Eastern Senior League – South Division
2021-22 Season: Match 39
Monday 8th November 2021 – 7.45pm KO
Barkingside: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Orange Socks
Benfleet: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
‘Fleet grab a narrow win in drab match at Barkingside
Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The first midweek match this week saw a return to Cricklefield for this interesting clash between mid-table Barkingside and high-flyers Benfleet in the Eastern Senior League South. Both sides were needing points for different reasons with ‘Side keen to join the top eight and Benfleet looking to keep the pressure up on the top two. ‘Side retained Josh Chebesi in goal, with a back three of Jordan Cornelius, Shaquel Foyewa and captain Elliot Scott. David Etcheri and Archie Hammond were in central midfield, with forwards Dan Jones, James Peagram and Darnel Bromfield. On their bench were midfielders Grant Frances & Patrick Hoy alongside Osas Umaru. Benfleet were looking to keep the ‘winning feeling’ going two days after defeating Wivenhoe Town, with regular stopper Florent Gislette shielded by a back four of Billy Carter, Joe Hunter plus centre-backs Cameron Harris and Sonny Hartman. Callum Fitzer and Mason Shave led the forward line, with support from Luc Harpon and skipper Aaron Russell. Among their options from the sidelines were forward Ben Foord and midfielders Sam Dulieu and David Salako.
Unusually for both sides, the early stages of this match were somewhat quiet in terms of clear-cut chances. Benflert winger Luc Harpon had a sight of Josh Chebesi’s goal but could only blaze over the goal frame in the early stages, while Darnel Bromfield’s strike deflected wide in response for ‘Side. The hosts had a let-off of sorts on 18 minutes as a long throw-in from Benfleet full-back Billy Carter was nodded on ahead on onrushing ‘Side custodian Chebesi but the visitors could not force the ball into the net. Defences were largely on top for both teams at this point in proceedings, with ‘Side forward Dan Jones looking to find those piercing through balls to the likes of James Peagram and Reece Simpson who was making runs from deep.
As the half prorgressed, Benfleet were edging things with making more half-chances though their final ball eluded them to extent. That being said, Barkingside’s defence had to be alert with centre-back Elliot Scott and fellow defender Jordan Cornelius made a few important interceptions to keep them on parity. Benfleet did finally break the deadlock on 39 minutes with a good team move. Full-back Joe Hunter began the move down the left side, finding forward Callum Fitzer who turned and sent in a fizzing cross which found the advancing Mason Shave who powered in a good header high into the net at the near post.
Half-Time: Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet
So it was the visitors who held a narrow lead but the scrappy nature of this match did persist into the second period. The visitors had a half-chance from a corner on 54 minutes, with centre-back Cameron Harris heading over the woodwork from about six yards out. ‘Side’s promising moves down the channels were thwarted by the visitors’ hard-working defence, marshalled well by centre-back Sonny Hartman who made several important clearrances. As the match entered its later stages, Benfleet were looking to get that crucial second goal which would secure the points for Rob Polkinghorn’s side.
Another free-kick from the visitors tested Chebesi who couldn’t gather, but fortunately for the hosts, Scott was there to clear the danger. And then with moments remaining two substitutes combined as they got clear of the tiring ‘Side backline. Ben Foord found Sam Dulieu in a good arc to strike on goal but the latter’s tame shot came off the left-sided post. The final whistle blew soon afterwards and while ‘Fleet were not at their best form here, they will be happy enough with the points. ‘Side will be frustrated as they remain outside the top ten.
Full-Time: Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet
To sum up this match, well it won’t win many plaudits for quality but what you can say is there was a lot of effort expended by both sides on a chilly evening. Benfleet had more of the chances but could not conclusively put the game beyond the reach of ‘Side, who in turn could not test visiting stopper Gislette.
There were some good performances here. First, for winners Benfleet I felt forwards Mason Shave and Callum Fitzer deserve a mention for their running down the channels and their passing and Shave’s goal came at a good time to quell the nerves of Rob Polkinghorn’s side. Also, centre-back Sonny Hartman put in a good display, clearing several promising attacks for ‘Side away from danger and finally full-back Joe Hunter did well down the left side to build forward moves in support of Fitzer. Barkingside had good performances from forwards Darnel Bromfield and Dan Jones with Bromfield looking to get in behind defenders using his pace and dribbling. Jones looked to find incisive balls to his fellow forwards but was thwarted by a miserly visiting defence. Quincy Warner also put in a good hard-working performance and skipper Elliot Scott put in a valiant display at centre-back as he stifled the quick Benfleet attacks.
Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
Barkingside | Manager: Steven Le Sage | Assistant: Tommy Shelts
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Josh Chesbesi (GK), 2 Jordan Cornelius, 3 Shaquel Foyewa, 6 Elliot Scott (Capt), 5 Archie Hammond, 7 David Etcheri (13 Patrick Hoy 63′), 4 Reece Simpson, 8 Quincy Warner, 9 James Peagram (14 Osas Umaru 63′), 10 Dan Jones (12 Grant Frances 74′), 11 Darnel Bromfield
Booked: Etcheri, Cornelius | Subs Not Used: Piccolo
Benfleet | Manager: Rob Polkinghorn | Assistant: Rob Rook
Starting XI: 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter, 4 Stephen Ellery, 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Sonny Hartman, 7 Luc Harpon (16 Ben Foord 51′), 8 Taylor Lawrence, 9 Callum Fitzer, 10 Aaron Russell (Capt), 11 Mason Shave (14 Sam Dulieu 70′)
Goal-scorer: Mason Shave [39′]
Booked: Lawrence | Sub Not Used: Willsmer, D Salako, Stewart
Referee: Joshua Evans
Assistants: Bobby Breen & Abu Taher