Essex Alliance League – Senior Division
Venue: Hackney Marshes (Show Pitch)
Attendance: 15 [Est]
2021-22 Season: Match 69
Saturday 9th April 2022 -2pm KO
Woodford E: Navy Blue Shirts, White Shorts, Navy Blue Socks
CH Spartans: Grey Shirts, Grey Shorts, Black Socks
Woodford East put in diligent performance to claim big win over Spartans
Woodford East 2 – 1 Chadwell Heath Spartans
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The weekend match was a rare match in the Essex Alliance League Senior Division and a first visit to Hackney Marshes for this top-of-the-table clash between Woodford East and Chadwell Heath Spartans. The matches are unrelenting for Halil Hassan’s side just now and they fielded Callum Drummond in goal, with Billy Barr and Matt Stacey in central defence, Frank Glock skippering the side alongside Eren Mehmet in central midfield and the forward line was led by Callum Maltese and Connor Brathwaite. Spartans started the day at the summit but needed points to stay there, and fielded the highly-rated Lewis Edwards in goal, with a defence of Joe Robb, Meer Ishanzadeh, player-boss Aaron Hunwicks and Janel Alexander, who also captained the side. James Odukoya and Harry Payne led the attack, with Tom Callagher among those in support.
The match began in the swirling wind of East London, though the chances were relatively few in coming early-doors. Spartans had the only clear chance whch saw forward James Odukoya one-on-one with East stopper Callum Drummond, unfortunately for the visitors, Odukoya’s strike was straight at the goalkeeper. Woodford East responded tellingly soon after as on thirteen minutes, visiting skipper Janel Alexander was caught in possession by rapid forward Callum Maltese on the edge of his own 18-yard area and Maltese ran through on goal and placed a fine finish past Sans goalkeeper Lewis Edwards and into the right-sided corner.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hosts were spurred on by that opening goal and they showed no lack of energy or good passing as they kept the pressure on their opponents’ backline. Midfielder Eren Mehmet’s strike was deflected and well-tipped over by Edwards as it was dipping into the net. Spartans were finding it difficult to maintain the momentum in attack, though Harry Payne did strike wide of Drummond’s goal frame as we headed towards the half-hour mark.
That half-hour was heralded by arguably the best move of the match, which saw East exchange three or four fast passes before finding forward Connor Brathwaite who struck a fine low finish into the corner of the net, adding to the visitors’ headache. Being fair, the hosts did not concede possession easily and when they lost it, they hurried the Spartans midfield well.
Half-Time: Woodford East 2 – 0 Chadwell Heath Spartans
After a quick break, the match resumed with Woodford East looking for that important third goal to really put themselves in a commanding position. They had two good chances early in the half, with Brathwaite firstly well denied by Edwards from close range. Soon afterwards, the East forward was well-placed again from barely six yards out but somehow Brathwaite headed narrowly over the upright. You felt that Spartans had used up a fair bit of fortune by not conceding a third goal there but to their credit, they were up for the battle in the second period.
The visitors did have more ball time in the last half hour, as they sought to jostle their way back into the match. Their approach play was decent but if you was to be critical, you’d have to also say they couldn’t create many chances. Alexander and Aaron Hunwicks both had chances from set-pieces but late on, the Spartans did ensure a nervy last five minutes for East. Direct from a corner, Hunwicks sent in an in-swinging corner which got caught up in the wind and managed to find its way past Drummond into the net.
Spartans did push on to try and force a leveller but in fairness, East did do enough to claim a narrow but nonetheless important triumph to fortify third spot with two games in hand on new leaders DT FC, who won 4 – 1 at Tower Utd today.
Full-Time: Woodford East 2 – 1 Chadwell Heath Spartans
In summary, Woodford East did the damage in an energetic first-half display which showed their credentials as a really good side at this level here, but found it a rather harder battle in the second period, where Spartans showed more of what they are about, showing guile, work rate and dedication. Unfortunately for Aaron Hunwicks’ side, they couldn’t quite create enough chances to test East stopper Callum Drummond.
There were several fine performances from both sides in this match. Firstly for victors Woodford East, plaudits have to go to tricky forward Callum Maltese for an excellent display of energy, pace and passing. Fellow forward Callum Brathwaite also took his goal well to cap a terrific team move and could have had at least one more goal today, showing good movement. Rounding out the mentions are full-back Kai Law who showed good work rate, passing and concentration plus centre-back Billy Barr who also put in a good display to restrict the Spartans forward line.
For Chadwell Heath Spartans, skipper Janel Alexander had another good game at centre-back, recovering from a uncharacteristic error to make several good interceptions in the match. Tom Callagher again showed good energy making darting runs from midfield to assist his forward line. Goalkeeper Lewis Edwards also made two good saves to keep his team in it in the first half when they did concede several chances at his goal. Lastly, forward James Odukoya also worked hard to bypass a robust East defence, alongside strike partner Harry Payne who also put in a lot of effort today.
Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
Teams (up to 5 substitutes allowed)
Woodford East | Manager: Halil Hassan |
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Callum Drummond (GK), 3 Kai Law, 9 Billy Barr, 4 Matt Stacey, 19 Eren Mehmet (68 Liam Adams 74’), 14 Will Letchford, 15 Frank Glock (Capt), 21 Sonny Feltwell (6 Kieran Bruns 59’), 5 Adam Tabbani, 23 Connor Brathwaite, 12 Callum Maltese
Goal-scorers: Callum Maltese [13’], Connor Brathwaite [30’]
Subs Not Used: Beaumont, Tibbitts, Gilley | Booked: Mehmet, Tabbani
Chadwell Heath Spartans | Player-Manager: Aaron Hunwicks
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Lewis Edwards (GK), 2 Joe Robb, 3 Meer Ishanzadeh, 5 Janel Alexander (Capt), 6 Aaron Hunwicks, 4 Leon Kasozi, 14 Rashid Matabaro (17 Samir Aboulainaf 79’), 7 Raymond Hunwicks (15 Harry Goodwin 57’), 8 Thomas Callagher (11 David Amire 77’), 9 James Odukoya (10 Tommy Harrison 68’), 16 Harry Payne
Goal-scorer: Aaron Hunwicks [84’]
Subs Not Used: None | Booked: Robb, Kasozi | Sin-Bin: Alexander [87’]
Referee: Nathan Buckle
Assistants: Daniel Rowan & Dylan Connolly