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: Benfleet 2 – 2 Brimsdown (Sat 19 Mar) [EaSL 21-22 19.3.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 25

2021-22 Season: Match 62

Saturday 19 March 2022 – 3pm KO

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

Brimsdown: White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks  

Benfleet about to take a free-kick in first half

Brimsdown put in spirited performance to take valuable draw at Benfleet

Benfleet 2 – 2 Brimsdown

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

The main match this weekend was a fascinating match in Eastern Senior League South as Benfleet welcomed bottom side Brimsdown. Both sides needed the win, albeit for very different reasons and the home side were looking to recover from a frustrating loss to title-chasing Ipswich Wanderers three days previously. Brimsdown really needed the points to gain ground on their rivals. Benfleet named regular goalkeeper Florent Gislette in goal, with a defence of Billy Carter, Joe Hunter plus centre-backs Martyn Lacey, Cameron Harris and Mckenzie Davidson. Ben Foord and Billy Bonham-Dare led the line, with support from Robert Lacey and Aaron Russell, who skippered the side. Brimsdown had Akan George in goal, with Mauro Rodrigues and Adelmar Rodrigues in central defence, captain Ali Tas as the creative midfielder alongside Simeon Beckford, with Damon Rendell leading the line. Supporting him were Zion Dos Santos and Samuel Kyei.

Action still from early on in the contest, Benfleet in Sky Blue shirts

The match began with the home side looking to push on and they were rewarded. On five minutes, full-back Billy Carter made a good run down the right side and his centre found skipper Aaron Russell in a congested penalty area, unfortunately Russell could not connect properly and in the blink of an eye, the chance was gone. However, Brimsdown did not heed that warning as two minutes later, Benfleet did get the opening goal. A set-piece from the right found centre-back Cameron Harris at the back post and his towering header bypassed visiting custodian  Akan George and found the net. That was definitely not in the visitors’ game plan pre-match.

Benfleet nearly had a glimmer of a second goal on ten minutes as a good run by forward Billy Bonham-Dare was deflected off a defender into the path of George at some pace, but the Brimsdown ‘keeper did well to gather. However, anyone who prescribed to the theory that this was going to be a comfortable win for the hosts was soon to be proven wrong. While it was true that interim boss Robert Rook’s side were having a lot of possession, they were not really doing that much with it. as Brimsdown were clearing their lines well. Ben Foord also spurned a half-chance for the hosts but curiously, their momentum were starting to fade which the visitors did sense as we got into the latter part of the half.

Benfleet making another forward press in first half, down the right channel

They had very few in the way of chances on goal up to this point though just after the half-hour, Reon Reid made a fine darting run on the right flank, with his centre deflected for a corner. Soon after, the lack of chances was immaterial as Brimsdown got an important equaliser on thirty-five minutes. A good cross deep from the right flank by Simeon Beckford found forward Damon Rendell and his powerful header found the net well, past Benfleet stopper Florent Gislette. All of a sudden, the visitors were galvanized by the leveller and they sensed that the hosts wanted to get back to the dressing rooms for the half-time team talk in a hurry.

Half-Time: Benfleet 1 – 1  Brimsdown

Brimsdown press forward after the break

As we resumed after the interval, the intent was clear from the home side, as two substitutes came on immediately into the second half. Frankie Stone and Jack Frost had replaced Joe Hunter and goal-scorer Harris respectively. Unfortunately for Benfleet, they couldn’t re-establish their impetus from early on in the game by creating a variety of clear-cut chances. Foord had another decent effort on fifty-three minutes, firing wide of George’s left-side post. Besides that, Brimsdown were admirably holding firm although the concern for them would have been whether they could maintain it.

We had another dramatic turn of events on sixty-five minutes as a well-worked corner by captain Ali Tas found Samuel Kyei who found some space before powering in a superb strike low into the left corner, giving Gislette little chance of stopping it. Brimsdown had the lead, and now Benfleet had to battle their way not only into the ascendancy but crucially, back into the match on the score-sheet along with it. In fairness, the hosts here showed no lack of work rate or endeavour, but as the minutes ticked by, it was looking likely that Brimsdown were going to claim a highly valuable win in their battle to evade the drop.


There was another twist in the match as we approached added-time. Benfleet got a precious equaliser as a good ball in from the right found substitute Frankis Stone who showed no lack of composure to guide his header into the net on 89 minutes. It was hard on Brimsdown though it could’ve been worse for them moments later. Foord went down in the penalty area, after a challenge by Adelmar Rodrigues but referee Paul Sturton was not minded to point to the spot.

The visitors did hold on to claim a worthy point here, though their frustration will be that it could have been all three points. If they do play like this for the remaining five matches this term, they may not finish bottom of the table. Benfleet will need to garner some wins in their remaining six games, with Wivenhoe Town, Burnham Ramblers and Halstead Town still battling them in the play-off area.

Benfleet plead for a spot-kick late on

Full-Time: Benfleet 2 – 2 Brimsdown

In summary, Brimsdown put in a very good display here and made the most of the relatively few chances they had and crucially, their confidence in the match grew just as they sensed their hosts’ confidence was ebbing away. Defensively, Steve Wakefield’s side did well and could have grabbed an unlikely victory, though they were denied late on. You do have to credit the spirit of the Benfleet side, they refused to give up despite their performance not being of the standards they would set themselves.

There were several creditable performances from both sides in this match. Firstly for Brimsdown, centre-back Adelmar Rodrigues was a stand-out player for his side, making a number of important interceptions and showed good energy and positional awareness. Reon Reid had a really good game, making a number of good darting runs down the right channel and put in some good crosses with it, as well as good defensive work. Forward Damon Rendell took his goal really well and generally gave the home defence a hard afternoon with his movement, while Zion Dos Santos also merits a mention for good, energetic play down the left side and that lifted his team at an important time before the interval.

For Benfleet, midfielder Henry Sims had a good game, showing good work rate, good set-pieces and generally had a good influence for his team. Forward Billy Bonham-Dare also stretched a resolute Brimsdown backline well at times with good ace and movement, but will want goals to turn up soon. Also, full-back Billy Carter put in a good hard-working display, making a number of energetic runs down the right channel to give his side extra width. Finally, substitute Frankie Stone got that last-gasp leveller which could prove to be a important moment of composure for him and his team.

Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.


Teams

Benfleet  | Interim Managers: Robert Rook & Mike Cundy  | (Manager Rob Polkinghorn was away)

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter (12 Frankie Stone 46’), 4 Mckenzie Davidson, 5 Cameron Harris (15 Jack Frost 46’), 6 Martyn Lacey, 7 Billy Bonham-Dare, 8 Henry Sims (14 Mason Shave 81’), 9 Aaron Russell (Capt), 10 Robert Lacey, 11 Ben Foord

Goal-scorers: Cameron Harris [7’], Frankie Stone [89’]

Booked: Russell | Subs Not Used: Hurford, Scott


Brimsdown   | Manager: Steve Wakefield

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Akan George (GK), 8 Reon Reid, 3 Mauro Rodrigues, 5 Adelmar Rodrigues, 9 Pianny Nzamale, 2 Emre Tas, 7 Ali Tas (Capt), 4 Simeon Beckford (15 Masoor Nooristani 79’), 18 Zion Dos Santos, 10 Damon Rendell, 11 Samuel Kyei

Goal-scorers: Damon Randell [35’], Samuel Kyei [65’]

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Paul Sturton

Assistants: Ian Butler & Michael Jarvis

S21-22 Match Report: May & Baker 3 – 1 Benfleet (Wed 16 Feb) [EaSL South 21-22 17.2.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Parkside [3G]

Attendance: 57

2021-22 Season: Match 57

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – 7.45pm KO

May & Baker: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, White Socks

Benfleet: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks


Bakers’ Anthony Cooke about to strike a set-piece

‘Bakers battle well in tough conditions to claim good win at Parkside

May & Baker  3 – 1  Benfleet

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

An additional match in the season’s journey was played at Parkside, as i finally got the chance to watch May & Baker at their current ‘home’ ground as they welcomed fellow play-off chasing side Benfleet in the Eastern Senior League South. The artifical playing surface came in handy given the terrible weather this week and I can certainly see why several ground-hoppers like this ground with its stadium feel. Bakers had Frankie Worboyes in goal, with a back four of Cain Brougham, Jamie Marsh, George Breen and Kunle Adeyemi. Daniel Whitehead led the forward line, with Anthony Cooke and Robert Bagnall in support. Benfleet named Florent Gislette between the posts, with full-backs Billy Carter and Joe Hunter and a forward line of captain Aaron Russell, Danny Hurford and Mason Shave. The influential forward Ben Foord had to withdraw after pulling up with a niggle during the warm-up.

The match began with a fairly subdued start as both sides had to adapt to high winds and accompanying rain, which came through during most of the match. It was the visitors who had a fair amount of ball retention in those early stages, with full-back Billy Carter making some good runs down the right channel and forward Danny Hurford getting into some good positions in the 18-yard area, which nearly ended up with the latter getting on the end of good cross from the right side. Jordan Harris & Alec Simm’s side did get their way back into the game in the possession stakes, even if clear chances eluded both teams in the first part of the game.

Idris Aminu (#11, far left) makes another good run for Bakers

However, as we got into the second part of the first half, Bakers forward Daniel Whitehead was looking a good threat for the hosts, and fired a good strike at goal which visiting custodian Florent Gislette did well to parry at his far post. The atmosphere was getting a little tense, with the match needing a goal and with Bakers continuing to have the better of the ball time, it duly arrived eight minutes before the interval.


From a set-piece, it was well connected with from a powerful header from centre-back Jamie Marsh and said header gave Gislette zero chance of preventing it finding the corner. Of course, the goal lifted the home side and Gislette also had to punch central mdfielder Robert Bagnall’s free-kick away from danger on the stroke of half-time. May & Baker were edging it at this point, as Benfleet looked decent on the ball but struggled to create chances.

HT: May & Baker 1 – 0 Benfleet

After the resumption, Benfleet had a good start to the second period but were thwarted as Martyn Lacey continued a good run and placed the ball low into the net past home stopper Frankie Worboyes – though it didn’t count as referee Joshua Evans had already signalled a free-kick for the hosts, presumably for an off-side. Visiting forward Danny Hurford was also putting in some good crosses in fron the left, and one of those narrowly missed the advancing run of Carter just wide of the back post. Bakers soon wrestled back possession and doubled their lead on 53 minutes. The impressive Idris Aminu made another fine darting run down the left channel before finding Whitehead with an instinctive low pass, which Whitehead controlled well and sent a fine curling drive right into the corner, evading the grasp of Gislette.

Benfleet had the pressure squarely on them at this point to launch a comeback but unfortunately, forwards Mason Shave and skipper Aaron Russell were somewhat isolated and the determined home backline were giving little away either. Indeed, it was not a big surprise when May & Baker got their third goal midway into the second half. Darren Seymour made the most of a good counter by the hosts, and he found Whitehead who again finished calmly past Gislette, low into the net.


Benfleet did to their credit, keep the focus going in the latter stages to get themselves back into the contest, and Hurford’s goal-bound effort did require Worboyes to be alert and save. Unfortunately for Robert Polkinghorn’s team, said comeback was a forlorn prospect by the time Russell broke free of the Bakers defence and clawed back a consolation goal with a low drive past Worboyes in added time.


Full-Time: May & Baker 3 – 1 Benfleet

All in all, this was a good performance by May & Baker, who played some good stuff at times despite the challenging conditions (a hefty wind and bands of rain). They created the better chances and made the most of a uncharacteristic display by Benfleet in which they rarely threatened Worboyes’ goal. Losing two players in the warm-up I understand did hit them hard though they will need to be more creative & more clinical going forward to get the points they desire to secure that top-five finish. Bakers are not out of the running for those play-offs either and if they can keep playing like this, they may well be in with a good chance.


As ever, there were good performances worthy of note for both sides. Firstly for visitors May & Baker, forward Daniel Whitehead certainly made a difference for his side in scoring two good goals and played a good role in his side’s forward moves too, showing good pace and movement. Winger Idris Aminu made several good darting runs down the left side, adding fine passing to his team’s moves and got a fine assist. Centre-back Jamie Marsh got a fine goal and typified his side’s defending as well, showing good positioning. Lastly, full-back Kunle Adeyemi put in an energetic display, looking to set the tone with passing as well.

For Benfleet, forwards Danny Hurford and Aaron Russell showed moments of good passing and movement, with full-back Billy Carter put in a good shift, making several good runs down the right flank. Also, custodian Florent Gislette made two good saves to keep his team in the game in the first half.

Finally, I’d like to wish both teams a good remainder of the season.


Teams

May & Baker  | Joint-Managers: Jordan Harris & Alec Simm  |

Starring XI (Subs): 1 Frankie Worboyes (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Kunle Adeyemi, 5 Jamie Marsh, 6 George Breen, 4 Kane Messenger (Capt), 8 Robert Bagnall (17 Josh Lowbridge 83′), 7 Darren Seymour (15 Kalum Bama 77′), 9 Daniel Whitehead, 10 Anthony Cooke (16 Abidemi Lamina 70′), 11 Idris Aminu

Goal-scorers: Jamie Marsh [37′], Daniel Whitehead [53′ & 67′]

Booked: None  | Subs Not Used: Rodrigues, Riddell (GK)


Benfleet  |  Manager: Robert Polkinghorn | Assistant: Robert Rook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter (15 Lee Scott 68′), 4 Stephen Ellery (16 Jack Frost 75′), 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Martyn Lacey, 7 Henry Sims, 8 Taylor Lawrence, 9 Mason Shave, 10 Aaron Russell (Capt), 11 Danny Hurford

Goal-scorer: Aaron Russell [90’+1]

Booked: Harris | Subs Not Used: Stone, Dickinson


Referee: Joshua Evans
Assistants: Craig Wood & Abu Taher

S21-22 Match Report: Benfleet 1 – 1 Buckhurst Hill (Sat 15 Jan) [EaSL Sth 21\22 15.1.22]

Eastern Senior League – South Division

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 52

2021-22 Season: Match 49

Saturday 15th January 2022 – 3pm KO

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

Buckhurst Hill: White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks


Benfleet deny Buckhurst Hill in hard-fought match

Benfleet 1 – 1 Buckhurst Hill

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

This weekend’s match was a fascinating encounter at Park Lane which saw two of the current top four sides in the Eastern Senior League South clash as Benfleet welcomed promotion-chasing Buckhurst Hill. Both sides have had something of an extended break from action of late but with other sides in the top six having played more matches already, that might be in both teams’ favour come April. Benfleet named Daniel Smith as their goalkeeper, with a back four of Darnell Shakes, Joe Hunter & centre-backs MacKenzie Davidson and Sonny Hartman. Ben Foord led the forward line as ever, with support from Rob Lacey and skipper Aaron Russell. Options on the bench included forwards Billy Bonham-Dare and Mason Shave and centre-back Cameron Harris.

Buckhurst were keen to grab another win here to keep tabs on rivals Ipswich Wanderers and had regular custodian Daniel Blockley in goal, with Alfie Harris and Henry Day as centre-backs and Liam Foster & Edward Buchanan as the attack-minded full-backs. Captain Suleyman Zuhdu led their attack, with support from the Sollosi brothers (Sam & Nathan). Their substitutes included Brad Rowland, Sonny Shilling and Max Nicholson.

The match began with Buckhurst Hill having more possession and therefore having more impetus to break the deadlock. On seven minutes, after Josh Banfield had been involved in the build-up, full-back Liam Foster’s centre found forward Suleyman Zuhdu who retained the ball well just inside the Benfleet penalty area before firing a speculative overhead kick which home stopper Daniel Smith had to gather.


The visitors were showing their high work rate & energetic style of Football, which forced Benfleet to deal with several waves of forward moves from their opposition, although Buckhurst did not create a huge array of clear chances as they sought to regain their clinical finishing. Zuhdu sent in another powerful free-kick which Smith was equal to, before the half-hour though Buckhurst’s final ball was eluding them on occasion.

Benfleet were focused on keeping things tight and were grateful for several important defensive blocks by Sonny Hartman to keep things level, as well as the alertness of goalkeeper Daniel Smith. A minute before the interval, their miserly attitude defensively was rewarded as Hartman took advantage of a momentary lapse of concentration from the visitors to head home a set-piece at the near post and altogether change the tone of this match.. and the half-time team talks along with it.


Half-Time: Benfleet 1 – 0 Buckhurst Hill

Unsurprisingly, Buckhurst were fired up after the break to get themselves level and Zuhdu was in good form, piercing the home defence on 55 minutes, sprinting to the loose ball ahead of the onrushing Smith but with the ‘Fleet custodian off his goal-line, Zuhdu’s curling finish was headed away on the line by a well-positioned home defender. Rapid winger Nathan Sollosi also had a decent header well thwarted from a set-piece thanks to determined defending by Rob Polkinghorn’s side. At the other end, Benfleet were still decent on the counter, and forward Aaron Russell was unlucky to see a fine strike cannon back off the crossbar with visiting goalkeeper Blockley beaten.

It was becoming apparent that it may not be Buckhurst’s day when they were awarded a penalty, seconds after they had the ball in the net. Tyler Dolan stepped up to take it from twelve yards, but Smith was in no mood to concede, making a fine save. However, Mark Williams’ team did get a deserved goal on sixty-three minutes as from the right side of the 18-yard area, Nathan Sollosi fired home a superb low effort which found the bottom left corner, giving Smith no chance of preserving his clean sheet.



Again, Buckhurst pushed for a decisive goal in the latter stages, with full-back Foster firing wide from a narrow angle and Zuhdu was well-denied by Smith after once again evading the ‘Fleet backline and only had the goalkeeper to bypass. The last key moment of the match came in added time as with Benfleet admirably trying to stifle the rapid forward moves of the visitors, they conceded another spot-kick. Centre-back Henry Day took the responsibility of taking the penalty, but again Smith underlined his good perormance by making a good penalty save, for the second time in the match.

Soon after, the final whistle blew on a match that had a lot of intrigue and good attacking build-up play though not the goals that many may have thought.


Full-Time:  Benfleet  1 – 1 Buckhurst Hill

To sum up this match, Buckhurst Hill had enough ball retention in the first half but couldn’t make the most of the chances they had. Benfleet’s goal just before half-time altered the complexion of the game and although the visitors scored a fine leveller, they were not their usual clinical selves in terms of their finishing. In fairness, both sides were lacking some rhythm, after an extended break from action recently though ‘Fleet will be the happier of the two sides, having got a point.

As ever, there were a number of good performances in this entertaining match. For Benfleet, stopper Daniel Smith had an excellent day, denying penalties from Tyler Dolan and then Henry Day in added-time, which added to fine saves to deny Buckhurst talisman Suleyman Zuhdu. Centre-back Sonny Hartman also shone, making several important defensive blocks as well as scoring his side’s goal with a near-post header. Aaron Russell also did well & was unfortunate to not score from a fine strike. Joe Hunter also showed good energy at left-back.

For Buckhurst, creative midfielder Josh Banfield made several fine passes & some good interceptions. Forward Nathan Sollosi scored a fine leveller & made a number of good runs while Suleyman Zuhdu showed good work rate and was only denied from getting on the score-sheet thanks to fine defending. Lastly, Louis Wynter had a good game as well getting in good positions and setting up good forward moves.

Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.

Buckhurst’s Josh Banfield in possession [Image: Scott W]

Teams

Benfleet  | Manager:  Rob Polkinghorn |

Starting XI: 1 Daniel Smith (GK), 2 Darnell Shakes, 3 Joe Hunter, 5 MacKenzie Davidson, 6 Sonny Hartman, 4 Stephen Ellery, 8 Taylor Lawrence (14 Billy Bonham-Dare 66′), 7 Aaron Russell (Capt) (17 Sam Dulieu 83′), 9 Ben Foord (12 Mason Shave 70′), 10 Robert Lacey, 11 Henry Sims

Goal-scorer: Sonny Hartman [44′]

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Harris, Scott


Buckhurst Hill     |  Manager: Mark Willams |

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster (18 Max Nicholson 77′), 3 Edward Buchanan (12 Keaton Moore 55′), 4 Alfie Harris, 15 Henry Day, 16 Louis Wynter, 8 Josh Banfield, 14 Tyler Dolan, 7 Sam Sollosi (21 Sonny Shilling 61′), 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Nathan Sollosi

Goal-scorer: Nathan Sollosi [63′]

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Falola, Rowland


Referee: Steven Marr
Assistants: Michael Jarvis & Amy Purser

S21-22 Match Report: Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet (Mon 8 Nov) [EaSL Sth 21/22 9.11.21]

Eastern Senior League – South Division

Venue: Cricklefield

Attendance: 78

2021-22 Season: Match 39

Monday 8th November 2021 – 7.45pm KO

Barkingside: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Orange Socks

Benfleet: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks



‘Fleet grab a narrow win in drab match at Barkingside

Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet

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

The first midweek match this week saw a return to Cricklefield for this interesting clash between mid-table Barkingside and high-flyers Benfleet in the Eastern Senior League South. Both sides were needing points for different reasons with ‘Side keen to join the top eight and Benfleet looking to keep the pressure up on the top two. ‘Side retained Josh Chebesi in goal, with a back three of Jordan Cornelius, Shaquel Foyewa and captain Elliot Scott. David Etcheri and Archie Hammond were in central midfield, with forwards Dan Jones, James Peagram and Darnel Bromfield. On their bench were midfielders Grant Frances & Patrick Hoy alongside Osas Umaru. Benfleet were looking to keep the ‘winning feeling’ going two days after defeating Wivenhoe Town, with regular stopper Florent Gislette shielded by a back four of Billy Carter, Joe Hunter plus centre-backs Cameron Harris and Sonny Hartman. Callum Fitzer and Mason Shave led the forward line, with support from Luc Harpon and skipper Aaron Russell. Among their options from the sidelines were forward Ben Foord and midfielders Sam Dulieu and David Salako.

Unusually for both sides, the early stages of this match were somewhat quiet in terms of clear-cut chances. Benflert winger Luc Harpon had a sight of Josh Chebesi’s goal but could only blaze over the goal frame in the early stages, while Darnel Bromfield’s strike deflected wide in response for ‘Side. The hosts had a let-off of sorts on 18 minutes as a long throw-in from Benfleet full-back Billy Carter was nodded on ahead on onrushing ‘Side custodian Chebesi but the visitors could not force the ball into the net. Defences were largely on top for both teams at this point in proceedings, with ‘Side forward Dan Jones looking to find those piercing through balls to the likes of James Peagram and Reece Simpson who was making runs from deep.



As the half prorgressed, Benfleet were edging things with making more half-chances though their final ball eluded them to extent. That being said, Barkingside’s defence had to be alert with centre-back Elliot Scott and fellow defender Jordan Cornelius made a few important interceptions to keep them on parity. Benfleet did finally break the deadlock on 39 minutes with a good team move. Full-back Joe Hunter began the move down the left side, finding forward Callum Fitzer who turned and sent in a fizzing cross which found the advancing Mason Shave who powered in a good header high into the net at the near post.



Half-Time: Barkingside 0 – 1 Benfleet

So it was the visitors who held a narrow lead but the scrappy nature of this match did persist into the second period. The visitors had a half-chance from a corner on 54 minutes, with centre-back Cameron Harris heading over the woodwork from about six yards out. ‘Side’s promising moves down the channels were thwarted by the visitors’ hard-working defence, marshalled well by centre-back Sonny Hartman who made several important clearrances. As the match entered its later stages, Benfleet were looking to get that crucial second goal which would secure the points for Rob Polkinghorn’s side.

Another free-kick from the visitors tested Chebesi who couldn’t gather, but fortunately for the hosts, Scott was there to clear the danger. And then with moments remaining two substitutes combined as they got clear of the tiring ‘Side backline. Ben Foord found Sam Dulieu in a good arc to strike on goal but the latter’s tame shot came off the left-sided post. The final whistle blew soon afterwards and while ‘Fleet were not at their best form here, they will be happy enough with the points. ‘Side will be frustrated as they remain outside the top ten.



Full-Time:  Barkingside 0 – 1  Benfleet

To sum up this match, well it won’t win many plaudits for quality but what you can say is there was a lot of effort expended by both sides on a chilly evening. Benfleet had more of the chances but could not conclusively put the game beyond the reach of ‘Side, who in turn could not test visiting stopper Gislette.

There were some good performances here. First, for winners Benfleet I felt forwards Mason Shave and Callum Fitzer deserve a mention for their running down the channels and their passing and Shave’s goal came at a good time to quell the nerves of Rob Polkinghorn’s side. Also, centre-back Sonny Hartman put in a good display, clearing several promising attacks for ‘Side away from danger and finally full-back Joe Hunter did well down the left side to build forward moves in support of Fitzer. Barkingside had good performances from forwards Darnel Bromfield and Dan Jones with Bromfield looking to get in behind defenders using his pace and dribbling. Jones looked to find incisive balls to his fellow forwards but was thwarted by a miserly visiting defence. Quincy Warner also put in a good hard-working performance and skipper Elliot Scott put in a valiant display at centre-back as he stifled the quick Benfleet attacks.

Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.



Teams

Barkingside    |  Manager: Steven Le Sage  | Assistant: Tommy Shelts

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Josh Chesbesi (GK), 2 Jordan Cornelius, 3 Shaquel Foyewa, 6 Elliot Scott (Capt), 5 Archie Hammond, 7 David Etcheri (13 Patrick Hoy 63′), 4 Reece Simpson, 8 Quincy Warner, 9 James Peagram (14 Osas Umaru 63′), 10 Dan Jones (12 Grant Frances 74′), 11 Darnel Bromfield

Booked: Etcheri, Cornelius | Subs Not Used: Piccolo


Benfleet  | Manager: Rob Polkinghorn | Assistant: Rob Rook

Starting XI: 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter, 4 Stephen Ellery, 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Sonny Hartman, 7 Luc Harpon (16 Ben Foord 51′), 8 Taylor Lawrence, 9 Callum Fitzer, 10 Aaron Russell (Capt), 11 Mason Shave (14 Sam Dulieu 70′)

Goal-scorer: Mason Shave [39′]

Booked: Lawrence | Sub Not Used: Willsmer, D Salako, Stewart


Referee: Joshua Evans
Assistants: Bobby Breen & Abu Taher

S 21-22 Match Report: Benfleet 2 – 2 Burnham Ramblers (Wed 13 Oct) [EaSL Sth 14.10.21]

Eastern Senior League South (Step 6)

Venue: Park Lane, Canvey

2021-22 Season: Match 31

Attendance: 81

Wednesday 13 October 2021 – 7.45pm KO

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

Burnham R: Yellow Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks


Burnham hit late leveller to claim decent point at Park Lane

Benfleet 2 – 2 Burnham Ramblers

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

This week’s midweek match was a rare excursion to Park Lane to see two sides hoping to be in the running for promotion from Eastern Senior League South come April in Benfleet and visitors Burnham Ramblers. Benfleet manager Rob Polkinghorn rotated his squad for this game and fielded a defensive four of Billy Carter, Martyn Lacey, Sonny Hartman and Cameron Harris, son of forward Millwall legend Neil. Taylor Lawrence and skipper Aaron Russell were the players promoted to attack, with support from the flanks by Luc Harpon and Ben Foord. Options from their bench included former Burnham defender Ryan Willsmer, recent recruit David Salako and goal-scoring forward Billy Bonham-Dare. Luke Goodson’s side incuded Adam French in goal, a central defensive pairing of Matthew Stevens-Brown and Ben Wood, with captain Charlie Brewer and Eddie Appleton in midfield and a forward line of Adebolu Adeyemi, Samir Ali and Harry Shawyer.

Both sides knew the importance of the points here I believe and as you sometimes see in these type of matches, it was a tepid start in terms of chances at either end. Burnham forward Samir Ali had fired over in the opening minutes but we had an early stoppage after a rash tackle by the onrushing Liam Barry saw him clatter into home stopper Florent Gislette, which left the custodian in considerable pain and needing treatment. Admirably though, Gislette continued and Barry was given a early booking. Both sides were showing the way they play, with good passing, movement and possession but they were also both somewhat lacking that final ball that you need to bypass defences. The hosts were unfortunate on 21 minutes as winger Luc Harpon’s teasing cross evaded both the visiting backline and stopper Adam French but forward Ben Foord was agonizingly out of reach of the ball at the far post.


Benfleet were showing glimpses of finding their form, but on the half-hour, they conceded a spot-kick, with tricky Burnham forward Samir Ali felled in the eighteen-yard area. Ali stepped up himself and blasted a firm strike into left-side corner to give Ramblers the lead. Benfleet responded with some vigour, as attacking midfielder Aaron Russell outran the onrushing French but the Burnham custodian did well to recover his position to deny Foord with his follow-up strike. Moments later, a good header from a set-piece by Cameron Harris was clawed away well by French. By contrast, the visitors were unable to unsettle Gislette after the early incident but a Eddie Appleton free-kick did force the Benfleet stopper into gathering the ball minutes before the interval.


Half-Tme: Benfleet 0 – 1 Burnham Ramblers

So it was the Ramblers who held a narrow lead going into the second period. Benfleet did find their rhythm around the hour mark but again were thwarted by Burnham ‘keeper French. Russell had a good chance from close range but the custodian denied him and Foord’s strike on the rebound and perhaps you would start to think it wasn’t going to be the hosts’ night. Not a bit of it – they levelled on 64 minutes as French made another good parry from an initial effort but the bounce rather caught the unfortunate stopper unawares which allowed Foord to head in the rebound. It was as much as ‘Fleet deserved after spurning several decent half-chances prior to that point.

Foord was the chief threat really to a stern Burnham defence who did clear the ball from danger fairly well throughout, even if Benfleet were still stuttering in their quest to find that clinical final pass. As we entered the last fifteen minutes of the match, the tempo ramped up another notch or two. Full-back Billy Carter did well to grab a yard of space in the penalty area to strike an effort on goal which French did well to sprawl over to deny him as the hosts were really the stronger side by this point. Benfleet winger Luc Harpon had made some good runs at times in this match again and another threatening centre from the left side of pemalty area found substitute Billy Bonham-Dare who slotted home past French from close range, barely a minute after coming on to give the hosts the advantage.


The drama didn’t end there though. Benfleet’s defence rather switched off less than two minutes later and on the counter-attack, a move involving forward Adebolu Adeyemi and replacement Tom Howard found Harry Shawyer in space and with only Gislette to beat, he powered in a low drive into the corner of the net to claw back a useful point.  Benfleet had Foord sin-binned in added time for reacting to the referee’s decisions but it was too late to really undermine the home side. You could argue Burnham were fortunate to grab a draw given they had few real chances in the second half but then you also have to factor in that Benfleet really had to see the last five minutes of the match out which they were unable to do.

In fairness though, it is hard to be too critical as it again shows how unpredictable this division is and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a very tightly-packed top eight sides once again as the season progresses.


Full-Time: Benfleet  2 – 2  Burnham Ramblers

In terms of stand-out performances, we’ll start with Benfleet. Winger Luc Harpon had another good game and his presence on the flank unsettled the visiting defence and his assist for the second goal highlighted his value to the side, even when he didn’t get too much of the ball here. Full-back Billy Carter put in another strong, energetic performance, showing good awareness and passing. Defender Sonny Hartman was pushing his side to create forward moves as the ball-playing central defender and forward Ben Foord’s presence in attack meant the Burnham defence had to concentrate and have a solid game. For Burnham, goalkeeper Adam French pulled off several good saves and kept his side in the match, while forward Samir Ali again had a good game, being the most promising outlet for Luke Goodson’s side here. Harry Shawyer also made some good runs and took his goal well, plus centre-back Matthew Stevens-Brown had a good match, making several interceptions to stifle the hosts’ forward line.

All told, it was a good evening’s action. Thanks to the hosts for their kind welcome & also a thank you to my friends Pete Dudley, DW and Rob Parker – it is always nice to be surrounded by good company at matches.

Best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign.


Benfleet  | Manager: Robert Polkinghorn  | Assistant: Rob Rook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Martyn Lacey (16 Joe Hunter 61′) 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Sonny Hartman, 4 Stephen Ellery (17 Billy Bonham-Dare 82′), 10 Lee Scott (15 David Salako 71′), 8 Taylor Lawrence, 9 Aaron Russell (Capt), 7 Luc Harpon, 11 Ben Foord

Goal-scorers: Ben Foord [64′]  Billy Bonham-Dare [83′]

Booked: Hartman | Sin-Bin: Ben Foord [90’+1]  | Subs Not Used: Willsmer, Shave


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

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Adam French (GK), 7 Joe Howard (2 Ben Jackman 46′), 11 Liam Barry (16 Shemarie Perkins-Palmer 82′), 4 Matthew Stevens-Brown, 5 Ben Wood, 6 Calum Smith, 8 Eddie Appleton, 17 Charles Brewer (Capt) (15 Tom Howard 74′), 12 Harry Shawyer, 9 Adebolu Adeyemi, 10 Samir Ali

Goal-scorers: Samir Ali [pen 30′], Harry Shawyer [85′]

Booked: Barry  | Subs Not Used: Da Costa, Walker


Referee: Tommy Breen
Assistants: Martin Green & Jamie Wood

S21-22 Match Report: Benfleet 6 – 1 Holland [Sun 26 Sept) [FAV 21/22 26.9.21]


The FA Vase – Second Round Qualifying

Venue: Park Lane , Canvey

Attendance: 62

2021-22 Season: Match 26

Sunday 26 September 2021 – 2pm KO

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

Holland: Orange Shirts, Orange Shorts, Orange Socks


Terrific performance sees Benfleet power past ten-man Holland at Park Lane

Benfleet 6 – 1  Holland

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

This weekend’s second match saw a return to Canvey’s Park Lane for a fascinating all-Eastern Senior League South tie as Benfleet welcomed Holland. The ‘Fleet were looking to advance again after knocking out Essex Senior side St Margaretsbury in the previous round. Florent Gislette was once again the goalkeeper here for the hosts, with a defensive four of Ryan Willsmer, Martyn Lacey plus centre-backs Lee Scott and Cameron Harris. The forward line was once again comprised of Billy Bonham-Dare, Ben Foord and Luc Harpon. Holland named Finlay Shorten between the posts, with a defensive unit of Tom Ayton, Rueben Cowler, Steve Downes and stalwart Joe Martin. Scott Sloots led the line here, with support from Ryan Mahon and Josh Rutter.


There were many quirks in this match. The first of them arrived barely two minutes into the contest, as an goalkeeping error by Benfleet custodian Florent Gislette allowed the advancing Scott Sloots to slot home into the left corner, much to the silent surprise of the home suppport. However, the hosts were not behind for long as little over five minutes after that, they levelled things up as a good break down the right side of the penalty box by Billy Carter ended with his pass finding forward Billy Bonham-Dare who struck home confidently past Holland stopper Finlay Shorten. At this point in proceedings, things were pretty even, with a looping header by Holland midfielder Keelan Sorrell on the edge of the 18-yard box being gathered by Gislette.

To be fair to the home side, Holland glovesman Shorten had been the busier keeper making two good saves to deny another promising performance by the Benfleet forward line, at this point. At the other end, Holland forward Sloots was a threat in the air. However, it was Benfleet who took the advantage for the first time on 28 minutes, as Carter again found the space to put in a telling pass, this time finding tireless forward Ben Foord who displayed fine technique to get the ball under control before firing home well into the right corner, giving Shorten little chance.

The Seasiders were feeling frustrated as they were limited to strikes from long-range, with Sorrell having a decent effort which sailed wide of Gislette’s left-sided post. Six minutes before the break, the visitors suffered a setback when Sloots was dismissed for adjudged to have lashed out at a home defender. Referee Samuel Everitt didn’t hesitate for a second as Sloots walked off. Things got rather worse for them before the break as moments after ‘Fleet skipper Taylor Lawrence couldn’t test Shorten when in a great position to score, the hosts did extend their lead.


Lawrence did rather make amends for that miss a few moments previously though as from a free-kick, he powered home a fine strike into the right corner past Shorten to make it three-one to the hosts. It got even better two minutes later as the Seasiders’ resolve took another hit. Bonham-Dare was adjudged to have been fouled inthe area by Shorten, with Lawrence stepping up to convert the resulting spot-kick, sending a low effort into the right corner again. Those last ten minutes of the half really upscaled the size of the visitors’ task but you have to credit the ruthlessness of Rob Polkinghorn’s side, who certainly made the most of it to put themselves in a commanding position at the interval.

Half-Time:  Benfleet  4 – 1 Holland


To their credit, the Holland unit kept going admirably, despite being reduced to ten men. Centre-back Joe Martin typified their resolve and they did enough to prevent Bonham-Dare’s header finding the net after being well found by Foord, soon after the resumption. Foord did get a second goal with 54 minutes on the stopwatch. Another good ball in found him before Foord sent a superb low finish past Shorten at his near post. Paul Phelan’s did keep their intent going but found telling counter-attacks hard to come by, with a good run by Rueben Cowler down the left flank ending with his scuffing his effort on goal wide of Gislette’s far post.

Benfleet completed the scoring on what was a memorable afternoon for them on 72 minutes with another smart forward press, involving Foord and replacement Mason Shave before being finished well by full-back Martyn Lacey who neatly tapped home from close range. By this point, Holland knew it wasn’t going to be their day though a set-piece did spin away from the path of Ryan Mahon late on. Foord still had time to create another decent chance, sending a curling effort narrowly wide of Shorten’s far post.

All in all though, it was a very strong result and performance by ‘Fleet as they continued their good form in League & Vase this term.

Ryan Mahon on the ball for Holland

Full-Time: Benfleet  6 – 1  Holland

To summarise, Benfleet’s superb performance made this a more one-sided game than many had expected. Granted that Holland’s red card did dampen the chances of them coming back into the game but they struggled to create the chances they needed after they fell behind and they found the home defence in good form as well.

There were a number of influential performances here, with two-goal Ben Foord standing out for Benfleet with his goals being good clinical finishing, as well as displaying good movement and work rate. Fellow forward Billy Bonham-Dare was also a constant presence in attack and could’ve got a second goal today. Midfielder Billy Carter delivered an energetic display as well and contributed well to his side’s forward moves, while centre-back Cameron Harris also had a fine match making several important tackles. For Holland, Midfielders Ben Dixon and Kieran Michaels showed good intent and passing as they looked to build counter-attacks, while Keelan Sorrell had a good game in anchor midfield, assisting his defence well and centre-back Joe Martin also restricted the strong Benfleet forward line as he made several telling interceptions.

Best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign.


Benfleet      | Manager: Robert Polkinghorn  | Assistant: Rob Rook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Ryan Willsmer, 3 Martyn Lacey, 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Lee Scott, 7 Billy Carter (12 Mason Shave 60′), 8 Joe Hunter (14 Charlie Sullivan 78′), 9 Billy bonham-Dare, 10 Ben Foord, 11 Luc Harpon (15 Ashley Blackburn 60′)

Goal-scorers: Billy Bonham-Dare [8′], Ben Foord [28′ & 54′], Taylor Lawrence [42′ & 44′ (pen)], Martyn Lacey [72′]

Booked: None    | Subs Not Used: None


Holland  | Manager: Paul Phelan  |  Assistant: Rob Barnett

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Finlay Shorten (GK), 2 Tom Ayton (12 Cameron Dolphin 46′), 3 Rueben Cowler, 5 Joe Martin, 6 Steve Downes, 7 Ben Dixon, 8 Kieran Michaels (Capt), 9 Scott Sloots, 10 Ryan Mahon, 11 Josh Rutter (14 Jamey Williams 46′)

Goal-scorer: Scott Sloots [2′]

Sent Off: Sloots [39′]   | Subs Not Used: Finch, Watts, Fowler (GK)


Referee: Samuel Everitt

S21-22 Match Report: St Margaretsbury 0 – 2 Benfleet (Fri 10 Sept) [FAV 1RQ 11.9.21]

The FA Vase –  First Qualifying Round

Venue: The Recreation Ground

Attendance: 75

2021-22 Season: Match 21

Friday 10th September 2021 – 7.45pm KO

St Mags: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Red Socks

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


The Rec pitch before kick-off


Step 6 leaders ‘Fleet progress with good win at St Mags

St Margaretsbury 0 – 2 Benfleet

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

The first match of a hectic weekend saw a welcome return to Hertfordshire for this FA Vase First Round Qualifying tie between Essex Senior side St Margaretsbury and Eastern Senior League South joint-leaders Benfleet, who were looking for their first win in the competition. For Ray Bartlett’s St Mags side, on-loan goalkeeper Christian North kept his place with a back four of Marvin Wray, Joe Parmley, Dan Palmer and Aiden Read. The forward line was led by the experienced Roddy Lemba, with skipper Tom Cowell alongside, and Ricardo Adewuyi and Sam Rogers on the flanks. Options on the bench were Napier Brown, Jake Hayden-Eley, Jermaine Nicholson and forward Kyle Roberts.

Benfleet have had a very encouraging start to their Step 6 campaign, under Rob Polkinghorn and named former Redbridge custodian Florent Gislette between the posts, will a defensive four of Ryan Willsmer, Martyn Lacey and centre-backs Sonny Hartman and Lee Scott. Well-travelled midfielder Aaron Russell skippered the side, with Ben Foord and Billy Bonham-Dare leading the forward line, with options from the bench including forward Ashley Blackburn, Charlie Sullivan and Adam Wright.

Benfleet certainly had a strong start to this match as they had a penalty shout turned down by referee Mark Bright after only four minutes. It was the hosts though who had the first sighter of goal as centre-back Aiden Read sent an initial header wide. Benfleet went straight up the other end though and a good cross by pacy winger Luc Harpon found forward Ben Foord but his header lacked the gusto to get past home stopper Christian North. However, the visitors were ahead barely a minute later as Harpon managed to evade a napping home backline on the Benfleet right side and cutting inside, Harpon twisted past his marker and struck home low into the left corner, past North.


St Margaretsbury managed to get themselves on the ball with increasing potency as the half-hour approached. First, Tom Cowell had a good chance on goal, with only ‘Fleet stopper Florent Gislette to defeat but his strike lacked the neccessary power and Gislette was glad to gather. Another set-piece by winger Sam Rogers for the home side found Read again but his header was off-target. The chances were quite few & far between for St Mags at this point but Cowell was well played in and a firm shot cracked against the right-side post with Gislette beaten. St Mags were really cursing their lack of fortune as ‘Fleet only went on the counter to double their advantage. Another good run by Harpon down the left side this side ended with a good low centre which found Billy Bonham-Dare and from close range, the forward made no error, sliding the ball home past an exasperated North.

St Mags were up against it when Cowell earned himself a early 10-minute rest in the ‘sin bin’, according to referee Bright seven minutes before the half-time interval. St Mags had a glimmer of a chance just before the break as a good ball in from full-back Marvin Wray tested Gislette but  he was adjudged to have been fouled, denying Adewuyi a chance in on goal when well -placed.


Half-Time: St Margaretsbury 0 – 2 Benfleet

It’s fair to say that the hosts had more of the ball after the break, though Andy Greenslade’s strike went over the goal frame early on in the half. Unfortunately for St Mags, they were also having concentration lapses in defence, which allowed substitute Ashley Blackburn to advance with only ‘keeper North to beat. More fortunately for the hosts, Blackburn was unable to grasp control at the crucial moment and the chance was lost. Just shy of the hour mark, another good centre in from Wray found forward Roddy Lemba but his header was gladly gathered by Gislette.

The chances started to become a little less acute for either side in the latter stages of this match. Replacement Kyle Roberts had a really powerful effort well-saved by Gislette but for the most part the visiting defensive unit really endorsed their growing reputation in stifling a decent forward line of the home side. At the other end, a little note for St Mags keeper Christian North who certainly was not afraid to be a ‘sweeper keeper’ as on a couple of occasions he was well-justified in coming out to get ahead of an opposition forward and clearing well. Another example of this came late on as North came out to deny Foord a clear shot a goal, in what was the tireless Foord’s last involvement of the game before being replaced for the last few minutes by Adam Wright.


Full-Time: St Margaretsbury  0 – 2 Benfleet 

To briefly summarise, Benfleet held on well to deservedly win the tie, despite occasional passages of good pressure by the home side. This is ‘Fleet’s first-ever win in the FA Vase so big congrats to all at the club. St Mags’ main attacking threat came from the flanks though they were well stifled by an obdurate & experienced visiting defence.

There were some fine performances in this match. Firstly, for the victors Benfleet, winger Luc Harpon had a really good impact on the game, despite having to be replaced at half-time. He showed a lot of composure, pace and finishing. Also, forward Ben Foord put in another strong performance, with work rate and led the line well. Goalkeeper Florent Gislette also pulled off some very good saves and will be pleased with his impact on the match. Finally, centre-back Sonny Hartman also typified his team’s defending. For St Mags, midfielder Andy Greenslade had a good game in central midfield, trying to drive his side on alongside Dominic Wynter-Stephens, forward Tom Cowell had two really good chances to score and on another day may well have created a different match, while right-back Marvin Wray looked good with good movement and passing. Lastly, Ricardo Adewuyi also had a decent game, looking to be drive from the left flank and did put some good balls into the danger area.

I’d like to thank St Margaretsbury for the kind welcome they extended here, as ever. I wish both teams a good rest of the season.


Teams

St Margaretsbury |  Manager: Ray Bartlett  | Assistant: James Falaise

Starting XI: 1 Christian North (GK), 2 Marvin Wray, 3 Joe Parmley, 4 Dan Palmer (9 Kyle Roberts 57′),  5 Aiden Read, 6 Dominic Wynter-Stephens, 7 Sam Rogers, 8 Andrew Greenslade, 17 Roddy Lemba, 10 Tom Cowell (Capt), 11 Ricardo Adewuyi (12 Napier Brown 77′)

Booked: Cowell (Sin-Bin 38′) | Subs Not Used: Hayden-Eley, Nicholson


Benfleet  | Manager: Robert Polkinghorn   | Assistant: Robert Rook

Starting XI: 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Ryan Willsmer, 3 Martyn Lacey, 4 Taylor Lawrence, 5 Sonny Hartman, 6 Lee Scott (12 Charlie Sullivan 70′), 7 Luc Harpon (14 Ashley Blackburn 46′), 8 Aaron Russell (Capt), 9 Ben Foord (15 Adam Wright 72′), 10 Billy Bonham-Dare, 11 Mason Shave

Goal-scorers: Luc Harpon [7′], Billy Bonham-Dare [32′]

Booked: Wright  | Subs Not Used: Sahan


Referee: Mark Bright

Match Report: Benfleet 2 – 3 May & Baker (Sat 16 Nov) [EaSL South 19/20 16.11.19]

Eastern Senior League South

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 23

2019 – 20 Season: Match 39

Saturday 16th November 2019 – 3pm KO

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

M & Baker: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

 

Bakers edge a pulsating match with Benfleet at Park Lane

Benfleet  2 – 3  May & Baker

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

The weekend’s match took me to Park Lane, to see the Eastern Senior League South match between Benfleet and May & Baker. The increasing chill of November made it a good job that it wasn’t too long a trip to be fair. The Fleet named Danny Confrey between the posts, Emmanuel Adetokunbo and Finlay Dopson on the flanks with a front pair of Ben Foord and Taylor Lawrence. The likes of Jamie Brown, Alfie MacDonald and Ethan Evison were all on the bench. Bakers were missing the influential Kai Warren, though could still name Carl Patten and Danny Gillham in attack, with Darren Seymour and Henry Osei on the flanks. Gabriel Odili and Besmir Hoxhaj were options from the sidelines.

Perhaps it was the mentioned ‘chill’ that got this game to a strong start as Bakers custodian Frankie Worboyes was in action early-doors to deny the pacey Benfleet winger Emmanuel Adetokunbo from having a clear chance at goal after the latter had bypassed visiting defender Josh Perry. The increasing amount of chances in this match started in earnest about ten minutes in as Bakers skipper Scott O’Connor had a header cleared off the goal-line before Mitch Curran fired wide for the Fleet from twenty yards out. Minutes later, a good team move from the hosts ended with forward Taylor Lawrence striking wide of the right-side post. Bakers should really have led on 23 minutes though as a peach of a cross from the left by forward Carl Patten set up winger Darren Seymour well, only for Seymour to head wide, having evaded his marker.

 

It was a costly miss as Benfleet did break the deadlock moments later. From a good Lawrence corner, Curran got a glancing header which sailed past Worboyes into the net. Much to their credit, Bakers were not rattled though as just past the half-hour, a good run by winger Henry Osei ended up with a fine delivery from the left, though onrushing midfielder Josh Lowbridge could not get his header on target. As it turned out, those missed were not as costly as they could’ve been as five minutes prior to the interval, the match was level. Nifty footwork by Patten gave him a chance to find Osei who had breached the home defence before powering home with only Confrey to beat at the near post.

Half-Time: Benfleet  1 – 1  May & Baker

The attack-focused nature of the match continued after the break, as Benfleet sent out a few ‘warning shots’ just after the restart. Strikes on goal by Adetokunbo, Lawrence and strike partner Ben Foord all failed to severely trouble visiting stopper Worboyes, who gathered on all three occasions. With 49 minutes on the watch, a super strike by Lowbridge was superbly parried onto the crossbar by Confrey before the fortunate home defence somehow kept out the ensuing rebound. Soon after, the enterprising winger Finlay Dopson fizzed a strike wide of the right-side post and it’s worth noting he had a good impact on his side going forward making good runs down the channel.

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For the visitors, Patten really was a very useful focal point in attack and his great through ball found Osei who unleashed a curling effort which went the wrong side of the woodwork. Again though, the chances not taken were costly for Jordan Harris & Alec Simms’ side as Benfleet re-took the lead midway through the half. A pearler of a ball in from deep by substitute Alfie MacDonald found the run of attacking midfielder Aaron Russell who headed home with aplomb. However, the lead lasted eight minutes before the visitors levelled things up once again on 72 minutes. A good free-kick into the penalty box caught the Fleet defence napping, with Patten nipping in to slot home past Confrey.

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Bakers were buoyed by their leveller and looked to push on for the points in the latter stages. With 13 minutes left, a soaring run down the left by Osei fed substitute Gabriel Odili who unleashed a fierce effort which Confrey did well to keep out. Bakers also hit the woodwork from replacement Besmir Hoxhaj’s free-kick before the crucial goal came four minutes from time. Odili outpaced the tiring home backline before firing past Confrey when one-on-one, much to the delight of the travelling side.

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Full-Time : Benfleet  2 – 3  May & Baker

All in all, this was a match that you couldn’t really predict the winner, such was the openness of the encounter, with both sides looking more than useful going forward. You could argue that the visitors wasted a number of good chances though ultimately they did finish quite strongly. Have to add it was good to see Benfleet at home for the first time, and good to see Bakers in action again.

In terms of stand-out performances, for the hosts there were a number of strong performances. Winger Finlay Dopson was certainly a key member of the forward line today with his pace and delivery, with ex-Great Wakering midfielder Aaron Russell having a telling presence too. Finally for them, have to give a mention to goalkeeper Danny Confrey who pulled off a few superb saves today, and winger Emmanuel Adetokunbo also stood out for the hosts. For Bakers, rapid winger Henry Osei really made a difference, after the interval in particular, with forward Carl Patten a big asset to his team with his height and build-up play. Centre-back Josh Perry also had a good game making a few important interceptions with on-loan full-back Cain Brougham making good runs from right-back.

Finally, I would like to pass on my thanks to ‘the Fleet’ for their hospitality today. It makes a difference as we now enter into the cold time of the year.

 

Teams

Benfleet    | Manager: Stuart Batch |

1 Danny Confrey (GK), 2 Charlie Cobb, 3 Martyn Lacey (14 Alfie MacDonald 46’), 4 Jamie Williams, 5 Sonny Hartman (Capt), 6 Mitch Curran, 7 Emmanuel Adetokunbo (16 Charlie Sullivan 60’), 9 Ben Foord, 10 Taylor Lawrence (15 Ethan Evison 78’), 11 Finlay Dopson

Goal-scorers: Mitch Curran [25’], Aaron Russell [64’]

Booked (Sin Bin): Curran | Sub Not Used: Brown, Webb

 

May & Baker |  Joint-Managers: Jordan Harris & Alec Simm

1 Frankie Worboyes (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Steve Johnson, 4 Scott O’Connor (Capt), 5 Josh Perry, 6 Kane Messenger, 7 Darren Seymour (17 Ben Saunders 83’), 8 Josh Lowbridge (14 Gabriel Odili 67’), 9 Carl Patten, 10 Danny Gillham, 11 Henry Osei

Goal-scorers: Henry Osei [40’], Carl Patten [72’], Gabriel Odili [86’]

Booked: Lowbridge, Odili | Subs Not Used: Leavens, Richardson

Referee: Joe Burgess

Mini-Report: Burnham Ramblers 0 – 7 Benfleet (Eastern Snr Lge Sth) [EaSL 16.10.18]

Eastern Senior League South

Tuesday 16th October – 7.45pm KO

Venue: Leslie Field

2018-19 Season: Match 23

Burnham: Black & Navy Blue Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Sky Blue Shorts

Benfleet: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Report by Scott W

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A welcome trip to Leslie Field saw me taking in a rare Eastern Senior Lge Sth match which saw Benfleet travel to Burnham Ramblers. The hosts named skipper Alex Salmon in defence and prolific goal-scorer Karl Swanborough in attack. Benfleet had Leon Gordon, their skipper in attack supported by wingers Taylor Lawrence and Mason Shave.

Burnham have struggled to adapt to this new division somewhat, particularly in defensive terms. The visitors perhaps would have scouted this before kick-off as early on they did pour forward, as after only eight minutes, the Benfleet full-back unleashed a powerful effort that the Burnham goalkeeper did well to deny.

Unfortunately for Lee Hughes’ side, it was a sighter of things to come as Benfleet roared into a three-goal lead before the half-hour mark. First, ex-Hullbridge midfielder Sam Dulieu opened the scoring on 12 minutes with a low shot into the corner before doubling his tally only seven minutes later with a blasted strike from 15 yards into the corner. Skipper Gordon got into the match with a goal as well after having an initial header saved, he made no mistake stroking home well with 27 minutes on the watch.

The hosts didn’t have too many openings with forward Karl Swanborough lofting an effort over the bar early-doors though the pain wasn’t over yet. The fourth goal for the visitors did have an element of fortune about it as a short cross hit midfielder Jack Unwin [32′] on the forehead which sent the ball careering into the top corner. That said, there was nowt that was lucky about the fifth as ten minutes before half-time, winger Taylor Lawrence smashed a cracker from 25 yards which flew into the corner with terrific technique.

Half-Time: Burnham 0 – 5 Benfleet

You may have thought that the visitors would settle a bit after the break for what they had. Not a bit of it as only five minutes into the second half, Unwin’s powerful effort was parried by the Burnham ‘keeper who was unfortunate to see the ball still trickle into the net.

Burnham fashioned a few chances in the half through Swanborough’s free-kick which just dipped over the bar just past the hour and who I believe to be Oliver Miller, who did keeep the visiting defenders alert in the latter stages though in trith, the hosts didn’t overwhelmingly look like scoring.

Unsurprisingly, the Burnham ‘keeper was the stand-out player on the night for them as he did well to deny Unwin twice in the latter parts of the match and so denying him a hat-trick though Dulieu did get his treble with a super chip over the goalkeeper to seal a dominant victory for the hosts.

Full-Time: Burnham Ramblers 0 – 7  Benfleet

You must credit Benfleet in that they were quick, powerful and clinical in their finishing this evening and much deserved the three points.

No team-sheets available unfortunately tonight. My apologies.