Essex Olympian League – Division Two
Venue: Rochford Recreation Ground
2021-22 Season: Match 60
Attendance: 10 (est)
Saturday 5th March 2022 – 2pm KO
Rochford: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
Manford: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Manford emerge with a hard-fought win at Rochford Town
Rochford Town 0 – 2 Manford Way
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend, the solitary match was a local but still interesting battle in Essex Olympian League Division Two, between strugglers Rochford Town and relative high-flyers Manford Way, still looking for a top-three finish. Rochford are heading towards the end of their campaign and they were missing several players. Player-boss Jim Cooper had to don the gloves, with a defence led by skipper Terence Hare. Jack Power and Matt Welsh were in midfield, supporting the front three of Owen Pedder, Freddie Pettitt and Lewis Watson. Manford had the benefit of forward Harry Davison being available, and he joined David Alele and Salum Said in their front line. Right-back Aiden O’Connell captained the side, alongside him in defence was Gideon Sengulay-Thomas, Josh Owoaje and Will Sheehan.
The weather in the week before this day was very wet and conditions were tricky, but pretty good considering. Rochford set their stall out early to build their play from the back and in the early stages, they had some possession but they were unable to consistently get into the opposition half. Manford were starting to create chances as well. On twelve minutes, a good run by forward Harry Davison down the right channel ended with a centre which found fellow forward Salum Said but he could loft his strike off-target. Five minutes later, winger Daniel Demain evaded his narker in the penalty area but was thwarted by a well-timed challenge.
As the half wore on, the visitors were creating more chances and also forcing Rochford to defend deep. Midway through the half, a fine tackle from home captain Terence Hare denied Davison another chance at goal after Said’ fine cross from the left. Stand-in Town stopper James Cooper pulled off a good save to deny Davison again soon afterwards, following good work by full-back Gideon Sengulay-Thomas.
Manford were starting to get frustrated at their inability to break the deadlock, with another strong Davison effort adjudged not to have got over the goal-line before coming back off the upright. Davison was the focal point for Manford’s attack at this point and his cross found fellow forward David Alele whose effort forced Cooper into another good save to tip it over the woodwork.
By the interval, there were signs that Manford Way’ passing gane had excerabated the distance between Town’s defence and midfield. Even so, Rochford had done well to withstand many attacking moves to get back to the dressing room without conceding. Although to maintain it, they would have to put in another huge effort.
Half-Time: Rochford Town 0 – 0 Manford Way
After the resumption, Rochford were concentrating their efforts on being hard to break down, with rare forays forward involving club stalwart Freddie Pettitt and Owen Pedder, with Lewis Watson in support though the nervy moments for visiting goalkeeper Joe Insole was from set-pieces. More on that later. In the early stages of the second half, Manford midfielder Mohammed Bouzeryouh fired over the woodwork from 20 yards out. You felt that Manford needed to break the stalemate sooner rather than later.
After substitute Charlie Parish and Alele had both headed wide of goal, Manford got the goal that they cherished. A decent move ended with a well-directed cross by Alele from the right side of the penalty box being headed home by Davison, right into top corner of the net. It was a well-taken goal and you sensed the hosts’ task had just gotten considerably more difficult.
To their credit, the hosts did keep striving to get back into the game and they thought they had levelled as a free-kick was directed low and Insole couldn’t gather, allowing substitute Michael Browne to nip in and put the ball in the net, only for it to be ruled out, probably for off-side. Manford also had a goal chalked off soon afterwards as the tension was starting to rise.
There was another goal though as in added-time as Said notched with a low strike after Cooper had blocked an initial effort back into the forward’s path. The visitors will be happy with the points which takes them to just two points adrift of Wakebury in third, with Manford having one more game to play than their rivals.
Full-Time: Rochford Town 0 – 2 Manford Way
In summary, Manford more than deserved the victory for the possession they had and the chances they created. What may concern them though was their finishing, as they could have made the result much more conclusive. However, you also have to applaud the battling efforts of the Rochford side as well, led by a excellent performance by skipper Terence Hare and some good saves by stand-in stopper James Cooper. They should not be too disheartened by this effort, though goals are what they will need to garner points in their remaining games.
As ever, there was a number of good perfrmances in this match. First for winners Manford Way, the forward line led the way as David Alele put in a strong display, full of energy, pace and good passing. Harry Davison also stretched the hosts backline and was only denied at least another goal by good defending. Salum Said also made good use of the left-sided channel to send in good crosses and capped his afternoon with a late goal. Finally, skipper Aiden O’Connell was a reassuring presence at the back and sent in some good set-pieces as well.
For Rochford, captain Terence Hare made a number of good, last-ditch tackles and marshalled his defence well too. Owen Pedder offered a good outlet down the channels and was involved in the occasional forays forward his side had. Matt Welsh contributed well to his team’s midfield with good passing and movement, while stand-in goalkeeper James Cooper made four good saves as well to add to the visitors’ frustration, particularly in the first half.
Best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign. My thanks to both teams, was good to see both in action today.
Teams (Rolling Subs Used in EOFL matches)
Rochford Town | Player-Manager: James Cooper |
Starting XI: 1 James Cooper (GK), 23 Harrison Lomax, 12 George Hare, 2 Bobby Anderson, 18 Terence Hare (Capt), 4 Jack Power, 3 Alex Gray, 8 Matt Welsh, 7 Owen Pedder, 10 Freddie Pettitt, 15 Lewis Watson
Subs On (Time & replaced): 17 Michael Browne [55′, on for F Pettitt], 11 Elliott Pattison [80′, on for Browne], 20 Matthew Pettitt [85′, on for Lomax]
Booked: Anderson | Subs Not Used: None
Manford Way | Interim Manager: Bill Bailey | (Regular boss Colin Dobson was away)
Starting XI: 1 Joe Insole (GK), 2 Aiden O’Connell (Capt), 3 Gideon Sengulay-Thomas, 4 Josh Owoaje, 14 Will Sheehan, 6 Dominic Esty-Wilkinson, 7 Daniel Demain, 8 Mohammed Bouzeryouh, 9 David Alele, 10 Harry Davison, 11 Salum Said
Goal-scorers: Harry Davison [65′], Salum Said [90’+2]
Subs On (Time & replaced): 20 Charlie Parish [13′, on for Owoaje], 12 Dada Popoola [62′, on for Sheehan]
Booked: Esty-Wilkinson | Sub Not Used: None
Referee: Richard Wilsher