S21-22 Match Report: DT FC 0 – 1 Rapid Chingford (Mon 23 May) [EAL Fenton Cup Final 24.5.22]

Essex Alliance League – Fenton Cup Final

Venue: Brisbane Road

Attendance: 400+

2021-22 Season: Match 87

Monday 23 May 2022 – 7.30pm KO

DT: Red Shirts, White Shorts & Red Socks

Rapid: Yellow Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks



Rapid put in hard-working defensive display to win the Fenton Cup

DT FC 0 – 1 Rapid Chingford

(Short) Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The last week of the Non-League season began with a return visit to Brisbane Road to see an interesting Fenton Cup Final between Essex Alliance League champions DT FC (soon to be renamed Cannons Wood ahead of next term) and Rapid Chingford, who finished eighth after a mixed league campaign. Rapid were buoyed by their travelling support, who had turned up in numbers and sang throughout this match.

The match began with DT looking to assert themselves in possession and build through the thirds, showing god build-up play. Stanley Green headed wide of the woodwork in the early phase of the match, but Rapid showed they were up for this Final with some good defending and some good moments on the counter-attack as well, looking to break quickly. Rapid did have the ball in the net around the twenty minute mark as a fine header by Catalin Anghel found the left corner, but the assistant’s flag was raised.



Rapid still admirably continued to press forward after their goal was disallowed, but DT were also showing why they had got past so many defences this season on their way to the League title, and the impressive Jermaine Francis struck a good effort on goal but DT’s principal problem was their final pass could not breach the Rapid backline often enough.

Rapid were growing in confidence as well and after an adjudged push in the penalty area, forward Andrei Boga stepped up to calmly convert the resulting spot-kick into the right-side corner to give them that crucial, if slender advantage at the interval. Just before the interval, DT skipper Chris Smith’s free-kick was straight at Popescu which signified his side’s frustration and inability to test the Rapid Chingford custodian.

Half-Time: DT 0 – 1 Rapid


The second half continued in a similar vein for DT, as Rapid continued to rebuff their attacking moves with diligent defending. Rapid were also still a threat on the counter too, with Daniel Tita making good runs down the right channel as well as fizzing in some good curling loss passes to the forwards. Seven minutes into the second half, Tita’s powerful strike was only narrowly over DT goalkeeper Alex Jennings’ woodwork.

Billy Cove’s team were also a threat from set-pieces, and midway through the half an in-swinging corner need Popescu to palm the ball away from immediate danger, and Popescu also gathered well from Smith’s decent strike, following-up on the volley. DT showed no lack of effort or spirit, much to their credit but were still finding chances hard to come by. DT forward Robbie Farrell also fired a long-range effort off-target. The minutes continued to ebb away and Rapid’s firm resistance continued and after the final whistle blew, the unadulterated joy started, which would continue long after the post-match Trophy presentation was complete.

DT push forward in the second half

Full-Time:  DT FC 0 – 1 Rapid Chingford

To summarise this gritty but fairly good match, Rapid Chingford got the advantage that they needed and defended well against a DT side that couldn’t quite find their final pass into the forwards to really create too many chances on Popescu’s goal. Rapid also showed some good technical skills and were inspired by their exuberant travelling support, who really added to the occasion, waving their flags & singing their songs proudly. Popescu himself shows good handling skills in the Rapid goal and bolstered the confidence of his defence in front of him. DT showed good approach play and were decent in defence themselves, showcasing enough to suggest why they won the League title, but to use a common phrase in Sport, it just wasn’t their day here. Congratulations to Rapid Chingford on their triumph here, they did deserve their win here.

There were some good performances in this match. Beginning with victors Rapid, Andrei Boga not only converted the important penalty well but also showed good movement to keep the DT defence alert, while advanced midfielder Daniel Tita showed good technical skills, always looking up to find his forward line to start another counter-attack. Captain Bogdan Ivancia was the stalwart of the Rapid backline and typified his team’s defensive efforts, while goalkeeper Daniel Popescu also looked assured and snuffed out potential chances for the goal-hungry opposition forwards.

For DT, Jermaine Francis had a good game, breaking forward well and showing good passing and high work rate, with Stanley Green also doing well to get down the channels to set up crossing oppurtunities. Centre-back Ashley Campbell did well in defence to keep a lively Chingford forward line at bay, and skipper Chris Smith really drove his team on, particularly in the second half and show good work rate in both attack and defence.


Here are your winners, Rapid Chingford!


Teams

DT FC     |  Manager: Billy Cove  | Assistant: Nick Jennings

Starting XI: 1 Alex Jennings (GK), 2 Adam Palmer, 15 Ashley Campbell, 17 Tremayne Coley, 21 Jacob Melford, 25 Cory Ugbonah, 29 Chris Smith (Capt), 7 Stanley Green, 22 Jermaine Francis, 18 Izaih Antoine, 11 Robbie Farrell

| Substitutes: 4 Mickey Mesmin, 14 Jake Kissiedu, 31 Sebastian Barford, 33 Steve Opoku-Domfeh

Booked: Farrell, Francis, Opoku-Domfeh


Rapid Chingford  |  Player-Manager: Florin Florea | Assistants: Bobaru Mircea & Bodgan Galan

Starting XI: 99 Daniel Popescu (GK), 20 Vlad Bucur, 4 Bogdan Ivancia (Capt), 11 Florin Ivancia, 6 Catalin Manea, 7 Dragos Aenasoaie, 8 Daniel Tita, 29 Sorin Tudose, 22 Catalin Anghel, 10 Andrei Boga, 17 Darwin Romero

Goal-scorer: Andrei Boga [pen 36′]

 | Substitutes: 13 Claudiu Florea, 31 Ionut Labunt, 27 Zoltan Mihaly, 9 Bogdan Galan, 14 Federico Ardei

Booked: Tudose, Tita, Aenasoaie, Galan


Referee: Tony King
Assistants: Albert Forbes & Kyle Robertson

Fourth Official: Paul Roberts

S21-22 Match Report: Rainham WMC 2 – 2 Unitey* (Sat 21 May) [EAL D2 Cup Final 21.5.22)

Essex Alliance League – Division Two Cup Final

Venue: Victoria Road

Attendance: 280 (Est)

2021-22 Season: Match 86

Saturday 21 May 2022 – 2pm KO

RWMC: Claret Shirts, Claret Shorts & Socks

Unitey: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks

Victoria Road pitch pre-match

Unitey earn the Division Two Cup on spot-kicks at Victoria Road

Rainham Working Men’s Club 2 – 2 Unitey (Unitey won 3 – 2 on penalty kicks)

(Short) Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The ‘Cup Finals’ fortnight continued this weekend and I made a welcome return to Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road to see an interesting Essex Alliance League Division Two Cup Final. Rainham finished 2nd in the league while Unitey were not far behind them in 3rd. I was seeing both teams for the first time here but going by the league form, it was a battle between Rainham WMC’s defence and Unitey’s forward line.

The match got underway with a flourish for Paul Tormey’s Rainham team having most of the ball time, but they also couldn’t create lots of chances to test Atu Ngoy in the Unitey goal. Charlie Perry had their best opening but his effort went wide of the left-side post. Unitey sensed they had to respond and with their first big chance, they scored. Substitute Romario Christian threaded through a superb pass through the middle, finding the run of forward Ahmed Dousa who evaded his marker, before firing home past WMC custodian Owen Ryley.

Unitey launch a free-kick up field early on

It got even better for Vincent Ndodi’s team four minutes later as Dousa was again causing problems for the Rainham backline, turning well from the far side of the penalty area, got past his marker and got his strike on target – unfortunately Ryley couldn’t keep hold of the ball and it trickled into the corner of the net, which was a real blow for Rainham after their impressive start.

As we approached the interval, Connor Kain’s setpiece was cleared off the goal-line before Rainham midfielder Cameron Shakes had a decent effort denied by Ngoy at his near post but at this point Rainham really needed to find another gear or two & get the next goal. The team-talk would have been interesting to hear, that’s for sure.

Rainham’s Ndukwe (18) makes a run down left flank

Half-Time: Rainham 0 – 2 Unitey

After the break, Rainham did find their rhythm as Unitey were pushed back. The ‘home’ side did get the next crucial goal, from a set-piece. Nathan Wilson’s firm header found the net well, past Ngoy to finally give Rainham a chance of a comeback. Unitey were stuttering in possession and they were finding it harder to clear their lines, as a defensive error gave Shakes the chance to turn and get past two defenders and strike home confidently.

Unitey burst forward through the midfield

Unitey had to re-focus in what was becoming an increasingly tetchy match, with several free-kicks being conceded. Both sides had the chances to get that priceless winning goal, with Rainham having two good chances in the last ten minutes. Firstly, Wilson had a header go wide at the far post from yards out. Soon after, Cameron Shakes then knocked the ball on to replacement Scott Gormer skewed his shot wide, much to Ngoy’s relief.


Unitey were decent in their passing in midfield in the latter stages but they couldn’t quite breach the high off-side line of the Rainham backline often enough, leaving Dousa and winger Mohammed Abaker frustrated as they were looking a threat for the tiring Rainham defenders. After seven minutes of added time, referee Alan Steward blew up for the end of 90 minutes, and penalties would be required to settle this absorbing match, played in front of over 275 spectators which is another boost to the Essex Alliance League.


Full-Time (After 90 mins): Rainham WMC 2 – 2 Unitey

So, the nerve-racking shoot-out was called upon to decide the destination of the EAL Division Two Cup. After several missed spot-kicks both by sides, It had to be Unitey’s goal-scoring hero Ahmed Dousa who converting the winning penalty to ensure his team took the Cup, 3 – 2 on penalties.

To sum up this fiesty and sometimes fiery match, Unitey really battled back well after Rainham had put in a fine first 15 minutes, even if they could not make the most of their build-up play. Unitey went two goals up to really punish their lack of finishing and it could’ve been more. Credit has to go to Rainham though for the manner of their comeback and it was Unitey’s turn to battle hard. Both teams tgen had chances to win in a tense finale but ultimately, the lottery of spot-kicks decided the contest.

There were some good performances from both sides here. For victors Unitey, forward Ahmed Dousa led the line well and aside from his two goals, his movement and dribbling were a threat for a hard-working Rainham defence. Centre-back  Nathan Lupumba also had a really strong match in my view, really limiting the opposition forwards and made timely jnterceptions to keep his team in it early on. Winger Mohammed Abaker also had a good game, showing high work rate and good intent with his crosses from the left side. And finally, a word for substitute Romario Christian who produced a superb through ball for Dousa’s first goal and all in all, put in a good shift for his team too.

For Rainham Working Men’s Club, playmaker Connor Kain put in a hard-working performance to try & lift his side back into the contest after going behind and still put in some telling passes. Centre-back Tyrell Phillips had a really good game as well, marshalling his defence well and clearing the ball from danger with good effect. Forwards Cameron Shakes and Charlie Perry also put in good performances as well, testing the Unitey backline at times, with Shakes taking his goal well to crucially level the tie midway into the second half.

Congratulations to Unitey who played some neat football at times, and commiserations to Rainham who fought back well to give themselves a chance after their mixed first half display.


Teams

Rainham Working Men’s Club |  Manager:  Paul Tormey  | 

Starting XI: 1 Owen Ryley (GK), 2 Josh Perry, 12 Matty Humphreys, 6 Tyrell Phillips (Capt), 5 Nicky Tormey, 18 Gozie Ndukwe, 10 Nathan Wilson, 7 Cameron Shakes, 8 Connor Kain, 9 Charlie Perry, 11 Sean Tormey

Goal-scorers: Nathan Wilson [56′], Cameron Shakes [68′]

Subs ON [Time]: 28 Dillon Anderson [68′], 14 Scott Gormer [84′], 3 Joe McGivney [90’+5]

Subs Not Used: Brady, Obeney


Unitey  |  Manager: Vincent Ndodi | 

Starting XI: 1 Atu Ngoy (GK & Capt), 2 Matthew Surry, 16 Peter Spencer, 4 Nathan Lupumba, 5 Renal Stewart, 6 Matthew Pitchford, 7 Devantae Young, 8 Ishwar Ravi, 9 Bubintende Masadi, 10 Ahmed Dousa, 11 Mohammed Abaker

Goal-scorers: Ahmed Dousa [24′ & 28′]

 | Subs ON: 13 Romario Christian [13′], 14 Remy Beckford [69′], 17 David Blessing [74′], 3 Ameer Bursal [89′], 15 Eddy Litambolo [90’+1]

Subs Not Used: None

Referee: Alan Steward
Assistants: Robert Watson & Jeff Mattheou

Fourth Official: Dave Rivett

S21-22 Match Report: Ongar Town 4 – 0 Catholic Utd (Sat 14 May) [EOFL 15.5.22]

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Lakeside Sports Ground 3G

2021-22 Season: Match 83

Attendance: 130 (Est)

Saturday 14 May 2022 – 2.30pm KO

Ongar Town: Navy Blue Shirts, Shorts & Socks

Catholic Utd: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks



Strong display from Ongar confirms EOFL Premier title win with victory over Catholic Utd

Ongar Town 4 – 0 Catholic Utd

Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The last Olympian League game of the campaign saw me travel to Lakeside 3G for the first time to see title-chasing Ongar Town face Catholic Utd with the assignment being a simple one – win this last game and the title would be theirs. Utd could still get fifth spot if they won here. Ongar named regular stopper Tim Pitman in goal, with a back four of Delphin Moorat, Harry Herbert and centre-backs George Hayes & Jake Chadwick. Skipper Mitchell McCabe was in midfield alongside Evernage Nyahunda and the forward line was led by Jack Zielinski and Harry Rawlins, supported by Joe Lilly. The visitors had Louis Godwin-Green as their custodian as ever, with John Nutman & Louis Robinson in their backline. Captain Michael Sammut was alongside Tom Elliott and Tom Kearney in midfield with James Warder and Franklin Craik leading their attack.

With the match being played in serene, warm conditions it was understandably a cagey start to proceedings as the visitors held firm defensively and negated the array of chances that Town had. Jack Zielinski had a header wide for Ongar and James Warder sent a difficult header off-target in the early moments. Ongar gradually retained possession better as Utd just could not keep the ball out of their half for long periods, and centre-back Jake Chadwick was unfortunate to have a decent header cannon back off the woodwork midway through the half.

First-half image with Catholic Utd defending well

Chances were increasing in their regularity for the hosts as a fine through ball by creative forward Joe Lilly found the run of Fred Mattock could only skew his effort wide of the left-sided post. Also, rapid forward Harry Rawlins was posing consistent problems down the left flank for Richard Ponsford’s side, and sent several chances in on goal but they didn’t seriously trouble Utd stopper Louis Godwin-Green. The only ‘down side’ for Ongar about the half was that they were not ahead when they certainly could have been.


Half-Time: Ongar Town 0 – 0 Catholic Utd

With the tension palpable as the match restarted, the visitors were keen to re=establish the defensive screen they fought hard to manage in the first 45 minutes but that shut-out ended two minutes after the break. Rawlins made another surging run down the left, and his pass eventually came to energetic midfielder Evernage Nyahunda who struck home low to find the net, much to the relief of the home contingent. It got better for Ongar just two minutes after that as a decent strike by Zielinski came back off the woodwork, but Lilly was there in the right spot ahead of covering defenders, and the Ongar forward made no mistake to really dampen the resolve of the Utd side.

By this point, it was really starting to be a one-sided match but take nothing away from the champions-elect as they made it three on 57 minutes. Rawlins made another fine bursting run past the Catholic defence and again the visitors couldn’t clear, allowing skipper Mitchell McCabe to stroke the ball home from close range. Lilly nearly made it four just short of the hour mark but his effort on goal was wide, though Utd really needed to retain the ball for the next phase of the game as they were being over-run by the exuberant Ongar forwards.

Second half action still as Utd’s Alfie Whiteaker (3) seeks to clear the ball from immediate danger

However, Ongar pressed on and they rewarded with the goal of the game with twenty-one minutes remaining. Mattock made a fine run himself on the left side of the penalty area, showing superb skill to evade his marker whilst controlling the ball to create the opportunity and fired home a great strike into the right corner of the net to add further gloss to an already strong score-line. Catholic did have a moment where they threatened to deny Ongar a clean sheet, but substitute Matt Creevy’s cross almost dipped under Ongar stopper Tim Pitman’s crossbar and with moments remaining, Rawlins was denied a deserved goal as his good low strike was denied well by Godwin-Green’s legs.

Overall though, Ongar more than deserved the points and they win the EOFL Premier Division on goal difference, which is tough on rivals Basildon Town but they have a different challenge in Step 6 next season after their promotion was ratified by the FA on Thursday evening. Ongar will remain in the Premier Division next term but don’t be surprised if they match Basildon’s achievement in time.


Catholic Utd giving the Champions Ongar an impromptu Guard of Honour post-match

Full-Time: Ongar Town  4 – 0 Catholic Utd

To summarise, Ongar were thwarted by a hard-working Utd defence in first half but it was an altogether different story after the interval, as superb finishing comfortably saw them to a memorable first Premier Division title win since they entered the EOFL in 1968, many congratulations to manager Richard Ponsford, the playing squad and all at the club. They will definitely be ambitious for more success next term.

The stand-out performances here were led by Ongar’s Harry Rawlins who simply outpaced & outclassed the Catholic Utd defence and grabbed at least two assists, and was unfortunate to not score himself. His pace, crossing and energy levels were excellent. Central midfielder Mitchell McCabe had another assured game and did well to stroke home the third goal here, with Fred Mattock scoring the goal of the natch and generally assisted his team well. Lastly, a word for creative forward Joe Lilly who had a good game as well, curling in some fine passes and took his goal calmly as well.

For Utd, defender John Nutman did well in holding the lively Ongar forwards at bay for long periods in the first half, making important clearances. Full-back Alfie Whiteaker also made several good challenges & was decent with his free-kicks as well. To end, forwards James Warder & Franklin Craik had a hard job in attack but they still gave the home backline a couple if nervy moments in the first half. They just didn’t really get the service to influence the game here.


Finally, I’d like to add that it’s been super to watch more Olympian League matches this term, and with Runwell Sports & Toby joining the top-tier in 2022-23, next season looks good too. Just hope we have 15 or 16 teams in the division in August as that would add to the strength of the division.


Teams

Ongar Town  | Manager: Richard Ponsford 

Starting XI: 1 Tim Pitman (GK), 2 Delphin Moorat, 3 Harry Herbert, 5 George Hayes, 6 Jake Chadwick, 4 Evernage Nyahunda, 8 Mitchell McCabe (Capt), 7 Freddy Mattock, 9 Jack Zielinski, 10 Joe Lilly, 11 Harry Rawlins

Goal-scorers: Evernage Nyahunda [47′], Joe Lilly [49′], Mitchell McCabe [57′], Fred Mattock [69′]

Subs On (Time): 16 Conner Jones [62 ], 14 Joshua Boxall [67′], 15 Brandon Wood [70′], 17 Zach Holding [84′], 12 Oliver Plunkett [84′]

Booked: Herbert | Sub Not Used: None


Catholic Utd  | Player-Manager: Simon Thomas | Assistant: Tom Harding

Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 3 Alfie Whiteaker, 20 John Nutman, 5 Louis Robinson, 6 Jack Leech, 19 Tom Elliott, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt),  7 Thomas Kearney, 10 Harrison Day, 9 James Warder, 19, 11 Franklin Craik

Subs On (Time): 17 Patrick Kearney [54′], 12 Tobias DeSouza [59′], 14 Matt Creevy [59′]

Booked: None  | Subs Not Used: Thomas


Referee: Kevin Nicholson
Assistants: Joseph Wilby & Henry Steele

S21-22 Match Report: Hutton 0 – 1 Basildon Town (Sat 7 May) [EOFL 7.5.22]

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Polo Fields

2021-22 Season: Match 82

Attendance: 100 (est)

Saturday 7 May 2022 – 2pm KO

Hutton: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Basildon: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

George Nash (11) makes another good run for Hutton down left side

Basildon Town overcome spirited Hutton to claim a priceless victory at Polo Fields

Hutton  0 – 1 Basildon Town

Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Additional Photo by Steve Alison (Twitter: @EastLondonWall], used with thanks.

This weekend, the Intermediate season continued with a huge match between Hutton and title-chasing visitors Basildon Town in the Essex Olympian League Premier Division. This match could be the last competitive match played here by the Hutton first team for a while, as next term they will be a tenant at Tilbury’s Chadfields so it was nice to return here.

Reece Latimer (5) recycling possession for Town [Image by Scott W]

This match got underway with the premise being simple, anything less than a win for Basildon would be the end of their title hopes. It was unsurprisingly a tense start to the game, with Hutton looking for some response after a hefty loss away at Catholic Utd in midweek, Matt Singh’s team started in a lively manner. With the match going at a good tempo, chances were at a premium with Bas forward Rhys Willson’s fine cross narrowly evading player-boss Marcus Bowers at the far post. Soon afterward, lead goalscorer Graham Harrison nearly had a one-on-one chance with Reds stopper Adrian Faherty but the assistant’s flag was raised.

Basildon were the more threatening of the sides as we got towards the half hour mark, as Faherty denied Harrison’s stinging strike. James Gardner and Jonathon Hilliard were doing well in the Hutton central defence to break up the enterprising Town forward line. At the other end though, Hutton were also a threat through hard-working forward Brad Freeman who had two chances but was unable to bypass Bas custodian Matt Knight. The first of those chances saw him well found by strike partner Luke Ricketts but Freeman’s effort went narrowly wide.

Basildon pushing forward in first half [Image by Scott W]

With the interval fast approaching, Bas nearly got that precious goal as another good centre by Willson found winger Rhys Fatt at the far post but the latter’s header was straight at Faherty. Harrison also had another effort well stopped by Faherty as the visitors were getting closer to breaking the stalemate.

Half-Time: Hutton 0 – 0 Basildon Town

Tom Stephens making another run down right side [Image by Scott W]

Town began the second half with renewed impetus, and the occasional error was creeping into the hosts’ defending. First, Fatt’s strike came back off the woodwork when he could’ve found the corner, and soon after Harrison again was thwarted as his header was off-target.

That let-off though for Hutton would not last though as Basildon took the lead on 56 minutes. Graham Harrison did make the most of half a yard of space in a congested penalty area and fired home a fine strike into the right corner. Bowers was involved in the build-up. Commendably, Hutton did not let their heads drop and substitute Stephen Judge’s decent free-kick was saved by Knight’s legs.


Basildon threaten in the Hutton penalty box [Image by Steve Alison]

Both sides carried on with some vigour, and replacement Adam Bessadi got in past the Reds backline, but his effort was again ably stopped by Faherty. Fatt was there to put the ball in the net following up, but the assistant had other ideas as his flag was again raised. Basildon could not get that comforting second goal to seal the win and that was adding to the tension for all the travelling contingent.

Despite some nervy moments at the end of the match for Bas, which saw Gardner’s header come back off the woodwork, Town held on for the win which means Ongar Town have to defeat Catholic Utd at Lakeside Sports ground 3G next weekend to claim the title. Even if Bas lose out on the silverware, it is still very likely they will be promoted to Eastern Counties Lge Division One South and join the most recent addition from the EOFL – Buckhurst Hill. Many congrats to all at Basildon Town on a superb season.


Full-Time: Hutton 0 – 1 Basildon Town

In summary, Basildon did have to work hard to secure this win but credit to them for battling and keeping a good defensive shut-out. Hutton more than contributed to the game with a spirited display and had their finishing been more clinical, it would have been more than nervy moments for Bas at the match’s end. All in all, I felt this match deserved more than the one goal we got, such was the high tempo and quality of the match, buoyed on a very good crowd for a Step 7 game.

As ever, there was a number of good perfrmances in this match. For victors Basildon, forward Rhys Willson got engaged into the match from the early stages, putting in a number of telling crosses from the left side and generally having a good game, being a good outlet for his team. Graham Harrison grew into the match as it went on, playing in a deeper role today but nonetheless getting the crucial goal. But for good goalkeeping by Faherty, he could have had more goals today. A word also for energetic midfielder Michael Onafuye who put in a good performance, being good in possession and gave his team another option making forward runs as well. Lastly, centre-back Reece Latimer had a good game, dealing with a number of aerial balls in with relative ease and alongside Keanu Hill, they ensured they kept out the lively Hutton forward line.

Onto Hutton then, and full-back Tom Stephens showed good awareness in both defence and attack, making several long runs down the flank to aid his team. Captain James Gardner was again commendably strong in dealing with the tricky and quick Town forward line, making several important clearances. Forward Luke Ricketts did well to break past the opposition backline at times while fellow forward Brad Freeman put in another hard-working display and was unfortunate to not be on the score-sheet today.

My thanks to both teams, was good to see them both in action.


Teams (Rolling Subs Used in EOFL matches)

Hutton  | Manager: Matt Singh | Assistant: Bill Stratford

Starting XI: 1 Adrian Faherty (GK), 2 Tom Stephens, 3 John Carroll, 5 James Gardner (Capt), 6 Jonathon Hilliard, 4 Lewis Scott, 7 Jamie Moore, 8 Billy Chilcott, 9 Brad Freeman, 10 Luke Ricketts, 11 George Nash

Subs On (Time): 17 Stephen Judge [21′], 15 Jack Greenwood [56′], 16 Will Marlowe [70′], 18 Frazer Wraights [73′]

Booked: Gardner  | Subs Not Used: None


Basildon Town | Player-Manager: Marcus Bowers  |  Assistant: Lee Bunn

Starting XI: 1 Matt Knight (GK & Capt), 2 Andy Edmunds,  3 James O’Brien, 5 Reece Latimer, 6 Keanu Hill, 8 Michael Onafuye, 4 Graham Harrison, 7 Rhys Fatt, 17 Marcus Bowers, 10 Grant Cumming, 9 Rhys Willson

Goal-scorer: Graham Harrison [56′]

Subs On (Time): 11 Adam Bessadi [56 ], 12 Ben Smith [56′], 14 Jamie Bradbourn [83′], 18 Louis Hill [84′], 16 Keith King [90’+1]

Booked: Edmunds, King | Sub Not Used: None


Referee: Alan Moore
Assistants: Henry Steele & George Marsh

S21-22 Match Report: Cockfosters 2 – 3 Enfield (Mon 2 May) [ESL ECC 3.5.22]

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – Errington Challenge Cup Final

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: 466

2021-22 Season: Match 80

Monday 2nd May 2022 – 3pm KO

Cockfosters: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Enfield: White Shirts, Blue Shorts, White Socks


The Silverware… the Winners permanent Trophy & the Errington Cup itself [Image by Scott W]

Superior finishing gives Enfield Errington Cup glory at Burroughs Park

Cockfosters  2 – 3 Enfield

Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

With photos by Katie Dorling (on behalf of ESL), Scott W, Enfield FC & James W

The second match of ESL ‘Finals Day’was the big one, with Cockfosters taking on Enfield for the Errington Challenge Cup. Gavin Kelsey’s team had Charlie Mann in goal, Danny Haigh & Michael Okafor in central defence, with skipper Matt Thomson & Joe Entwistle in midfield, and led by forwards Theo Coeta and top-scorer George Beattie. The E’s were looking to round off a good campaign with silverware and had James Bransgrove between the posts, Alfie Mason, Jack Johnson & Tyler Corkett in defence with a forward line of Dwade James and Louis Johnson assisted in the flanks by Samrai Gebrai & Kieran Bishop.

Image by Scott W

It was the North London side who started the match well, with several enterprising runs down the channels. Midfielder Joe Entwistle had the first half-chance of note, firing off-target. As the half went on though, the E’s had more momentum & possession as Samrai Gebrai also struck wide for Jamie Cureton’s side. The opening goal may have had a little fortune about it but it was still a crisp strike by Louis Johnson which bounced and decieved Reds stopper Charlie Mann who did well to get a glove on it but couldn’t prevent the ball from going into the net.

Five minutes afterward, Enfield really took advantage of their good spell as forward Dwade James smashed home an unstoppable strike right into the top corner, giving Mann no chance. It was one of the best technique goals you will see anywhere. Unsurprisingly, that goal compromised Cockfosters’ rhythm and it got worse still on 32 minutes. A fine cross from the left side found Gebrai who powered in a header into left-side corner.


Cockfosters launch a counter-attack.. [Image by James W]

So at the interval, ‘Fosters were well behind despite showing good approach play and they gave the E’s some nervy moments in defence. Strong finishing was the difference thus far in this game.

Half-Time: Cockfosters 0 – 3 Enfield

After the break, the Reds rallied and got a goal they did deserved as star winger Reece Mosanya stole half a yard of space and slotted in past Enfield stopper Bransgrove. Now it was the ‘Fosters who were making the E’s backline a little wary as centre-back Michael Okafor who nearly slotted home at the backpost but it only found the side-netting.

Another turning point happened on the hour as Okafor was dismissed for a really tough tackle on Enfield skipper Reece Conway, who had to be substituted after several minutes of treatment. Ryan Ramsay replaced him, and ‘Fosters depleted defence nearly conceded again soon afterward with James having an effort wide, much to Mann’s relief.


Reece Mosanya looks up to start a forward move (Image by Katie D)

As we entered the last twenty minutes of the match, Cockfosters were again pushing forward with George Beattie making runs from deep down the flank & the nerves were rising in the Enfield defence. The Reds had another good effort on goal on 81 minutes through Beattie’s freekick from 25 yards which went narrowly over the woodwork.


Samrai Gebrai sprints forward for Enfield… (Image by Katie D)

As the minutes ebbed away, there was one more fantastic strike left in the contest. Barely a minute after coming off the bench, Daniel Ferrigno unleashed a fine strike which curled round Bransgrove’s grasp to really add to the tension in the seven additional minutes of stoppage time. Cockfosters pushed on looking for what was earlier an unlikely leveller but they were unable to force extra time. Take nothing away from both sides though who contributed to an absorbing contest which was worthy of the competition.

Image by Scott W

Full-Time:  Cockfosters 2 – 3 Enfield

To summarise this entertaining Errington Cup Final, Enfield’s finishing in the first half was quite simply the difference that gave them a commanding half-time advantage. Dwade James’ goal was a terrific display of technique while Samrai Gebrai got a rare header for his side’s third goal. ‘Fosters came back into the match well in the latter stages despite centre-back Michael Okafor’s red card. It’s also worth adding that substitute Dan Ferrigno’s goal was also brilliant.

There were terrific performances by several players in this game. For victors Enfield, forward Dwade James was announced as Man of the Match & his stunning goal was worthy of it. But James also showed good movement and good energy, while defender Tyler Corlett had another strong match as the right-sided defender here, making several crucial interceptions. Also, a word for talented forward Samrai Gebrai, who also made several telling runs, made good passes and took his goal well. For Cockfosters, winger Reece Mosanya had a fine game, being his team’s best creative outlet, showing good movement and also a decent goal. Also, forward Theo Costa made some good intelligent runs and was unlucky not to score, while Reece Barrett also provided a good presence in a attacking midfield role.

Congratulations again to Enfield but also a word for Cockfosters who gave it everything today and made it a nervy end for the E’s with their comeback.

Finally, as this is my last Essex Senior-related match of the season, I’d like to say thank you to all at the Essex Senior League for their hospitality at the three Cup Finals in the last three weeks. It’s been a long season but also a good one & it is an privilege to write on the ESL. Thank you to all the Clubs & Match Officials as well.

Enfield celebrate with the Cup [Image Credit: Enfield FC]

Here are your winners, Enfield FC!

Enfield team applauding their fans with the Cup [Image by James W]

Teams

Cockfosters     |  Manager: Gavin Kelsey  | Assistant: Glenn Draper

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Charlie Mann (GK), 2 Rueben Campbell, 3 Prince Madu, 5 Michael Okafor, 6 Danny Haigh, 4 Joe Entwistle (15 Zivonimir Lopes 88′), 7 Matt Thomson (Capt) (14 Dan Ferrigno 88′), 8 Reece Barrett (16 Fred Agyemang 69′), 9 Theo Costa, 10 George Beattie, 11 Reece Mosanya

Goal-scorers: Reece Mosanya [52′], Dan Ferrigno [89′]

Booked: Mosanya  | Sent Off: Okafor [59′] | Sub Not Used: Constanti, N Barrett


Enfield     |  Player-Manager: Jamie Cureton | Assistants: Terry Fogarty & Lee Hanning

Starting XI: 1 James Bransgrove (GK), 21 Tyler Corlett, 5 Jack Johnson, 15 Alfie Mason, 8 Reece Conway (Capt) (7 Ryan Ramsay 64′), 16 Jack Cousins (20 Jeffrey Cobblah 80′), 4 Alex Warman, 9 Kieran Bishop, 10 Louis Johnson, 27 Dwade James, 11 Samrai Gebrai (3 Toby Barlow 90’+1)

Goal-scorers: Louis Johnson [18′], Dwade James [23′], Samrai Gebrai [32′]

Booked : Bishop & Gebrai | Subs Not Used: Luther, Cureton

Referee: James Keane

Assistants: Richard Airey & Royan Campbell
Fourth Official: Michael Scott

S21-22 Match Report: Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town  (Sat 30 Apr) [EaSL Sth 21-22 30.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South Play-Off Final

Venue: Roding Lane

Attendance: TBC

2021-22 Season: Match 78

Saturday 30th April 2022 – 3pm KO

Buckhurst: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

 Halstead: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks 


Halstead produce excellent display to overcome odds & book their place in Step Five

Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town

Match Report & Photos by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

with additional photo by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks.

The last weekend of Senior football for the current season began with a welcome return to Roding Lane for this hotly-anticipated Eastern Senior League South Play-Off Final as Buckhurst Hill welcomed Halstead Town. Unsurprisingly, there was a substantial crowd in attendance for this game which had the ultimate prize for these two sides – Promotion to Step 5. Buckhurst defeated Wivenhoe narrowly last week, while Halstead won in extra-time against Benfleet to set this tie up.

The warmth of Summer was in evidence here, and we didn’t have a slow start to proceedings here either. After just three minutes, Halstead made the most of a corner and central midfielder Jack Schelvis stole half a yard of space before bundling home his effort into the net, which left home stopper Daniel Blockley stranded. The goal was understandably celebrated by the ‘Halstead Ultras’ – standing behind that goal. Buckhurst Hill responded with a forward press of their own, with the impressive Tyler Dolan getting past the visiting defence, only to be denied by Halstead’s commanding goalkeeper Jack Cherry, who came out and gathered.

The nerves were still present in the Buckhurst defence on 17 minutes, as Jordan Palmer’s effort was spilled by Hill stopper Daniel Blockley and went out for a set-piece. The half was moving on into the midway point with Buckhurst finding it difficult to carve out strong chances but they got a crucial leveller, as forward Suleyman Zuhdu’s strike came back off a Halstead defender before looping over Cherry and into the net. Just when you thought the Humbugs might have blinked, three minutes later they took the lead once again. Another fine pass in by winger Jordan Blackwell came to forward Calvin Poku in the penalty area and he quickly got his strike away and it found the left corner. It was a well-taken goal but it precipitated another response by the Stags front-line.

Buckhurst looking to push forward, Liam Foster on the ball here [Image by Scott W]

Two minutes before the interval, Zuhdu was unfortunate to not add to his goal tally as a fierce strike sailed into the crossbar and back off the underside of it without crossing the line. The Humbugs had one more half-chance before the break as Palmer headed narrowly wide of Blockley’s woodwork. Overall though, Halstead had (much like the week before in the Semi-Final) set their stall out to make it difficult through resolute & organised defence and they were 45 minutes away from a famous win.


Buckhurst defender Henry Day (left) looks for options [Image by Scott W]

Half-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2  Halstead Town


The second half began with Buckhurst Hill having the ball in the Halstead half for long periods. Dolan once again found his way into the penalty area after evading a visiting defender but Cherry once again stood tall and denied him. Zuhdu also headed wide soon afterward. On 54 minutes, a fine centre by full-back Liam Foster found Nathan Sollosi but Cherry was in action again to tip Sollosi’s shot wide. Full-back Keaton Moore also powered in a well-struck effort which missed the top corner by inches.

Despite Buckhurst creating the chances they had, they did not quite look entirely comfortable. Pressure could well have played a part in that, and they were growing frustrated with their profligacy in front of goal. Zuhdu was again denied by Cherry who did well to deny a powerful effort by the Buckhurst captain, but substitute Callum Ibe also blazed over when well-placed ten minutes after coming onto the field. The Humbugs did not have many forays forward as they were defending in numbers but Poku was still showing his quality in holding the ball up and making good runs on occasion.


Halstead defender Ryan Carter (2) jostles with the run of Suleyman Zuhdu (10) for Buckhurst

With Buckhurst taking a few more risks seeking that important equaliser, forward Adam Hampson fired well over after being found well on the counter-attack. On the whole though, you have to applaud the work rate and attitude of the Halstead side who did emerge with a famous victory, which means they are getting promoted to Step 5. It is a testament to the high standards Buckhurst have set this season that they are still tough opposition, even if they were not quite at their best. It will be intriguing to see how they start next season but they are a club who have come a long way since their Step 7 days.

Halstead remain resolute & organised in defence, Sonny Shilling (9) on the ball for Buckhurst

Full-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2   Halstead Town

In summary, Halstead had to produce a superb display in defence which was allied to clinical finishing to edge their way to a second momentous victory in as many weeks, which means they will compete in Step 5 after a gap of 17 years, most likely in the Essex Senior League come August. They are a side that will be a welcome addition and don’t be surprised if they surprise a few next season. You had to feel for Buckhurst who contributed heavily to the match, but conceding early was costly for them and they could not make the most of their chances which they created having had long spells of ball retention, and had some strong performances. This loss will hurt, but it should not detract from what is still a fabulous first campaign of Senior football for Mark Williams’ side.

There were several creditable performances in this match. For victors Halstead, winger Jordan Blackwell had another stand-out match on the right flank. I believe he got assists for both their goals, and he also made several important passes and showed good work rate. Defender Chris Harris also epitomised his teams’ resoluteness in defence, making several big interceptions and block tackles. Goalkeper Jack Cherry also showed once again how important a player he is to the side, making at least three fine saves when the Humbugs backline was breached. Finally, forward Calvin Poku showed guile and good finishing for his goal and despite not having much opportunity to test the Buckhurst goalkeeper, he took his goal very well to change the momentum of this match.    

For Buckhurst Hill, I thought Tyler Dolan had a really good game, showing his high energy, good passing and movement. He was unlucky in not scoring today. Full-back Keaton Moore also contributed to his team’s forward moves well & was inches away from scoring a fabulous goal. Centre-back Jonah Gregory also did well, showing good alertness and positioning. Lastly, talisman Suleyman Zuhdu has to get a mention as he was central to the hosts’ forward moves, showing good passing and work rate. Also, Halstead stopper Cherry did superbly to deny him on two occasions. Zuhdu will end the season as the League’s top goal-scorer on 37 goals.

Finally, I’d like to wish Halstead well in their campaign at Step 5 next season, they will be a tough side to beat – a testament to manager Mark McLean and his staff. Commiserations to Buckhurst Hill as well, they will emerge from this experience as a stronger club in time.


Here are your Play-Off Final winners – Halstead Town!! [Image by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks]

Teams

Buckhurst Hill  | Manager: Mark Williams  | Assistant: JP Kent

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster (14 Sam Sollosi 77’), 3 Keaton Moore, 5 Henry Day, 20 Jonah Gregory, 6 Jack Griggs (15 Jake Moss 40’), 7 Tyler Dolan, 8 Josh Banfield, 9 Sonny Shilling (21 Callum Ibe 60’), 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Nathan Sollosi

Goal-scorer: Suleyman Zuhdu [22’]

Booked: Griggs  | Subs Not Used: Nicholson


Halstead Town     | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: David Streetly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Chris Harris, 5 Nick Miller, 6 Jack Schelvis, 7 Jordan Blackwell, 8 Jordan Palmer, 9 Calvin Poku (14 Markus Dunn 90’+2), 10 Adam Hampson, 11 Kane Gilbert

Goal-scorers: Jack Schelvis [3′], Calvin Poku [25′]

Booked: Gilbert, Carter | Subs Not Used: Walker, Kendle (GK)


Referee: Dario Matthewson

Assistants: Michael Jarvis & Daren Bigg

Fourth Official: Ashley Tyne

S21-22 Match Report: Billericay Town U23 1 – 2 Harlow Town Res (Sun 24 Apr) (ESL LDC Final 25.4.22)

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – League Divisional Cup Final

Venue: Capershotts (Waltham Abbey FC)

Attendance: 165

2021-22 Season: Match 76

Sunday 24th April 2022 – 3pm KO

Billericay: Blue Shirts,  Black Shorts, Blue Socks

Harlow: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks


Harlow’s late winner sees them lift the ESL League Divisional Cup at Capershotts

Billericay Town Res  1 – 2 Harlow Town Res

Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The second & final match of this last weekend of the League part of the ESL campaign saw a welcome ‘bonus’ match at Capershotts as Reserve League Division One Champions Billericay Town Reserves (or U23s) faced Harlow Town Reserves for the League Divisional Cup, which is a new competition in the Essex Senior this term. It is a rare pleasure to see Reserve teams and this was my third Reserves match of this campaign.

The good crowd of over 160 in attendance saw a very open-ended start to the game as both sides were looking to gain the advantage. In the early moments, Harlow forward Manny Phagura got in on goal evading his marker but his goalbound effort was gathered by Billericay stopper Jordan Williams. The Blues side was assisted by the good play down the left flank by Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo and one of his teasing crosses into the centre so nearly found the head of forward Louie Vesper who had a well-timed run in the eighteen yard area.



Harlow responded at the other end as forward Charles Nicol got ahead of his marker and powered a header off-target on 14 minutes. The decent approach play continued from both teams but it was Mbambo who curled in a good ball which evaded the unfortunate Horgan and came back off the post onto him and into the net with 31 minutes on the watch. The Hawks were undeterred though and responded barely two minutes later as attacking midfielder Henry Clark found the run of forward Marko Protic and he finished with aplomb, low under the dive of Williams to level things up.

Williams was called into action again four minutes before the break as a decent move that involved full-back Callum Berg and Protic ended with a curling strike that the Billericay stopper gathered.


Half-Time: Billericay 1 – 1 Harlow


It would be fair to say that the second period was not quite at the same pace as the first half, although there were a few decent chances for either side. Just shy of the hour mark, Billericay midfielder Freddy Cooper sent a header in on goal which Horgan gathered well enough. At the other end, Harlow’s creative forward Manny Phagura had been fizzing in some good passes and one of those on 69 minutes found Nicol who had narrowly strayed offside.

Danny Brown’s side responded with two decent chances, first after a good move involving substitute Nyan Mesuria and Vosper led to Cooper firing his effort wide. Soon afterward, decent build-up play by Mbambo led to full-back George Cornwell having a go at goal, forcing a decent save from Horgan.

Cornwell (2) making a good run down the right flank for Blues (Image by Scott W)

But just when it looked as though it would would finish level after the 90 minutes, Harlow got a crucial winning goal on eighty-four minutes as decent play in the build-up ended with full-back Sammy Bayon drilling in a good low strike which left the unfortunate Williams stranded as it found the net. The Blues could not respond and had to settle for their runners-up medals in what has still been a good campaign for them.

Charles Nicol (far right) jostling for possession with Billericay’s Tom Duffy

Full-Time:  Billericay Town Res  1 – 2 Harlow Town Res

To summarise this match, a really energetic first-half meant that both sides were finding it tricky to match said energy levels after the interval. The Billericay side showed enough to display why they had won the ESL Reserve League Division One title but they could not dominate a good Harlow side, whose main focus ended up being this competition. The late winner really did come at a good time as we were hurtling towards another 30 minutes, for the second time this weekend. It was hard to deny Harlow their win as they put in a good all-round effort.

There were some really good performances in this game. For Harlow Res, I felt forward Charles Nicol had a really good game, provuding his team with a good focal point in attack and show good physicality and passing. Fellow forwards Marko Protic and Manny Phagura also shone, with Protic taking his goal well and being a constant threat to the Billericay backline, while Phagura was the creative passer & dribbler just behind them in the formation. Finally, a word for full-back Sammy Bayon who already put in a hard-working performance before producing a fine strike for the winning goal.

For the Billericay side, I thought winger Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo showed why he’s had loan spells elsewhere in Senior football this term, showcasing good pace, passing and movement in addition to his goal. Freddy Cooper had a fine game in central midfield and made several good passes, while forward Louie Vosper did test the stout Harlow backline with his pace and trickery. Lastly, full-back George Cornwell did well to provide an attacking option at times, making several good runs down the right flank & added some good passes as well.

Here are your winners – Harlow Town Reserves!

Congrats to the victors Harlow but I will add it was good to see both teams looking to play the game in a fast, enterprising style.


I’ll end with some thanks, firstly to Essex Senior League President Rob Errington and also to Match Referee Craig Wood, for his assistance pre-match. Thank you.


Teams

Billericay Town Res     |  Manager: Danny Brown 

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jordan Williams (GK), 2 George Cornwell, 3 James Drake, 18 Henry Lukombo, 16 Tom Duffy (Capt), 5 Josh Brown (7 Nyan Mesuria 63′), 17 Freddy Cooper, 8 Jack Taylor, 14 Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo, 11 Robert Adams, 9 Louie Vosper (19 Kaylen Harris 87′)

Goal-scorer: Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo [31′]

Booked: Mesuria  | Sub Not Used: Davey, Bassa, Clubb


Harlow Town Res     | Manager: Adam Connolly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Robert Horgan (GK), 2 Sammy Bayon, 3 Callum Berg, 5 Reece Hardwick, 6 Greame Butler (Capt), 4 Jamie Brooker (18 Harry Yorke 90′), 14 Eden Hayday, 10 Henry Clark, 19 Manny Phagura, 9 Marko Protic, 7 Charles Nicol (8 Ishmeal Fiadzomor 84′),

Goal-scorers: Marko Protic [34′], Sammy Bayon [84′]

Booked: Clark | Subs Not Used: Harwood, Ambrose, Parker


Referee: Craig Wood
Assistants: Yaron Woolf & Katie Dorling

Fourth Official: James Latham

S21-22 Match Report: Benfleet 1 – 2 Halstead Town (Sat 23 Apr) [EaSL Sth P/O SF 24.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – South Division Play-Off Semi-Final

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 162

2021-22 Season: Match 75

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – 3pm KO

Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts,Sky Blue Socks

Halstead: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Action still from first-half (Image by Scott W)

Halstead battle hard to overcome Benfleet in play-off Semi-Final

Benfleet  1 – 2 Halstead Town (AET)

Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The first match this weekend saw a return to Park Lane for a crucial Eastern Senior League play-off Semi-Final, as Benfleet ,who finished 3rd in the League season) entertained Halstead Town, who finished the season strongly.

Buoyed on their sizeable travelling contingent of supporters, Halstead looked to keep things tight early-doors as Halstead forward Calvin Poku struck wide of home custodian Florent Gislette’s woodwork. Benfleet looked to retain possession and gain the impetus as well, and prominent forward Ben Foord had a half-chance two minutes into the game but visiting stopper Jack Cherry did well to deny him. The same two players were key on eleven minutes as a fierce strike by Foord was well-parried onto the woodwork by Cherry.

You may have thought at this point that it was a case of when Robert Polkinghorn’s side would break the deadlock. But that wasn’t the case as the Humbugs certainly defended stoutly and the hosts couldn’t quite create the clear chances their possession advantage may have given them. It got worse for Benfleet on twenty-four minutes. From a relatively rare foray forward at this point in proceedings, a good run down the right channel by winger Jordan Blackwell ended with a fine cross into the six-yard area, which allowed wily forward Calvin Poku to slot home from close range after evading the ‘Fleet backline.

Benfleet looking to get test Halstead keeper Jack Cherry

Benfleet were playing some neat football, but their finishing was going astray. A good move involving full-back Joe Hunter and defender Sonny Hartman ended with Foord again firing off-target. Halstead did also clear a good header off the goalline and they did ride theur luck a little. But for me, the Humbugs were also more composed in defence and they were not rattled by the task at hand. Cherry was called into action again just before the break as a good header by centre-back Cameron Harris from about eight yards out was denied by the Halstead captain.

HT: Benfleet 0 – 1 Halstead

Billy Carter (left) about to launch long pass on for Benfleet

Benfleet needed to find another gear after the interval as although Halstead had few chances in the first half, they looked a danger going forward and they did catch the Blues defence napping on occasion. Early on in the second half, impressive winger Frankie Stone sprinted clear of the retreating visiting defence, only to be denied by an excellent recovery tackle by a Humbugs defender.

I was starting to wonder on the hour whether this match would be a case of ‘missed chances’ for the hosts. On 62 minutes, the Poku was again given too much space in the area by the home defence with his resulting strike being well-denied by Gislette. Benfleet sensed they had to level quickly and responded as Foord was through on goal but again a superb recovery challenge by full-back Ryan Carter stifled the oppurtunity to shoot past Cherry.

Jordan Blackwell (right) launches a forward move for Halstead

Benfleet were really cursing their luck after a free-kick by substitute Henry Sims was nodded on by Foord and Stone’s prod at goal was cleared off the goal-line. Fourth official Ian Pascu signalled six added minutes to play and just as you started to think the solitary goal would be the winner, Benfleet finally scored. A powerful header by Harris found the net in a congested area two minutes into added time and gave them a chance in extra-time.


Joe Hunter (far left) about to cross the ball in for ‘Fleet (Image by Scott W)

FT (90 mins): Benfleet 1 – 1 Halstead 

So, thirty minutes added time we had but there was a near -immediate dramatic turn in the match. Just two minutes in, Benfleet’ defence was caught trying to clear by Poku, who unselfishly slotted in Jordan Palmer who calmly finished past the grasp of Gislette. Halsyead really should have made the game secure eight minutes later but forward Adam Hampson’s decent strike was well-saved low down by Gislette.

Benfleet gave it everything in the second period of extra-time but it wasn’t to be. To their credit, Halstead showed plenty of desire, composure and application to edge their way to the play-off Final with a gritty and commendable performance.


Full-Time (AET):  Benfleet  1 – 2 Halstead Town

This match was a dramatic encounter though in summary, Halstead just edged it on composure in both penalty boxes, in my view. They took their goals well from the relatively few chances they had, compared to their hosts who couldn’t convert their morass of chances due to a combination of profligate finishing and last-ditch Humbugs defending.

There were some fine performances in this match . First, for winners Halstead. Winger Jordan Blackwell put in a fine display, exercising his movement and pace to good effect to stretch the home backline. Forward Calvin Poku also showed his guile and got an goal & an assist as part of a good all-round performance. Goalkeeper Jack Cherry pulled off three good saves in the first-half to keep it tight and centre-back Garry Burdett had another good game, showcasing desire and good positioning.

For Benfleet, I felt full-back Joe Hunter had an excellent game showing high energy, good passing and good awareness too. Support forward Frankie Stone also had a good game too, showing good pace, awareness and movement. Cameron Harris had another good game at centre-half making several good interceptions & also taking his goal well. Lastly, a word for forward Ben Foord who was their focal point up front and never stopped grafting. He was a constant threat until he had to be substituted late on.

Victors Halstead applaud their travelling supporters post-match

Congrats to both sides but it is Halstead who go on to face Buckhurst Hill in the Final after they defeated Wivenhoe 3-2 today. That will be a tough game.


Teams

Benfleet    |  Manager: Robert Polkinghorn  | Assistant: Robert Rook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter, 4 Martyn Lacey, 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Sonny Hartman (17 Billy Bonham-Dare 67′), 7 Frankie Stone (15 Danny Hurford 108′), 8 Aaron Russell (Capt), 9 Robert Lacey, 11 Ben Foord (14 Mason Shave 86′), 10 Taylor Lawrence (12 Henry Sims 73′)

Goal-scorer: Cameron Harris [90’+2]

Sin-bin: R Lacey (115′)  | Subs Not Used: Frost


Halstead Town  | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: Pete Travers

Starting XI: 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Garry Burdett, 5 Nick Miller (14 Greg Strong 106′), 6 Alfie Cleal, 7 Jordan Blackwell, 8 Jordan Palmer, 9 Calvin Poku (15 Curtis Abel 92′), 10 Adam Hampson, 11 Jordan Pavett (12 Louis O’Sullivan 83′)

Goal-scorers: Calvin Poku  [24′], Jordan Palmer [ET 2′]

Booked: Miller | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Chris Darling
Assistants: Sam Jones & Iain George

Fourth Official: Ian Pascu

S21-22 Match Report: Stanway Rovers 0 – 2 Redbridge (Mon 18 Apr) [ESL PBT Final 21-22 19.4.22]


ESL crest

ESL Peter Butcher Trophy – Final

Venue: Catons Lane

Attendance: 181

2021-22 Season: Match 74

Monday 18 April 2022 – 3pm KO

Stanway: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Yellow Socks

Redbridge:  Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks



The Silverware.. This is the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy [Image by Scott W]

Early Action Still with Redbridge defending [Image by Scott W]

Redbridge secure another Trophy with hard-earned win over resilient Stanway

Stanway Rovers  0 – 2  Redbridge

Match Report & Photos by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Additional photos by Katie Dorling [for @EssexSenior], used with thanks. Thanks also to the ESL’s Ashley Leat.

The last match of the Easter weekend saw the first Essex Senior-related Cup Final of the campaign as we headed to Saffron Walden’s Catons Lane for an interesting battle between high-flyers Redbridge and mid-table side Stanway Rovers. Stanway had to bypass Sawbridgeworth Town, West Essex and Takeley to reach this occasion and named Harry Aldridge between the posts, with captain Jack Clampin and Danny Nesbitt in central defence. Jordan Barnett and Harry Norman were the central midfield, with Ernest Okoh and Ayo Oukoya leading the attack, with support from James Crisell and Sean Bartlett. Forwards Joel Older, Max Sherlock and Ezequiel Franchi were all options from the sidelines for boss Danny Slatter.

Redbridge had to lift themselves following a disappointing end to their League match on Good Friday but in this competition, they had defeated Southend Manor, St Margaretsbury, Walthamstow and Stansted en route to this Final. They named regular stopper George Martin in goal, with a back four of Bradley Bennett, skipper Jack Roult plus centre-backs Dean Hall and Nathan Okoye. Tony Martin led the forward line, alongside Ibrahim Kehinde and Timothy Ogunrinde. Jerold Cobblah and Michael Pindy were cup-tied & therefore unavailable. Their bench included forward Loui Hazelwood, midfielders Kwabena Yeboah and Tayo Olukolu and defender Joe Elliott.  

The Stanway team pre-match [Image by Katie D]

The Redbridge Starting XI pre-match [Image by Katie D]

This match had a cagey start, perhaps reflecting the long & arduous season that both sides have had. It is understandable that the teams were mentally tired more than anything but the match did find its way into gear on ten minutes as Redbridge pushed forward and Robbie Norris’ header forced a decent save from Rovers custodian Harry Aldridge. Stanway had given the Motormen defence a few nervy moments in the early minutes, with forwards Ernest Okoh and Ayo Odukoya proving a good duo with good movement and strength. They couldn’t quite create the chances they needed though as the Blues did get the better of the midfield battle. On twenty-five minutes, a set-piece was angled into the penalty box, which centre-back Nathan Okoye got onto but his header was not powerful enough to trouble Aldridge, who gathered.

Stanway were commendably strong in defence but couldn’t quite find the telling passes to the forwards often enough as they were frustrated by a good Motormen backline. Rovers had a warning on thirty-three minutes when a good one-two passing move involving Martin and Timothy Ogunrinde ended with Ogunrinde firing wide of the right-side post, with Kehinde making a surging run in the centre of the penalty area.

Redbridge looking to get forward in first half [Image by Scott W]

The game was starting to drift towards the interval, needing a goal and one duly arrived nine minutes before the break. Good build-up play saw a good cross-field ball find Ibrahim Kehinde on the left flank, before the wily forward turned past his marker and sent a superb cross in to the far post, finding Tony Martin who powerfully headed home into the far post with Aldridge helpless to prevent it. George Christou’s side were having the better of the chances but they were not plentiful.

So at the Interval, Redbridge had a slender lead but they had to stay alert to shake off the threat posed by Odukoya and Okoh in particular while Rovers had to step up the tempo to further stretch & test the Redbridge defence.

Redbridge looking to counter-attack in 1st half with Stanway skipper Jack Clampin (5) marking [Image by Katie D]

Half-Time: Stanway Rovers 0 – 1 Redbridge


Redbridge looked to regain the momentum early in the second half but Kehinde was unable to make the most of two half-chances, first firing off-target and then shortly afterwards, his effort was saved by Aldridge, who was having a decent game. Stanway were still finding it tricky to create clear chances, with Okoh having the only effort of note off-target ten minutes after the restart. Max Sherlock came off the bench for Danny Slatter’s team to replace Sean Bartlett and immediately gave Rovers an injection of pace and energy down the left flank, which added to the threat the Motormen defence had to face.

At the other end, fellow substitute Loui Hazelwood was also causing problems for the Rovers backline as a surging run ended with Aldridge doing well to deny his effort as well. Stanway came back into proceedings well in the latter stages though as Okoh was denied by Motormen stopper George Martin before Sherlock got hold of the rebound and saw his strike blocked by the well-placed covering defenders. Redbridge were searching keenly for that telling second goal and Hazelwood so nearly had it, sending a curling strike from left side of penalty box which Stanway captain Jack Clampin did very well to clear off the goal-line.


Stanway put another dangerous ball into the box [Image by Scott W]

Rovers were still piling forward looking for that crucial leveller and were leaving gaps in their defence on the counter-attack. Redbridge did just that a minute before the ninety was up, with Hazelwood doing well making another run before playing in skipper Jack Roult but his strike went narrowly wide of Aldridge’s left-side post. That ended up being the last let-off Rovers had as a minute later, Redbridge finally got a second goal to seal the Peter Butcher Trophy.

A searing run by the impressive Kehinde down the right channel got the better of the Stanway defence before coolly playing in Hazelwood who struck home well with a looping finish to send the Redbridge contingent into raptures.

Stanway’s Ayo Odukoya being marked by Redbridge’s Robbie Norris [Image by Scott W]

Rovers had little time to mount a fightback as the final whistle went soon afterwards, though I must pay respect to the performance that they put in here. They put in a hard shift defensively but ultimately it wasn’t enough to claim the Trophy here.


Full-Time: Stanway Rovers  0 – 2 Redbridge

In summary, Redbridge were the stronger of the two sides going forward but Stanway made it tough with a resilient defensive display and the Motormen’s one goal lead going into the latter stages was precarious. That and Stanway looked more lively in attack after the interval meant there were nervy moments but George Christou’s side scored a superb second goal which secured more silverware, their second Trophy in two seasons.     

There were several fine performances from both sides In this Final. For victors Redbridge, forward Ibrahim Kehinde once again impressed, showing high energy and good running down the channels as well as good passing and two good assists and was named Man of the Match during the presentation post-match as well.  Jake Brocklebank had a good game in central midfield, as did centre-back Nathan Okoye who made several important interceptions at the heart of the Motormen backline. Finally, a word too for energetic forward Loui Hazelwood who did cause problems in the last half-hour with his movement and trickery after coming off the bench. He capped a memorable day for the club with a well-taken second goal.


Stanway also had some good performers on the big occasion, with Ernest Okoh leading the line well alongside Ayo Odukoya. His work rate and movement did give the Blues defence some nervy moments, particularly early on. Centre-back & captain Jack Clampin typified their resolve with some good clearances under pressure, assisted by full-back Daniel Smith who also put in a determined performance in defence and also sent in a few good crosses into the penalty area too.  Finally, substitute Max Sherlock made a difference after coming on, on the hour mark as well. His pace and passing really gave Rovers some impetus as the Motormen’s lead was perilously thin. Commiserations to Danny Slatter and his team, they’ve had a decent season.


Here are your winners of the Peter Butcher Trophy for Season 2021-22, Redbridge!!


Teams

Stanway Rovers  | Manager: Danny Slatter | Assistant: Jack Wignall

Starting XI  (Subs): 1 Harry Aldridge (GK), 2 Daniel Smith, 3 Olumide Akinode (15 Ezequiel Franchi 76’), 5 Jack Clampin (Capt), 18 Danny Nesbitt, 4 Jordan Barnett, 8 Harry Norman, 7 James Crisell, 9 Ernest Okoh (14 Joel Older 82’), 10 Ayo Odukoya, 11 Sean Bartlett (12 Max Sherlock 61’)

Booked: Akinode, Odukoya | Subs Not Used: Skinner (GK)


Redbridge  | Manager: George Christou  | Assistant: Jack Toghli

Starting XI (Subs): 1 George Martin (GK), 2 Bradley Bennett, 3 Jack Roult (Capt), 5 Dean Hall, 6 Nathan Okoye, 4 Jake Brocklebank, 8 Robbie Norris (16 Joe Elliott 86’), 18 Jack Chawner, 9 Ibrahim Kehinde, 10 Tony Martin (7 Loui Hazelwood 61’), 11 Timothy Ogunrinde (12 Kwabena Yeboah 80’)

Goal-scorers: Tony Martin [36’], Loui Hazelwood [90’]

Booked: Bennett, Brocklebank, G Martin (GK)  | Subs Not Used: Olukolu, Grace (GK)


Referee: Lukas Wood

Assistants: Ben Compton & Lee Jarvis

Fourth Official: Reece Pinchback

S21-22 Match Report: Burnham Ramblers 1 – 2 Harwich & Parkeston  (Sat 16 Apr) [EaSL Sth 21-22 16.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Leslie Field

Attendance: TBC

2021-22 Season: Match 73

Saturday 16th April – 3pm KO

Burnham R: Blue Shirts, Black Shorts, Blue Socks

 Harwich: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks  

Albert Galbally (far left) sends free-kick into the Harwich 18-yard box [Image by Scott W]

Harwich produce fine away-day display to defeat nervy Burnham at Leslie Field

Burnham Ramblers   1 –  2  Harwich & Parkeston

Match Report & Photos by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

The Easter weekend continued with a trip back to Leslie Field for a real crunch match in the play-off race as Burnham Ramblers entertained Harwich & Parkeston. It’s always good to visit this historic ground and it was also a rare opportunity to see the North East Essex side as well. Burnham realistically had to win to stay in contention for a play-off spot but Harwich had been improving of late. As for the teams then and Burnham fielded Adam French in goal once again, with a back four of Nathan Putt, Albert Galbally and centre-backs Matthew Stevens-Brown and Ben Wood, who skippered the side. Adebolu Adeyemi played in a deeper role here, supporting forwards Samir Ali, George Hart and Haziz Kone. Options on the bench included forwards Said Issa, Deane Stone and Jack Walker. Harwich named Jack Lines as their goalkeeper here, with a defence comprised of Alfred Smith, Reece Harte with captain Nathan Kioussis alongside Jack Wood in central defence. Their attack was led by Joe Boreham-Knight and Jamie Eades. Their depleted bench included Cameron Brunsden, Jay Eggerichs and Tony Clarke.

This match got underway with the palpable sense that Harwich felt more comfortable in possession, and Burnham were feeling the nerves as they knew a strong result was key here. Samir Ali and Adebolu Adeyemi both had glimpses at visiting custodian Jack Lines’ goal frame but they couldn’t test the ‘keeper. Harwich were starting to create problems at the other end, as a set-piece by midfielder Brandon Rusby found commanding centre-back Jack Wood but his header was well parried away by home goalkeeper Adam French. Ramblers had a good chance just short of the half-hour as a move instigated by Haziz Kone down the left flank ended with his pass finding fellow forward George Hart and his effort was well-blocked in a congested penalty area by Harwich full-back Alfred Smith.

Burnham were creating a few nervous moments with their angled crosses in from deep but chances on goal were still few & far between, much to their growing frustration. The scale of the task grew ever higher as Harwich did break the deadlock seven minutes before the break. Harwich forward Joe Boreham-Knight made another telling run and his effort on goal evaded the home defenders which allowed Declan Kama to nip in and slot home from mere yards out, at the far post. Game on for Luke Goodson’s side. The Shrimpers nearly got a second goal as a speculative lobbed effort by Boreham-Knight went wide of French’s goal. You got the sense that Burnham were happy to not concede any more goals and needed some inspiration to rejuvenate their performance and possibly their season after the interval.

Half-Time: Burnham Ramblers  0 – 1   Harwich & Parkeston


The second half got underway as Burnham signalled their intent to resurrect their chances of the play-offs by getting back on terms. However, it was Harwich who were continuing to stretch the hosts’ defence, as Boreham-Knight again got past the backline after an errant pass by skipper Ben Wood was claimed. The forward then again sent a long pass into the far post area, agonizingly wide of strike partner Jamie Eades’ grasp as the ball trickled away, much to French’s relief. Another omen of it not being Burnham’s day came on seventy-five minutes as midfielder Levi Griffiths was given a straight red card for a high foot which did clatter into substitute Jay Eggerichs, who had to be substituted 15 minutes after coming on.

Harwich were sensing that they could wrap the points up and Kama’s strike was well-cleared off the goal line by Burnham captain Ben Wood. Burnham rallied and substitutes Jack Walker and Deane Stone did give them a little more impetus in the latter stages, with Stone breaking through the Harwich defence well before sending a well-struck effort wide of Line’s woodwork.

Despite showing good work rate, the hosts could not get the key passes into the forwards often enough for their liking really and Harwich sealed the win on eighty-nine minutes. A fine cross by midfielder Steven Polley found Boreham-Knight who controlled his header well as it flew into the far corner with French stranded. Burnham were awarded a spot-kick deep into added-time after Adeyemi was felled inside the area, which Samir Ali did convert with aplomb but it was not enough to prevent falling to a demoralising loss here and Ramblers simply have to win at Cornard Utd on the last day and hope Halstead lose at home to mid-table Coggeshall Utd.

The midfield battle… [Image by Scott W]

Full-Time: Burnham Ramblers 1 – 2   Harwich & Parkeston

In summary, Burnham could not conjure up a performance they needed to win the game. It may well been nerves and/or the pressure of needing the points today but that’s not really for me to say. Take nothing away from Harwich though as they put in a very good display, with strong performances all over the pitch, good movement and passing and a resolute defence as well to earn the points.

There were several creditable performances in this match. For victors Harwich, forward Joe Boreham-Knight led the attack well and also took his goal with aplomb. He gave the Burnham defence a tough afternoon, especially when the hosts had to push forward in the second half to get back into the game. Also, centre-back Jack Wood was a aerial threat in both boxes and could have two goals from set-pieces. Full-back Alfred Smith had a good match as well, showing good positional awareness in his defensive responsibilities and good work rate plus winger Declan Kama also took his goal well and showed decent movement off-the-ball.

For Burnham, Adebolu Adeyemi did well in his position supporting the forwards, threading in some good passes and gave everything for his team in terms of work rate. Centre-back Matthew Stevens-Brown put in some fine tackles as well to keep his side competitive and full-back Nathan Putt also showed good energy and passing. Finally, forward Samir Ali did all he could to get his team going and made some decent runs and showed good movement too.

I’d like to wish both sides well for their respective final match on Easter Monday and wish them well going into next season. Also, a big thanks to Burnham for their hospitality, it’s been really good to see the club as a whole on an upward curve this term.  


Teams

Burnham Ramblers  | Manager: Luke Goodson  | Assistant: Ross Mernick

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Adam French (GK), 2 Nathan Putt (16 Deane Stone 84’), 3 Albert Galbally, 5 Ben Wood (Capt), 6 Matthew Stevens-Brown, 4 Levi Griffiths, 8 Harry Shawyer, 7 Samir Ali, 9 Adebolu Adeyemi, 10 Haziz Kone, 14 George Hart (17 Jack Walker 73’)

Goal-scorer: Samir Ali [pen 90’+5]

Booked: Putt | Sent Off: Griffiths [75’] | Subs Not Used: Barry, Jackman & Issa


Harwich & Parkeston      | Manager: Sean Tynan | Assistant: Gary Kioussis

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Lines (GK), 2 Alfred Smith, 3 Reece Harte, 5 Nathan Kioussis (Capt), 6 Jack Wood, 7 Mark Palmer (14 Jay Eggerichs 62’ himself replaced due to injury by 12 Cameron Brunsden 77’), 8 Brandon Rusby, 9 Joe Boreham-Knight, 107 Jamie Eades, 11 Declan Kama

Goal-scorers: Declan Kama [38′], Joe Boreham-Knight [89′]

 Booked: Palmer, Eades, Boreham-Knight | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Joshua Evans

Assistants: Garry Roberts & Daren Bigg