Written By Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Hello and welcome to the second of a two-part blog looking back at the Essex Senior League 2019-20 season, as part of my Non-League ‘Season Review’ series.
In this concluding part, I look back at the sides in the bottom half of the division from the dry statistics perspective and my own thoughts on seeing them in action during the campaign, followed by the stats on Top Goal-scorers this season.
For The Top Ten sides in the ESL, add this URL: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/season-review-2019-20-essex-senior-lge-p1/ Thanks for reading.
Essex Senior League (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)
As with most Football at or below Step 3 (Isthmian Premier Division in the local area), the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later.
Beginning the bottom half in 11th are West Essex. The Stags had a season of transition with thirty-one points being gathered in their 24 matches. Their campaign was also blighted by weather-affected postponements though they still struck fifty-one goals (a goals per game average (GpG) of 2.125) and also shelled fifty-one in defence. They won five of their 12 matches away from their Mayesbrook Park home and their strong team ethos spread to their goal-scorers with Michael Mignot (10 league goals), Brad Russell (8) and Hakim Medfai (6) leading the way on that front. It is also notable that they have continued to encourage young talent into the first team this term. I saw them in action defeat Woodford in September, win well at Sawbridgeworth Town and narrowly lose at Cockfosters, the latter two matches both in October. Their attacking pace has continued from last term though I think for most of the season they have been that bit stronger defensively, despite suffering a few heavy losses this term. It may be that their counter-attacking style favours playing away from home, but I believe it is also about longer-term brick-building you feel for the club as they seek to strengthen the youth side of the club to build pathways through to Senior football.
In 12th place were Clapton. The Tons had a very strong ‘end’ to the campaign to record thirty-one points also from their 27 matches. Five of their nine wins this term came in their last eight matches and Julian Charles’ side were nomads, playing at Parkside before finishing the campaign at Southchurch Park. They scored forty goals and conceded 59 in total, though their ten losses from seventeen away matches also impeded them. I saw them twice back in November where they lost at Stansted after a decent start and then gave Saffron Walden Town a test before falling to a loss at home to the Bloods. They struck me as a decent side on-the-pitch though their concentration did let down at times. Deimar Queni led the goal-scoring charts with six league goals so well done Deimar.
In 13th place are Ilford, with Jonny Fowell’s side gaining thirty points from their twenty-eight games. Stats will show that they scored only 31 league goals (a GpG of 1.11) which is the third-lowest in the division this term, though they did concede fifty times at the other end, which on balance is second-best of all the bottom-half sides. Cricklefield was their ‘fortress’ with all league eight wins this season coming from their 15 home games, with only five points coming away from home. Being positive, I have little doubt that Fowell and his strong coaching team will be aiming for a better season next time out. I saw them narrowly best Tower Hamlets at home back in August before giving it their all in a draw with Walthamstow in late January. I found them to be a determined outfit with some talented players who will improve with coaching & experience.
St Margaretsbury ended up in 14th spot with twenty-six points from their 28 games, after a tough end to the season which saw them gain one win in their last ten matches. Tony Wild & Ray Bartlett’s team had issues finding the net, as they scored 36 goals (a GpG of 1.28) whilst shelling forty-eight goals at the other end. Forward Kyle Roberts snared eleven league goals to lessen the threat of being caught in the bottom four. In one of those quirks, I saw them twice against Southend Manor this term. Firstly, in early September where they just edged to a win at home in a real helter-skelter high-scoring battle before Manor returned the favour at Southchurch Park in early January. When I saw them they played quite an open, attacking style and benefitted by having the likes of Ryan Reed on set-pieces too. But in defence, they could be got at, much the same as their rivals in that bottom half. It was announced post-season that Tony Wild has moved across to lead the Youth section next term, with Bartlett taking sole charge of the first team, I’d like to wish both well in their respective roles next season.
A point behind St Mags were Sporting Bengal Utd in 15th, having gathered twenty-five points from their 26 matches, after being deducted three points early on in the campaign. Imrul Gazi’s side have played a attractive style of football for several seasons now, though this term they were that bit more vulnerable defensively, having conceded 62 goals (a GpG of 2.38) this term. Curtley McIntosh led the way in attack with a very respectable twelve league goals, with support from Bobby Redwood who got seven. As mentioned in the previous part of this article, Bengal contributed hugely to a fine match in their draw with Redbridge at Mile End in late September and reminds us that they have a very capable side, even if the consistency isn’t quite there.
Into the bottom four now, starting with Enfield in 16th spot. Matt Hanning’s side had twenty-four points on the board from their 26 matches, thanks in part to a decent run of two wins and three draws in their last eight matches. Defensively they conceded sixty-six goals – the second-worst in the division but to their credit, in the last few matches they did tighten up at the back and had the season continued, they may have ended the season in a better position. One plus for them as well was their new home of Woodside (Bishop’s Stortford) and they got some fine results there, winning five of their 14 matches there this season. In 17th spot was Southend Manor who endured a tough season it has to be said. They gained twenty-three points from their 26 matches, with four of their six league wins coming at Southchurch Park. The principal issue for them was scoring goals, as they scored twenty-eight times during the entire season – the lowest in the division (a GpG of 1.07). When I saw them live though, they did have their moments (particularly in the midway point of the season as they held Sawbridgeworth in November and edged to victory of St Margaretsbury in early January) but earlier in the campaign, lapses of concentration & confidence showed in home losses to Redbridge and Cockfosters.
Moving into the bottom two, and in 18th place were Tower Hamlets. They were a point adrift of Manor on 22 points from their 27 games played. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hamlets had one of the youngest squads to play in the division, certainly this season if not going further back into the league’s history. One for the historians that is. On their day, their pace and exuberance was tough to stifle, but on the other end of that scale is that their inexperience cost them, defensively in particular. They shipped sixty-five goals (a GpG of 2.41) and they didn’t win any of their last ten league matches which did put them in the position that they finished, but ran the top-of-the-table sides close which did earn John Jatto’s side respect. Finally, bottom of the standings were Sawbridgeworth Town who won eight points from their 28 matches. Two league wins all season kind of sets the tone though what really leaps off the page was the unfortunate defensive record, conceding ninety-nine goals this term (a GpG of 3.53). Their league wins came against Cockfosters at home in mid-November and at Sporting Bengal in mid-February. I saw them lose out at home to West Essex in mid-October where they had promising parts of the game but not enough end product. When I saw next saw them battle hard for a point at Manor at the end of November, there were signs they were tightening up and their attacking promise was evident too. Ultimately though, you’re forced to concede that it was a very harsh campaign for Sawbo and one they can scarcely afford to see again.
Finally, here’s the Leading Goal-scorers in the Essex Senior League 2019/20
|Club/s||League Goals||Total Goals (All Comps)|
|2||George Smith||Hashtag Utd||19||26|
|4||Gavin Cockman||Saffron Walden Town||16||20|
|5||Suiabo Balde||Tower Hamlets||15||15|
|6||Lewis Francis||Walthamstow/ Saffron Walden Town||13||17|
|Curtley McIntosh||Sporting Bengal Utd||12||16|
|Issac Marfo-Jacobs||Hoddesdon Town||12||15|
|=10||Kyle Roberts||St Margaretsbury/ Hadley||11||15|
|=12||Michael Mignot||West Essex||10||15|
|Ned Clarke||Cockfosters/ Hadley||10||10|
|=15||Charlie Cole||Saffron Walden Town||9||28|