Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: The Recreation Ground
2021-22 Season: Match 50
Saturday 22nd January 2022 – 3pm KO
St Mags: Red Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
L Oakley: Blue & Black Shirts, White Shorts, White Socks
Oakley produce resolute display to win at St Mags
St Margaretsbury 1 – 3 Little Oakley
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
My 50th match of the campaign saw me return to the Essex Senior League and a long trip back to the Recreation Ground for an intriguing match between strugglers St Margaretsbury and mid-table Little Oakley. Paul Holding’s side had garnered two good wins already this week and were looking to pull further clear of the bottom two. This was my first occasion seeing Oakley since their promotion to the Essex Senior and I’d heard good things about a resolute side under Matt Carmichael’s tutelage. Onto the Teams then and St Mags fielded a front three of Miles Holding, Rodney Clements and Tommy Jenkins, with Jon Stevenson joining stalwart skipper Aiden Read in central defence. Options from the bench included forwards Joe Abe and Jake Hayden-Eley. Little Oakley had Daniel Joyce in goal, Jamie Dobkin and captain Lewis Wood as their centre backs with Rory Harman and Ed Nobbs completing their defence. The goal-hungry pair of Danny Garrad & Harry Mann lined up in attack, with support from Michael Brothers and Mason Ridgway-Lumley. Their substitutes were midfielder Tyler Sullivan and the attack-minded Sam Cooke and Daniel Rowe. Greg Rodger and Nick Farthing were among those unavailable.
On a pleasant winter’s day, the match began with Oakley firing in a few shots at goal to test the reflexes of home custodian Harvir Deans, though he was equal to strikes by Harry Mann, Mason Lumley and the experienced Michael Brothers. The hosts did respond with a decent counter which saw the tireless Stefanos Georgiou fizz a decent effort narrowly wide of visiting goalkeeper’s Daniel Joyce’s woodwork. Unfortunately for the hosts, their inability to keep possession did return to bite them on eleven minutes as forward Danny Garrad stole in from the left flank and after evading his marker, sent in a cool lob out of the grasp of the stranded Deans to open the scoring for the Acorns.
Little Oakley did retain the ball better at this point, with St Mags feeling the frustration and getting caught up in a bit of a scrappy match with several free-kicks being conceded. Tricky forward Harry Mann had a powerful strike deflected wide for a set-piece midway through the half, but it was a good indication of what could transpire if the hosts switched off defensively. As it happened, moments after home defender Jon Stevenson was sent to the sin-bin for dissent, the next goal came from twelve yards after a decision that was also hotly disputed by the St Margaretsbury dugout. Even so, referee Benjamin Horne had little hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Mann duly struck home the resulting penalty.
If anything, Oakley could have put themselves beyond reach in the next phase of the game as a speculative drive from the far side by full-back Rory Harman clipped the woodwork with Deans beaten, and Garrad struck narrowly over as well.
With the interval approaching, Paul Holding’s side were starting to find their rhythm. A good left-wing cross by Andy Greenslade found forward Miles Holding though the latter was unable to get sufficient power in his header to get past Joyce in the Acorns’ goal, who could gather relatively untroubled.
Half-Time: St Margaretsbury 0 – 2 Little Oakley
After the break, St Mags having brought on Euan Tungamirai-Hove and Jake Hayden-Eley to replace the promising Charlie Hill and Dylan Gray, they would have a couple of good spells later in the half. First though in the early stages of the second-half, the likes of Read & co. had to deal with a good ball in from the left edge of the penalty area by support forward Michael Brothers which Tungamirai-Hove got in and cleared just ahead of the onrushing Garrad, primed for a far post tap-in. The hosts did switch off defensively on 55 minutes as Oakley substitute Daniel Rowe beat the offside trap but Deans got down low to pull off a good save from the one-on-one opportunity that Rowe had, having made a good run.
To their credit, St Margaretsbury did respond in a positive way, with Georgiou making another decent run and firing his strike narrowly over the woodwork. Georgiou and fellow midfielder Sami Moutawafiq did have more time in possession at this point and were showing good glimpses of their respective abilities, as was forward Tommy Jenkins, who made a few good runs down the left channel in the first-half. Tungamirai-Hove laid the ball off to forward Rodney Clements just short of the hour mark, and his fierce drive brought a good acrobatic save from Joyce as he clawed it over the woodwork.
The Acorns had to show their resolute nature to keep themselves ahead, making good interceptions although St Mags didn’t test Joyce with alarming regularity. Midway through the half, a smart ball in by Rodney Clements from the right flank found replacement Joe Abe but when well-placed, Abe could only blaze his effort over the crossbar, much to his frustration. The hosts persistently looked to reduce their arrears but they conceded another spot-kick in the closing minutes, as substitute Sam Cooke was felled by Read’s challenge. Rowe stepped up to convert the penalty and although they were not in top form, Oakley did enough to claim the points here.
St Margaretsbury did get on the score-sheet in the first of six added minutes as Clements was fouled in the area. Clements stepped up himself to strike low into the net past Joyce to erase the clean sheet that could have come for the Acorns but in truth, they should be pleased with the points. Results elsewhere saw Clapton an important win to reduce St Mag’s advantage over the Tons to one point, in a bottom five tussle that will likely run and run.
Full-Time: St Margaretsbury 1 – 3 Little Oakley
In summary, Little Oakley made the most of a disjointed first-half display by the hosts to get themselves ahead but did find it harder after the interval. In fairness though, Matt Carmichael’s side did have enough chances to put the game beyond doubt, particularly in that first 45 minutes.
There were a number of good performances from both sides in this match. Firstly for Oakley, the forward pair of Danny Garrad and Harry Mann posed the home defence enough problems, with Mann’s movement and touch making him hard to track. Garrad came in from the left flank to good effect as well and his goal was well-taken. Ekow Owusu-Boakye had a good match in central midfield, tracking back well at times as well as being involving in attacking moves, with Michael Brothers also playing a good role as a support forward, unsettling the hosts.
For St Mags, forward Tommy Jenkins had a good all-round match, making good runs and making some telling passes to his fellow forwards in a match where his side didn’t create as much as they would have liked. Midfielder Stefanos Georgiou also put in a big shift, looking to dictate the play and playing his part in an improved team showing after the interval. Lastly, a word for forward Rodney Clements who could have been on the score-sheet before the last few moments and showed good energy, pace and work rate with St Margaretsbury looking to get back into the game.
Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
St Margaretsbury | Manager: Paul Holding | Assistant: Richard Dagger
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Harvir Deans (GK), 2 Andy Greenslade, 17 Jon Stevenson, 6 Aiden Read (Capt), 2 Andrew Greenslade, 4 Sami Moutawafiq, 5 Stefanos Georgiou (15 Joe Abe 65’), 8 Charlie Hill (3 Euan Tungamirai Hove 46’), 7 Tommy Jenkins, 9 Dylan Gray (12 Jake Hayden-Eley 46’), 10 Miles Holding, 11 Rodney Clements
Goal-scorer: Rodney Clements [pen 90’+1]
Booked: Read | Sin-bin: Stevenson [24’]
Subs Not Used: Ajong, Hares
Little Oakley | Manager: Matt Carmichael | Assistant: James Good
1 Daniel Joyce (GK), 2 Rory Harman, 3 Ed Nobbs, 5 Lewis Wood (Capt), 6 Jamie Dobkin, 4 Bradley James, 7 Mason Ridgway- Lumley, 8 Ekow Owusu-Boakye, 9 Harry Mann (15 Daniel Rowe 52’), 10 Michael Brothers (14 Sam Cooke 79’), 11 Danny Garrad (12 Tyler Sullivan 69’),
Goal-scorers: Danny Garrad [11’], Harry Mann [pen 27’], Daniel Rowe [pen 87’]
| Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Benjamin Horne
Assistants: Trevor Williams & Ray Parmenter