Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Rosemary Lane
2022-23 Season: Match 21
Saturday 8 October 2022 – 3pm KO
Halstead: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Clacton: Yellow Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
FC Clacton edge their way to good win at Halstead
Halstead Town 1 – 2 FC Clacton
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The match this weekend was a welcome first visit to Rosemary Lane for the Essex Senior League match featuring Halstead Town and visitors FC Clacton. The reverse fixture only took place only seven days previously, and Clacton were looking for their second win in as many weeks here. Halstead named stalwart Jack Cherry as skipper & goalkeeper, with a defence of Joe Vogler, Matt Travell, Jack Schelvis and Matt Coppen. The midfield included Louis O’Sullivan, Ben Morris and Jordan Palmer with a forward line comprised of Adam Hampson, Jordan Pavett and Ryan Carter. Calvin Poku & Nick Miller were among the options from the bench. Clacton had Luke Avenell in goal, with a defensive four made up of centre-backs Chris Ribchester & Michael Okafor and full-backs Jenson Mulqueen and Jake Gould. Their attack-minded midfield included Jack Marshall, Charlie Thompson and Jake Clowsley. Their attack was led by Mekhi McKenzie, skipper Billy Wales and Rueben Cowler. Teddy Collis, Jordan Lartey & Jettluke Hogan were all on the bench for Tommy Austin’s team.
Both teams were getting themselves into gear in the early stages, whilst trying to get some early momentum. Ryan Carter’s header was the only chance of note for the hosts early on, as an organised visiting defence made it tough for the Halstead midfield to get the ball in behind them to the forwards. At the other end, forward Mekhi McKenzie was getting in good positions, making good runs down the flanks to isolate the two home central defenders, and was supported by Rueben Cowler and Jake Clowsley down the flanks well.
As the half went on, Clacton were starting to retain possession more & having more glimpses at goal. A crisp strike from central midfielder Jack Marshall was gathered by commanding stopper Jack Cherry, while Clowsley’s well-struck effort sailed wide of Cherry’s goal, which was a marker for how much Mark McLean’s side needed to keep the ball and make the Seasiders work for it.
As we passed the half-hour mark though, Halstead did start to have more forays forward, enterprising full-back Joe Vogler had been pushed further forward and his good ball in was agonizingly close for the home fans to seeing a close range tap-in. However, from a fast counter-attack, Halstead did take the lead on 36 minutes. Adam Hampson’s searing run had got down the left channel, getting past his marker before unselfishly playing in midfielder Ben Morris who calmly slotted home past Clacton stopper Luke Avenell.
That narrow lead for Halstead persisted at the break, though Clacton will have felt hard done by to be behind as they were carrying that bit of extra zip going forward.
Half-Time: Halstead 1 – 0 Clacton
Into the second half now, and Halstead were finding it harder to clear their defensive line after centre-back Matt Coppen had to be replaced due to shoulder injury and had a let-off six minutes after the resumption. Clacton skipper Billy Wales had earlier had a couple of strikes off-target but his low strike this time with only Cherry to bypass, saw the Humbugs custodian make a fine save low down on the ground to deny him. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was a sign of things to follow as two minutes later, Charlie Thompson’s good curling strike found the top left corner and levelled things up for Clacton.
That goal did give Clacton more added impetus and with their full-backs Jake Gould & Jenson Mulqueen also venturing forward on the over-load – it was a stiff test for Town to not concede again.
They held their line fairly well, until the 68th minute where they conceded a spot-kick. Referee Jide Ogunba pointed to the spot after some consideration after Clowsley’s shot had struck a Halstead defender on the hand. Clowsley himself stepped up and powered the ball high into the corner, giving Cherry little chance.
Substitutions did come in as ever for the last 20 minutes but Halstead had to do a fair bit more defending in those latter stages. Full-back Mulqueen’s effort was also well denied by home stopper Cherry, and replacement Teddy Collis did get into some good positions to send in dangerous crosses too. Halstead’s best chance late on came from substitute Harry Pinkney, whose effort did force a good save from Clacton stopper Luke Avenell, who for the most part had been protected well by a resolute Clacton backline.
Full-Time: Halstead Town 1 – 2 FC Clacton
In summary, Halstead showed good energy levels & application but were lacking that cutting edge to test a resolute Clacton side, who showed why they have been winning more than they have lost so far this term under Tommy Austin’s tutelage. The Seasiders also had a forward line which put in a fine display, which stretched the Halstead backline and kept the ball quite well.
There were a number of great performances in this match. For winners Clacton, although he didn’t have a lot of fortune, credit has to go to centre forward Mekhi McKenzie who kept running all game and stretched the Halstead defence well with his pace & strength. Winger Rueben Cowler also had a fine match, getting down the left channel often and putting in teasing crosses too. Attacking midfielder Jake Clowsley took his goal well and also added to the headache that the home backline faced, with his dribbling and good running. Finally, defender Chris Ribchester typified his side’s defensive efforts but making a number of important clearances.
For Halstead, goalkeeper Jack Cherry made several good saves to keep his side in it & was his usual commanding presence. Forward Adam Hampson was the chief threat to the visiting backline and put in a high-energy display, while right-sided Joe Vogler did well with his pace & defensive awareness on his first league start of the season. Midfielder Louis O’Sullivan also put in a good shift to ward off the enterprising Clacton forwards.
Finally, it has to be noted that Halstead really do have a good set-up, a lovely ground to visit and were welcoming to ESL President Rob Errington & myself. Thanks to all at the Humbugs for that. I’d like to wish both teams a good remainder of the season.
Halstead Town | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: Adam Munn
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Joe Vogler, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Jack Schelvis, 5 Matt Coppen (12 Calvin Poku 47′), 18 Louis O’Sullivan (15 Tom White 69′), 8 Ben Morris, 9 Adam Hampson (14 Nick Miller 69′), 10 Jordan Palmer (17 Joe Jones 85′), 11 Jordan Pavett (16 Harry Pinkney 78′)
Goal-scorers: Ben Morris [36′]
| Subs Not Used: None
FC Clacton | Manager: Tommy Austin | Assistant: Ryan Salter
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luke Avenell (GK), 2 Jenson Mulqueen, 3 Jake Gould, 5 Chris Ribchester, 6 Michael Okafor, 4 Jack Marshall, 7 Charlie Thompson (12 Jack Johnson 66′), 8 Jake Clowsley (14 Jordan Lartey 87′), 10 Billy Wales (Capt) (16 Jettluke Hogan 71′), 9 Mekhi McKenzie, 11 Rueben Cowler (13 Teddy Collis 69′)
Goal-scorers: Charlie Thompson [53′], Jake Clowsley [pen 68′]
| Sub Not Used: K Wales
Referee: Jide Ogunba
Assistants: Liam Dawson & Craig Wood