Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest Essex Olympian League column, tracking the action in all divisions & Cups from Saturday 18 March, as the fixture programme was again blighted by the recent weather.
The two Essex Premier Cup ties did reach a conclusion to set up the Final at New Lodge on April 12th. Wakering Sports Res‘ dream run through the competition continued after a superb match ended in a 4 – 4 draw with EAL Senior side Woodford East at Cupid’s. Connor Fardyga & substitute Adem Beji both scored twice here for the hosts, and they held their nerve in the shoot-out, winning 5 – 4 to shatter East’s quest of making a second successive final. Sports will play Shenfield AFC after they came from behind to defeat Rayleigh Town at St Martins’. Jack Chatterway had given Town the lead but goals from Luke Williamson & Ben Absolon meant that it would be the hosts competing in an all-EOFL showpiece next month.
EOFL League Divisions
As mentioned, the fixtures were hit by weather. We start as ever in the top-tier, as leaders Hutton were held to a 1 – 1 draw at Runwell Sports. Two substitutes were crucial in this game, with David Johnson netting for the Reds and Luca Frankis responded for Rob Hodgson’s team. The result meant that Matt Singh’s team remain ten points clear of second-placed Catholic Utd, who were also held, 2 – 2 by Sungate at the Len Forge 3G. Ben Burrows & Aaron Baldwin scored for Utd to give them the lead, but goals from Solomon Asomah & replacement Petrit Elbi meant that the ‘Gate left with a point, and they are up to seventh now.
Elsewhere, Old Southendian are back into fourth place after a 2 – 1 victory at Toby. Mattias Tonking & Jordan Faulkner both netted for OS, with substitute Jake Jones replying for the Brewers, who remain 10th. There were also two key results for teams at the bottom. Firstly, Kelvedon Hatch got a vital 3 – 2 victory over Canning Town at New Hall. Drew Klessa-Smith, Luke Winter & David Hamblett got the goals for Darren Hunt’s team, as they stayed out of the bottom two. Springfield also grabbed a hugely important three points as they had a 2 – 1 success at Belfairs Park. Two goals from Finlay Dorrell outdid a late spot-kick from Ole Hunter for the Rams to give Matt Cardy’s side the win. I attended this match & if you’d like more on it, my report is available here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2023/03/19/s22-23-match-report-leigh-ramblers-1-2-springfield-sat-18-mar-eofl/
There were two matches in Division One this week. First, Manford Way grabbed an important 2 – 0 victory over promotion rivals Epping Town at the London Marathon Sports Ground to go three points clear in fourth, with three games left. The other game saw ACD Utd obtain a good 4 – 1 success at Wakering Sports. Jacob Dingli scored twice for Michael Wade’s team, with Shaun Farrow & Ollie Williams also netting to see Utd gain ground on the top five.
There was one match apiece in Divisions Two & Three as well. In Division Two, Shoebury Town confirmed promotion to the second-tier after they conclusively won 7 – 0 over Old Southendian Res, in a match held at Garon Park 3G. Mechack-Kisoka Asuka netted another four goals here, with Jack Woodham’s double & one from substitute Enoch Gyimah securing the points which led to celebrations for Garry Johnson’s & John Galley’s team. Congrats to them. In Division Three, Buckhurst Hill U23 are up to third spot, after a 7 – 1 win over Old Chelmsfordians Res at Roding Lane. Louie Cooper & replacement Daniel Muela both scored twice for Darren Gosnell’s team here, with Jack Barnes, Jacob Richards & Harvey Woods also on the score-sheet in Hill’s penultimate league match this term. Old Chelms will finish eighth now.
In Division Four, the solitary game saw Leigh Ramblers Res produce a fine second-half showing to defeat Wakering Sports A 4 – 0 at Belfairs, in the second game of the double-header of matches which I attended. The ensemble of Luis Bracci, Cameron Jarvis, Taylor Stewart & Jacob Mead were all on target for Terry Johnson’s team, as they went up to second spot, three points behind leaders Roydon with two further games than them to play. The Sports side remain second bottom, with five matches left.
Finally, there was only one match in Division Five, Runwell Sports Res secured a very important 6 – 1 victory at Collier Row Res. The win takes them into top spot, two points clear of Manford Way Res and the pressure is on their rivals as the Runwell second-side have completed their league campaign. Row’s Ressie side also ended their term here, and reside in fourth but can still be caught by Basildon Town A, currently in fifth.