Essex Olympian League – Premier Division
Venue: Southchurch Park
Attendance: 35 (Est)
2022-23 Season: Match 44
Tuesday 28th February 2022 – 7.45pm KO
Catholic: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks
Toby: Silver Shirts, Silver Shorts, Silver Socks
First-half effort sees Catholic Utd to victory over Toby
Catholic Utd 3 – 0 Toby
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Additional photo by Offside Photography, used with thanks [@offsidephot]
This midweek saw an additional match as Catholic Utd took on Toby at Southchurch Park, in the Essex Olympian League Premier Division. Simon Thomas’ side needed a win from this third midweek game in recent weeks, to take them back into second spot. Toby’s aims were somewhat different, as big results recently have seen the Brewers start to pull away from the bottom four & they sought to continue to bolster that gap. The ‘Super Hoops’ named teenage loanee goalkeeper Woody Wells with a three-man defence of Aaron Clark, Matt Wilson and Jack Leech. Ben Burrows, skipper Michael Sammut & Tom Elliott were in midfield, with in-form forward Liam Oliver supported by Kofi Goodrum and Lucas Polyblank. Mark Jones’ Toby side featured Charlie Perry in goal, with a backline of Jack Bruce, Callum Mann, Jamie Simpkins & Jacob Evident. Tom Roser, captain Dean Maguchu and Rhys Willson were the attack-minded midfield, with a front three of Harry Barham, Albert Perry and Ben Picton.
It was certainly a match played in the distinctly chilly air of the South Essex coast, and before the visitors could get themselves settled, they went a goal behind. A decent set-piece from defender Aaron Clark after two minutes was angled in towards the far post and found forward Liam Oliver, who rose highest to power home a header into the opposite corner, past visiting custodian Charlie Perry. Unsurprisingly, this spurred Toby into action and the front three of Albert Perry, Ben Picton & Harry Barham had no lack of movement of pace about them. Barham was found by central midfielder Dean Maguchu’s neat pass, but Barham’s strike was over the top of home goalie Woody Wells’ crossbar. Toby had a decent spell of ball time at that point, but still looked a little vulnerabe retreating back after losing possession. The Essex Bhoys responded on 20 minutes, as Oliver was in on goal again, but this time his effort was well-denied by Perry’s save low down. Enterprising forward Joe O’Kane also sent an effort not far wide & the intent was clear from the home side.
Mark Jones’ side narrowly missed what turned out to be an important chance moments later as Maguchu’s header fizzed wide of the top right corner. The intent for Utd did pay off on 23 minutes as despite the Brewers calling for an off-side, Oliver was well-found in box and timed his run to beat the off-side trap and slot the ball low past Perry into the net. Perhaps the good possession play at times by the visitors encouraged Catholic to seek that crucial third goal, and just past the half hour, captain Michael Sammut’s strike was well-struck but was denied by a fine block by the defender, who charged it down well.
Seven minutes before the interval, a good run by tricky Utd midfielder Kofi Goodrum inside the area was halted, too abruptly for referee Chris McGovern’s liking, and a second later he pointed to the penalty spot. Oliver was given the responsibility and he duly blasted the ball high into the net for his hat-trick & his 11th league goal of the season. The action wasn’t quite done yet though Barham sent a decent header just wide a minute before the regulation 45 minutes was up, which highlighted the frustration of missed chances for Toby thus far.
Half-Time: Catholic Utd 3 – 0 Toby
After the break, the tempo was alright still but as to be expected, substitutes entering the fray did slightly change the complexion of the game. In fairness, it could have been worse for the visitors as three minutes after the resumption, a fierce drive by Utd midfielder Tom Elliott brought out another fine, sprawling save by Perry to deny him. Toby were still keen to grab a glimmer of hope to get themselves back into the game, and hard-working forward Albert Perry made a good run but found his resulting effort blocked by a Catholic defence that was no mood to concede soft goals. Just past the hour mark, Maguchu found himself in a decent position, and from a narrow angle struck his effort on target, forcing Wells into a smart save at his near post.
Ultimately though, Toby could not force a goal to give themselves the impetus they needed to get back into the match, as stubborn defending by the hosts enabled them to see out the remaining time & claim a decent three points, which meant they went back up into second place in the standings.
Full-Time: Catholic Utd 3 – 0 Toby
This match was pretty much won by the interval with Catholic’s goal-scoring ability the crucial difference between the two sides. Utd are impressing with the resilence shown in the last month, especially because of the near-regular midweek matches of late. Defensively, they were switched on and they needed to be as Toby did threaten at times. The Brewers showed enough in their play in this match to showcase why they have picked up results recently. An arguable lack of clinical finishing ultimately prevented them from taking anything from this game.
There were some good performances by both teams here. For Catholic Utd, forward Liam Oliver added to his recent goal-scoring streak with three different goals here, taking his chances well and doing a decent shift as the focal point of the hosts’ attack. Support forward Joe O’Kane showed good dribbling skills and pace, contributing well to his team’s forward moves. Midfielder Tom Elliott also had a good game, in both defence and setting up attacks. Add in a good work rate and Elliott bolstered his team’s display well. Lastly, centre-back Matt Wilson had a really good game, defending well and was usually in the right position at the correct time. Wilson’s display will be welcomed by his manager given the squad rotation required for the remainder of the season.
For Toby, support forward Harry Barham put in a good, engergetic display, showing his pace and movement and had he converted one of the two chances he had, it may have been a different game. Goalkeeper Charlie Perry pulled off at least three good saves to effectively keep his side in the game at times, also showcasing good positioning. Centre-back Jamie Simpkins made a few crucial interceptions and exemplified his team’s spirit. Lastly, despite not having a flurry of chances, forward Albert Perry kept the Utd backline alert and had good movement and work rate too.
I’ll close this article with a mention of a good 40+ page programme which the hosts provided pre-match, which is rare for a Step 7 game. Kudos to Media manager Rob Lilley & the team of contributors for that.
Catholic Utd | Manager: Simon Thomas | Assistant: Tom Harding | Physio: Emily Mackler
Starting XI: 1 Woody Wells (GK), 3 Aaron Clark, 6 Jack Leech, 4 Matt Wilson, 12 Ben Burrows, 7 Kofi Goodrum, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt), 16 Tom Elliott, 20 Lucas Polyblank, 17 Liam Oliver, 10 Joe O’Kane
Goal-scorers: Liam Oliver [2′, 23′ & 38′]
Subs ON [Time]: 2 Patrick Kearney [46′], 9 James Warder [55′, replaced Oliver], 14 Tobias Da Souza [64′, replaced Polyblank], 11 Franklin Craik [69′], 5 Louis Robinson [75′, replaced Sammut]
Booked: Goodrum | Subs Not Used: None
Toby | Manager: Mark Jones | Assistant: Ben Morgan & Dominic Cooper
Starting XI: 1 Charlie Perry (GK), 3 Jack Bruce, 46 Callum Mann, 45 Jamie Simpkins, 41 Jacob Evident, 8 Dean Maguchu (Capt), 10 Tom Roser, 38 Rhys Willson, 29 Harry Barham, 9 Albert Perry, 32 Ben Picton
Subs ON (Time): 7 Luke Jones (31′, replaced Bruce), 6 Chris Rowland [46′], 24 Oliver Dingli [64′, replaced Willson], 23 Sonny Leeks [64′, replaced Maguchu], 2 Jake Jones [64′]
Booked: L Jones, Mann, Leeks, A Perry | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Chris McGovern
Asstistants: Joe Cowdrey & Chris Parkinson