Essex County FA Premier Cup – Round Four
Venue: Len Forge Centre 3G
2021-22 Season: Match 31
Attendance: 25 (Est)
Saturday 3rd December 2022 – 2pm KO
Catholic Utd: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks
Colne Ath: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Super Hoops show clinical finishing to defeat Colne in the Essex Premier Cup
Catholic Utd 5 – 2 Colne Athletic
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The Saturday match in the first weekend of December was a interesting duel between Essex Olympian League top-tier side Catholic Utd and visitors Colne Athletic, of the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division. The hosts are in the middle of a month of Cup fixtures and Tom Harding took the team in this match – he named stalwart Louis Godwin-Green in goal, with a defence featuring centre-backs Louis Robinson & Jack Leech, with the attacking full-backs being Louie Hay and Aaron Clark. Tom Keaney, skipper Michael Sammut and Tom Elliott were in midfield, and the forward line was comprised of Joe O’Kane in the middle, with Franklin Craik and Aaron Baldwin coming in from the channels. Colne Athletic named Robert Waller as their glovesman, with a backline of full-backs Daniel Bradley and captain Josh Vaughan, with Jack Burch and Peter Brough in central defence. In midfield, Joe Heron and Harrison Banner were central, with Keelan Milburn and Scott Yearling on the flanks, supporting forwards Joe McCracken and Dale Brown.
In my view, the early parts of this match were fairly quiet as both teams were keen to retain the ball and not venture forward too rapidly. Colne Athletic centre forward Joe McCracken was looking to win the ball in the air, allowing runners to get in alongside him, while at the other end Utd’s free-flowing possession game was getting in behind the resilent Colne defence, though visiting centre-back Jack Burch displaying good awareness by making several strong interceptions to clear the danger. Midway through the first half, Catholic Utd did take the lead as Ath had a defensive lapse of concentration, allowing an initial cross by Frank Craik to find its way to full-back Louie Hay, who had found his way into the box and struck low into the net. However, Colne Athletic showed exactly why they are having a good league season with a reply barely a minute later, as Keelan Milburn’s effort found the net, much to the consternation of Utd stopper Louis Godwin-Green and the home dug-out.
It was the hosts who really did push to find another gear in the latter stages of the first half, although Colne did rebuff their forward moves fairly well, Craik struck over the woodwork from a good position on the edge of the area but that was a warning that the visitors did not heed. On 37 minutes, the Super Hoops took the lead once again, with Louie Hay this time showing good persistence in the build-up, finding forward Aaron Baldwin who again struck confidently, finding the left corner of the net, past a frustrated visiting custodian Robert Waller. Colne would have been keen to get to the interval only a goal in arrears, but on the stroke of half-time, a moment of quality from Baldwin meant it was a two-goal lead for Tom Harding’s side at the break. Baldwin stole half a yard of space coming inside from the right flank before curling in a terrific finish which again found the left corner.
Half-Time: Catholic Utd 3 – 1 Colne Ath
That goal really set up the second half well, and again Colne showed their resolve by reducing the deficit eight minutes after the resumption. From a good set-piece which found Joe McCracken, his deft headed flick-on was looped up by midfielder Joe Heron’s boot which flew high into the net. For the sizeable period of the half, there was a real battle which saw Colne look to outwork the home midfield. Ben Connell’s side sent another warning as McCracken sent an effort wide of goal, moments after the second goal. Much to their credit, Catholic Utd did work hard in defence, which restricted the chances that the visitors could create.
Both sides started to bring substitutes on by the time we entered the last twenty minutes, but just as Colne would have been hoping for a late leveller, it was Utd who got a fourth goal with three minutes left. The hosts pushed forward down the left side and referee Adam Miller adjudged there was a foul on energetic forward Joe O’Kane I believe, and pointed to the penalty spot. Replacement James Warder stepped up and blasted the spot-kick into left-side corner. And then with Colne chasing the ball at the other end in added-on time, Craik pushed up with a great surging run down the right from his own half, before evading the last defender and slotting in past Waller, off the left-side post.
Full-Time: Catholic Utd 5 – 2 Colne Athletic
To summarise this entertaining game in biting cold windy conditions, Catholic Utd raised their game after the half-hour to take their chances, although Colne Athletic certainly challenged them more than the eventual scoreline would suggest. The Border League visitors certainly showed why their are a top-six side in their Premier Division and played their part and forced Utd to defend diligently.
There were several good performances in this match. For victors Utd, we start with forward Aaron Baldwin who took both his goals well with curling strikes, and they came at key points in the match. He also got down the channels well and only good defending by the visitors prevented him putting in more telling passes. Right-back Louie Hay also took his goal well, as well as putting in a performance of high work rate and showed good awareness defensively. Left-back Aaron Clark also put in a good display, probviding a good attacking option, plus he hampered the enterprising, physical Colne side from creating as many chances as they would’ve liked. Finally, a word for forward Franklin Craik who capped another good effort by making a surging run of more than sixty yards in added time to get into position to slot home his side’s fifth goal. Craik also was a good outlet down the channels all match.
For Colne, centre-back Jack Burch put in an impressive display, making a number of key interceptions in defence & also was a threat in the opposition box from set-pieces. Forward Joe McCracken also had a good game, making a few deft flicks and won his share of aerial duels to test the home backline. Winger Keelan Milburn took his goal well, also showing some neat passing while finally, full-back & skipper Josh Vaughan lifted his team at times, as well as being decent in possession and showing good energy levels.
With this win, Catholic now move into the Essex Premier Cup Quarter-Finals, where they could meet another EOFL side or last season’s finallists Woodford East, from the Essex Alliance League’s top-tier.
Catholic Utd | Stand-in Manager : Tom Harding | Physio & Stand-in Assistant: Emily Mackler
Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 14 Louie Hay, 3 Aaron Clark, 5 Louis Robinson, 6 Jack Leech, 7 Thomas Kearney, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt), 16 Tom Elliott, 10 Joe O’Kane, 19 Aaron Baldwin, 11 Franklin Craik
Goal-scorers: Louie Hay [22′], Aaron Baldwin [37′ & 45′], James Warder [pen 87′], Franklin Craik [90’+4]
Subs On (Time): 15 Joe Burton [71′, replaced Elliott], 9 James Warder [71′, replaced Baldwin], 88 4 Matt Wilson [88′, replaced Leech], 20 John Nutman [88′, replaced Hay], 12 Luke Mackie [89′, replaced O’Kane]
Booked: Elliott | Subs Not Used: None
Colne Athletic | Manager: Ben Connell | Assistant: Jason Savage & Kevin Brown
Starting XI: 1 Robert Weller (GK), 2 Daniel Bradley, 3 Josh Vaughan (Capt), 4 Jack Burch, 5 Peter Brough, 6 Joe Heron, 8 Harrison Banner, 7 Keelan Milburn, 10 Dale Brown, 9 Joe McCracken, 11 Scott Yearling
Goal-scorers: Keelan Milburn [23′], Joe Heron [53′]
Subs On (Time): 14 Aran Yarwood [52′], 12 Gareth Evans [65′], 15 Malachi Cupido [75′]
Booked: None | Sub Not Used: Thomson
Referee: Adam Miller