Essex Senior League
Venue: Leslie Field
Saturday 31st March 2018 3pm KO
2017/18 Season – Match 59
Burnham: Navy Blue & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
Woodford: Yellow Shirts, White Shorts, White Socks
Leslie Field pitch
Players before KO
Leslie Field pitch #2
Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with additional photos by Andy Wilkins (Twitter: @andywilkins2015)
On a slightly grey day at Leslie Field, relegation-threatened Burnham took on mid-table Woodford in another crunch Essex Senior League encounter. For the hosts, Charlee Hughes and Karl Swanborough led the line with recent signing Alex Salmon skippering the side and partnering Jamie Marsh in the heart of the defence. For the visitors, target-man Temi Babalola was the physical presence in attack with playmaker Ethan Kessel and Andrea Montavani among those in a supporting role.
I had a feeling before kick-off there would be goals in this one and the start didn’t disappoint. Three minutes in, Burnham had a close-range effort scrambled off the goal-line. Only five minutes later, the hosts led as Robert Bagnall’s fine cross from the right was headed home by Karl Swanborough past visiting goalkeeper Nick Wilson. Unsurprisingly, this buoyed the hosts and only a good tackle in the area denied hot-shot Charlee Hughes a decent chance on goal soon after.
Woodford did start to find their rhythm going forward as we passed the quarter-hour mark as winger Connor Leon’s goal-bound effort was well tipped over by Burnham custodian Adam French. Moments later, Town full-back Leon Wildman’s lung-busting run down the right flank wasn’t rewarded as his decent ball in found ‘nobody home’ for his side in the Burnham area.
The hosts doubled their lead on 26 minutes as a Hughes free-kick rather fortuitously found the on-rushing Brad Morgan in the area who slotted home well.
Town responded five minutes later as a well-struck floating free-kick found centre-back & skipper Jack Grosvenor free at the back post and he headed home with aplomb. Burnham could’ve extended their lead ten minutes before the break though Hughes uncharacteristically fired wide. Woodford had chances to level though Montovani, Kessel and Leon couldn’t find the target, the latter being a curling effort that just sailed wide of the post.
Burnham’s Bill Howard in possession today (Credit: Andy W)
Woodford’s Ethan Kessel on the ball.. (Credit: Andy W)
Half-Time: Burnham 2 – 1 Woodford
Burnham made a change at the break as Adekunle Adeyemi replaced Sam Warwick, who I thought had a decent game today. On with the action though and home ‘keeper French was called into action again on 52 minutes as Connor Leon’s drive was well-tipped over. The hosts responded as substitute Julian Bavin was well-denied by Woodford goalkeeper Wilson. Adeyemi also started to make his presence felt too with a long-range drive which fizzed wide. Bavin also did well to round Wilson though skied his effort over from a tight angle.
Woodford once again responded and looked dangerous at times though Babalola twice couldn’t find the target in three minutes midway into the half. Soon after, Burnham skipper Alex Salmon made a crucial tackle to deny Town a good sight of goal.
There had been signs that tensions were boiling over during the match though with 13 minutes remaining, Woodford were down to ten men and honestly, it could’ve been worse for them. Burnham did find a ‘final flourish’ as Wilson denied Bill Howard late on. Minutes later, a superb ball in by Adeyemi found Swanborough and the forward held off a Woodford defender well to slot home the crucial third goal for his side. As we entered added-time, Swanborough was well found again though this time Wilson denied him though the hosts held firm to claim their first win of 2018.
Woodford’s Connor Leon curls one just wide.. (Credit: Andy W)
Woodford’s Larry Asare attempting to beat his man.. (Credit: Andy W)
Full-Time: Burnham Ramblers 3 – 1 Woodford Town
In fairness, Burnham were fired-up today which is what they needed though they remain in the bottom four on goal difference after this victory, it will undoubtedly boost their confidence after a really good team display. Woodford were threatening at times going forward as Ethan Kessel was among those who played well though defensively it was a ‘bad day at the office’. That said, Woodford sit 12th and are having a more than decent season.
I’d like to thank Burnham for their hospitality and also thank manager Lee Hughes, who spoke to me post-match which you can hear on the Grassroots Football Show on ELR on Thursday night.
Adam French (GK), Alfie Vinton, Ricardo Bailey, Jamie Marsh, Alex Salmon (Capt), Robert Bagnall, Samuel Warwick (Adekunle Adeyemi 46′), Bill Howard, Bradley Morgan, Karl Swanborough, Charlee Hughes (Julian Bavin* 49′ – *Charles Brewer 83′)
Goal-scorers: Karl Swanborough [8′ & 88′], Bradley Morgan [26′]
Booked: Howard | Subs Not Used: Willsmer, S Plom
Nick Wilson (GK), Leon Wildman, Dion Lewis-Kirwan, Jack Grosvenor (Capt), James Walkinshaw, Malaki Toussaint, Connor Leon, Andrea Montovani, Temi Babalola, Ethan Kessel (Samir Ali 64′), Gamel Nfodju (Larry Asare 56′)
Goal-scorer: Jack Grosvenor [31′]
Booked: Asare, Wilson, Wildman | Sent Off: Walkinshaw (Two bookings)
Subs Not Used: Brown, Steele