
EOFL Division Three
Teams (12): Basildon Town Res, Buckhurst Hill U23/Res, Catholic Utd Res, Collier Row, Corinthians Res, Hashtag Utd Dev, Hullbridge Sports Res, Leigh Town Res, Pitsea Athletic, Toby Res, Wakering Sports Res
Finally for this week, in Division Three, newcomers Pitsea Athletic began their EOFL campaign with a decent 3 – 0 win over Leigh Town Res at Basildon Sports Village. Ben Challis’ fine treble was enough to seperate the sides there. Elsewhere Basildon Town Res drew 1 – 1 with Toby Res. Matthew Keiller struck for Town, with Brandon Richmond netting for the East Londoners.
Collier Row started the new season with a 3 – 2 home win over Corinthians Res. Jay Knight and replacement Finlay Grant scored for Ben Adams’side but it wasn’t enough to claim a point. Also, Wakering Sports Res claimed a big 9 – 0 victory over Buckhurst Hill U23 and Hashtag Utd Development won 2 – 0 at home to Hullbridge Sports Res at Barleylands.
EOFL Division Four
Teams (12): Canning Town Res, Chingford Athletic Res, Galleywood Res, Leytonstone Utd, Old Chelmsfordians Res, Ongar Town Res, Roydon, Shenfield AFC Res, Southend Manor Dev., Springfield Res, Sungate Res, Wakering Sports A
Ongar Town Res 7 – 1 Shenfield AFC Res | Melbourne Park
Southend Manor Dev. 2 – 0 Roydon | Southchurch Park
EOFL Division Five
Teams (12): AS Rawreth Res, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res, Collier Row Res, Epping Town Res, Herongate Athletic Res, Leigh Ramblers Res, Old Barkabbeyans, Pitsea Athletic Res, Runwell Sports Res, Snaresbrook Res, Wakebury Res
Collier Row Res 0 – 5 Herongate Athletic Res
Pitsea Athletic Res 6 – 2 Wakebury Res | Basildon Sporting Village
Thank you for reading, this column will be running throughout the season as much as I can.