Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand. This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 16 April. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.
Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]
With additional reporting by Scott W
Essex Alliance League Round-up – Saturday 16 April
Wednesday night saw the much-anticipated conclusion of the BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup competition where Woodford East were representing the league in the final against Sungate at Billericay Town’s New Lodge ground. Woodford had the best of the first half chances, shading the half. Sungate were much improved in the second period and took a lead with a great strike on the hour mark by George Johnson, holding onto their lead well and then netting a deserved second thanks to substitute Arif Mustapha just before the end as ‘Gate won 2-0 to lift the cup. East can hold their heads high after a wonderful run in the competition and not looking out of place in the final.
If you’ like more on this match, NonLeague writers Scott W & Pete Dudley were both in attendance, here are their reports
SENIOR DIVISION CUP
There was further midweek action on Wednesday night as Lymore Gardens took on Chigwell Town in the quarter finals of the cup at Cricklefields. Lymore were in fine form and secured their place in the last four with a 4 – 0 winning performance, Richie Dorcas, Dylan Roberts and Alex Coster all getting on the score-sheet as they await the winner from the other last eight tie.
DIVISION ONE CUP
It was semi-final Saturday in the Division One Cup competition over the weekend as both games took place simultaneously, the first seeing Barkingside A looking to overcome indifferent league form in a local derby game against Wanstead. A seven goal thriller saw Ali Rajim score two and James Blewitt one for ‘Side but their efforts proved not quite enough as Wanstead responded through a Edson Lami treble & one from Segio Lourenco to win 4 – 3 and take their place in the final.
In the other semi-final, over in Dagenham, it was a battle between league champions Belfry and RCXI for the right to take on Wanstead in the final in May and this one also so a close game. But Belfry goals from Solomon Ogunwomoju and Daniel Osborne were the difference in the end between the sides as the hosts won 2 – 0 to keep hopes alive of a league and cup double.
A huge week in the Senior Division title race has seen DTFC put one hand on the coveted silverware after they produced a winning performance in a crucial trip to Chadwell Heath Spartans. A late, late goal was the only difference between the sides as Kazim Bishop netted that all important effort to win the game 1 – 0, moving them four points clear of the chasing pack. A win this Wednesday evening will be enough to see DT lift the crown.
The importance of that goal was emphasised even further as news came in from Noak Hill where Woodford East were in town to take on FC Petrocub, the Essex and London cup finalists meeting in a crucial league encounter. Connor Brathwaite found the back of the net for Woodford but Petrocub were in fine form ahead of their big occasion and netted twice to win the game 2 – 1, putting a huge dent in the title race.
Jolof Sports have moved up to fourth spot in the table with four games to go, leaping above Lymore Gardens following a hard fought 2 – 1 win away at Chigwell Town on Saturday afternoon. Joshua Kweifio-Okai and Papa Ndiaye both struck for Jolof with Ryan Gurry scoring the Town goal in reply as the hosts walked away with the points.
An important point was earned by Tower United in their battle to avoid the drop into the Premier Division as they took a share of the spoils in an exciting 3 – 3 draw away at Rapid Chingford over at Lakeside. Abdullah Jama scored a hat-trick in a fine performance but Sorin Tudose, Andrei Boga and Vlad Bucur goals ensured the hosts took a share of the spoils.
The race for promotion into the National League System continues to hot up in the Premier Division with a key game on Saturday seeing Oakside taking on Crookz United in Collier Row. With games in hand, both sides still retain hopes of a top three finish but had to settle for a point each as the game finished in a 1 – 1 draw, keeping them fourth and fifth respectively.
In Division One, there was just the one game also as Cowley Community made the trip to east London to take on Kwanzas London Sport, the former knowing they still remain favourites for the runners-up position. But they didn’t get everything their own way and had to settle for a 1 – 1 draw with Anthony Conteh scoring for Cowley. They sit just a point outside of the promotion places with two games in hand.
The title race is reaching a conclusion in Division Two as Fairlop Rovers moved to the cusp of silverware following a solid victory over the weekend, beating Newbury East 5 – 1 in Hainault. Sehraan Hussain struck for the visitors but Rovers scored five of their own, meaning they can win the league with a double header success next weekend. That outcome was made possible following an exhilarating game in Rainham where Redbridge Community secured a terrific three point haul with a 5 – 3 win against cup finalists, Rainham Working Mens Club. Sean Tormey scored twice and Cameron Shakes once but their efforts were not enough as Redbridge ran in five goals of their own to take the points.
There was another huge result at the bottom of the table where St Francis moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, picking up a fifth league win following a 3 – 0 away win at Fords against Old Esthameians. Skye Salmon, Martin Valkov and Abdullah Azizi were the Saints scorers for a vital points haul.
The division’s other game was another goal-filled encounter as Loughton Lions and Royal Forest met in Debden for a local derby game between two sides who know each other well. The sides shared six goals with the game ending in a 3 – 3 scoreline with Joe Meader netting twice for Forest & Joe Owers got the other goal. Lions moved to eleventh with four games left in their campaign while Royal Forest look comfortable in ninth.
The huge game in Division Three saw FC Baresi Under 23s and Old Barkabbeyans Reserves battle it out for pole position in the race for the title. Old Barks started their final game with a four point advantage but an FC Baresi 6 – 4 success saw the latter put one hand on the trophy, now needing one victory from their last three games. Jay Elliott scored a hat-trick and Michael Ryder one for Old Barks with Joshua Adu (2), Maamoon Khan, Harrez Aliane, Zach Aliane and Hamza Shire all netting in reply.
Fourth placed Lymore Gardens Reserves gave themselves a great opportunity of holding on to that position come the end of the season as their second to last game of the campaign saw them secure a 4 – 1 win at Royal Forest Reserves in Hainault. Richard Grove scored for the hosts but four Garden goals courtesy of Warren Isoka, Rob Small, Tafari Miller and Raheem Sinclair were more than enough to take the points.
Together United are another side in with a shout of a top four finish this season as their penultimate league game saw them pick up all three points with an away success against Flyers Under 23s at King Georges. A 4-0 win was enough to add win number ten to their solid record this campaign and move to within two points of fourth spot.