Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Southchurch Park
2021-22 Season: Match 59
Saturday 26th February – 3pm KO
S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Sawbridgeworth: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Manor edge relegation six-pointer with Sawbridgeworth at Southchurch Park
Southend Manor 1 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The last weekend in February saw a return to Southend for this important relegation six-pointer in the Essex Senior League between Southend Manor and Sawbridgeworth Town at the recently upgraded Southchurch Park. Manor have picked up results of late under James Wakeling and Ryan Frost. They named Christian North between the posts, with a defence of Cesario Mendes, Ben Sargent, Montel Shonubi and skipper Perry Dunn. The forward line was led by Luca Frankis, Andre Embalo and Ben Allen. On the bench was defender Todd Bolger, forward Meschack Kisoka and U18 midfielder Marley Gunn.
Sawbo have also made a few signings recently and they named George Edgeworth in goal, with veteran James Falaise in central defence. Joshua Bardouleau, George Spillane and Billy Purdy were in midfield, with captain Teddy Hall, Harry Davison and Horace Ormsby leading the attack. On the sidelines was new recruit Ayub Kadiri, defenders Ryan Willsmer and Arley Barker plus midfielder Ethan Barton.
Before the game, I had a gut feeling that the gravitas or importance of this match was going to be in the players’ minds throughout and in the early stages, that probably would have been fair to say. Manor did have the more energetic opening to the game, with rapid forward Andre Embalo getting down the left side well, and his cross from said left channel did find fellow forward Ben Allen though his strike was narrowly wide of Sawbo stopper George Edgeworth’s left-side post. For Sawbo, midfielder Joshua Bardouleau and forward Teddy Hall were causing problems as the half wore on. Hall had some early sighters at goal as the home backline were kept ever alert by the swift counter-attacks.
In these types of gritty battles, it is hard to be over-critical though Southend Manor were not retaining the ball as they would have liked as we ticked through to the half-hour point. Sawbridgeworth were edging the match by this stage, keeping the ball better and having half-chances through forward Harry Davison and winger Horace Ormsby, though home custodian Christian North was equal to them. Both sides were finding it tough to get past the other’s defence and the visitors nearly broke the deadlock soon after the half-hour but both hall and Spillane sent headers narrowly over the woodwork. Manor could only reflect on what might been as a pacy centre from left side to the back post found captain Perry Dunn but he couldn’t alter his position in time to bundle it in from a yard out.
Half-Time: Southend Manor 0 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town
So the first half was every bit as tense as you might have theorised, though the second half saw a couple of key moments that hurt the visitors. Firstly, the referee blew for a spot-kick after not particularly liking Sawbo’s last-ditch defending in the area. Ben Allen stepped up to take it and Sawbridgeworth goalkeeper George Edgeworth kept out the initial strike but was a tad unfortunate to see Allen pounce and convert the rebound, low into the net.
Kieran Amos & Alex Salmon’s team were also starting to concede set-pieces as well which added to the pressure their side was feeling at this point. Around the hour mark, with Manor having a decent spell, forward Luca Frankis slid the ball through to Allen though the latter’s effort on goal fizzled wide of Edgeworth’s right-sided post.
Sawbo’s afternoon got ever harder after centre-back James Falaise was sent off for his second booking with twenty minutes remaining. Frankis and Embalo both also had half-chances around this stage to surely put the points beyond doubt though as I’ve seen them do myself before this term, Sawbridgeworth continued to work hard and scrap for every bit of possession they could get. Although substitute Meschack Kisoka had a late sight of goal which went off-target, a second goal for the hosts probably would have been too harsh on the visitors’ battling efforts, particularly in the earlier stages of the game.
Full-Time: Southend Manor 1 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town
In summary, Manor will be most pleased with the result and the spell they had in the second half where they arguably created the most in the way of the chances. Sawbridgeworth definitely had good spells as well, particularly in the first half and there was very fine margins in this game in this writer’s opinion that prevented it ending in a draw.
There were a number of good performances from both sides in this match, despite the nerves that understandably both teams felt in the ‘heat of a relegation six-pointer’. Firstly for Manor, forward Andre Embalo was the lead threat down the left channel for the hosts, displaying good pace, energy and work rate to create chances for his side. Fellow forward Ben Allen also played his part with good movement and passing, perhaps being unfortunate not to have scored himself. Also, centre-back Montel Shonubi had a good game making a number of important clearances, alongside the experienced Perry Dunn.
For Sawbo, forward Teddy Hall led the line well with verve and strength, certainly creating chances and on another day, would have had at least one goal. On a frustrating day for the team’s forward line, winger Horace Ormsby also had a good game also , being a good quick outlet for his team. Midfielder George Spillane also put in another hard-working performance to break up the hosts’ passing game and also get forward on occasions too.
Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
Southend Manor | Manager: James Wakeling | Assistant: Ryan Frost
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Christian North (GK), 2 Cesario Mendes (20 Marley Gunn 89’), 3 Ben Sargent, 5 Perry Dunn (Capt), 6 Montel Shonubi, 4 Josh Devlin, 8 Daniel Brock, 10 Ryan Kenyon (16 Todd Bolger 54’), 11 Ben Allen, 7 Luca Frankis (15 Meschack Kisoka 76’), 14 Andre Embalo
Goal-scorer: Ben Allen [52’]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Johnson, Allen
Sawbridgeworth Town | Co-managers: Alex Salmon & Kieran Amos
1 George Edgeworth (GK), 2 Matthew Thoma (16 Arley Barker 66’), 3 Morgan Arnold (15 Ryan Willsmer 70’), 4 Billy Purdy, 17 James Falaise, 6 Freddie Griffiths, , 7 Joshua Bardouleau, 8 George Spillane, 9 Teddy Hall (Capt), 10 Harry Davison, 11 Horace Ormsby (14 Ayub Kadiri 66’)
Booked: None | Sent Off: Falaise [70’] (Two Yellow Cards) | Subs Not Used: Parker (GK), Barton
Referee: Connor Cornell
Assistants: Alan Steward & Gary Telling