Eastern Senior League – Division South
Venue: Park Lane, Canvey
2022-23 Season: Match 29
Saturday 26th November 2022 – 2pm KO
Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts & Socks
May & Baker: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
High-tempo Bakers get good win at Benfleet
Benfleet 0 – 2 May & Baker
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend saw a return to Park Lane for a big Eastern Senior League South match as May & Baker were the visitors for Benfleet at Canvey Island’s Park Lane. Both teams were looking to grab the win to sustain the their push for the play-offs. ‘Fleet were missing half a dozen players here including Taylor Lawrence, Billy Carter & goalkeeper Florent Gislette.
Oliver Johnson was the chosen custodian here for Alex Salmon’s side, behind a defence comprised of Flynn Monk, Billy Shulver with centre-backs Sonny Hartman & Cory Rider. The midfield included Billy Purdy, Mason Shave & skipper Aaron Russell. Ben Foord led the line, with support from Grant Frances & Deolindo Lima. Bakers’ were looking to move on from a surprise loss at home to Wivenhoe Town a week ago. Jack Riddell was between the posts for them, with their backline comprised of full-backs Kunle Adeyemi & Cain Brougham plus captain Jamie Marsh & Reece Latimer as centre-backs. Kalum Bama, Robert Bagnall & Anthony Cooke were in midfield, with a forward line led by Gabriel Odili with support from Luc Harpon and Idris Aminu.
The early-going in this match was fairly tight, with both sides keen to grab the impetus. The visitors forced a intervention in the first minute as forward Gabriel Odili’s cross needed ‘Fleet centre-back Cory Rider to clear the ball away in the middle of the six-yard area. Rider was involved again soon after in Benfleet’s best early chance. Billy Shulver’s corner was flicked on by Rider before captain Aaron Russell got the final touch but it was cleared on the line by the resilent visiting defence.
Bakers had a few half-chances themselves as they were starting to find their neat, rapid passing game, supporting from the flanks by the rapid Idris Aminu & Luc Harpon. Defender Reece Latimer had headed over at the far post while Luc Harpon also fizzed a strike off-target before the twenty-minute mark. Energetic midfielder Kalum Bama also had a fine strike well-parried away by ‘Fleet custodian Oliver Johnson.
Just when you thought the team-talks would be required to get both teams to raise their levels, it was May & Baker who took the lead a minute before the break. Another neat, fast passing move involving Bama and Odili ended with finding Rob Bagnall at the edge of the 18-yard box, before he found the corner with a well-taken, low finish.
Half-Time: Benfleet 0 – 1 May & Baker
The competitive nature of this match continued after the interval, as tireless forward Ben Foord got round the Bakers defence before getting his strike at goal, but was well-gathered by the alert Jack Riddell in the Bakers’ goal. That sight of goal encouraged Jordan Harris’ side to press forward with renewed vigour and they doubled their lead in some style on 56 minutes. May & Baker midfielder Kalum Bama’s fierce drive was too strong for Johnson to get across to deny him as it found the net.
At the other end, forward Grant Frances were making a couple of clever runs to test the May & Baker defensive high line, but Frances had strayed off-side before his shot found the net and so it was chalked off. The hosts were finding it tough to get past the visiting defence and test Riddell, though midfielder Billy Purdy did slide pastto have a glimmer at goal but he could only scuff his strike wide of the left-side post.
Benfleet showed some resolve to ward off further forward moves towards the end of the game, with substitutes Abidemi Lamina & Remi Awosanya making good runs but in the end, two goals were enough for Bakers’here, who rise to sixth spot. Other results meant Benfleet dropped to fifth, only a point clear of May & Baker.
Full-Time: Benfleet 0 – 2 May & Baker
To sum up this hard-fought battle, Bakers showed again why they are tough to play against, mixing a high-tempo game with neat passing & a resolute defence. Benfleet couldn’t quite test opposition stopper Jack Riddell enough here, despite some promising forward play at times. The first goal was going to be crucial here, and Bakers pushed on after the interval to claim a deserved three points.
Both sides had stand-out performers here. For victors May & Baker, midfuekder Kalum Bana put in an all-action performance, putting in a high-energy stint going from box-to-box well, defending well as well as sprinting forward, making neat passes and took his goal very well indeed. Jamie Marsh was also a commanding presence at centre-back, powering away clearances well. Full-back Kunle Adeyemi also made several good darting runs down the left as well as being a strong presence defensively, making several telling interceptions. Lastly, a mention for Robert Bagnall who inter-changed passes well with Bama & Cooke in a fluid central midfield, throughout the game & also took his goal with aplomb.
For Benfleet, Ben Foord once again put in a characteristic hard-working shift running down the channels & put in several good passes as well. Fellow forward Grant Frances also posed problems at times and had a goal chalked off for off-side, as well as making intelligent runs against a tough Bakers’ backline. Deolindo Lima also had a good game, pushing down the rught side and also tracked back well defensively, plus a word too for stalwart Sonny Hartman, who certainly aided his defence against the high number of good balls into the box and made good tackles at times.
Kudos to May & Baker on their win & I’d like to wish both teams well for the rest of the season.
Benfleet | Manager: Alex Salmon | Assistants: Michael Cundy & Ray Coker
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Oliver Johnson (GK), 2 Flynn Monk (12 Henry Sims 58′), 3 Billy Shulver, 5 Cory Rider (14 Cameron Harris 58′), 6 Sonny Hartman, 4 Billy Purdy, 7 Mason Shave (15 Jack Frost 58′), 8 Deolindo Lima, 10 Aaron Russell (Capt), 9 Grant Frances (17Jake Frost 75′), 11 Ben Foord
Subs Not Used: None | Booked: Monk & Purdy
May & Baker | Manager: Jordan Harris | Assistants: Scott Harding & Rob Leech
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Riddell (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Kunle Adeyemi, 5 Jamie Marsh (Capt), 6 Reece Latimer, 4 Kalum Bama (14 George Breen 79′), 10 Anthony Cooke, 8 Robert Bagnall, 7 Luc Harpon (17 Billy Gannon 90’+2), 9 Gabriel Odili (16 Remi Awosanya 84′), 11 Idris Aminu (12 Abidemi Lamina 73′)
Goal-scorers: Robert Bagnall [44′], Kalum Bama [56′]
Subs Not Used: T Harding | Booked: None
Referee: Rhys Collins
Assistants: Paul Falvey & Richard Longden