Essex Senior League – Premier Division
2021-22 Season: Match 72
Friday 15 April 2022 – 1pm KO
Redbridge: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
L Oakley: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Redbridge denied an important win by last-gasp Oakley spot-kick
Redbridge 1 – 1 Little Oakley
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The first match of the Easter weekend saw the hectic end of the season continue with a trip back to Oakside to see a critical mach in the fortunes of the Motormen as they entertained a robust & impressive Oakley side who are still after a top-six finish. George Christou’s hosts also had to think about their Peter Butcher Trophy Final on Easter Monday and fielded George Martin in goal, with a back four in front of him of Bradley Bennett, skipper Jack Roult and centre-backs Nathan Okoye and Joe Elliott. The forward line here was led by Ibrahim Kehinde, Tim Ogunrinde and Michael Pindy. Options from the sidelines included forwards Loui Hazelwood and Tony Martin. Matt Carmichael’s Acorns recently opened their new stand at their Memorial ground celebrating a fan who has supported them for seven decades in Gordon Carter. Their side here included stopper Daniel Joyce, Hayden Dutch and Will Crissell as their central defence, Ekow Owusu-Boakye and Bradley James in central midfield, with top-scorer Harry Mann leading the forward line alongside Sam Cooke. Their depleted bench was comprised of forwards Greg Rodger & Danny Garrad, alongside Tyler Sullivan.
This match really broke into life early-doors as Redbridge not only threatened visiting custodian Daniel Joyce’s goal but also scored after just three minutes. A characteristic fast forward move allowed Tim Ogunrinde a strike at goal which was parried by Joyce, but the Oakley stopper couldn’t gather and Michael Pindy followed up, pinching the ball off skipper Edward Nobbs’ toes and Pindy duly slotted home low into the net without any further invitation. It was a setback for Oakley, who have made some reputation this season for being tough to break down and bypass. In the next phase of the game though, it was less happiness and more frustration for the team in blue though as they struck the woodwork twice before the half-hour arrived.
First, Ogunrinde’s fine strike nearly bypassed Joyce but not the goal frame and soon after, midfielder Jack Chawner’s well-struck free-kick also thundered off the woodwork with Oakley counting their luck and Redbridge cursing their luck. As they have in several matches this term, the duo of Ibrahim Kehinde & Michael Pindy really orchestrated the home side’s forward line, with Pindy showing excellent movement and no lack of pace either. Kehinde also showcased his pace and technique as well. Oakley did have a half-chance about ten minutes before the break as defender Will Crissell connected with a deep free-kick and the ball trickled wide, thankfully for Motormen goalkeeper George Martin.
Redbridge had one more chance at goal before the break but Kehinde couldn’t find the target as his shot drifted wide. All in all, the hosts should really have been two or three goals ahead at the break, but you know what they say about ‘having to take your chances’. That particular cliché would be further evidenced here but more on that later.
Half-Time: Redbridge 1 – 0 Little Oakley
Looking back, Oakley did gradually get themselves back into the running in the match, helped by the ‘midfield engine room’ of Ekow Owusu-Boakye and Bradley James plus the willing runner in forward Harry Mann. Moments on goal were less frequent, as the battle for midfield superiority replaced that to an extent. Oakley had to manage for ten minutes with ten men after Mason Lumley’s sin-bin just shy of the hour but substitute Danny Garrad did give them more impetus in the last fifteen minutes.
Frustratingly for the hosts, their early promise was being overtaken by tired legs and it highlighted how important chances were again just shy of seventy minutes when another set-piece by Chawner from nearly the half-way line also cannoned off the crossbar thanks to a one-handed save by Joyce. Centre-back Nathan Okoye’s effort was also denied by Joyce as Oakley were given some reason for optimism. The other thing the Acorns have been known for doing this season is staying in games and their belief has probably earned them a few points as well. It was Redbridge’s turn for a let-off with ten minutes remaining as Harry Mann fired well over when well-placed after good work by Garrad, but the assistant referee did put up his flag.
With mere moments remaining and despite Oakley not really creating a lot of chances at Martin’s goal, they did get a equaliser on eighty-nine minutes. A foul in a congested box by Okoye allowed Mann to step up and confidently fire home a fine spot-kick into left corner, away from Martin’s grasp – this was also Mann’s 20th league goal this term. And with little time left to conjure up a key second goal, it was the clock that won the day as Oakley left with a point & relatively happy with their afternoon’s work. The same certainly couldn’t be said for the hosts as desolation took hold after the final whistle and those earlier missed chances had come back to bite.
Redbridge now have to focus on the Peter Butcher Trophy final and hope that Sawbridgeworth stifle Saffron Walden’s charge to second spot on Saturday (16 April).
Full-Time: Redbridge 1 – 1 Little Oakley
In summary, Redbridge should really have been two or three goals up as I said at the interval, but profligate finishing and decent defending by Oakley kept it to one goal. The Acorns would probably have wanted to have played better but their resolute belief will carry them well, looking at next season. It is some ways a credit to the high bar that both teams have set for themselves this term and that has to be recognised.
There were several good performances from both sides in this match. For Redbridge, forwards Michael Pindy and Ibrahim Kehinde really gave the Oakley backline a hard afternoon, particularly in the first half with their pace, movement and passing. Centre-back Joe Elliott made several key interceptions and added to a good performance from his team’s back five while Jerold Cobblah impressed in central midfield with a high work rate and some good passes too. For Oakley, forward Harry Mann was as ever a good presence in attack, despite little in the way of service at times from his team-mates, but Mann did make several good runs in the channels. Mdfielder Ekow Owusu-Boakye put in a good display with a good work rate as well and good tackles, while defenders Ed Nobbs and Rory Harman also put in decent displays as well.
Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
Redbridge | Manager: George Christou | Assistant: Jack Toghli
Starting XI (Subs): 1 George Martin (GK), 2 Bradley Bennett, 3 Jack Roult (Capt), 5 Joe Elliott, 6 Nathan Okoye, 4 Jerold Cobblah, 8 Kwabena Yeboah (12 Shawn Harris 75’), 18 Jack Chawner, 7 Michael Pindy, 9 Ibrahim Kehinde (16 Tony Martin 71’), 11 Timothy Ogunrinde (19 Loui Hazelwood 78’)
Goal-scorer: Michael Pindy [3’]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Norris, Ayoola
Little Oakley | Manager: Matt Carmichael | Assistant: James Good
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Joyce (GK), 2 Rory Harman, 3 Edward Nobbs (Capt), 5 Hayden Dutch, 6 Will Crissell (12 Tyler Sullivan 65’), 4 Bradley James, 8 Ekow Owusu-Boakye , 7 Daniel Rowe 9 Harry Mann, 10 Sam Cooke (14 Danny Garrad 74’), 11 Mason Lumley
Goal-scorer: Harry Mann [pen 89’]
Booked: James, Rowe | Subs Not Used: Fernandes, Rodger
Referee: John Duffy
Assistants: Olabisi Omotosho & Muzackir Hussain