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

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 36 – Sat 7 May) [EAL 21-22 10.5.22]

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the League on Saturday 7 May. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up also includes a mention of Monday night’s solitary match in Senior Divsion. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.

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

With additional reporting by Scott W

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 7 May

PREMIER DIVISION CUP

The full line-up for this season’s Premier Division Cup is now known as the second semi-final was completed on Saturday where London Park City were in action once again, taking on London Cranes in Seven Kings. A close game saw the sides finish level at 1-1 at full-time, sending the game to another shootout. After a penalties victory last weekend, it was London Park City who once again prevailed, winning 3 – 2 to send their side to a maiden final, facing Wapping later in the month.

DIVISION THREE CUP

In the Division Three Cup, the first of the semi-finals took place which saw ASA attempting to stand in the way of champions FC Baresi Under 23s as the latter sought the opportunity of a league and cup double. A terrific game saw ASA lead through strikes by Mithurn Vijayarajah & Panushanth Kulenthiran before a Baresi fightback led by goals from Maamoon Khan and Zach Aliane took the game to penalties. In the shootout, it was the champions who progressed to their first final, winning 4 – 2 to send their side to Dagenham & Redbridge!


SENIOR DIVISION

Some huge games in the Senior Division took place over the weekend which saw Chigwell Town, a side who had been in the relegation zone almost the entirety of the season, pull off a massive win, defeating Tower United 3 – 2 to stay in the league. Harry Tew-Robinson was the hero with a hat-trick which ensured his side stayed up by the narrowest of margins. Abdullah Jama’s double was not enough for Tower who finished bottom & will most likely be relegated.

It was also a great day for Blue Marlin who knew they had to get a win against London Cup finalists FC Petrocub in order to give themselves a chance of beating the drop. And a win was exactly what Blue Marlin delivered, beating their mid-table opponents in a 2 – 0 scoreline, thanks to strikes by Macauley Harrington & Ni Acquaye and moved out of the relegation zone and confirm their senior status for another season.

Over in Beckton, those results meant that CSM London had no choice but to win their game to stay in the league but were facing a Woodford East side with just as much in the game for them as they strove for runners-up spot. Eli Brown scored for CSM but East goals from Billy Barr, Andrew Rowe, Ben Smith and Reece Beaumont meant their side took the honours in a 4 – 1 win, keeping their hopes of top two alive going into Monday’s match.

Cup finalists, Rapid Chingford, warmed up for their huge occasion in the coming fortnight with a terrific win in their last game of the season, defeating Jolof Sports in a 1 – 0 scoreline over at Mayfield Leisure Centre. A single Tita Daniel goal was enough for the Fenton Cup finalists to take the points, confirming an eighth placed finish in the process.

On Monday night, Jolof Sports recovered from their narrow loss 48 hours earlier by recording a superb 5 – 0 victory over Woodford East in their match, held at Mayesbrook Park 3G. This result means that East finish the league campaign in third spot but Halil Hassan’s side are still involved in two Cup competitions so they have a chance of endoing their first season at Step 7 in a memorable way. 

PREMIER DIVISION

The penultimate game of the Premier Division season saw Frenford A the hosts to fifth placed Wapping, the latter looking for a confidence boost ahead of their own cup final in a couple of weeks time. A closely fought battle eventually went in favour of the champions as Frenford won the game 4 – 2 to ensure they completed a terrific campaign in some style ahead of their debut top flight season. Joel Opara and Wisley Baltazar both netted two goals each to confirm a memorable day.

DIVISION ONE

Division One’s action was wrapped up on Saturday as Belfry went out knowing that three points would see them achieve something quite special. But standing in their way were a side who will have been pleased with their own efforts this year and RCXI raced into a 3 – 0 lead through goals two goals from Ayo Matthews and a Sammy Anjorin goal. Two Kieran James responses wasn’t enough as RCXI sent the champions to just their first defeat, in the very last game of the season.

All eyes were then on the big game at the Marshes where Cowley Community went into their battle against Francis Luke knowing they needed the points to ensure themselves of the runners-up position. They delivered exactly what they needed, winning the game 3 – 1 as two Elias Tackie strikes and a Michael Taylor goal promoted their club into the Premier Division for next season!

DIVISION TWO

It’s congratulations to Fairlop Rovers who were confirmed as Division Two champions on Saturday as their opponents could not raise a side for the remaining fixture. A tremendous achievement for the club as they continue their rise through the divisions. Well done to Dylan and all of the Rovers players on their success!

Following that outcome, the battle was then on for the runners-up spot which saw Rainham Working Mens Club needing to secure a win against Royal Forest to take second place. And that was exactly what they managed to do as Connor Kain scored twice and Sean Tormey once to give the Workies a 3 – 2 win, confirming promotion to Division One. Well done to everyone involved!

In the battle to avoid the drop in Division Two, a key six pointer saw St Francis taking on Loughton Lions at Robert Clack, the Saints knowing they needed to secure a win to keep things in their favour. But the Lions were able to secure a valuable point for their side in a 3 – 3 draw, despite two Omar Hafid goals and a Peter Luvualu effort for Saints. Lions now need just two points to beat the drop.

S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 7 May) [EOFL 21/22 8.5.22]

Hutton winger Luke Ricketts in possession v Catholic Utd [Image by Scott W]

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

Hello and welcome to this week’s extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this week, including the midweek action In League & Cups and the action on Saturday 7 May. The focus this week is on the League action in the top three divisions. Thank you for reading. Photos are by Scott W & Wakering Sports FC, used with thanks.


Essex Olympian League – Midweek [Tues 3 May]

We begin the midweek action began with the EOFL Reserve Cup Final, held once again at Woodside (Bishop’s Stortford FC). Wakering Sports Res ended a fine campaign with a 4 – 1 triumph over Buckhurst Hill U23 with Connor Fardyga underlining his superb goal-scoring campaign with a brace here, which Ciaran Sweeney and David Watson added goals to complete the win to claim the silverware.
Before we move on, I’d like to add my congratulations to the Wakering Sports second-side, as a club Sports have had a strong season.

Wakering Sports celebrate with the Res Lge Cup [Image by Wakering Sports FC]

Also on Tuesday night, Rayleigh Town maintained their slim chances of the EOFL Premier title with a superb second-half showing securing them a 4 – 0 success at home to Galleywood. Harry Talbot netted twice for Paul Higgins’ side, with Liam Oliver and replacement William Vile also on target. Rivals Basildon Town and Ongar Town need a point to both overhaul Rayleigh’s points total as of this point ahead of the weekend’s action. Non-League writer Peter Dudley was there & here is his report:  https://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/05/rayleigh-town-4-galleywood-0.html  

The other game was at a chilly Len Forge 3G where Catholic Utd put in a good performance to dispatch Hutton 4 – 0. James Warder struck two goals here for Simon Thomas’ team and Aaron Baldwin & Joe O’Kane was also on the score-sheet in the match I attended. If you’d like more on this match, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2022/05/04/s21-22-match-report-catholic-utd-4-0-hutton-tues-3-may-eofl/


Essex Olympian League – Saturday 7 May

Now onto the weekend’s action, and in the match I attended, Basildon Town got a crucial 1 – 0 victoryat Hutton to seal a top-two finish at least. Graham Harrison got the goal just before the hour mark which means Ongar Town have to win next weekend to claim the title. If you’d like more on this game, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2022/05/07/s21-22-match-report-hutton-0-1-basildon-town-sat-7-may-eofl/

Elsewhere, Catholic Utd still have a chance of afifth-placed finish after they secured a superb 5 – 1 triumph over Galleywood at the Len Forge. Aaron Baldwin netted twice here, with Franklin Craik, Thomas Kearney and debutant Matt Creevy also netting here. Thomas Watling again scored for ‘Wood but they still need at least a point to avoid a bottom-three finish. Finally, Sungate will definitely finish in the top half after a 4 – 2 success at Harold Wood Athletic. James Pottle and replacement Jamie Webb-Kelly struck for Ath but it was confirmed here that they will finish bottom. ‘Gate will face Canning Town in the Senior League Cup Final on Tuesday at Woodside (Bishop’s Stortford) – the first of three matches against Canning in 18 days.

In Division One, Snaresbrook are two points from safety now after a fine 4 – 2 victory over Corinthians at Hackney Marshes. Bailey Moss and John Bolton-Smith scored for Chris Stoneham’s visitors but a double from Lee Lashley as well as strikes by Yevhen Zhyvka and substitute Tyrell Holder were enough to claim the win which keeps Rob Caine’s side well in contention for Division One survival. If they defeat Beacon Hill Rovers next weekend, they will stay up. The Stambridge-based side have finished fourth after another good season.

In Division Two, AS Rawreth also earned a crucial triumph, winning 3 – 2 against Harld Wood Athletic Res at the Warren. Freddy Shepherd & Thomas Butler’s penalty made it tough but Rawreth responded to claim the points. A victory next week at home to promotion-chasing Manford Way may be enough to avoid a bottom-two finish, if Hutton Res lose at home to Manford’s promotion rivals Harold Hill.

Lastly, for this week – in Division Four, Roydon kept up their slim chances of a top three finish with a 2 – 0 victory at Sungate Dev. Mike Hayes & an OG secured the win for Roydon but they must win by at least six clear goals at Springfield Res in two weeks’ time to leapfrog their rivals and finish 3rd. Sungate Development are now confirmed as finishing second-bottom and will likely be relegated. 


EOL Divisions Three & Five have now been completed.

That’s all for this week, the EOFL round-up has two more editions this month before we end for the season. Thanks to you all for reading.

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 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 30 Apr) [EOFL 21/22 1.5.22]

Image still from Rayleigh Town v Sungate this week [Image by Scott W]

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

Hello and welcome to this week’s extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this week, including the midweek action In League & Cups and the action on Saturday 30 April. The focus this week is on the League action in the top three divisions. Thank you for reading & thanks to Pete Dudley for allowing links to his reports to be added.

Essex Olympian League – Midweek [Mon 25 – Thurs 28 April]

The midweek action began with the EOFL Reserve Trophy Final held at Basildon Utd FC. May & Baker A got the silverware after a 2 – 0 triumph over Ongar Town Res, with Abraham Jairette and Ryan Mugera getting the job done, much to the felight of all at ‘Bakers, congrats to them. On Tuesday night, Rayleigh Town maintained their push for a minimum top-three finish with a gritty 1 – 0 over Sungate at London Road. Captain George Vile’s free-kick was enough to claim the win. Fellow Non-League writer Pete Dudley [@ped1980] was there & here’s his report: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/04/rayleigh-town-1-sungate-0.html

On Wednesday night, Galleywood Res got a good 2 – 1 victory at Sungate Dev, with Ben Smith and an OG overcoming James Oderinde’s reply for the hosts there. The win keeps ‘Wood in ninth. Finally on Thursday night, Runwell Sports added the EOFL Denny King Memorial Cup to their Division One Promotion as they won 09 – 8 on penalties following a 1 – 1 draw with Snaresbrook. Ife Ogunbayo netted for the East London side, but Charlie Little replied for Robert Hodgson’s side. Congrats to all at Runwell & Pete Dudley was also there, here is his report: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/04/runwell-sports-end-season-with.html


Essex Olympian League – Saturday 30 April

Now onto the weekend’s action, Ongar Town still lead the way on goal difference following a 3 – 2 win away at Catholic Utd. Harry Rawlins, Joe Lilly and Freddie Mattock got the goals to outdo replies from John Nutman and Carl Read for Utd to grab a vital win. Ongar host the same opponents in their last game on May 14th. Basildon Town are also still in contention after a 2 – 1 success over Sungate at Gardiners Close, with Rhys Willson and replacement Rhys Fatt grabbing the important strikes. Marcus Bowers’ team visit Hutton next weekend in their last game. Rayleigh Town have almost secured a third-placed finish now after a 2 – 1 victory at Hutton, with George Vile and substitute Philip Anunwa both netting to give them another important victory.

In the race to avoid relegation, Leigh Ramblers got a massive 6 – 0 victory at Harold Wood Athletic in their last game of the season. Jack Unwin netted a fine treble here, with Ryan Lowe netting twice and Jacob Meads adding the other goal to give the Rams a good chance of staying in the division, while ‘Wood will compete in Division One next term. Galleywood also got a 2 – 0 win at Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, with Thomas Watling’s 16th league goal this term & Matthew Crick’s strike giving them the points. ‘Wood need two points to mathematically secure safety. Lastly, Old Southendian still harbour a chance of a top-seven finish after a 3 – 1 success at Shenfield AFC.


In Division One, Snaresbrook took a big step towards safety with a 6 – 2 triumph over Epping Town at Hackney Marshes. Ife Ogunbayo netted twice for Rob Caine’s side, with Lee Lashley, Rajpal Bumbra and substitutes Saxon Shine & Youssef Moumen all netted also to take them to with fine points of safety, with three matches left to play. Epping will finish no lower than seventh in what has been a decent season for Stuart Hoskins’ side.

In Division Two, Hutton Res got a huge 3 – 1 win at relegation rivals AS Rawreth to extend the gap between the two sides to five points. A draw in the Reds’ second side’s last game may be enough to ensure they avoid a bottom two finish whereas Rawreth have to win in both games. May & Baker A also got a walkover win over Old Southendian Res which means they end their season in mid-table.


Moving now into Division Three, and Hashtag Utd Development got a big 1 – 0 triumph at Wakering Sports Res to secure the Division Three title. Jay Knight’s early goal was enough to claim the points and congratulations to Denis Simpson’s side on their elevation. Catholic Utd Res got second spot after a convincing 5 – 0 victory at Hullbridge Sports Res meant they ended the season on 50 points, congrats to Eamonn Kearney’s side there who have now secured back-to-back promotions. Wakering Sports finish third in this division and have still had a fine season, but will have to wait to see if they do get elevated as well. The other game in D3 saw Buckhurst Hill U23 grab a 2 – 1 victory over Leigh Town Res to end their season in seventh spot, with substitute Enis Demirbala got both goals for Darren Gosnell’s side here. Leigh end in 9th, five points above the bottom two. & Josh Burrage’s side will seek to improve next term.

Lastly this week, in Division Four there was still promotion to be settled and Old Chelmsfordians Res moved into the lead position for that second spot after a 4 – 1 victory at home to Roydon. A win in their last game will undoubtedly secure elevation to the fourth-tier. Southend Manor Dev also ended their season in seventh after a 3 – 2 win at Sungate Dev. Jack Mead scored twice for the visitors here, with replacement Thomas Roser also on target. The Sungate side have to win both remaining games with a large goal swing to rivals Leytonstone to avoid a bottom two finish now. Chingford Athletic Res also got a walkover win against Wakering Sports A who will finish in eighth spot.

EOL Division Five season has now been completed.

That’s all for this week, the EOFL round-up will continue into May.

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

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 34 – Sat 23 Apr) [EAL 21-22 25.4.22]

and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 23 April. 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]

With additional reporting by Scott W

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 23 April

DIVISION TWO CUP

The line-up for the Division Two Cup Final is now complete as the second semi-final took place on Saturday with Emerson & Upminster Reserves in action away at Unitey. A sparkling performance from the hosts saw Unitey book their place at Dagenham & Redbridge as Bubintende Masadi’s hat-trick, a brace from Ahmed Dousa and a Mohammed Abaker goal sealed a 6 – 1 win. Tobi Onafeko grabbed the Emerson goal in reply.

SENIOR DIVISION

It’s celebration time for DTFC as the Harlow based side were crowned league champions on Saturday in their last league game of the season, defeating Kit Out London in a 3 – 1 scoreline to seal the title at the Harlow Arena. Many congratulations to all involved at the club on this significant achievement, confirming promotion to Step 6 football in the process! They still have cup ties ahead to really make this an even more memorable campaign.

The chase for the runners-up spot will go down to the last games of the season as Chadwell Heath Spartans kept themselves in the mix with a 5 – 0 success in their last game of the season. Rapid Chingford were the final visitors to Chigwell where Harry Payne and Jeffrey Nketia both struck twice and Ray Hunwicks netted the other to finish a very creditable season for the Spartans.

Woodford East go into their remaining games knowing what they need to do and saw their runners-up quest dented with a shock defeat at home against FC Baresi at the Marshes. Connor Brathwaite’s double and an Andrew Rowe goal were not enough as Raymond Pok scored twice for the visitors with Tyreece Robertson, Jeffery Botendo and Abdisamad Mohamed strikes handing Baresi a 5 – 4 win.

Over in Noak Hill, Lymore Gardens kept up their outside hopes of a top four finish as they sent FC Petrocub to a big defeat, Lymore winning the game 7 – 3 ahead of a big week for Petrocub. Andre Rashford scored a hat-trick with Bradley Williams, Alex Coster, Tyriq Davies and Jonathan Hurrell efforts finishing off the game. In matters at the other end of the table, the race to beat the drop will head to a dramatic conclusion it appears as both of the bottom two sides recorded hugely important wins. Bottom team Tower United had a massive game at home against Blue Marlin and were able to record a 6 – 1 success, despite a Josh Morris goal for the visitors. That result closes the gap between the two sides to just a couple of points.

Over in Dagenham, a game with just as much significance saw Chigwell Town get themselves into a 3 – 0 lead in their game against top four chasing Jolof Sports. John Lye scored two and Ross Chimes one and they eventually held on to take the victory, despite second half fightback goals from Joshua Kweifio-Okai and Ahmadou Seye, the 3 – 2 victory giving Town vital points.


PREMIER DIVISION

The race for promotion in the Premier Division is into the final sequence of games and Dagenham United’s final game of the season has seen them move up into second place as they came through 3 – 1 victors in their game against Crookz United. Ancuba Cassama, Iaia Jau and Shaquille Mathurin were the men on target to give Dagenham a big chance of a top three finish.

In the other game from the division, Oakside’s own push for the top three is also still on track after they recorded win number ten this season with a 5 – 1 success away against Athletic Newham Under 23s. Kieren Huddart, Jahvid Irish, Demi Elegushi, Sam Davie and Kyrone Scotland were all on the scoresheet with this crucial three point haul. Rodney Botuli got the solitary reply for Newham, who will finish in mid-table.

DIVISION ONE

The promotion race in Division One took another turn on Saturday as promotion favourites, Cowley Community, slipped to defeat with two games to go, going down 3 – 1 to Kwanzas London Sport. Dwayne White scored for the hosts but his efforts were not quite enough as Kwanzas recorded their own ninth win of the campaign in their final league game of the season.

Something From Nothing will be relatively pleased with their first outing in Saturday football as their last league game of the season saw them confirm a top half finish following a 3 – 2 win at home against relegated Francis Luke. Brighton Tutalamon scored twice for Luke but those goals were not enough to take any points from the game.

DIVISION TWO

League leaders, Fairlop Rovers, missed the chance to take the title on Saturday as they could only take a single point from a double header against a rampant St Francis side who themselves moved further clear of danger at the bottom. Saints were 3 – 2 winners in the first game with Martin Valkov (2) and Omar Hafid netting the all important goals before taking a point in game two, Godwill Kumpana netting to make it 1 – 1.

The only side left who can catch the leaders are Rainham Working Mens Club but they failed to make the most of that Rovers slip as they could only draw in their home game against Old Esthameians, the two sides starting the day six points apart. That gap remained by full-time with neither side able to trouble the scorers in a 0 – 0 draw.

Over in Loughton, two more sides locked in a mid-table battle, Royal Forest and FHN Athletic, met at Roding Valley with the latter holding a slender one point lead going into the fixture. By full-time they had extended that to four as FHN ran out 3 – 1 victors to record their ninth league win of the season with three games to go.


DIVISION THREE

Congratulations are in order for the now confirmed Division Three league champions after FC Baresi Under 23s secured the points they needed to take the title, beating Buckhurst Way 6 – 0 in their eighteenth game of the season to move above runners-up, Old Barkabbeyans Reserves. Zach Aliane has had a fine season and he netted a hat-trick, Joshua Adu and Kii Jean-Baptiste scoring the others. Well done to all involved with the team on such a fine success.

Over in Hainault, two further sides completed their league seasons with Royal Forest Reserves the hosts to a Glendale side, both teams knowing the game had little riding on it with positional matters resolved. The Trees scored a couple of early goals and consolidated that with a third in the second half with Josh Loften, James Nelson and Tom Alexander all netting in a 3 – 0 scoreline.