Essex Olympian League – Premier Division
Venue: Lakeside Sports Ground 3G
2021-22 Season: Match 83
Attendance: 130 (Est)
Saturday 14 May 2022 – 2.30pm KO
Ongar Town: Navy Blue Shirts, Shorts & Socks
Catholic Utd: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks
Strong display from Ongar confirms EOFL Premier title win with victory over Catholic Utd
Ongar Town 4 – 0 Catholic Utd
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The last Olympian League game of the campaign saw me travel to Lakeside 3G for the first time to see title-chasing Ongar Town face Catholic Utd with the assignment being a simple one – win this last game and the title would be theirs. Utd could still get fifth spot if they won here. Ongar named regular stopper Tim Pitman in goal, with a back four of Delphin Moorat, Harry Herbert and centre-backs George Hayes & Jake Chadwick. Skipper Mitchell McCabe was in midfield alongside Evernage Nyahunda and the forward line was led by Jack Zielinski and Harry Rawlins, supported by Joe Lilly. The visitors had Louis Godwin-Green as their custodian as ever, with John Nutman & Louis Robinson in their backline. Captain Michael Sammut was alongside Tom Elliott and Tom Kearney in midfield with James Warder and Franklin Craik leading their attack.
With the match being played in serene, warm conditions it was understandably a cagey start to proceedings as the visitors held firm defensively and negated the array of chances that Town had. Jack Zielinski had a header wide for Ongar and James Warder sent a difficult header off-target in the early moments. Ongar gradually retained possession better as Utd just could not keep the ball out of their half for long periods, and centre-back Jake Chadwick was unfortunate to have a decent header cannon back off the woodwork midway through the half.
Chances were increasing in their regularity for the hosts as a fine through ball by creative forward Joe Lilly found the run of Fred Mattock could only skew his effort wide of the left-sided post. Also, rapid forward Harry Rawlins was posing consistent problems down the left flank for Richard Ponsford’s side, and sent several chances in on goal but they didn’t seriously trouble Utd stopper Louis Godwin-Green. The only ‘down side’ for Ongar about the half was that they were not ahead when they certainly could have been.
Half-Time: Ongar Town 0 – 0 Catholic Utd
With the tension palpable as the match restarted, the visitors were keen to re=establish the defensive screen they fought hard to manage in the first 45 minutes but that shut-out ended two minutes after the break. Rawlins made another surging run down the left, and his pass eventually came to energetic midfielder Evernage Nyahunda who struck home low to find the net, much to the relief of the home contingent. It got better for Ongar just two minutes after that as a decent strike by Zielinski came back off the woodwork, but Lilly was there in the right spot ahead of covering defenders, and the Ongar forward made no mistake to really dampen the resolve of the Utd side.
By this point, it was really starting to be a one-sided match but take nothing away from the champions-elect as they made it three on 57 minutes. Rawlins made another fine bursting run past the Catholic defence and again the visitors couldn’t clear, allowing skipper Mitchell McCabe to stroke the ball home from close range. Lilly nearly made it four just short of the hour mark but his effort on goal was wide, though Utd really needed to retain the ball for the next phase of the game as they were being over-run by the exuberant Ongar forwards.
However, Ongar pressed on and they rewarded with the goal of the game with twenty-one minutes remaining. Mattock made a fine run himself on the left side of the penalty area, showing superb skill to evade his marker whilst controlling the ball to create the opportunity and fired home a great strike into the right corner of the net to add further gloss to an already strong score-line. Catholic did have a moment where they threatened to deny Ongar a clean sheet, but substitute Matt Creevy’s cross almost dipped under Ongar stopper Tim Pitman’s crossbar and with moments remaining, Rawlins was denied a deserved goal as his good low strike was denied well by Godwin-Green’s legs.
Overall though, Ongar more than deserved the points and they win the EOFL Premier Division on goal difference, which is tough on rivals Basildon Town but they have a different challenge in Step 6 next season after their promotion was ratified by the FA on Thursday evening. Ongar will remain in the Premier Division next term but don’t be surprised if they match Basildon’s achievement in time.
Full-Time: Ongar Town 4 – 0 Catholic Utd
To summarise, Ongar were thwarted by a hard-working Utd defence in first half but it was an altogether different story after the interval, as superb finishing comfortably saw them to a memorable first Premier Division title win since they entered the EOFL in 1968, many congratulations to manager Richard Ponsford, the playing squad and all at the club. They will definitely be ambitious for more success next term.
The stand-out performances here were led by Ongar’s Harry Rawlins who simply outpaced & outclassed the Catholic Utd defence and grabbed at least two assists, and was unfortunate to not score himself. His pace, crossing and energy levels were excellent. Central midfielder Mitchell McCabe had another assured game and did well to stroke home the third goal here, with Fred Mattock scoring the goal of the natch and generally assisted his team well. Lastly, a word for creative forward Joe Lilly who had a good game as well, curling in some fine passes and took his goal calmly as well.
For Utd, defender John Nutman did well in holding the lively Ongar forwards at bay for long periods in the first half, making important clearances. Full-back Alfie Whiteaker also made several good challenges & was decent with his free-kicks as well. To end, forwards James Warder & Franklin Craik had a hard job in attack but they still gave the home backline a couple if nervy moments in the first half. They just didn’t really get the service to influence the game here.
Finally, I’d like to add that it’s been super to watch more Olympian League matches this term, and with Runwell Sports & Toby joining the top-tier in 2022-23, next season looks good too. Just hope we have 15 or 16 teams in the division in August as that would add to the strength of the division.
Ongar Town | Manager: Richard Ponsford
Starting XI: 1 Tim Pitman (GK), 2 Delphin Moorat, 3 Harry Herbert, 5 George Hayes, 6 Jake Chadwick, 4 Evernage Nyahunda, 8 Mitchell McCabe (Capt), 7 Freddy Mattock, 9 Jack Zielinski, 10 Joe Lilly, 11 Harry Rawlins
Goal-scorers: Evernage Nyahunda [47′], Joe Lilly [49′], Mitchell McCabe [57′], Fred Mattock [69′]
Subs On (Time): 16 Conner Jones [62 ], 14 Joshua Boxall [67′], 15 Brandon Wood [70′], 17 Zach Holding [84′], 12 Oliver Plunkett [84′]
Booked: Herbert | Sub Not Used: None
Catholic Utd | Player-Manager: Simon Thomas | Assistant: Tom Harding
Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 3 Alfie Whiteaker, 20 John Nutman, 5 Louis Robinson, 6 Jack Leech, 19 Tom Elliott, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt), 7 Thomas Kearney, 10 Harrison Day, 9 James Warder, 19, 11 Franklin Craik
Subs On (Time): 17 Patrick Kearney [54′], 12 Tobias DeSouza [59′], 14 Matt Creevy [59′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Thomas
Referee: Kevin Nicholson
Assistants: Joseph Wilby & Henry Steele