Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 5 – Sat 18 Sept) [EAL 21-22 20.9.21]

Penalty for CH Spartans tests FC Pretrocub ‘keeper (Image by @ABridgeTooFar16)

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the divisions and the inter-divisional Cup competitions (Essex Premier Cup, Essex Junior Cup, Essex Junior Trophy) from Saturday 18 September. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission with additional reporting by Scott W. Lead image by @ABridgeTooFar16 , used with thanks. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 18 September

SENIOR DIVISION

With county cup action involving a number of our clubs this weekend, a limited Senior Division schedule saw league leaders, Chadwell Heath Spartans, on the road with a trip down the A12 to take on FC Petrocub at Noak Hill. Trailing by a goal at the break, Spartans fought back and took all three points with Courtney Holness and an own goal contributing to a 2 – 1 victory.  Second placed Woodford East took advantage of sides around them being out of action as they climbed up into the top two with a big away win in Hainault against Blue Marlin. Billy Barr has been in good form and added another four goals to his tally here, with Lucio Uare netted twice and  Adam Tabbani and Jack Haspineall also netting in an 8 – 1 win.

Completing the top-flight action, there was a key battle at the other end of the table as winless Tower United were at home to CSM London on Saturday in Mabley Green seeking to open their points account. And that was exactly what they did as Abubakar Maxamed struck four goals to counter a CSM fight-back from Joel Palmer, Lukman Hasan and Oscar-Ikye Williams in a 4 – 3 scoreline.  


PREMIER DIVISION 

It’s three from three now for the Premier Division leaders after Frenford A extended their winning run with a hard fought victory away at Crookz United on Saturday. Both sides went into the fixture unbeaten but it was the leaders who will have come away the happier of the two teams, recording a 2 – 1 win to move four points clear at the top with Damilola Olaiya and Nesar Torkamani scoring for the visitors. Crookz Utd responded through John Afrane-Kesey. Sitting second are Marcelona who also kept their unbeaten record running for another week as they secured a second draw to go alongside their solitary win, as they were involved in a incredible 4 – 4 draw away at Oakside who made their competition debut. There proved to be little between the sides as they settled for a share of the spoils. Oakside’s goals came from a brace from Moustapha Kane, plus strikes by Luke Caston and Jack Swaby.

Another side making their league debut were Athletic Newham Under 23s who finally got underway at the weekend as they hosted All Prospects in East Ham. Daniel Devey scored for the visitors, making their return to this level, but that effort proved not quite enough as Newham scored five of their own to win it 5 – 1. 

There’s little to separate the sides in fifth and sixth where Eastside presently sit in the former on the back of a win and a defeat in their opening two games. London Park City were their opponents this weekend with Alexandru Gheorghe and Wais Heshemy efforts finding the target for their side. But substitute Ifeanyi Umeh’s hat-trick plus a Michael Morgan goal gave ‘Side the 4 – 2 win. 

Sixth-placed Wapping trail by just goals scored and opened their points account for the new season with a closely fought 1 – 0 home win against North East Lions courtesy of Meeshaq Malone’s goal. That result saw the hosts bounce back well from their opening defeat to take maximum points in Hackney to move into the top half of the table. 


DIVISION ONE 

In Division One, two sides are fighting hard at the top of the early standings where Cowley Community presently hold sway at the top on goal difference following a second consecutive win, recording a 3 – 2 win at home against Something From Nothing in a five goal thriller. That man Chris Wright netted once again with James Allen and Kyle Cargill strikes edging the contest. 

Renegade are up to third in the table as they completed the full set of results, adding a win to their draw and defeat, the victory coming at the hands of Wanstead at the Flats. Vincent Follea, Deon Thwala, Nana Baah and Daekwon King-Douglas all struck to give the Hackney based side their maiden win in a 4-2 score-line. Also at the Flats, Newham Wanderers bounced back well from their defeat last time out in the opening round of games to reign supreme as they welcomed Francis Luke. Wanderers goals from Admir Cassama, Robertson Morais and Joao Cruz were crucial to separate the sides with Saico Djop’s effort in reply proving insufficient as the hosts won 3 – 1. 

Barkingside A opened their new season in some style with a solid 4 – 2 victory as they hosted Forest Green at Nutter Lane, the visitors remaining winless after their opening two games in the competition. The hosts had a double from Josh Rowe plus goals from Umaru Kabia and Harry Nicholson to thank for this success. That win sees ‘Side move up to fifth and gives them much hope for the campaign ahead. 

It was also a good afternoon’s work for Belfry who got their own campaign off to the best of starts as they took maximum points in a 1 – 0 score-line, scoring in the dying embers of the game to defeat Ilford Reserves at May & Baker, a game which looked well fought between two well equipped sides. 


DIVISION TWO 

It’s Rainham Working Mens Club setting the early pace in the fourth tier this season after they got a third win of the campaign already following a solid away victory at Ryan Under 23s in Walthamstow. Workies goals from Matthew Humphreys, Nick Tormey, Connor Kain, Odo Osei-Tutu & Sean Tormey were enough in the end to round off a 5 – 1 win. William Amoah netted the solitary goal for the Ryan side here. Three further sides sport a perfect record in the division where FHN Athletic presently lead the chasing pack on the back of a second win of the campaign, sending Emerson & Upminster Reserves to a 4 – 1 defeat in Hainault. Dan Lane struck for the visitors but Joseph O’Hare, Michael Barek, Terron Fordjoe and Amos Agyei goals handed their FHN side the points. 

Fairlop Rovers are the third side with a 100% start so far in the division but had to do things the hard way as they came from behind against a solid Royal Forest side to record a 4 – 2 win on the road in Loughton. Joe Owers and Martin Cannon blasted onto the Royal score-sheet but two Dylan Scutt goals in reply plus efforts from Toby Stephens and Harry Oliver did just enough to rescue the points. 

There was a nine-goal thriller served up in Loughton’s other match offering as Unitey hosted Redbridge Community at Roding Valley High School. Brandon Fulton certainly knows where the goal is and he scored a hat-trick for Unitey here, adding to Jordan Vib and Ahmed Dousa goals. Two Frankie Francis consolations and goals from Harvir Bhangal and Alibacar Dabo netted in reply for Redbridge. 


DIVISION THREE 

It’s Old Barkabbeyans Reserves presently setting the pace in Division Three as they exploded in front of goal on Saturday, winning 13 – 1 away at Terin to go top of the pile. Mehdi Ahorbi’s five-goal haul set the side on their way with Chris Plummer, Callum Elliott, Alex Donkor Junior, Kacper Kasprzycki, Robbie Osborne, Okey Obialo, Jason Cassama and Ryan Lindfield efforts making it a memorable day. 

Royal Forest Reserves made their bow in the fifth tier on Saturday as they made the short trip of a few yards to face Melbourne Sports at Fairlop Oak. Two goals apiece from Tom Alexander and Will Asenso were the difference between the sides in the end as Forest firmly laid their roots in the division with an excellent 4 – 1 win.  Also back in action for the first time this season, ASA made a good start with an opening victory in Hackney Marshes as they faced Glendale. Trailing at the break to a Khari Pobi strike for the Dales, second half ASA goals from Mithurn Vijayarajah, Jubayed Miah and Saranth Veersasingam changed the context of the game, Wesley Kangi netting another for the Dales late on as ASA won 3 – 2. 

Lymore Gardens Reserves responded well to their opening defeat of the campaign as they returned home from Chigwell with all three points after sending Harlow Inter to a 5 – 2 defeat. Macauley Harrington and Ashton Livermore-Rose both scored for Inter but those efforts proved not quite enough with Lymore doing enough to take the spoils.  It was also a great day for Buckhurst Way as they also reversed their fortunes from their opening game in the competition to take home the points with them from their match at Flyers Under 23s. Muhammed Waqas got on the hosts’ score-sheet but Way edged the contest with two of their own to win it 2 – 1.


DIVISION FOUR 

Fairlop Rovers Reserves stay top of Division Four on the back of a third consecutive win to make it a good afternoon for the club. Jake Atherton’s goal for Flyers Under 21s made this a real contest but Rovers done just enough to edge it 2 – 1 and maintain a three point gap at the top. Elsewhere, Chingford Harriers are up to second in the table taking a goal difference advantage over the other sides level on points aided by a big win on the road as they defeated Collier Row A, 8 – 0. Jake Kemp was in fine fettle with a hat-trick, Edwin Jabbari and Darnell Lamothe both scored twice with Jesse Middleweek’s effort rounding things off. 

In third, Emerson & Upminster A keep themselves in contention at the top as they made it two wins from three so far this term, returning home from Loughton with all the points against Avondale Rangers. Bryn Compton-Lowe led the way with two goals, Tyler Huggett and Robert Spratley striking with the other goals in a 4 – 0 win. 

Also on six points, Newham Royals came out on the right side of the “Newham” derby as they defeated Newham & Havering Borough, oddly, quite a long way from Newham! Rainham was the host venue for this five goal thriller which saw Ashley Evett, Andre Peters and Billy Grainger goals separate the sides in a 3 – 2 Royal win. 


COUNTY CUPS 

It was BBC Essex Premier Cup day for a few of our sides with mixed fortunes. DT FC came from two goals down at the break against Walthamstow Reserves to advance into round two, turning things around in the second period thanks to goals from Billy Golledge (2), Lewis Evans, Stanley Green and Kieran Hipgrave to run out 5 -2 winners to set up a clash at home to Holland Reserves. Leyton Royal perhaps picked up the result of the day for our sides with the longest of trips, almost the entire length of the A12 as they headed to the north of the county to take on Lawford Lads. A terrific performance saw them win 3 – 1 and book a return trip up the A12 where they now head to Tiptree Heath in round two. 

It wasn’t such a great day for two of our other representatives who both slipped to narrow 2 – 1 reverses. Chigwell Town were up against Essex Senior League Reserve Division side May & Baker Reserves and were edged out in a close game thanks to goals from Brandon Johnson and Tolu Dina goals for M & B.  Over in Leyton, Epping Town were the first visitors at Lymore Gardens’ new home at the County Ground. Another closely fought game saw our side edged out with Epping the beneficiaries with a 2 – 1 victory to book their place in Round Two. 

Both Dagenham United sides were also in county cup action where the first team saw their Essex Junior Cup campaign come to a halt in the opening round with a big 5 – 0 defeat against local rivals, Barking Under 23s who hail from the Isthmian Development League.  Things were a little more plain sailing for Dagenham United Reserves who faced fellow Essex Alliance League opposition with West Essex Under 23s the visitors to Castle Green in their Essex Junior Trophy clash. Dagenham came through by the odd goal in seven, winning it 4 – 3 to go through to Round Two. 


Fixtures (Top 3 tiers only) – Saturday 25th September (2pm KO unless stated)

EAL Senior Division

Chigwell Town  v  Lymore Gardens
   |

CSM London  v  FC Petrocub   | West Ham Community Grd 3G, Beckton

FC Baresi  v  Tower Utd   | Britannia Sports Grd, W’stow

Kit Out London  v  Chadwell Heath Spartans   | Noak Hill 3G

Leyton Royal  v  Rapid Chingford  | Fairlop Oak Playing Fields

Woodford East  v  Blue Marlin  | Lakeside Sports Ground 3G (2.30pm KO)


EAL Premier Division

Frenford A  v  Marcelona  | Jack Carter Centre

North East Lions  v  Eastside  | Peter May Sports Centre



EAL Division One

Francis Luke  v  Renegade  | Leyton County Ground

RC XI  v  Cowley Community  | Belhus Park, Aveley

Something from Nothing  v  Belfry  | Wanstead Flats


Fenton Cup – Round One

DT FC  v  Dagenham Utd  | The Harlow Arena 3G

Full fixture list available at essexallianceleague.com

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-ups (Wk 4 – Sat 11 Sept) [EAL 21-22 14.9.21]

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the divisions from Saturday 11 September. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 11 September

SENIOR DIVISION

It’s as you were at the summit of the Senior Division where Chadwell Heath Spartans continue to lead the way after securing a third league win in four with victory in Chigwell against FC Baresi. Raymond Pok got on the visitors scoresheet once again but Spartan strikes from Samir Aboulainaf and Thomas Callagher were enough to see their side to a 2-1 win and maximum points.

Sitting in second and with a perfect record thus far, Jolof Sports continued a spirited start to the season as they recorded a solid 3-0 win against FC Petrocub at Lakeside, putting the memories of their county cup defeat in June behind them. Mody Gaye, Serigne Samb and Bogdan Ursica notched the goals as they also extended their cleansheet run to three matches.

Woodford East’s start since promotion has also shown their potential and the Peacocks are in third place after the first four weeks of the season with two wins and a draw to their name thus far. Their most recent victory came from the Marshes where they ended Lymore Garden’s unbeaten start as Billy Barr’s hat-trick and an Adam Tabbani effort proved decisive in a 4-2 scoreline.

Trailing just behind East by a single goal scored are Leyton Royal who themselves have made the step up in level with aplomb and extended their unbeaten start to a third game with a comprehensive 7-1 home win against Blue Marlin in Chingford. Tamer-Andrei Bozgan scored four of the goals with Catalin Gavril, Marian Nedelea and Bogdan Toana efforts completing a Royal win.

Kit Out London are another of the division’s seven sides to yet be defeated and after a couple of opening draws, they finally got their wins account into the plus as they defeated Tower United 4-1 at Noak Hill. Yasin Zougui, Oliver Holmes, Marlon Ortiz and substitute Abbas Yassin were all on the scoresheet for the hosts to continue their good start.

Two of the sides having made indifferent starts met in Beckton as Chigwell Town made the short trip down the A406 to face CSM London, both sides beginning the game without a point. Despite a Ross Chimes goals for Town, it was Ramone Senior’s brace for CSM that made the difference in the end as the hosts won 2-1 to take their first points of the campaign.

PREMIER DIVISION

In the Premier Division, Frenford A have opened up a two point gap at the top after two rounds of fixtures as they made it two wins from two, coming away victors in their clash against London Cranes on Saturday. Moses Kazibwe scored for the visitors but two Nesar Torkamani efforts off the bench and strikes from Isima Oguisi and Damilola Olaiya gave Frenfor d a 4-1 win at The Drive.

Marcelona just behind the leaders in the chasing pack after they followed up an opening day draw with a first victory in the competition to remain unbeaten so far. They were up against Wapping at Paringdon and came away winners by the odd goal in five, edging a close game to take their points tally to four.

In similar fashion, third placed North East Lions also made it four points from six in their opening two games and sit just one point off of the top two after recording an impressive 2-1 win at London Park City, one of the sides expected to challenge at the top this year. Shane Thomas and Tashan Benjamin had other ideas however as their Lions side edged to a narrow but crucial win in Seven Kings.

DIVISION ONE

The Division One table sees two of the league’s new member clubs leading the way as RCXI made it two wins from two in their opening fixtures to move three points clear of the rest. They were visitors to Newham Wanderers on Saturday and edged to a close 2-1 win through goals from Hassan Sesay and Jide Lewis. Robertson Morais was on the scoresheet for Wanderers with his customary goal.

Sitting in second, Ilford Reserves made their debut in the competition with a solid home win against Francis Luke, winning 5-1 in Dagenham. Luke Newbury-Neale scored twice with Joseph Sulola, Serghei Scupoi and Abdulrahman Cheraitia efforts finishing things off. Jose Da Silva grabbed the Luke consolation goal in response.

Cowley Community are a side who will be seeking to convert cup success from the last two seasons into a league title and they made a terrific start in new surrounds, defeating Forest Green 4-1 on Saturday in Newbury Park. Josh Coulson scored a hat-trick for Cowley with Ryan Thompson-Cobham also netting to earn all three points for their club.

The division’s final game came from Hackney where two of the league’s new members met with Renegade up against debutants Something From Nothing. After their opening day defeat, Renegade got a point on the board in a 1-1 draw as SFN netted late on to share the spoils, the sides sitting fourth and fifth in the table.

DIVISION TWO

Two sides presently sit atop of the standings in Division Two with a pair of opening victories and Rainham Working Mens Club lead the way on goal difference after securing a second win, seeing off the efforts of Royal Forest. Sean Tormey scored twice with Connor Kain and Odo Osei-Tutu efforts finishing things off in a 4-2 win.

Just behind Rainham sit Old Esthameians who followed up their opening day success with a hard fought win against new side Redbridge Community after the sides met in Dagenham. E’s were 2-1 winners on the day to confirm maximum points and sit just a few goals off top spot so far.  

Fairlop Rovers started the new season how they ended the last with a solid opening win on the road, picking up all three points in a win against Newbury East. George Montgomery scored twice for East but Rovers goals from Sam Beaman (2), Sam Balmforth, Brandon Dillon, Dylan Scutt and Joe Reynolds finished the job in a 6-2 scoreline.

The last game of the day in the top division came from Walthamstow where Ryan Under 23s were up against Unitey in both sides’ second fixtures after opening day defeats. It will be the visitors, Unitey, who left the happier of the clubs as Ahmed Dousa’s brace and a Matthew Pitchford effort were sufficient to see their team to a 3-1 win on the road.

DIVISION THREE

FC Baresi Under 23s made a great start to their first season in the competition as they returned home with all three points from their trip to fellow new side, Buckhurst Way. Zach Aliane scored twice while Leo Siki and Kii Jean-Baptiste also netted as Baresi ran out 4-1 victors to move third in the standings.

There was an eight goal thriller over in Barking where Melbourne Sports were the visitors to face Old Barkabbeyans Reserves at Barking Abbey. Jarode Mbungu, Callum Elliott and Robbie Osborne all struck the net for Old Barks but those efforts proved in vain as the Mels scored five of their own to win 5-3 on the day.

DIVISION FOUR

It’s been a great start to the campaign for Fairlop Rovers Reserves who head up the Division Four standings after two weeks, earning themselves a 2-0 win on Saturday to follow up their opening win last time out. Their opponents this week were Emerson & Upminster A who made a good start themselves but two Joe Head goals on debut were the difference for his Rovers outfit.

Collier Row A sit second in the table as they started their second season with the league with a thumping win away at Newham Royals in Rainham. Row ran in nine goals with the Royals only able to respond with three of their own as the visitors returned home the happier of the two teams.

It was a better second week of the season for West Essex Under 23s who responded to an opening day defeat to win 3-2 against Avondale Rangers who remain winless thus far. Anthony Adeoba and Phillip Heinen both got on the score-sheet for Rangers but West goals from Javen Cole, Amari Dixon and Daniel Mincer provided the platform for a hard fought victory.

The day’s final action came at King George’s Park in Romford where Flyers Under 21s made their competitive debut as hosts to Dagenham United Reserves. Lewis Bennett scored twice for Dagenham with Shaquille Mathurin netting the other as the visitors went away with the points in a 3-1 scoreline, that result moving them up to sixth in the standings.

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 3 – Sat 4 Sept) [EAL 21-22 6.9.21]

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog under the “Guest Blog” strand. The first extended edition of the campaign sees the start of Divisions One – Four this weekend, on Saturday 4 September. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 4 September

Senior Division 

Two sides now sit joint-top of the Senior Division after the third weekend of action as Chadwell Heath Spartans took their points tally to seven following a draw away to Rapid Chingford on Saturday. Bradley Downes got on the score-sheet for the visitors to help his side remain unbeaten, Rapid also netted through Federico Ardei in an eventual 1-1 draw. Lymore Gardens have also climbed to seven points and trail the leaders by just goal difference as they picked up a 4 – 2 victory from their game against Blue Marlin. Andre Rashford netted twice with Bradley Williams and Rob Small efforts seeing them to maximum points on the day. Nathan Desnoes and Ni Acquaye scored Marlin’s consolation efforts in reply. 

With two wins from two, Jolof Sports are now the only side with a perfect record thus far and they maintained that with a solid performance away at Tower United, earning a 6 – 0 win at Mabley Green to go third. Joshua Kweifio-Okai was the hero with a hat-trick for his side, further goals arriving through Moustapha Gueye, Mody Gaye and Fode Diakhite. 

The battle between the division’s 4th and 5th placed unbeaten sides saw DTFC meet Woodford East at the Harlow Arena & it was the hosts who took an early lead through Jake Kissiedu. East however held on after that and earned themselves a valuable point late in the game with Jack Haspineall’s effort making it 1 -1 in the dying embers of the game. 

The division’s remaining game saw a glut of goals with FC Petrocub and FC Baresi combining for a total of twelve efforts. Baresi will ultimately have left the happier of those sides however as Tyreece Robertson scored a hat-trick, Hamza Shire scored twice and one apiece from Ashley Godwin, Raymond Pok, Marvin Smith and Paul Benfield completed an emphatic 9 – 3 win. 


Premier Division

The rest of the league joined the action this weekend and Frenford A made an early impact in the Premier Division with a 2-0 home victory as they took on Eastside at The Drive, with both sides looking to build upon solid performances last term. Daniel Francis and Murilo Pereira efforts were the difference on the day as Frenford took all three points away with them to go top. The division’s other two games ended in score draws with the most exciting of those witnessed at Castle Green as Dagenham United shared the spoils with new members, Crookz United, in a 3 – 3 scoreline. A brace from Lewis Bennett and an Iaia Jau goal accounted for the three Dagenham goals on the day while Abdouaziz Jeng, Kevin Osei and John Afrane-Kesey all responded to level it up. 

Fourth and fifth places in the standings are held by league debutants Marcelona and North East Lions respectively after the opening action as they teams combined to record a draw in Harlow. Tashan Benjamin scored the Lions goal but Marcelona were up to the task and scored one of their own to ensure they left with a point in a 1 – 1 draw. 

EAL Division One

There was just the one match in Division One on the opening day with two of the league’s new clubs meeting in Hackney where Renegade played host to RCXI with both sides keen to impress on their competitive debuts. It will have been the visitors who left the happier of the sides as Hassan Sesay and Sammy Anjorin both netted to give RCXI a 2 – 1 victory. 


EAL Division Two

A near full fixture list opened Division Two for the season and Emerson & Upminster Reserves lead the way after a crazy 9 – 5 win in the first game of the season as they beat Loughton Lions at Debden Park High School. Tobi Onafeko and Ross Braybrooke each netted hat-tricks for Emerson with Sonny Scott, Alex Pizzey and Joshua Gibbins efforts rounding off the win. Loughton responded with some vigour though as a brace from Taylor Mclaughlin and strikes by Harrison Andrews, William Osmond and Jake Roberts made for a truly stirring contest.

Two sides sit level in second with FHN Athletic shading it on alphabetical order so following a 4 – 0 away win against debutants Newbury East in their clash in Newbury Park. Owen McConnell scored twice on his debut for FHN with Michael Barek and Terron Fordjoe goals earning the visitors maximum points to start the season. 

Rainham Working Mens Club are the other side in second as they equalled the result of their rivals with a solid 4 – 0 home victory against another of the league’s debutants, in Redbridge Community. Cameron Shakes really mixed things up with a brace as Nick Tormey and Sean Tormey goals rounded things off in favour of the hosts.  Goals were the order of the day in the remaining games where Royal Forest picked up a solid first win of the season as they entertained Ryan Under 23s at Roding Valley High School. Tom Osmond scored twice for Forest with Joe Owers, Harry Killick and George Taylor all scoring to give their side a 5 – 3 victory. Marley Wilson-Braithwaite grabbed a Ryan hat-trick in reply for the visitors. 

There was a seven-goal thriller in Newbury Park where two of the division’s stalwarts, Old Esthameians and Unitey, met for their opening game. Mohammed Abaker scored twice and Ahmed Dousa once for Unitey but their efforts proved in vain as Old E’s had doubles from Neil Robinson and Brad Harris to thank for coming out on the right side of a 4 – 3 victory. 


EAL Division Three

The goals continued to flow into Division Three where Harlow Inter made a great start to life in the competition, producing a stunning performance to beat fellow new side, Terin, in a 10 – 2 scoreline at Chigwell School. Lindsey Marsh scored a hat-trick, Connor Starling and Ben Homewood both scored twice with Macauley Harrington, Matthew Koayloay and Sam Balmforth efforts finishing it off. 

Sitting second in the table, Old Barkabbeyans Reserves produced their own top drawer performance as they defeated Lymore Gardens Reserves 8 – 3 at Barking Abbey. Mehdi Ahorbi scored a hat-trick, Robbie Osborne and Luke Sewell bagged braces and Klodian Meta picked up the final goal to give them a winning start to the new campaign. 


EAL Division Four 

Just alphabetical order keeps the two sides apart at the head of Division Four as Emerson & Upminster A confirmed an opening day 3 – 0 win with a victory away at Dagenham United Reserves at Castle Green. Nicholas Sofianov, Ryan Whitton and Stephen Lee all found the back of the net to make it a good afternoon for Emerson sides in the league. 

One letter back in the alphabet, Fairlop Rovers Reserves made a winning start in Rainham on their competitive debut with a solid win away at fellow debutants, Newham & Havering Borough. Goals from Tino Daga and substitutes, Sean McGilloway and Toby Stephens, were enough to help Fairlop to a 3 – 0 win. 

A familiar face at this level holds third place after this game week with Newham Royals taking on West Essex Under 23s at Salisbury Hall. Aaron Brooks and Daniel Mincer got on the score-sheet for West but Royals rattled in four of their own to take a 4-2 victory on the day, starting their season in a positive fashion.  In the day’s final fixture, two more of the league’s stalwarts met in Loughton where Chingford Harriers picked up an opening victory against Avondale Rangers. The experienced trio of Alex Diner, Nicholas Shawyer and Edwin Jabbari did the damage with their sides three goals on the day. Despite a solitary reply from Laurence Brady for Avondale, Harriers returned home to E4 with a 3 – 1 win under their belts. 

__________________

Fixtures – EAL on Saturday 11 September (Top Three Divisions only – stc)

Senior Division

Chadwell Heath Spartans  v  FC Baresi  | Chigwell Hall

CSM London  v  Chigwell Town | West Ham Community Ground 3G, Beckton

DT FC  v  Rapid Chingford   | Harlow Arena 3G

Jolof Sports  v  FC Petrocub   | Lakeside Sports Ground (2.30pm KO)

Leyton Royal  v  Blue Marlin    |  Fairlop Oak Playing Fields

Woodford East  v  Lymore Gardens   | Hackney Marshes


Premier Division

Frenford A  v  London Cranes  | The Drive

Lomdon Park City  v  North East Lions  | Seven Kings Sch 3G

Marcelona  v  Wapping   | Paringdon Sports Club


Division One

Cowley Community  v  Forest Green  | Ford’s Sports Club (Newbury Park)

Ilford Reserves  v  Francis Luke   | London Marathon Sports Grond, Hainault

Newham Wanderers  v  RC XI    | Wanstead Flats

Renegade  v  Something From Nothing (SFN)  | Hackney Marshes

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 2 – Sat 28 August) [EAL 21-22 30.8.21]

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog under the “Guest Blog” strand. This shortened edition looks at the second weekend of the Regional Feeder League that took place on Saturday 28 August. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League Senior Division – Saturday 28 August

The early leaders in the Senior Division are promoted Chadwell Heath Spartans who have followed up a narrow success in week one with a thumping victory the second time around, beating Chigwell Town in a 6 – 0 scoreline. Miguel Martins and Niru Hunwicks both bagged braces with Samir Aboulainaf and Jonathan Evans goals ensuring the points when home with Spartans. 

Lymore Gardens sit just a couple of points back at the head of the chasing pack as they followed up their emphatic win on Monday night with a point against unbeaten Leyton Royal. Ahmed Faisal had given Gardens the lead but a Royal equaliser by Bogdan Octavian Toana saw them take a share of the points in an eventual 1 – 1 draw, the sides seperated just by goal difference at this stage. 

Sandwiched between the two “L” sides sit a DTFC outfit who remain unbeaten themselves and picked up a point from their trip to Noak Hill to face Kit Out London. Kit Out were ahead but DT fought back to level and then lead themselves thanks to goals from Bill Golledge and Lewis Page before a late strike from distance rescued a point for the hosts for whom Marlon Ortiz and Badr Chiboub were on target in a 2 – 2 draw. 

Jolof Sports got themselves off of the mark in their first game of the new campaign as they made a short trip to fellow Newham-based CSM London at the West Ham Community Ground in Beckton. Jolof goals from Bogdan Ursica, Joshua Kewifio-Okai and Papa Ndiaye were more than enough to earn a 3 – 0 win, keeping CSM winless after their opening two fixtures. 


Fixtures – Saturday 4 September (top three tiers only, full list on the EAL website)

Senior Division

DT FC  v  Woodford East    | the Harlow Arena 3G

FC Petrocub  v  FC Baresi    | Noak Hill 3G

Lymore Gardens  v  Blue Marlin   | Lakeside 3G (2.30pm KO)

Rapid Chingford  v  Chadwell Heath Spartans  | Salisbury Hall SG (3pm KO)

Tower Utd  v Jolof Sports   | Mabley Green 3G


Premier Division

Dagenham Utd  v  Crookz Utd   | Castle Green Leisure Centre

Eastside  v  Frenford A   | Hackney Marshes

Marcelona  v  North East Lions   | Paringdon Sports Club, Great Parndon


Division One

Renegade  v  RCXI    | Hackney Marshes

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 1 – Sat 21 August) [EAL 21-22 23.8.21]

Hello and welcome to the first of th season’s round-ups of the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog under the “Guest Blog” strand. This shortened edition looks at the first-ever weekend of the new Step 7 (or Regional Feeder League) that took place n Saturday 21 August. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League Senior Division – Saturday 21 August

Following what was the shortest summer break in league history, the new Essex Alliance League started for our Senior Division clubs on Saturday as the country’s newest Regional Feeder League commenced with five fixtures.

The early league leaders after the opening fixtures are promoted Woodford East who made their bow in the top flight with an impressive 5 – 0 away victory at Tower United at Mabley Green to move top. Callum Maltese scored twice for East with Frank Glock, Sonny Feltwell and Matthew Stacey goals rounding off a top draw performance.

Sitting second on goal difference are another of the promoted sides as Chadwell Heath Spartans made a spirited start to top flight football edging a tight contest against Blue Marlin 2 – 1. Michael Ramsey and Samir Aboulainaf got the all important goals to win the game on their competitive debut at their new home in Chigwell.

It’s merely alphabetical order separating the sides in third and fourth respectively as DT FC opened their new campaign as they finished the last with a victory in a close contest with CSM London, the two sides meeting for the first time. And it was just an own goal that was the difference between the sides, DT the beneficiaries of that key moment to win 1 – 0 at the Harlow Arena.

It was another good day for a promoted side as Leyton Royal became of the third such side to record an opening day victory as they made the trip to Noak Hill to face last season’s London Junior Cup finalists, FC Petrocub. Florin Porceanu was on target with the only goal as another close game ended 1 – 0.

The final fixture on Saturday came from Walthamstow where the division’s fourth promoted side, Kit Out London, made the journey to east London to take on Rapid Chingford who were themselves looking for a positive start to the campaign. There was little between the sides in the end with the game ending in a 1 – 1 draw, both sides earning a hard fought point.


Fixtures – EAL Senior Division

Mon 23rd August – FC Baresi v Lymore Gardens | at Mayesbrook Park 3G (8pm KO)


Saturday 28th August (2pm KO’s I understand)

Chadwell Heath Spartans v Chigwell Town | Chigwell Hall Spts Grd

CSM London v Jolof Sports | West Ham Community Grd 3G, Beckton

Kit Out London v DT FC | Noak Hill 3G

Leyton Royal v Lymore Gardens | Salisbury Hall Spts Grd

2021 Club In-Focus – Dagenham Utd [CIF June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EAL Writer

Hello and welcome to a ‘bonus’ instalment of ‘In-Focus’ blogs for Summer 2021. In this fourth article, I caught up with Essex Alliance League (EAL) side Dagenham Utd, who also competed in the group-only Essex Alliance League Cup since the resumption of Football in March this year.

The ‘Daggers’ have had a side in the EAL divisions since 2017, and although their first team are a more recent addition after coming over from the Olympian League.

In this article, I’m pleased to be joined by First Team player-boss (and Adult Section Chairman) Chris Mascall (CM) and First Team Secretary & Physio Jamie Mascall (JM) to give their thoughts on how the recent League Cup has been to compete in, the season as a whole, the inside track on the club and their thoughts on the change coming for the EAL next season. My thanks to them both for their time & Jamie for the Action images shown here.

Dagenham Utd compete in the Essex Alliance Lge (EAL)

SW: It’s fair to say that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?

CM: “It’s a pleasure Scott, thanks for taking the time to talk to us also.” 

“It has been a frustrating campaign again in terms of the stop start of lockdown etc., but we do take some positives from the last lockdown as it allowed a couple of our key players to return from substantial injuries they suffered at the start of the season which disrupted our season towards the Xmas period. 

In terms of positives on the pitch this season, we had a strong showing in our league division, pushing at the top of the table for promotion for the majority of the season and picking up some very good results along the way. The restart of the league cup groups yielded some of our best results as we introduced a new system and style of play, which lead to us winning all of our cup group games bar one, narrowly missing out on silverware” 


SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?

CM: “There have been some great matches this season but for the neutral, there’s only one that can really spring to mind. We had a home game early on in the season (on October 3rd 2020 – Ed) vs Forest Green which ended 5 – 4 to us with a winner in the 88th min, an outrageous goal from our winger Rodeny Dos Santos Varela whom cut in on the edge of the box and curled one into the opposite corner lobbing the keeper and leaving him stranded, the absolutely scenes that followed were amazing as it was pure euphoria and a goal worthy of winning any game at any level! Our Reserve team were playing at home too that week and won their game also and so the joint celebrations that took place immediately after the games were fantastic with both teams coming together to enjoy the results in what was a great show of the real family feel we have at this club.” 


SW: On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment/s from this season?

JM: “I would say it would have to be the game Chris just mentioned , the togetherness of the teams and the pure elation they both had for each other’s results was beautiful to see. It was a lovely day weather-wise, both teams winning in spectacular fashion and really felt like it was one of those moments that makes all the hard work running and organising these teams worth it. It was a real ‘this is why we do it’ moment.” 


Action Still (Dag Utd in Blue & White Stripes) [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

SW: I vaguely remember the club’s first team being among the sides competing in Essex Olympian League (EOFL). How has it been competing in the Alliance League (EAL) since you came over at Division Two level?

CM: “Yes that’s right, our first team used to compete in the Essex Olympian league and moved across to the Alliance League last season. After transferring to Dagenham, I started my journey as First Team Captain and then moved into a management role with the Reserve team whom were entered into the Essex Alliance League in 2016/17 season I believe it was. It was a real ‘start from scratch’ project. I then moved into the First Team Managers role and the Adult Section chairman position, setting out a five-year progression plan for the men’s teams to aim towards. This was when we entered First & Reserve teams into the Alliance, comprised of a few key players from the Reserve team and a lot of new additions whom were eager to join the exciting project and we haven’t looked back since as I enter my 5th season managing within the EAL. 

In terms of abilities of the teams within the respective leagues, I genuinely don’t see much difference In quality, and the EAL have some great teams and players amongst the leagues.”


SW: You competed in Group D of the hastily-convened Essex Alliance League Cup finishing in third spot, two points behind leaders Cowley Community. How was it to return to playing after such a long lay-off?

CM: “To be fair, as I mentioned earlier, the break almost done us good in a sense that it allowed injured players to return, but of course you then loose the momentum of the team being together etc. What did really impress me however was that a large number of the first team especially took up 1-2-1 coaching with myself and really looked after themselves during the break, which was evident when we returned to action, where as I mentioned, we were unbeaten, bar one.” 

“The final Cup table makes for a slightly distorted view of the way the cup unfolded. We were joint-top along with Unitey after 3 games, both sides winning three a piece going into our encounter with them. We proceeded to draw that game which opened the door to Cowley to sneak up the mini group. We went into the final game of the season against Cowley joint top but with 3 less goal difference then Unitey, meaning we either required Unitey to draw or for us to beat Cowley by a four-goal margin at least, should Unitey win for us to lift the title.  I think this lack of clarity slightly affected us in the final fixture and we deviated from the way we had been playing so successfully since the restart, ultimately losing the final game 2-3 to Cowley, with Unitey drawing their final game a result that would have been ideal, meaning Cowley sneaked in and took the title. 

Absolutely full credit to them for clinching the title as the ‘dark horses’ when it seemed like race between two sides, they are a nice bunch of lads who were simply better on the day, but we take pride in the fact we were so close to silverware and intend to make sure we get our hands on some ourselves next time around ha!”


SW: It was announced recently that the Senior Division of the Essex Alliance League has been given Step 7 status by the FA, putting it on par with the Premier Division of the Essex Olympian League. Is reaching that division an ambition of the club & what is your reaction to the news as an EAL club?

CM: “It’s fantastic news for the league and all those whom make it tick and fully deserved for all their hard work in getting to that level. On a personal note, Barry [Fitzgerald], Rob [Parker] and Alan Spike for example have been extremely supportive towards us as a team and me personally, and this is evident in the piece you did with Rob a couple of weeks ago, where he name-checked Dagenham United as being one of the big teams that are looking likely progress up the footballing ladder, which is a great compliment to read [Pleasure to assist! – Ed). 

In terms of step 7 for us, absolutely, we’ve made no secret of hiding the fact that is very much the plan, to keep climbing up the footballing ladder and into the Non League system etc. We are delighted that we have gained promotion for the coming season to the Premier Division (next season’s EAL second-tier, below the Senior Division) from Div 2 and again feel it shows our progression as a club and our intent to wake what I feel is a sleeping giant of a club.” 


Dag Utd GK in action [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

SW: How important is it that the EAL matches are covered by Independent amateur media, particularly with the said focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid?

CM: “I think it’s fantastic that people like yourselves are starting to shine a light on grassroots football and highlighting the hard work that goes into these teams and the quality that Is actually within these leagues that very often get missed. As you mention, coverage higher up the pyramid is strong, but at this level is few and far between, but what it does mean, is that when independent amateur media like yourself do take the time out of your days to cover and focus on teams, you have the chance to really build relationships and respect from the teams and leagues you are covering, which I think is a great thing on a personal level, as often in football, especially higher up, that personal touch element often gets missed and it becomes very business orientated.” 


SW: In my research for this article, I saw you are one of a number of clubs now who film highlights of matches & then put them on your YouTube channel. How important do you feel doing things like that are to raise the profile of the club (and perhaps the League) as a whole?

CM: “I actually believe we were one of the first to really push the filming of fixtures, investing in a Veo Camera prior to pre-season to automatically record our games and create highlights of match days and other media content. The social media aspect is huge in today’s day and age and by far one of the easiest ways to attract interest in the club as it’s a physical representation of your team and whom you are and allows you to express your identity”

JM: “We not only use the filming of games to create highlight pieces etc, but use the footage for tactical analysis of games which has been crucial throughout the season in being able to Identify any areas of improvement whilst also highlighting the positives for individuals that many players often don’t have. Even at a good semi-pro standard, until recently very few games were recorded and so lots of players don’t have the opportunities to see themselves play and identify these areas to work on.” 

CM: In terms of the league’s social media coverage, I genuinely believe they are by far one of the best at any level in terms of engagement with their teams and individuals in the divisions and are very supportive of the social media content put out by clubs. The filming of the games from the league can only be a positive and shows their desire to offer that extra ‘personal touch’ each week. 


SW: What do you believe is the main difference between Intermediate/Grassroots Football and the top four steps of the Senior Non-League game?

CM: “Finances. Pure and simple in my honest opinion. Grassroots football has come under so much pressure with lack of help for funding, with costs rising exponentially each year for facilities especially, as quite simply there will always be more teams then there are good venues, meaning most places of hire can charge what they want, with very few teams owning or having leases to their own grounds at this level, every season you see the same story, teams folding left, right and centre, majority of the time simply down to lack of finances. I genuinely believe there are a lot of clubs out there, ourselves being one of them that have real potential to climb the footballing ladder, but football costs money and many are unfortunately ‘priced out’ of progression.” 

JM: “I agree, finances play a huge part in the gap between the standards of the senior non league game and grassroots football. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of the financial strains get placed upon the managers of these teams to keep the teams afloat let alone progressing forward. 

Thankfully, I’m fully supportive of Chris’s plans for the teams and the ambition he has to keep building the project, meaning the adult section have been fortunate enough to have the financial backing from ourselves to keep progressing. We take pride in the fact we can match what a lot of senior non-league teams can in terms of kits, equipment etc but that ultimately comes down to the passion and drive to want to be able to do this as-well, as we see the teams and the players as extended family and feel that is another of the key differences between the levels.” 


SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, what are the short-term aspirations of the club?

CM: “To get some silverware under our belt and ultimately to gain promotion to the Senior Division, after a positive year this season which culminated in a promotion from Div 2 to the Premier Division. 

We would like to add some fresh faces to our current teams that believe in the project we have and can appreciate the progression we have made and to compliment the existing players we have. We have keen focus of developing young players and providing a pathway into men’s football as well, a luxury which is often not afforded. In our last game for example, we had four 17 year old players in the first team squad, with another 3 under 21’s and that is something we are committed to continue doing in the 21/22 season.”


SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

CM: “As cliché as it sounds, We’ve got some really exciting plans in the pipeline that will elevate the club to another level. We have transferred to a 4G pitch for our men’s first team to ensure we have a better standard of playing surface to compliment the attractive football we play, whilst also securing a partnership which sees us gain the use of a clubhouse and bar for post-game socials, something we had been sorely missing in the last few seasons.” 

“With our ambitions to progress into the Senior division and continue up the footballing pyramid, we are in positive talks to secure a stadium and pitch for the 2022/2023 season [Readers, Ground-grading is a factor in Step 7 divisions – Ed] and have a secure home base with the fantastic current owners whom we are building a good relationship with.” 

End

If you’d like to catch up with the others article in this ‘In-Focus’ series relating to the Essex Alliance League, you can find them here

Essex Alliance League – The Future: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/2021-in-focus-essex-alliance-league-the-future-eal/ 

Club In-Focus – Chadwell Heath Spartans: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/2021-club-in-focus-chadwell-heath-spartans/  

2021 In-Focus -Essex Olympian League: The Writer’s View [EOFL June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello and welcome a to a special one-off article looking at what it’s been like watching Essex Olympian League matches this season (2020-21), which as we know has been disrupted by several Covid lockdowns at different points through the campaign.

I’m delighted to say that joining me [SW] in giving our views on EOFL matches are fellow Non-League writers Aaron Moore [@aaron_moore25] [AM]  and Peter Dudley [@ped1980] [PD], from the writer’s perspective (Quite the team I hope you will agree!). Thank you for reading, the pictures are archive ones from the season by Scott.

Firstly, thank you all for your time. During the course of the season, we’ve all been to watch & write about several Olympian League matches. In your respective opinions, what is the principal difference watching clubs in Intermediate Football in these divisions compared to clubs higher up the Non-League Pyramid?

SW: “It is true that there is a different vibe compared to being in stadiums with tannoy announcements, big seated stands and the like, but in another way you do feel ‘closer’ to the action itself being at smaller venues. Then there is the connection you can feel with clubs and the various different people that represent their club, you do sort of feel like you’re watching them on a journey, whether you’re writing about clubs in individual matches or from afar doing other articles (ie. Division-by-division Round-ups). To be succinct, Buckhurst Hill have been on a journey which has perhaps now finished its first chapter (with their promotion) of potentially many, but then other clubs like Wakebury, Ongar Town, Leigh Town and even ACD Utd are also on upwardly mobile journeys, which is fascinating to see.

Clubs higher up in the Non-League pyramid have the likes of the Non-League Paper to show their exploits and justifiably so, though at this level it’s a bit different and it is a privilege to write about their stories.”

PD: “I feel first of all that it is very much more Grassroots then senior football, some games are played in public parks with a rope around it, so proper grassroots, and also you can see a very good standard of football for nothing, and also at some venues get a lovely cup of coffee in an actual mug, so it feels quite homely watching it too.”

AM: “Many of these clubs (in the EOFL) play with next to no supporters and the ones that do, generally play with very few numbers watching them, so the players are able to play well without a lot of noise cheering them on. That is one reason why lower non-league football is certainly played for the love of the game.”

Still from Rayleigh Tn v Harold Wood Ath in Premier Division (early May 2021)


What have been your favourite matches to watch in the Essex Olympian League this season?

AM: “I had never thought I would watch any Olympian League football this season, but when it was one of the only leagues to return in April, I decided to ‘dip my foot in’. I covered ten games from April 3rd, from the Premier Division, right down to Division Five. It was a game in the bottom division that I enjoyed covering the most. Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves faced Roydon at Silver Leys, which saw the hosts come back to seal a 3 – 2 win late on. The game was a great advert for Olympian League football and showed that there were quality games right at the very bottom of the league.”

PD: “I’ll go with two recent ones since we came back at the start of April, Wakerbury’s 6 – 4 home win over Corinthians Reserves which was very entertaining, and I even sat on the bench for the hosts!!!

Also, Ryan 5 Epping Town 5 over at Wadham Lodge’s side-pitch on a crazy evening, getting there was no fun, but the awful journey was made worthwhile by an absolutely mental game of football, marvellous!!!”

SW: “Honestly, there are many games I could mention but I will restrict it to three of them in chronological order. First, going back to October 2020, seeing Leigh Ramblers win 3 – 1 at Catholic Utd and the level of performance from the visitors was impressive. Secondly, in what was one of the matches of the season in all competitions to see, Corinthians 3 – 3 draw with Old Southendian Reserves. The score-line could’ve been 5 – 5 and then some, both sides were really fired up that day & a draw was a fair result for both sides who have contrasting styles. Finally, seeing Buckhurst Hill being tested by a determined Hutton side before losing 4 – 3 to the champions at Polo Fields in some ways was a really good to end the season on.”


Which teams have impressed you (That you’ve watched live)?

SW: “Genuinely, this is a tough question and that is a compliment to many teams in the league. Aside from the matches I highlighted in the previous question, Shoebury Town played well despite their problems towards the end of the season. I would add Hutton Reserves and Rayleigh Town among the many sides who I didn’t get round to watch that finished the campaign strongly, including Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, Ongar Town, Galleywood and Beacon Hill Rovers.”

PD: “I watched Hutton Reserves twice at Polo Fields and was very impressed by them, their run of form after the comeback in April was nothing short of outrageous, and I was actually impressed at how much AS Rawreth fought in their match at Corinthians in another midweek contest over in Stambridge, rock bottom of the division and starting the game with nine players after some late arrivals, you feared the worst for them, but they made the hosts work so hard for the win and only went down 3 – 1 in the end, so well done to them in that one.”

AM: “Ongar Town have been one of the sides that impressed me. Their attitude in every game (and training) is exactly what you’d expect right up the National League system (also known as Steps 1 – 6 – Ed). They were so close to going unbeaten throughout the season, but still impressed through their promotion season. I was also impressed with Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves. Although they lost their first game under the management of Dean Perrett, they soon turned their season around and finished on a high, winning 10 – 0 in their final 2020/21 season game.”

Still from Corinthians v AS Rawreth in Division Two (late April)


Taking into account the teams you’ve watched, how would you assess the strength of the top three tiers of the EOFL?   [Top-three tiers are Premier Division, Division One & Division Two – Ed]

AM: “The top-three tiers are extremely competitive, and any side could win any day. While some end-up running away with the title or get left behind at the bottom, every team has to be on top form in order to get the result. Galleywood showed that (to get the win) against Ongar Town on the final day.”

SW: “I’ve said for a while now that the Premier Division isn’t that far below the Regional Step Five and Six divisions in terms of quality. You have to have a lot of consistency and have the ‘knack of winning’ as well to be successful on-the-pitch, as well as a lot of organisation off-it. It will be fascinating to see how the three promoted sides [Ongar Town, Galleywood and Manford Way] do in the top-tier in Season 2021-22, especially given the slightly enlarged division of 16 sides which it now is for one season only, according to the EOFL.

As for Divisions One & Two, they are hugely competitive divisions. Yes, the consistency may not always be the same, but you cannot fault the teams’ endeavour to entertain and in some ways, they are writing another bit of their history whether it be a club that has played at this level for years or clubs that are progressing up the divisions. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a surprise or two in Division Two this term, as we stand now it looks a pretty open division to me.”

PD: “I would say that certainly in the Premier Division some clubs could easily compete with sides at Steps Five and Six, there is a big pool of talent in the Olympian League and as I said some teams, even ones from Divisions One and Two, would give higher more established Senior sides a run for their money, so I would say pretty strong indeed.”


A word now about Premier Division Champions Buckhurst Hill – They have been consistently a strong side in the last three seasons or so, how do you see them progressing in Eastern Senior League South (aka Eastern Counties League Division One – at Step 6) next season?

PD: “Buckhurst Hill’s record in their last four seasons has been phenomenal, and I am so pleased they have finally been given what they deserve and promotion to Step Six and the Eastern Senior League South (aka Thurlow Nunn League Division One South), and I would not be surprised if they went straight up and into the Essex Senior League, they are that good, and if they can keep that squad together and add more depth to it then they will certainly be right up there I feel.”

AM: “The Eastern Counties League is a tough division. During the 2019/20 season, the majority of the teams could have still finished in a promotion spot, which makes it incredibly exciting for the neutral. The sides that finish bottom, typically aren’t bad sides, but unlucky that two-sides have to finish in the bottom two. I think Buckhurst Hill could really cement their place in the division and some early wins next season could take them a long way.”

SW: “The club and manager Mark Williams deserve a lot of credit, not just for the quality of Football they play but also keeping the majority of his squad together for three seasons or so – that is unusual at this level. They may find themselves taking a little time to adjust to the teams in their new division (it is a tough division, it would be remiss to say otherwise), but if they do find their rhythm and consistency, then don’t be too surprised if they push for a top-six finish, which would be superb in their first season as a Senior club. To see them get awarded the Olympian League trophy in May (pictured below) was also an unexpected bonus for me and goes back to a lot of these clubs being on journeys as I mentioned earlier.”


Which EOFL clubs do you like watching and why?

PD: “In terms of Footballing ability it had to be Buckhurst Hill, some of the football they played was out of this world, so they were always a good side to go and watch.

I also always have fun when watching Wakebury as their management duo Dan Blewett and Matt Cardy and his dad always make it enjoyable, and they also play some good attacking football as well, and also Corinthians [who play at Stambridge Memorial ground] as you always get a warm welcome there too, so you cannot fault them as a club.  I’ll be honest though – I have always had a warm welcome to any club I visit so I tend to enjoy any Olympian club I visit because they always appreciate what you do for them and the league, so that always means a lot to us reporters and bloggers.”

SW: “It is hard to argue with Buckhurst Hill as Pete mentions, not just for their ability on-the-pitch but their humility and keenness to engage with us writers, that does also get noticed. However, there are also many other clubs who are gracious to me and my colleagues. Rayleigh Town and Leigh Ramblers are on that list of teams I like watching as they are ‘effort’ teams and when they are on-form, that are tricky sides to play. I’ll give honourable mentions on this also to Matt Singh’s Hutton who may surprise a few again in the Premier Division next term and Chris Stoneham’s Corinthians side who are entertaining to watch but need to find more consistency results-wise.”

AM: “I generally loved watching clubs from all the divisions as the quality runs throughout. Manford Way, Ongar Town and Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves – are three clubs that have been a joy to watch.”


Peter, one of the pitfalls of Steps 5 & 6 in recent years has been the comparative lack of clubs in South Essex. With plenty of clubs in the area competing in the top three divisions of the Olympian League, are you optimistic that several years from now there may be more clubs progressing up the Non-League ladder?

PD: “I feel if the places are available then yes, because there are plenty of clubs who are very ambitious and given the tools and the chance to progress up the ladder, they would certainly have the structure in place in years to come to be able to do this, but whether they are given the opportunity remains to be seen, but I remain hopeful that this will happen and we see many more Junior sides from this league progress into established Senior sides in the years to come.”

Still from Buckhurst Hill v Harold Wood Athletic in Premier Division (late April)


Finally, do you believe the quality of the EOFL divisions will remain strong in the 2021-22 campaign and why?

AM: “The quality runs through all divisions and with promotion going ahead for next season, clubs are set to take their quality up the leagues. Ongar Town have replaced Buckhurst Hill in the Premier Division which will make that an interesting division, while clubs moved up from Division Two and below will hope to make the most of promotion, so should be up for the fight.”

PD: “100% yes, and we are in for a very exciting 2021-22 season, the Premier Division now has sixteen sides competing in it so that means a 30 game season, unheard of in previous years, whilst the divisions below have also seen strong sides promoted upwards too, so the leagues are going to be as strong and as competitive as ever, so it should be a fun league to cover next season, that is for sure.”

SW: “Yes, I do believe we’ll see a number of strong sides this term. As Peter mentioned, the expanded Premier Division really is a fascinating development (even if it is for one season) but also the clubs that are facing new challenges in all the other divisions as well make for a highly-competitive season which I’m looking forward to writing about.

I feel I should mention as well all the supportive messages that I and colleagues get from Olympian clubs/managers etc, it is appreciated so a big thank you to you all.”

Still from Ryan v Epping Town in Division Two (from late April)


Who’s Who?

Aaron Moore may be a fairly recent addition to the Non-League community of bloggers but he previously was as Match Reporter at Walthamstow and currently Reports as an Independent writer alongside reporting duties for Harlow Town Ladies.  

His blog is at http://footballreview.net and on Twitter @aaron_moore25

Pete Dudley hardly needs any introduction, but the long-time prolific writer has seen matches in the Essex Senior, Eastern Senior League South, Essex Olympian League & more this season. He has also been a long-term co-presenter of the Grassroots Football Show on East London Radio and also was former Fixtures Secretary at local side Southend Manor.

You can find him on Twitter at @ped1980  or on his blog: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/

End, many thanks to you for reading.


If you’d like to catch up on the first article of the Summer, looking at the make-up of the EOFL divisions for Season 2021-22, including a round-up of the changes compared to last season. it’s available here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/season-2021-22-essex-olympian-league-divisions-eofl/

2021 In-Focus – Essex Alliance League: The Future [EAL June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to the first of my Summer In-Focus articles (marking Five Years for me as a Non-League writer), speaking to various parties in Non-League about the season just gone or about the future. In this article, I’m delighted to welcome Essex Alliance League (EAL) Media & Registrations Secretary Rob Parker [RP] to talk about the Essex Alliance League & its future after being announced as a Step 7 (Regional NLS Feeder) League from the forthcoming 2021-22 season, joining the Olympian League & Essex & Suffolk Border League top-tiers at that level.

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SW: Firstly, thank you very much for your time Rob. Many congratulations to you, the Essex Alliance League & all involved in achieving the new status for the forthcoming campaign. Could you tell us a little about the process that was required (Talking to the FA, your clubs etc) to gain this elevated status?

RP: “Talks around the idea began back in 2018 between the league’s Management Committee, our clubs and Essex County FA to discuss the issues that we felt were hindering the progression of clubs in our region. We put together a formal proposal which we presented to our member clubs in 2019, the result of which was resounding support of the proposal. Further talks then took place with Essex County FA before we lodged our application to the FA in December 2019 with all of the supporting documentation.

Following this application, we were then invited up to Wembley to put our proposal directly to the FA’s Leagues Committee, to discuss various aspects of the barriers our clubs face when trying to progress and also impact on football in the wider, regional context. The feedback we received was very promising and we were therefore hopeful we may be approved in time for 2020/21 season. But COVID then struck a matter of days later and, as we know, the season was voided across most levels of the NLS (National League System – the tiered approach in Non-League) which scuppered our short-term hopes. We weren’t deterred however and our application went in once again in November 2020 following which, after a long wait, we finally received the great news at the end of May this year.”

SW: It must be inspiring for clubs that have petitioned to be included within the Alliance League divisions, to see that one day they could have a chance to compete in Step 7, with a potential opportunity to battle for promotion into Senior Football. As a neutral, which clubs do you feel might find their way into your Senior Division in the next two-three years?

RP: “It certainly is a big draw for our league to have gained Regional Feeder League Status as it now enables us to provide a full pathway for our clubs, potentially starting out in our lower divisions as a brand new club, perhaps just a group of friends having a kick about in the park, to playing football within the National League System (NLS) in just a few seasons given the right sporting experience and structure in place. This is a progression route which we feel so passionately about and now avoids clubs having to venture well out of the area just to fulfil their ambitions of joining an NLS competition.

There are plenty of clubs who have the ambition to move up into Senior football. Almost every team we have interviewed this summer with a view to joining the league has been enthused about the opportunity ahead of them and it’s fair to say our existing clubs are equally looking forward to the challenge. When you have a look at our divisions beneath the Senior Division, there are some big, local clubs who are all chomping at the bit to move forward, sides such as Dagenham United, Frenford A, Barkingside A and plenty more will be joining us for the coming season. What is most exciting is the opportunity for all of our clubs to now recruit ambitious players who want to be part of the journey up the ladder.”

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SW: In my view, Essex having three Step 7 Leagues (the Essex Olympian League & Essex & Suffolk Border League being the others) now does show the strength of Intermediate Football in the Essex & East London area. How do you see participation growing in the area in the medium term as we emerge from the Covid pandemic?

RP: “Essex is already one of the best represented counties in terms of number of teams and player participation across the whole country with a dense population in the Metropoilitan Essex and East London areas particularly. It’s perhaps for this reason alone, along with many others, that this proposal benefits football in the region as there will always be a proportionately higher number of clubs seeking progression. I think that it’s a real feather in Essex’s cap to be producing and sustaining such a strong quality of football in the county and long may that continue.

There are still plenty of challenges coming up, particularly those around increasing the availability of senior standard football facilities to remove that obstacle over time but also with the effects of upcoming ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) charges for travel in east London which is going to add additional costs for some participants, in a time of financial uncertainty for many. As partners at the upcoming Parsloes Park developments, we hope to alleviate part one of those concerns at least and the other key thing that we are doing is to offer the best football product that we can to continue to increase participation and interest within our sport. The effects of the pandemic have been felt very acutely within grassroots football but it is clear that there remains a very strong level of interest and we hope that the new season will be a real celebration after some difficult years.”

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Regular round-ups of Alliance League action have been provided by Rob to radio shows like the Grassroots Football Show on East London Radio for some time now.

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SW: As an Intermediate (or ‘Junior’) League, how important is it going forward for the EAL to be represented in Independent Media (ie Writers/Radio & Social Media feeds)?

RP: “We’ve always taken a proactive approach to media as it it provides a real outlet for showcasing our clubs and the league itself to the outside world. When we interview new clubs, almost all of them say that they’ve seen our website and follow our social media presence and were impressed enough to apply to bring their own team into the league which is great feedback. Alongside that, we make regular contributions to local newspapers, podcasts, radio shows and independent media which, although it takes a lot of time, ensures we reach to as wide an audience as possible.

I’ve always spoken quite strongly on this topic as I firmly believe that if you aren’t publicising your work to the world, it’s possible that you are going to miss out on many opportunities. That could be new clubs or perhaps sponsorship/partnership opportunities. While social media can be a real challenging arena at times, it still remains a hugely effective platform for delivering a message and a good Media Manager is now almost as important as any other Management Committee role.”

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SW: I have to mention a word on the EAL’s history, could you take us through the journey from your beginnings from the merger of the Ilford & District League and the Essex Business Houses League in 2014, to the present day?

RP: “Back in 2013, the landscape of local football was vastly different and comprised of a number of local “district” leagues that were each facing their own battles with keeping clubs afloat and needing to find sufficient volunteers to run multiple leagues. At the time, I believe that the Ilford & District League was on the verge of being down to just two divisions and that the Essex Business Houses League was similarly looking at a one division set-up, neither of which were particularly thriving. While the leagues had very different backgrounds and therefore some different views, both shared some common objectives which proved to be fundamental when senior committee members of the two leagues got together to discuss the idea of a merger.

As 2014 was upon us, after a period of consultation, it was decided that the most appropriate way forward was for resources to be pooled and for a new league to be born, forming an alliance from the two predecessor competitions. With the two committees combined into one, roles allocated and buoyed on by many new clubs being excited enough by the idea to join, the Essex Alliance League was formed and things have really spiralled from there. From season to season, we’ve grown in membership to well over double the original size and football is once again thriving in the region. In a time of dificulty in finding volunteers to run leagues, it is perhaps a wise move for smaller competitions to work together to form new partnerships where resources can be pooled together.”

SW: I’ve heard that the new-look EAL Senior Division will likely be comprised of 14 clubs, what effect will that have on fixtures and when games will be played? 

RP: “That’s right – Regional Feeder Leagues are required to have at least 14 teams within those divisions and that’s the number we are looking at for the first season to not overburden our clubs unnecessarily, taking into account other competitions that the clubs will also be involved with.

Midweek football will be an inevitability for our clubs, particularly those without access to floodlights who will need to make good use of the natural light when British Summer Time returns in April next year.  We’d also expect a small smattering of midweek football throughout the season too as we do have almost half of our Senior Division clubs playing on venues with lights.

SW: When will the EAL divisions start in Season 2021-22?

RP: “Our Senior Division is planned to commence on Saturday 21st August given the extended length of the season in the division. The other divisions will begin on the first weekend of September as per usual.

SW: What other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

RP: “Our greatest focus for the coming season is really to consolidate on what we have achieved in the past few months and ensure we work closely with our clubs to keep them in the best shape they can be post-pandemic. We are working hard to establish ourselves as an FA Charter Standard League in the coming seasons, soon to be known as England Football Accredited, and that will remain a focal point for development.

Additionally, as mentioned previously, we are a partner organisation for the new Parsloes Park development in Dagenham which is due to open in the final quarter of 2021 and we are very excited to be involved with that site going forward both for use as a key match venue but also as a site for our clubs to train, especially important given a real shortage of quality and affordable training facilities locally.”

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SW: Finally, how do you see this new adventure going in the next 12 – 18 months?

RP: “We certainly hope that this development is a real watershed moment for football in Metropolitan Essex and East London, providing greater, local opportunities for clubs and participants alike to realise their potential within the non-league football pyramid. Only time will tell on whether the availability of suitable senior facilities locally means that we can offer sides a regular chance of promotion to Step 6 competitions but, if the ambitions of our clubs are anything to go by, we hope to see at least one or two of our clubs operating at that level in the next couple of seasons. Whatever happens, these are certainly exciting times for the Essex Alliance League and the region.”

End


Update (June 16) – Here are the constitutions for the EAL divisions in season 2021-22 (Credit: @EssexAllianceFL)

Again, I’d like to thank Rob for his time and you have to agree that it could be a really fascinating season in the history of the Essex Alliance League starting in August. I wish all the League Committee & EAL clubs well. You can follow them on Twitter @EssexAllianceFL or on the web at essexallianceleague.com

Next in the ‘In-Focus’ series will be an EAL club interestingly, as I catch up with the Hunwicks family who built their club – Chadwell Heath Spartans, who played in Division One in the curtailed League season just gone. Thank you as ever for reading.

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Cup Round-up (Wk 5 – Sat 8 May) [EAL 20-21 12.5.21]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the Essex Alliance League Cup groups on Saturday 8th May, My thanks to Rob Parker from the EAL. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League – Saturday 8 May

GROUP A

FC Petrocub have moved to within a point of securing the Group A title as they came out on the right side of a five-goal thriller at home against Lymore Gardens at the weekend. Karel Francis and Dylan Roberts both netted for Lymore but a brace from Valentin Siciov in reply plus a Ghenadie Moisei effort for the hosts gave them a crucial 3 – 2 win.

DTFC remain the only other side in contention and they warmed up for their showdown next Saturday with a home victory against Rapid Chingford, less than twenty four hours after their previous fixture (in the Essex Senior Len Cordell Cup Last 16). Jermaine Francis scored twice with Alex Paraskeva netting the other to help them to a 4 – 1 victory.

GROUP B

It remains very tight in Group B with two rounds of games left to go with Kit Out London sitting in pole position with a key game coming up this weekend. Darnell Kithambo scored twice for KOL with Sami Bessadi and Lewis Jacobs also on the scoresheet as they saw off Chadwell Heath Spartans, 4 – 2. Jordan Malick and Niru Hunwicks both grabbed consolation goals for the Spartans.

Woodford East will hope for results to go their way but ensured they remain in the mix following a big 9 – 2 win on Saturday against CSM London. Robleh Xasan and Plamedi Kinkela both netted for CSM but East braces from Jay Stavri and William Letchford, plus single goals from Kai Law, Matthew Stacey, Callum Maltese, Frank Glock and Jake Tibbitts were more than enough.

GROUP C

The Group C battle came to a conclusion over the weekend as we congratulate Frenford A on taking the title, securing the win they needed against London Park City to move into a winning position. Damilola Olaiya, Gouly Djikalou and Isima Iguisi netted the goals that confirmed the silverware, the Ilford side beating their local rivals 3- 0 on the day.

Kwanzas London Sport have moved into second place in a group dominated by draws and they added to their account in this respect, earning a 3 – 3 draw at home against Belfry. The in-form Antonio Semedo scored a hat-trick for Kwanzas with two Patrick Macdonald goals and a Sam Paterson effort ensuring a share of the spoils.

GROUP D

The Group D action came to an exhilarating conclusion on Saturday with the two group favourites both stalling in their efforts, allowing Cowley Community to sweep to a 3 – 2 victory at Dagenham United. Chris Wright scored twice once again with Mark Farinha netting the other to see their side put last season’s county cup knockback to the back of their minds by picking up this silverware.

That result was also made possible as Royal Forest earned a hard-fought point against Unitey to end the visitor’s own quest for the title. Nathan Lupumba scored a brace and Eddy Litambolo also netted for Unitey but their efforts weren’t quite enough as the game ended at 3 – 3.

The group’s remaining game came from Waltham Abbey where Chingord Athletic A hosted Barkingside A with both sides looking to finish their campaigns with some momentum. Chingford will be the happier of the sides in this regards after they completed a 5-2 home win with Eric Kelly scoring a hat-trick and Sam Matthew notching too.

GROUP E

Fairlop Rovers celebrated securing the Group E title last week with a hard fought win at Glendale on Saturday, racing into an early first half lead. Wesley Kangi and Mouhamed Gueye goals in the second half for the Dales kept things interesting but Rovers did enough to hold on to win 3 – 2, thanks to goals from Dylan Bruns, Harry Oliver and Logan Simmonds and pop the champagne corks at full time.

Loughton Lions ensured their runners-up spot in the group as they edged a tight contest away at Old Esthameians in Newbury Park. Lions were 2 – 1 winners on the day to end what has been another good season on a high for the Hainault-based side.

GROUP F

The race for the title in Group F went right to the wire with Royal Forest Reserves ending as champions at the weekend with a victory away at Chingford Harriers. Tom Alexander and Thomas Meggs goals were the difference as they came through 2 – 0 winners in Walthamstow to secure their first silverware as a team.

Custom House United will of course be disappointed having come through the group unbeaten but they will at least finish as runners-up, aided by a win by the odd goal in their clash away at Lymore Gardens Reserves. Lymore put up a good fight as Errol Dinnal-Treasure and Kye Austrie-Alexander both netted but the Dockers came through thanks to strikes by bobby Devlin, Jamie Wooster and Robbie Wooster to win 3-2.

Moving into a final third place finish, Emerson United Reserves ended their campaign on a high as they beat Eastern Avenue on the final day, 6 – 0. Joshua Gibbins was on fire in Loughton with a four-goal haul as Paul Brady and Harry Butler efforts completed a stunning victory for the Upminster-based side.

GROUP G

Together United’s title tilt will go down to the final fixture in the group after both of the top two sides won their clashes. Together were 4-2 victors away at Dagenham United Reserves over at Castle Green with Stanley Kweya grabbing a treble and Remel Green also notching and anything barring a very large defeat in the remaining fixture will assure them of title glory.

Collier Row A made sure of at least a second place finish with an away win at Brentwood United Reserves on Saturday. Row were on the right side of an eight-goal thriller, winning the tie 5 – 3 to move level on points with the leaders and hoping for a miraculous result in the final game. Collier had braces from Tommy Mottram and Connor Brown and one from Peter Adeleye to thank for their goals. Utd Ressies responded through a brace from Bradley Jackson and one from Joseph Cadman-Ithell but ultimately they fell to defeat in this one.

COUNTY CUP

It was London Junior Cup day for one of our clubs as North East Lions made the trip south of the river to take on Wimbledon Casuals with a place in the last sixteen at stake for the winner. In a tight game, it was a Casuals victory as they scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 result.

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Cup Round-up (Wk 4 – Sat 1 May) [EAL 20-21 4.5.21]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the Essex Alliance League Cup groups on Saturday 1st May, My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League – Saturday 1 May

 
GROUP A

The race for the Group A silverware remains well poised with FC Petrocub holding a two point gap at the top, helped by a big 6 – 1 win on Saturday away at Rapid Chingford. Vasilica Ilie led the visitors on with a treble here, to which Nicolai Gutu added a brace. Ghenadie Moisei also chipped in with the other goal in this big win which saw the visitors make it three wins from three and in pole position in the group going into their two huge remaining fixtures.

One of those will be against second-placed Lymore Gardens next week and Lymore warmed up for the huge showdown with a comfortable win of their own, ending West Essex Reserves’ hopes of silverware with a 3 – 1 victory. Andre Rashford, Dylan Roberts and Tyrique Peters grabbed the winning goals.

With games in hand, DT FC still have both of the leading sides to play away from home and kept up their hopes with a big home win as they beat FC Baresi 5 – 0 at the Harlow Arena. Carlos Simao notched twice here, with Jermaine Francis, Ayrton Coley and Steve Domfeh also on target to give the hosts a first win in the competition and, with three games still to go, can they chase down the leading pack?

GROUP B

Group B was thrown wide open at the weekend after a huge result in Noak Hill saw Kit Out London keep their unbeaten record in tact by beating another previously unbeaten side, Woodford East. Jay Stavri scored for East but a Erik Rusnak brace in reply added to Sami Bessadi’s goal to make it 3 – 2 to the Kit side.

Chigwell Town returned to contention at the top end of the standings after an impressive 4 – 2 victory at home against Tower United to dent the latter’s hopes. Ross Chimes scored two with Mark Howe and Modestas Dainuskas netting the others to render Tower goals from Abdi Abdikarim and Abubakar Maxamed as just consolation.

And in the group’s remaining fixture, Chadwell Heath Spartans opened their wins account in the group as they picked up a huge 5 – 1 win against higher league opposition, CSM London. Antonio Azevedo scored for CSM but a Rashid Matabaro hat-trick and goals for Rob Hodgson and Miguel Martins rounded things off for Spartans.

GROUP C

Four sides will go into the final weekend of Group C fixtures with hopes of silverware but it’s unbeaten Frenford A who hold the advantage after their beat now second-placed North East Lions 5 – 3 on Saturday to go top. Lorenc Hoxha, Romelle Pile and Chad-Troy Payne goals proved not quite enough for the Lions. Among the scorers for the Frenford developmental side were Gabriel De Souza Dias, Daniel Francis, Isima Iguisi and Joel Opara.

London Park City and Kwanzas London Sport are the other two sides with an outside chance but will require a significant goal difference swing after they could only finish level at 1-1. Antonio Semedo scored the hosts goal but City scored one themselves to send them into a showdown with the leaders next weekend.

In the battle between the fifth and sixth placed sides, Belfry earned their first points of the group after they secured victory in Dagenham against Francis Luke. Jose Nelson Da Silva scored for Luke but three Belfry goals from Gabriel Ogunwomoju, Daniel Osborne and Louis Window were enough to earn a 3 – 1 win for the hosts.

GROUP D

Two sides remain locked at the top in Group D as Unitey and Dagenham United, both sides sporting unbeaten records, met in Loughton on Saturday. With both having won all three games, it was perhaps no surprise to see this one finish level. Brandon Fulton scored twice for Unitey with Sean Kettle and Charlie Fiander goals ensuring it ended 2 – 2 to see this group go to the wire.

Third-placed Cowley Community, a point back, remain poised to sweep up if results go their way and they ensured they will remain interested on the last day as Chris Wright and Mark Farinha efforts gave them a 2 – 1 win against Chingford Athletic A. Sam Matthews scored the Chingford goal in reply.

GROUP E

In Group E, the first silverware was mathematically confirmed with Fairlop Rovers confirmed as group winners after Loughton Lions could only pick up a point on the road at Old Barkabbeyans Reserves. The Lions had two goals from William Osmond and one from Jay Lutman to thank for keeping them in the contest but two Michael Ryder goals and a Josh Robinson strike help Old Barks pick up a first point as the game ended 3 – 3.

The group’s other action came from Newbury Park where the other side with outside hopes, Glendale, saw their hopes ended despite fighting back from conceding early  against Old Esthameaians to lead through two Wesley Kanga goals. But goals from Neil Robinson and Danny Harris saw the tie finish at 2 – 2 on the day.

GROUP F

The drama in Group F will go to the final set of matches with three sides still in with a shout. Royal Forest Reserves are in pole position following a hard fought away win at Emerson United Reserves over the weekend as goals from Tom Alexander and Will Asenso carried their side to a 2 – 0 victory in Upminster.

Custom House United will hope for a Royal slip on the final day after they kept their hopes alive with a big 7 – 1 win at home against Eastern Avenue. Jamie Wooster was in fine form here with a hat-trick, with further goals arriving through Bobby Devlin, Paul Stringer, Robert Wooster and Tommy Douglas.

Chingford Harriers will require a lot of things to go their way to be putting hands on silverware but they will have a big say either way, coming through the Chingford derby contest against Lymore Gardens Reserves in a 3 – 0 scoreline. Paul Shawyer and Darnell Lamothe were on the scoresheet for the Harriers ahead of their showdown with the leaders next weekend.

GROUP G

In Group G, Collier Row A moved level on points with the top placed side in the group on the back of a big 7 – 1 Row victory against Dagenham United Reserves. Rahman Byjid scored for United but Tommy Mottram’s treble led an ensemble cast of scorers for Row which also included Joe Willson’s brace plus one each for Pete Adeleye and Jordan Reece-Peprah to leave them needing the leaders to drop points if they are to challenge.

Brentwood United Reserves have been creeping their way up the table in the last couple of weeks and could still have a big say in things, lying just two points off the leading teams. Their second win was secured as a double from Danny Walker and strikes from Alfie Wiseman and Tony Wyman assisted them to a 4 – 2 home win against Avondale Rangers on Saturday, a result which keeps them in touch.

LONDON JUNIOR CUP

Goals were the order of the day in the London Junior Cup where Jolof Sports’ chase for county cup glory continued with the visit of AFC Cubo Reserves to Dagenham on Saturday. An entertaining game saw Jolof run out 10 – 4 victors to become the third EAL club into the last sixteen where they face either West Fulham or Exeter Old Boys this month.