Eastern Senior League – Division South
Venue: Park Lane
Attendance: 50 (Est)
2022-23 Season: Match 7
Saturday 20th August 2022 – 3pm KO
Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
St Margaretsbury: Red Shirts, Black Shorts, Red & Black Socks
Resilent St Margaretsbury grab 99th minute winner to deny Benfleet at Park Lane
Benfleet 1 – 2 St Margaretsbury
Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Photos by James Waple & Scott W
This weekend saw the first visit to Park Lane this term to see Benfleet take on visitors St Margaretsbury, who were bottom of the early standings and obviously keen to push on. Benfleet were looking to find the form which saw them win at Wivenhoe Town last week, rather than the form that saw them lose 1 – 2 to Burnham Ramblers in midweek. The hosts are now managed by Alex Salmon and he named stalwart Florent Gislette in goal, with a backline of Deolindo Lima, Frankie Stone, Martyn Lacey and skipper Cory Rider. Mason Shave and Lee Scott were the chief support to forward Ben Foord, with Henry Sims and Billy Carter among the midfield. St Margaretsbury had Sidi Haidara between the sticks, with a defence of Harry Gilzean, captain Emmanuel Ndukwu, Ethan Daniels and Alffie Campbell. Their front line was led by Gerson Artur and Kamarni Collington, with support from Miles Holding and Kai Daniel.
This match was delayed by 13 minutes because of the match officials being delayed but when we did get underway, both sides had openings to grab that important early goal. For the visitors, both Miles Holding and Kamarni Collington had half-changes but they could not defeat Benfleet custodian Florent Gislette. The hosts had more ball time in the early stages, with their chance eminating from a fine centre by full-back Frankie Stone, which found forward Ben Foord and his flick was well clawed away by St Mags stopper Sidi Haidara.
Benfleet were showing good effort levels but they could not quite craft their favoured passing game, and they had those earlier warnings which was underlined when St Margaretsbury broke the deadlock on 23 minutes. In a congested penalty area, St Mags managed to find Gerson Artur and without hesitation, his well-taken strike beat Gislette on its way to the right corner of the net. Clear-cut chances were not easy to come by but Collington still sent a set-piece narrowly over the woodwork and Mason Shave had a glimpse at goal before his effort was gathered by the visiting goalkeeper Haidara.
St Mags went into the interval with that slender advantage, though they were showing increasing confidence in their defensive abilities, while the ‘Fleet needed to raise their game a notch or two.
Half-Time: Benfleet 0 – 1 St Margaretsbury
Into the second half then and St Mags were continuing to frustrate the home side, though their resolve was commendable given recent results. There was a nervy moment for St Mags, four minutes in as a short pass back to the ‘keeper by defender Alfie Campbell was seized on by Shave, but Haidara denied him again with his feet. Benfleet continued to press for that important leveller, but St Margaretsbury were holding firm.
As we entered the latter stages of this match, the the tension went up a gear as St Mags nearly made the points safe as Campbell’s crisp strike was well parried away by Gislette. Alex Salmon’s side responded immediately at the other end with a fierce strike by Foord being well saved by the impressive Haidara.
We went into added-on time with St Mags still just the one goal ahead but there was two big monents yet to come. First, with six minutes played in added time, Benfleet struck as a set-piece ended up with Deolindo Lima heading on for Foord to get something on the ball to force it over the line, with the diving defender unable to clear the ball off the goalline. Then there was another twist in the tale, as St Mags launched the ball up field on the counter, and Gerson Artur again found himself in on goal and fired home into the left corner to seal the game with pretty much the last kick of the game.
Full-Time: Benfleet 1 – 2 St Margaretsbury
To sum up at times a gritty and scrappy battle, there were a number of occasions where Benfleet threatened to get back in the game though credit has to go to a well-organised St Margaretsbury side, who made it hard to get through their backline. Their young side has seen a lot of change since last term, but joint-managers Paul Holding & Marce Collington will be happy with the resolve shown by their team here. As for the hosts, they couldn’t create enough on a consistent basis and when Foord scored in added-time, they may well have thought they had grabbed a point but the ‘footballing gods’ were not smiling on them today.
There were some good performances from both sides here. For victors St Mags, I felt forward Kamarni Collington really gave his team a good outlet going forward, stretching the home defence with his pace and dribbling. Full-back Harry Gilzean also impressed, showing good defensive awareness in making timely interceptions and playing a few good passes from the back. Forward Gerson Massala Artur took both his goals well wiith well-taken finishes, and a word for goalkeeper Sidi Haidara who made three good saves to keep his team in the game today.
For Benfleet, Frankie Stone had a good game at left-back, putting in several important crosses to keep the visiting defence alert. Forward Ben Foord showed his usual tireless running and took his goal well in a crowded penalty area. Mason Shave also made some decent runs but ultimately couldn’t get into faultless striking positions, while centre-back Martyn Lacey also showed good composure and positioning to deny the visitors more runs on goal.
Congrats to St Mags on their win & I’d like to wish both teams well for the season ahead.
Benfleet | Manager: Alex Salmon | Assistants: Dave Saxton, Michael Cundy & Ray Coker
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Deolindo Lima, 3 Frankie Stone, 4 Martyn Lacey (16 Billy Shulver 70′) 5 Cory Rider (Capt), 6 Taylor Lawrence, 7 Billy Carter (12 Flynn Monk 62′, replaced by 14 Jack Frost 90′), 8 Henry Sims, 9 Ben Foord, 10 Lee Scott (15 Billy Firman 62), 11 Mason Shave (17 Jake Frost 70′)
Goal-scorers: Ben Foord [90’+6]
Subs Not Used: None | Booked: None
St Margaretsbury | Joint-Managers: Paul Holding & Marce Collington | Assistant: Dom Woods
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Sidi Haidara (GK), 2 Harry Gilzean, 3 Emmanuel Ndukwu (Capt) (15 Dylan Goldsmith 84′), 5 Ethan Daniels, 4 Alfie Campbell, 6Jason Brown (17 James Lawrance 90′), 7 Kai Daniel (12 Jack Standing 78′), 8 Isaac Evans, 9 Gerson Massala Artur, 14 Kamarni Collington, 11 Miles Holding
Goal-scorers: Gerson Massala Artur [23′ & 90’+9]
Subs Not Used: None | Booked: Campbell & Haidara
Referee: Kevin Harrington
Assistants: Martin Burroughs & Brian Chapman