Eastern Senior League South
Venue: Park Lane
2019 – 20 Season: Match 39
Saturday 16th November 2019 – 3pm KO
Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
M & Baker: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Bakers edge a pulsating match with Benfleet at Park Lane
Benfleet 2 – 3 May & Baker
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The weekend’s match took me to Park Lane, to see the Eastern Senior League South match between Benfleet and May & Baker. The increasing chill of November made it a good job that it wasn’t too long a trip to be fair. The Fleet named Danny Confrey between the posts, Emmanuel Adetokunbo and Finlay Dopson on the flanks with a front pair of Ben Foord and Taylor Lawrence. The likes of Jamie Brown, Alfie MacDonald and Ethan Evison were all on the bench. Bakers were missing the influential Kai Warren, though could still name Carl Patten and Danny Gillham in attack, with Darren Seymour and Henry Osei on the flanks. Gabriel Odili and Besmir Hoxhaj were options from the sidelines.
Perhaps it was the mentioned ‘chill’ that got this game to a strong start as Bakers custodian Frankie Worboyes was in action early-doors to deny the pacey Benfleet winger Emmanuel Adetokunbo from having a clear chance at goal after the latter had bypassed visiting defender Josh Perry. The increasing amount of chances in this match started in earnest about ten minutes in as Bakers skipper Scott O’Connor had a header cleared off the goal-line before Mitch Curran fired wide for the Fleet from twenty yards out. Minutes later, a good team move from the hosts ended with forward Taylor Lawrence striking wide of the right-side post. Bakers should really have led on 23 minutes though as a peach of a cross from the left by forward Carl Patten set up winger Darren Seymour well, only for Seymour to head wide, having evaded his marker.
It was a costly miss as Benfleet did break the deadlock moments later. From a good Lawrence corner, Curran got a glancing header which sailed past Worboyes into the net. Much to their credit, Bakers were not rattled though as just past the half-hour, a good run by winger Henry Osei ended up with a fine delivery from the left, though onrushing midfielder Josh Lowbridge could not get his header on target. As it turned out, those missed were not as costly as they could’ve been as five minutes prior to the interval, the match was level. Nifty footwork by Patten gave him a chance to find Osei who had breached the home defence before powering home with only Confrey to beat at the near post.
Half-Time: Benfleet 1 – 1 May & Baker
The attack-focused nature of the match continued after the break, as Benfleet sent out a few ‘warning shots’ just after the restart. Strikes on goal by Adetokunbo, Lawrence and strike partner Ben Foord all failed to severely trouble visiting stopper Worboyes, who gathered on all three occasions. With 49 minutes on the watch, a super strike by Lowbridge was superbly parried onto the crossbar by Confrey before the fortunate home defence somehow kept out the ensuing rebound. Soon after, the enterprising winger Finlay Dopson fizzed a strike wide of the right-side post and it’s worth noting he had a good impact on his side going forward making good runs down the channel.
For the visitors, Patten really was a very useful focal point in attack and his great through ball found Osei who unleashed a curling effort which went the wrong side of the woodwork. Again though, the chances not taken were costly for Jordan Harris & Alec Simms’ side as Benfleet re-took the lead midway through the half. A pearler of a ball in from deep by substitute Alfie MacDonald found the run of attacking midfielder Aaron Russell who headed home with aplomb. However, the lead lasted eight minutes before the visitors levelled things up once again on 72 minutes. A good free-kick into the penalty box caught the Fleet defence napping, with Patten nipping in to slot home past Confrey.
Bakers were buoyed by their leveller and looked to push on for the points in the latter stages. With 13 minutes left, a soaring run down the left by Osei fed substitute Gabriel Odili who unleashed a fierce effort which Confrey did well to keep out. Bakers also hit the woodwork from replacement Besmir Hoxhaj’s free-kick before the crucial goal came four minutes from time. Odili outpaced the tiring home backline before firing past Confrey when one-on-one, much to the delight of the travelling side.
Full-Time : Benfleet 2 – 3 May & Baker
All in all, this was a match that you couldn’t really predict the winner, such was the openness of the encounter, with both sides looking more than useful going forward. You could argue that the visitors wasted a number of good chances though ultimately they did finish quite strongly. Have to add it was good to see Benfleet at home for the first time, and good to see Bakers in action again.
In terms of stand-out performances, for the hosts there were a number of strong performances. Winger Finlay Dopson was certainly a key member of the forward line today with his pace and delivery, with ex-Great Wakering midfielder Aaron Russell having a telling presence too. Finally for them, have to give a mention to goalkeeper Danny Confrey who pulled off a few superb saves today, and winger Emmanuel Adetokunbo also stood out for the hosts. For Bakers, rapid winger Henry Osei really made a difference, after the interval in particular, with forward Carl Patten a big asset to his team with his height and build-up play. Centre-back Josh Perry also had a good game making a few important interceptions with on-loan full-back Cain Brougham making good runs from right-back.
Finally, I would like to pass on my thanks to ‘the Fleet’ for their hospitality today. It makes a difference as we now enter into the cold time of the year.
Benfleet | Manager: Stuart Batch |
1 Danny Confrey (GK), 2 Charlie Cobb, 3 Martyn Lacey (14 Alfie MacDonald 46’), 4 Jamie Williams, 5 Sonny Hartman (Capt), 6 Mitch Curran, 7 Emmanuel Adetokunbo (16 Charlie Sullivan 60’), 9 Ben Foord, 10 Taylor Lawrence (15 Ethan Evison 78’), 11 Finlay Dopson
Goal-scorers: Mitch Curran [25’], Aaron Russell [64’]
Booked (Sin Bin): Curran | Sub Not Used: Brown, Webb
May & Baker | Joint-Managers: Jordan Harris & Alec Simm
1 Frankie Worboyes (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Steve Johnson, 4 Scott O’Connor (Capt), 5 Josh Perry, 6 Kane Messenger, 7 Darren Seymour (17 Ben Saunders 83’), 8 Josh Lowbridge (14 Gabriel Odili 67’), 9 Carl Patten, 10 Danny Gillham, 11 Henry Osei
Goal-scorers: Henry Osei [40’], Carl Patten [72’], Gabriel Odili [86’]
Booked: Lowbridge, Odili | Subs Not Used: Leavens, Richardson
Referee: Joe Burgess