S21-22 Match Report: Leigh Ramblers 1 – 2 Kelvedon Hatch (Sat 19 Feb) [EOFL 21-22 19.2.22]

EOFL logo

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Belfairs Park

2021-22 Season: Match 58

Attendance: 25 (est)

Saturday 19th February 2022 – 2pm KO

Leigh Rams: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Kelvedon: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks


Kelvedon captain Wayne Semanshia clears the ball for his team

Kelvedon battle hard to claim good win in awful weather at Belfairs Park

Leigh Ramblers  1 – 2  Kelvedon Hatch 

Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

A day after the hefty winds of Storm Eunice, I was pleased to have a match on as I made a welcome return to Belfairs Park (for the first time this season) for this Essex Olympian League Premier match between Leigh Ramblers and Kelvedon Hatch. The ‘Rams’ have had a tough season so far and they were missing a host of players including midfielders Patrick Cannon and Richard Alabaster plus defenders Will Hayes and Barv Waiwaiku. Mark Hunter did field a four-man defence of Sam Nagle, George Moxon, Tom Franks plus club stalwart & captain Ryan Lowe, ahead of stopper George Hills. Paul Hayes and Andrew Webster led the attack, with support from Jack Unwin and Matt Brinklow. Kelvedon have undergone a squad change since the return of boss Darren Hunt, and had James Alborough in goal, with a defence including Tom Mann, Reiss Hatwell and skipper Wayne Semanshia. The front three for them were Joe Newson, Chris Denham and Drew Klessa-Smith.

The aforementioned storm may have departed our shores but the gloom and the rain certainly didn’t which made for terrible conditions for both teams. However, both sides started the game strongly, with Kelvedon taking an eighth-minute lead as forward Chris Denham’s super floated ball found strike partner Drew Klessa-Smith in at the back post and his crisp volley found the far corner of the net. The Rams are known for the spirit and responded barely two minutes later, as a set-piece evaded the visiting backline and allowed Tom Franks to slot home from mere yards out, much to the elation of the home supporters.



From afar, I’ve seen Kelvedon pick up good results this season and their steel were in good evidence again as they wrestled back the advantage on fourteen minutes. The hosts would not have been happy with their defending as another set-piece found its way to skipper Wayne Semanshia and he made no mistake, slotting home low past home stopper George Hills with a oppurtunistic finish. As far as the goals went, that turned out to be the lot but the intruigue continued, as this report does.

Kelvedon certainly looked useful going forward and Klessa-Smith was hungry as ever for more goals. He struck wide shortly after the second goal though the visitors also had a let-off when winger Jack Unwin fired wide for the Rams, who did concede possession more than boss Mark Hunter would have liked. Denham also had another sight at goal just before the break but Rams goalkeeper George Hills was equal to it.

Half-Time: Leigh Rams 1 – 2 Kelvedon Hatch



The conditions continued to be trying for both teams after the interval and whilst the number of clear-cut chances lessened, the strong tackles did not. As the half progressed, the home side did have more impetus and kept the Kelvedon defence alert, though they were frustrated as their forward moves were stifled by a combination of a lack of a telling final ball and stoic defending by the visitors.

During the good spells that Leigh Ramblers had, Unwin had a strike that drifted wide and as the clock moved on towards the match’s conclusion, Jack Gardner’s set piece from 20 yards out was well denied by visiting stopper James Alborough, who had a good presence to assist his defence.

Captain Ryan Lowe also powered a header towards goal in the latter stages but it didn’ quite have the placement to bypass Alborough, who gathered. In the end though, it was another frustrating day for the hosts but take nowt away from Kelvedon Hatch, who battled away well to claim the win which took them up to fourth spot. The Rams likely will need a few wins from their remaining games to stay in the division.

Leigh Ramblers push on from midfield

Full-Time: Leigh Ramblers  1 – 2  Kelvedon Hatch

In summary, kudos to both teams for the spirit and work rate they put in despite hefty amounts of rain and wind here. Kelvedon showed enough to display why they’ve had a good season, with work rate, grit and good finishing. Leigh Ramblers will be disappointed that they couldn’t make the most of good spells in the second half through they gave their opponents a tough game and made them earn the points.

As ever, we had a number of good performances. For victors Kelvedon, Drew Klessa-Smith led the forward line well and was a constant threat to the home defence down the right channel and took his goal very well, was nice to see him in action for the first time, having seen his goal record for previous clubs. Also, Chris Denham had a good game showing pace and good passing and was only denied a goal through decent saves by the goalkeeper. Kelvedon custodian James Alborough deserves a mention for a few good saves and skipper Wayne Semanshia took his goal well and had to marshal his defence well to keep the points intact.

For Leigh Ramblers, I felt winger Jack Unwin had a very promising game, showing good pace, energy levels and an eye for a pass to go with it. Winger Matt Brinklow also was a threat down the left side and put in several good crosses into the box as well as showing good desire. Jack Gardner had a good game in central midfield also and was well-denied from a free-kick towards the end of the match. Finally but not least, skipper Ryan Lowe had another strong match making several important defensive clearances early on and likely kept his side in contention because of them.

Best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign. 

Jack Gardner about to take a set-piece for the hosts

Teams (Rolling Subs Used in EOFL matches)

Leigh Ramblers  | Manager: Mark Hunter |

Starting XI: 1 George Hills (GK), 2 Sam Nagle, 14 George Moxon, 4 Tom Franks, 5 Ryan Lowe (Capt), 6 Jack Gardner, 7 Jack Unwin, 8 Justin Hazell, 9 Andrew Webster, 16 Paul Hayes, 11 Matt Brinklow

Goal-scorer: Tom Franks [10′]

Subs On (Time if known): 15 Charlie Batchelor [59′], 10 Niyazi Sahan [72′], 12 Jacob Meads

 Booked: Franks | Subs Not Used: None

Kelvedon Hatch | Manager: Darren Hunt  |

Starting XI: 1 James Alborough (GK), 2 Tom Mann, 3 Reiss Hatwell, 6 Wayne Semanshia (Capt), 5 Daniel Tapper, 15 Sidney Walker, 12 James Burt, 19 Lewis Young, 20 Joe Newson, 11 Chris Denham, 7 Drew Klessa-Smith

Goal-scorers: Drew Klessa-Smith [8′], Wayne Semanshia [14′]

Booked: Ventura | Sub Not Used: Iley, Fortune

Subs On (Time if known): 9 Joe Kebbell [on 8′], 4 Gavin Walker [27′], 8 Oliver Ventura


Referee: Josh O’Sullivan
Assistant: Guy Pell-Ilderton

Author: survivor16b

I'm a Mental Health survivor (been surviving for years) & campaigner. I also like Music & Sport. This blog is centred on all things Non-League Football, mainly Match Reports of matches I've seen (mainly Essex Senior League (ESL) but also other Leagues) though it also houses the regular round-up's of the ESL action plus the Essex Olympian League divisions regularly. It also has the odd post about the scary world that we're all in, talking from a Mental Health perspective. Thank you for reading.

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