The FA Vase – First Qualifying Round
Venue: Roding Lane
2021-22 Season: Match 22
Saturday 11th September 2021 – 3pm KO
Buckhurst H: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Enfield: Yellow Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks
The Stags’ Fairytale season goes on with big Vase win over Enfield
Buckhurst Hill 3 – 0 Enfield
The second match of two on this hectic FA Vase weekend saw a return visit to the upgraded Roding Lane as Eastern Senior League South high-fliers Buckhurst Hill welcomed Essex Senior side Enfield in their First Qualifying Round tie. Before we get to the on-pitch things, I have to add that it is great to see a seated stand, turnstiles and a little Food kiosk are now present at the ground. Alright, now onto the hosts’ line-up and boss Mark Williams named a strong squad with Daniel Blockley in goal, a defence comprised of full-backs Liam Foster and Keaton Moore and Henry Day and Alfie Harris in central defence. The forward line was again led by star forward Suleyman Zuhdu, supported by Sonny Shilling and Nathan Sollosi. Their substitutes’ bench included the likes of Buchanan, Rowland, Nicholson, Griggs and Sam Sollosi.
Enfield were looking to return from their FA Cup exit to Hadley after 120 minutes on Wednesday night and with regular custodian James Bransgrove unavailable due to a knock, Jack Willmott took the gloves, with a defence of centre-backs Jack Johnson and Vinny Murphy and Ryan Ramsay and Jack Folan as full-backs. Dwade James was again the focal point of the attack for Jamie Cureton’s team, with support forwards Callum Ibe and Olly Miles also looking to add to their goal-scoring tallies this term.
It was the hosts who started the match with the first sight of goal, with Hill understandably a little nervy given the scope of the tie and the occasion. Enfield centre-back Jack Johnson sent a decent header over the crossbar from a set-piece. The respective number nines then had glimpses of goal with Buckhurst forward Sonny Shilling striking wide and Enfield’s Olly Miles effort blocked by a home defence who were starting to find their rhythm, buoyed on by an exuberant home crowd.
The E’s were unable to find that telling final ball but had speculative chances as Miles sent in a delicate lob on the quarter-hour but Buckhurst custodian Daniel Blockley could easily gather. It was the E’s turn to have a let-off a moment later as a superb run by forward Suleyman Zuhdu did Johnson for pace down the left side of the eighteen yard area but Zuhdu was unable to get the power on his shot to bypass Willmott.
Zuhdu did make a telling contribution on 26 minutes though as Buckhurst took a surprise lead. The physical forward’s threaded pass found the run of Nathan Sollosi and Sollosi slotted home past Willmott with cool aplomb. The home defence was aware of the rapid counter-attack by the E’s and with 31 minutes on the watch, Blockley did well to claw over an in-swinging corner by Alex Warman. The visitors had a decent phase of the game and in a match where he was uncharacteristically quiet, forward Dwade James was well found by full-back Jack Folan’s pass but James’ strike wasn’t strong enough to trouble Blockley. Soon after, Hill countered and from a good pass by full-back Liam Foster, Shilling’s header was off-target.
Zuhdu was troubling the visiting backline with pace and movement, though at the other end, Buckhurst centre-back Alfie Harris was also doing well to stifle a strong Enfield forward line. It was a slender lead at the interval but the pressure was slowly going across to the visitors, with the hosts growing in confidence.
Half-Time: Buckhurst Hill 1 – 0 Enfield
Enfield did begin the second period quite well with another searing run by Miles being well-tracked by Buckhurst centre-back Henry Day, while Zuhdu again got in the action, only to see his effort on goal deflected wide for a set-piece by the E’s defence. Enfield so nearly made it a totally different match as first on fifty-four minutes, Dwade James was one-on-one with Blockley but the ‘keeper did well to claw away the effort. Moments later, a superb strike, I think by Miles fizzed off the crossbar, with Blockley doing superbly to deny follow-up strikes by James and Miles. The E’s were still well in the tie with twenty minutes remaining as Miles narrowly headed over the goal-frame and substitute Benji Crilley also had an effort cleared off the goal-line as the visitors cursed their lack of fortune.
Buckhurst also had a Shilling goal chalked off but they would not be denied overall as the crucial second goal for them came on 75 minutes. Zuhdu was involved again as another fine pass found Tyler Dolan who evaded the off-side trap and finished calmly past Willmott to really put themselves in a great position. The E’s did keep going but as the minutes ticked by, the feeling grew that it wasn’t going to be their day and they conceded a third goal in added time as Dolan turned provider, tracking the run of midfielder Josh Banfield, who advanced on Wilmott’s goal and again finished well low into the right corner.
When the final whistle went, the contrasting reactions of the two sides was clear. Absolute unfiltered joy for Buckhurst, whilst the E’s had to reflect on what has been a bad week for them.
Full-Time: Buckhurst Hill 3 – 0 Enfield
In summary, the hosts showed pretty much what they are about – good, quick passing Football and defensively they dealt admirably with the threat posed by a good forward line of Enfield, even if the latter were perhaps not at their best. The E’s will be disappointed they didn’t quite create enough chances to really get back in the match but as so often us scribes say, if one of their chances did go in it really would’ve been a different match entirely. Hill do deserve credit though for not allowing the occasion to overwhelm them though, and it was a superb turnout – no doubting that.
For this match’s ‘stand-outs’ I’ll start with the victors. I have to credit Nathan Sollosi who really made the most of the space he managed to create and also took his goal well. Centre-back Henry Day again led the defensive line suoerbly, making a number of important interceptions himself during the match. Goalkeeper Dan Blockley had another good natch, pulling off two superb saves to deny James and Miles when his side were only one goal up. Also, talisman Suleyman Zuhdu again led the forward line with pace and power and he showed he can be a telling assist-maker as well as a fine goalscorer. For Enfield, I felt forward Olly Miles was their chief threat and was unlucky not to score. Miles was quick, direct and as we know, has a good strike on him. Callum Ibe and Jack Johnson also had good games, Ibe being tricky and pacy while Johnson had to really do well to stifle promising Buckhurst attacks. Midfielder David Cowley rounds off the mentions as his set-pieces had to be dealt with too.
Buckhurst progress into the Second Quali Round where they face a trip to local rivals Newbury Forest, who have also been scoring a lot of goals already this term. I’d like to wish both teams a good rest of the season.
Buckhurst Hill | Manager: Mark Williams | Assistant: JP Kent
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster (18 Jonah Gregory 79′), 3 Keaton Moore, 4 Alfie Harris, 5 Henry Day, 6 Louis Wynter (16 Jack Griggs 59′), 7 Tyler Dolan, 8 Josh Banfield, 9 Sonny Shilling (15 Max Nicholson 79′), 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Nathan Sollosi
Goal-scorers: Nathan Sollosi [26′], Tyler Dolan [75′], Josh Banfield [90’+3]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Buchanan, Rowland, Moss, S Sollosi
Enfield | Manager: Jamie Cureton | Assistant: Jim Duggan
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Willmott (GK), 2 Jack Folan (6 Luke Wilson 55′), 13 Vinny Murphy, 5 Jack Johnson, 7 Ryan Ramsay, 4 Alex Warman (14 Isaac Stevens 84′), 8 Reece Conway (Capt), 19 David Cowley, 10 Callum Ibe, 27 Dwade James (17 Benji Crilley 71′), 9 Olly Miles
Booked: Conway | Subs Not Used: Vasconcelos
Referee: Fabio Roque