Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Wadham Lodge Stadium
2021-22 Season: Match 55
Saturday 5th February 2022 – 3pm KO
West Essex: Yellow & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Yellow Socks
FC Clacton: Pink Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
A highly-contested battle ends in draw for West and FC Clacton
West Essex 2 – 2 FC Clacton
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend saw a long trip back to Wadham Lodge for this Essex Senior clash between West Essex and FC Clacton, who I was watching properly for the first time since their transfer to the ESL last July. West Essex opened their Tea Bar today which progresses the matchday experience for spectators and with it, signifying the long-term aspiration for the club. Kwame Kwateng’s side have seen players depart recently and fielded talented goalkeeper Kacper Ignatiuk behind a central defence that included Emmanuel Oluwole and Tala Lo-Seye and a forward line of David Bell, Cameron Gray and Dimitri Frangeskides. Options from the sidelines included David Xavier and forwards Jon Ogunsanya and Symeon Taylor. Clacton had Luis Shamshoum in goal, with a defensive four of Kyle Ferguson, Teddy Collis and central defenders Jack Mochalski and Michael Okafor. Their forward line was comprised of Alfie Matthews and skipper Jordan Lartey with support from Harry McDonald. Their bench included Lee Clowsley and forward Mekhi McKenzie. Assistant boss Ryan Salter led the presence from dug-out with manager Tom Austin absent today.
The match began with a strong burst of energy from the hosts side as they looked to gain the early advantage, with Clacton looking to build on a solid base from the early moments. The Stags were not short of chances in the first third of the half, as forwards Dimitri Frangeskides and David Bell had strikes fizz narrowly wide of visiting custodian Luis Shamshoum’s woodwork. Once you ally that with further half-chances at goal for midfielders Oliseh Okuguni and David Ungudi, you’d be forgiven for thinking that West would regret not taking the lead early on.
On the other side of things, Clacton were looking decent on the counter-attack and even from the early stages, they looked motivated to battle for everything they could get. Jardel Francis was testing the West backline from right channel, while skipper Jordan Lartey was coming in from the left side and posing problems and getting strikes away at goal, which meant home goalkeeper Kacper Ignatiuk had to remain vigilant.
As the half progressed, you felt that the stalemate would not last and sure enough, on the half-hour, it was the hosts who made one of their chances pay, as a good strike by Okuguni in a congest eighteen yard area took a small deflection off a defender before sailing into the top left corner of Shamshoum’s goal.
However, this setback didn’t dissuade the visitors at all. Moments after Shamshoum punched away two free-kicks by West captain Reece Clarke, Clacton did level things up with a well-taken goal. Full-back Teddy Collis was involved in the move as his initial pass was knocked down well by Lartey into the path of forward Alfie Matthews just inside the penalty box and before the home defence could get a challenge in, Matthews fired the ball home low into the right corner, past the grasp of Ignatiuk.
Half-Time: West Essex 1 – 1 FC Clacton
After the interval, West started the second period with some vigour as they looked to claw back the initiative, with an audacious strike by Clarke going narrowly off-target and Frangeskides also struck wide. That being said, the Stags fell behind for the first time nine minutes after another good move by the Seasiders ended up with Matthews again powerfully striking the ball into the left corner, to the delight of the travelling contingent of supporters. The visitors continued their commendable efforts with a good phase after their second goal with Lartey forcing Ignatiuk into a good reaction save to keep his side in contention.
The spirit and style of play of West Essex was also evident in the latter stages which made for a fine last fifteen minutes of normal time. West got the equaliser they probably deserved on 76 minutes with a superb strike direct from a free-kick by the impressive Clarke, finding the top left corner of the net.
The nerves of both sides were increasingly frayed in the last part of this encounter as they looked for a decisive goal, but you have to give Clacton credit for holding firm, playing some good football at times and they did deserve something from the game. West should also be praised for their spirit as mentioned. I wouldn’t be that surprised if one or both of their sides end up in the top ten, which signifies the quality of the Essex Senior is improving year-on-year.
Full-Time: West Essex 2 – 2 FC Clacton
To sum up this match, this was a very entertaining battle which saw both sides having strong phases of play. West could have been well ahead before the break but profligate finishing prevented them from pushing the Seasiders into a tough position. Clacton could also have been in a match-wining position though the Stags were simply unwilling to give in, in the latter stages. All being said, a draw probably was the fair result for both sides who continue to seek a top-ten finish by late April.
The stand-out performances from this game start with Clacton. Alfie Matthews took both his goals well with crisp finishes and also played his part in good forward moves. Jordan Lartey also led his side well and showed good pace, movement and passing fro the left side of the front three. Centre-back Michael Okafor also had a good match, making several good interceptions to thwart the hosts’ forwards. Lastly, Kyle Ferguson had a good match at right-back and he got forward well. West had a few good performances as well, led by skipper Reece Clarke who once again had an influential performance, making a number of good tackles and also scored with a fine set-piece. Tala Lo-Seye also had a superb match, making several fine interceptions to keep his team in the match, preventing more chances for the Seasiders. Emmanuel Oluwole and custodian Kacper Ignatiuk also put in good performances for Kwame Kwateng’s side.
I’d just like to wish both sides a good remainder of the campaign.
West Essex | Manager: Kwame Kwateng | Assistant: George Karsa
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Kacper Ignatiuk (GK), 4 Sam McNally, 5 Emmanuel Oluwole, 6 Oliseh Okuguni (19 Jon Ogunsanya 71′), 15 Tala Lo-Seye, 17 Emmanuel Wazola, 8 Daniel Ungudi (2 David Xavier 61′), 12 Reece Clarke (Capt), 7 Dimitri Frangeskides, 11 Cameron Gray, 20 David Bell (9 Symeon Taylor 38′)
Goal-scorers: Oliseh Okuguni [31′] , Reece Clarke [76′]
Booked: Lo-Seye | Subs Not Used: S Lo-Seye, Kaudeer
FC Clacton | Interim Manager: Ryan Salter | Assistant: Adam Daniels
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luis Shamshoum (GK), 2 Kyle Ferguson, 3 Teddy Collis, 4 Tyler Brampton (16 Craig Hughes 79′), 5 Jack Mochalski, 6 Michael Okafor, 7 Jardel Francis (14 Mekhi McKenzie 46′), 8 Charlie Collis, 9 Alfie Matthews, 10 Harry McDonald (12 Lee Clowsley 66′), 11 Jordan Lartey (Capt)
Goal-scorers: Alfie Matthews [43′ & 54′]
Booked: T Collis, C Collis, Matthews | Subs Not Used: Hogan, Daniels
Referee: George Barker
Assistants: Kadir Nazif & Adekunle Jide Fawunmi