Essex Senior League – Premier Division
2022-23 Season: Match 25
Monday 7th November 2022 – 7.45pm KO
Ilford: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
FC Clacton: Yellow Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
Resolute Clacton emerge triumphant at Ilford
Ilford 0 – 3 FC Clacton
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The first midweek match this week saw a return visit to Cricklefield to see Ilford face FC Clacton in a Monday night match in the Essex Senior League. As you may have read, I saw Clacton put in a excellent display 48 hours previously but this was a different test altogether. It was also interesting to see the Foxes who had a complete squad change from last term, with boss Richard Ponsford bringing over the vast majority of his Essex Olympian League Premier winning Ongar Town side from last term, as well as promoting a few from the Ilford Reserve side, who compete in the Essex Alliance League now. The hosts had Tim Pitman in goal, allied with a defence comprised of Jay Fisher, Harry Herbert & centre-backs Jake Chadwick & Paul Cox. Ollie Nyahunda & skipper Mitchell McCabe were in central midfield with the advancing wingers being Josh Boxall & Harry Rawlins. Caleb Adomako-Mensah and Liam Oliver were their forwards here. Clacton made only one change to their starting XI from the aforementioned win at Southend Manor, with Jack Marshall coming into central midfield, alongside Toby Harms. Jack Johnson dropped to the bench.
Despite the hefty amount of rain in the last week, it’s worth noting that the pitch was in good nick and in the early-going of this tie, there was a few niggly fouls as both sides looked to grab the momentum. Clacton were the stronger side on-the-ball and tested the home defence more. After already having one shout for a penalty, they were awarded one on the quarter-hour by referee Jide Ogunba with foward Mekhi McKenzie being thwarted in the area. McKenzie stepped up to take the spot-kick himself but his effort was well-saved by a sprawling save by Foxes custodian Tim Pitman at the left-side post.
Clacton were the more likely side to opening the scoring, though there were a few nervy moments as the half wore on. Caleb Adomako-Mendsah broke down the left channel for the hosts, but his end strike didn’t test visiting goalkeeper Luke Avenell. In fairness, Ilford were doing alright in frustrating the fast-paced Seasiders attackers, with centre-half Jake Chadwick leading his defence well.
However, deep into first-half added time, the visitors did get the breakthrough. Ilford simply couldn’t clear their lines and in a congested 18-yard box, Jake Clowsley took a touch and fired in a good strike into the right corner.
Half-Time: Ilford 0 – 1 FC Clacton
After the interval, the match got ever more scrappy as both sides got rather frustrated. Soon after McKenzie had an effort over the crossbar for the Seasiders, enterprising forward Charlie Collis sent in a good cross, which centre-back Charlie Thompson headed off-target but that did serve as a warning that the hosts did not heed. Clacton did double their advantage on 69 minutes as Charlie Collis’ crisp strike from about 18 yards out fizzed into the net past Pitman.
To their credit, Ilford responded almost immediately, as a good header by Chadwick forced Avenell to parry over the crossbar well. But as so often occurs, this livened up Clacton further, and Pitman was in action again to first deny a looping effort from skipper Billy Wales and soon afterward, Pitman pulled off a fine save to deny McKenzie’s fierce strike with the 90 minutes fast approaching.
But there was another added-time goal as substitute Adam Tilson absolutely smashed a superb strike right into the top corner from at least 20 yards out, which really put the gloss on the score-line for Tom Austin’s side. You had to feel a bit for Pitman who had no chance of denying such a powerful effort. Soon after, the final whistle went and Clacton’s win took them just two points adrift of free-scoring Enfield at the summit.
Full-Time: Ilford 0 – 3 FC Clacton
In summary, Clacton once again showed that they are they are a good side, as well as being in-form and can out-work sides. They took their goals well and the last two goals were quality strikes. Ilford had their moments as well but ultimately could not make their opponents cutting edge in front of goal, although they were decent defensively at times and had goalkeeper Tim Pitman to thank for keeping them in the match with some fine saves, particularly in the second half.
For victors FC Clacton, the stand-out performers begin with another fine performance by tireless forward Mekhi McKenzie. Despite having his spot-kick well-saved in the first quarter of the game, his work rate again was on display as well as showing good touches and passes. Midfielder Jack Marshall also put in a high-energy performance and took advantage of a fluid formation at times to get down the channels to put in decent crosses. A mention also for Charlie Collis who interlinked well with McKenzie in the forward line and contributed to giving the home defence a headache for large parts of the game. Finally, Technical winger Jake Clowsley also had an influence, scoring the opening goal to finally break the deadlock.
For Ilford, centre-back Jake Chadwick had to be on-form to clear seveal dangerous balls in the box and made a number of good interceptions. Goalkeeper Tim Pitman added to his early penalty save but making at least three good saves to keep his side in the contest. Forward Caleb Adomako-Mensah made a number of good runs to stretch the visiting backline plus he showed good pace and you could see why he has scored goals this term, while right-back Jay Fisher also made good tackles at times and contributed to his side’s decent defensive effort, particularly in the first hour.
I’d like to wish both teams a good remainder of the season.
Ilford | Manager: Richard Ponsford | Assistant: Mark Lilly
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Tim Pitman (GK), 2 Jay Fisher, 3 Harry Herbert, 5 Paul Cox (17 George Hayes 47′), 6 Jake Chadwick, 4 Ollie Nyahunda (14 Josiah Ereku 22′ in turn replaced by 16 Harry Williams 90′), 8 Mitchell McCabe (Capt) (12 Julio Fresneda 43′), 7 Joshua Boxall (15 Emmamuel Kouassi 56′), 9 Liam Oliver, 10 Caleb Adomako-Mensah, 11 Harry Rawlins
Booked: Hayes, Kouassi | Subs Not Used: None
FC Clacton | Manager: Tom Austin | Assistant: Adam Daniels
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luke Avenell (GK), 2 Jenson Mulqueen (13 Fletcher Hanna 89′), 3 Billy Wales (Capt), 5 Chris Ribchester, 6 Charlie Thompson, 4 Jack Marshall, 8 Toby Harms (16 Adam Tilson 84′), 7 Jake Clowsley (15 Jordan Lartey 86′), 9 Mekhi McKenzie, 10 Charlie Collis (12 Jack Johnson 79′), 11 Teddy Collis (14 Reuben Cowler 68′)
Goal-scorers: Jake Clowsley [45’+6], Charlie Collis [69′], Adam Tilson [90’+6]
Booked: Thompson, McKenzie, T Collis | Sub Not Used: None
Referee: Jide Ogunba
Assistants: Charlie Duggins-Jones & Ibrahim Kose