Essex Olympian League – Division One
Venue: Cupid’s (Main Pitch)
2021-22 Season: Match 61
Attendance: 35 (est)
Saturday 12th March 2022 – 2pm KO
Wakering: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Runwell: Grey Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks
Runwell clinch promotion with a battling win over Wakering
Wakering Sports 0 – 1 Runwell Sports
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend, we remained in the Intermediate Leagues but with good purpose as we saw this big promotion six-pointer at Cupid’s Country Club, between hosts Wakering Sports and leaders Runwell Sports, who were playing their last league game here. Their job was clear, win this game and a top-two finish was assured. Wakering have three more games after this but knew they had to try and derail the Runwell side from winning this one to aid their cause. The hosts were without Connor and Ben Burrows, Matthew Catlin and Aaron Marshall but did have Matt Wilson in goal, captain Russell Beck and Alex Jenkins in central defence, with Ryan Wyatt, Joe Burton and top club scorer Alfie Fossett. Among those on the bench were Mo Sesay, Steve Solarin and Callum Burns-Green. Runwell fielded a strong side, with Josh Hudson between the posts, a defence of Charlie Little, Jordan Gregory and centre-backs Dylan Hawley and skipper Oliver Quick. The forwards were Jimmy Cox and Joe Olley, with wingers Gianni Frankis and Issac Pascal.
The match got underway with a torrent of tension with both side’s very keen to assert themselves to build a base from. Early on, Gianni Frankis had an early strike deflected wide for the visutors from about ten yards out. After a long stoppage on twelve minutes to assess a head injury to skipper Russell Beck, the hosts did get more into the contest as Runwell conceded a few niggly fouls. Chances were at a premium, though just shy of the half-hour there was a good chance for Rob Hodgson’s side. Hodgson himself headed the ball on to forward Joe Olley at the back post but Olley’s header lacked power and glanced agonizingly off-target.
However, it was the hosts who finished the half marginally stronger. A decent lob in the eighteen yard area from a central position from midfielder Ben Rowe kept visiting goalkeeper Josh Hudson alert and he grasped the ball well. Soon after, a set-piece from deep by centre-back Alex Jenkins was headed narrowly wide by an off-balance Runwell defender. For the neutral, it would’ve been an unfortunate OG to see, to say the least.
Half-Time: Wakering Sports 0 – 1 Runwell Sports
The deadlock was pretty tight and in the early minutes of the second half, it showed little signs of fading. What was rising though was the free-kicks being conceded and players being booked as well. The game did badly need a goal and it duly arrived ten minutes after the restart. Issac Pascal had been one of the visitors’ stand-out players and only endorsed that view as his set-piece evaded the home backline and found his captain Oliver Quick who headed home well at the back post. It was a hard one to take, understandably so for the gritty Wakering defence.
Just before the hour, a decent move involving Wakering forwards Ryan Wyatt and Alfie Fossett down the left channel, ended with Fossett firing wide of Hudson’s left-sided post, much to the forward’s disappointment. Paul Morgan’s side admirably kept up the work rate but found Runwell’s defence in good form and giving away little in the way of chances. Midway through the half, a good run by substitute Mohammed Sesay ended with the ball finding spirited winger Aaron Clark but his finish lacked the direction and power to bypass Hudson.
With the hosts pushing forward in search of an important leveller, Runwell did have chances to put the game away, but after another good run, Pascal’s effort was parried well by Wilson, but Charlie Little was there following-up and was also well thwarted. Olley also headed wide following decent build-up play but in the end, one goal was enough to confirm Runwell’s promotion and they will play in Step 7 (EOFL Premier Division) for the first time in over twenty years.
Full-Time: Wakering Sports 0 – 1 Runwell Sports
In summary, yes it was a scrappy game at times but perhaps the emphasis on this match was there in both teams’ minds. Runwell did look the better side at times, but were prevented from playing their rapid game via the channels by a typically miserly Wakering Sports team mindset and defensive performance. Best not forget that Wakeri g also had their moments going forward as well, but couldn’t test a resolute Runwell backline enough either. There is little doubt that Paul Morgan’s team will go close, as they seek to pip Toby to that other promotion spot.
As ever, there were perfornances to commend here. First up for victors Runwell, winger Issac Pascal had an excellent game, providing a strong outlet down the left flank as well as good dribbling and pace. He also got a telling assist for the goal. Central midfielder Taylor Armstrong had a strong game with a all-action performance and forward Joe Olley contributed well to his side’s attack, showing good work rate and had several decent moments. Rounding out the mentions for Runwell is Charlie Little, pressed into action as an emergency right-back here but did a solid job and also got forward quite well in the latter stages.
For Wakering, winger Aaron Clark had a very good game, showing good energy, passing and movement, so credit to him. Daniel Regan did a good job in midfield, setting moves in motion and was a decent set-piece taker too. A mention also for skipper Russell Beck who continued admirably until the latter stages of the game even after sustaining a head wound in the early stages, needing a “Terry Butcher-style” bandage. Beck made several important interceptons too and assisted his team in keeping the match tight.
Best wishes to Wakering Sports for the rest of the campaign and congrats to Runwell on their promotion (see final picture). My thanks to both teams, was good to see them in action here.
Teams (Rolling Subs Used in EOFL matches)
Wakering Sports | Manager: Paul Morgan |
Starting XI: 1 Matt Wilson (GK), 3 Paul Brennan, 4 Russell Beck (Capt), 5 Alex Jenkins, 6 Max Drury, 7 Daniel Regan, 8 Ben Rowe, 2 Aaron Clark, 9 Ryan Wyatt, 10 Joe Burton, 11 Alfie Fossett
Subs On (Time): 16 Mohammed Sasay [60′], 15 Steve Solarin [71′], 17 Callum Burns-Green [71′], 12 Mitchell Gleeson [83′]
Booked: Drury, Regan, Burton, Sesay | Subs Not Used: None
Runwell Sports | Player-Manager: Rob Hodgson | Assistants: Jason Davis & Ian Read
Starting XI: 1 Josh Hudson (GK), 2 Charlie Little, 3 Jordan Gregory, 5 Dylan Hawley, 6 Oliver Quick (Capt), 4 Taylor Armstrong, 7 Gianni Frankis, 8 Robert Hodgson, 9 Jimmy Cox, 10 Joe Olley, 11 Issac Pascal
Goal-scorer: Oliver Quick [55′]
Sub On (Time & replaced): 12 Riley Armstrong [66′ on for Hodgson)
Booked: Cox, Olley, R Armstrong | Subs Not Used: Cramp, Offord, Watson
Referee: Stiofan Appleby