Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up. This week, we look at the action in all divisions & Cups from Saturday 11 February, as the weekend’s action in all six divisions was bolstered by Cup ties. Also includes the midweek EOFL Premier game this week at the start of that section.
EOFL Premier Division
We begin with the first of what could be several midweek EOFL matches as the season comes to its run-in. Catholic Utd got a narrow 2 – 1 victory at Old Southendian on Wednesday night at Garon Park 3G. James Warder & Michael Sammut got the important goals to outdo replacement Nico Dubouchet’s reply for OS. The win took Utd up to second after the weekend’s action. For more on this match, check out Peter Dudley’s match report here: https://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2023/02/old-southendian-1-catholic-united-2.html
In the weekend’s top-tier action, there were some key results at the bottom of the table. None more so than Galleywood‘s narrow 1 – 0 victory over Toby at Slades Lane. Kaiyun Reeves got the decisive goal there to grab their second win this term & go level on points with rivals Springfield, who drew 1 – 1 with Sungate at Arun Park. Lewis Chapman got the hosts’ goal in the opening game of the new era there, under new boss Matt Cardy, formerly of Division Two side Wakebury. Bishop’s Stortford Swifts went up to fourth-bottom with a gritty 1 – 0 win at Kelvedon Hatch. Substitute Harley Merry’s strike saw Swifts go above Hatch in the table but both these sides & Toby are precariously close to the bottom two, which are likely to be the relegation spots in three months’ time.
Elsewhere, Rayleigh Town renewed their rivalry with Old Southendian before coming away with a 3 – 1 success at Thames Road. Nick Henesy netted for OS while Harry Talbot, George Vile’s penalty & an early OG accounted for the hosts’ goals, with the win taking them back up to third, albeit they are 14 points adrift of leaders Hutton. Catholic Utd & Leigh Ramblers look to be their nearest challengers for that coveted second-spot. Finally, Leigh Ramblers drew 1 – 1 with Shenfield AFC. Luke Williamson got AFC’s goal and Andrew Webster netted for the Rams at Belfairs Park
EOFL Divisions One & Two
Division One again saw some big results. We begin with Old Chelmsfordians‘ 4 – 0 victory at home to Wakering Sports. The ensemble cast of Shane Pritchard, Joe Murphy, Ryan Baxter & substitute Billy Duke got the goals which sees the OC’s retain third spot & reduce the deficit to Epping in second to only one point. Manford Way edged a truly marvellous match as they won 6 – 4 at Epping Town. The defeat leaves Town further vulnerable to being caught by both Old Chelms & Corinthians, who battled to an important 3 – 2 victory at home to Harold Hill at Stambridge. Brodie Horne netted two good goals & an early OG proved enough to outweigh goals from Harry Watkins & Troy Tizard-Cleghorn’s spot kick. For much more on this game, here’s my report: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2023/02/11/s22-23-match-report-corinthians-3-2-harold-hill-sat-11-feb-eofl/
Also, Harold Wood Athletic were held 1 – 1 at ACD Utd. Leroy Griffiths scoed for Wood, with Matthew Taylor levelling the match for Utd. Harold Wood’s lead at the summit inches further to five points now, with four wins likely to be enough to secure the title. ACD remain sixth & are not out of the running for a top-four spot yet.
Into Division Two now, and leaders Shoebury Town remain four points clear at the summit after a fine 3 – 1 victory at May & Baker. Lewis Hunt, Oliver Chew & Timi Tinubu goals sealed their 11th win this term. Wakering Sports Res remain their nearest challengers after a 3 – 0 win at home to Catholic Utd Res. Connor Fardyga again found the target, as did substitutes Eben Rowledge & David Watson to confirm the points.
Elsewhere, Harold Wood Athletic Res are back up to third spot after a good 3 – 0 triumph over out-of-form AS Rawreth at Harold Wood Rec. Matt Harris, Kieron Moynihan & an OG meant that the Wood side are still in the running for promotion.
EOFL Divisions Three, Four & Five
In Division Three, leaders Basildon Town Res extended their lead to ten points after a 4 – 1 win over Springfield Res at Basildon Sports Club. Anthony Aylett notched twice here for the hosts to reach seven league goals this term, while Louis Hill & replacement Ola Ogunjobi also scored to confirm the win. Pitsea Athletic are up to second, following an excellent 4 – 0 success at home to Hullbridge Res. Sean Devlin, Reece Stone, Jason Warner & Joe Berry all got goals there for Trevor Wickens’ side, who are now in prime position for that second promotion spot. In the other game this weekend, Chingford Athletic Res fortified sixth spot with a 6 – 1 triumph over Corinthians Res at Town Mead 3G. Luke Dimond netted a fine treble to reach 12 league goals this campaign thus far, allied with two for Sonny Clarke & one from Jack Smith confirmed the points for Carl Gregory’s side. Corinthians Res need a minimum of three wins from their last five matches to avoid a likely relegation to Division Four.
In Division Four, the top two were not in league action, which allowed Leigh Ramblers Res to retain third spot & reduce the gap to leaders Roydon to six points as they won 2 – 0 at Leytonstone Utd. Joe Howson & Jacob Meads got the goals at Forest Row. Also, Herongate Athletic Res are well-placed in fourth now, after a 4 – 0 success over Wakering Sports A at Billericay Road. Thomas Lambourne & Byron Brackett both scored to get the hosts going before further strikes by replacements Kieron Wilson-Fowler & Joe Coldham secured the points.
Lastly in this division, Ongar Town battled with Galleywood Res to a goal-less draw at Marks Hall Centre. the point sees Ongar rise to sixth and Galleywood remain third from bottom, still needing points to secure their place in this division next term.
In Division Five, Collier Row Res are back in second spot, following a impressive 7 – 3 victory at Wakebury Res. Harry Potts netted five goals himself to double his tally to ten goals this term for the Ressie side. Jake Griffin & Raheem Bravo’s penalty added further ache to the hosts. Joe Creak’s side replied through a brace from Ross Barnes & one from Arry Hardy. The other results saw Shoebury Town Res win 4 – 0 at AS Rawreth Res and Sungate Res triumph 3 – 1 at Canning Town Res.
We start the Cup action with mentions of the two Senior Cup games. First up, it was predictably tight in the all-Premier Division clash in Beckton as Hutton defeated Canning Town 3 – 2. Lewis Scott & substitutes Will Marlowe & Billy Chilcott got the decisive goals for Matt Singh’s side who may well mark this potentially pivotal season with a Cup Final appearance as well. Joining them in the next round will be Catholic Utd, who won 3 – 0 at Division Two side Hashtag Utd Development. Tom Elliott, Harrison Day and Tom Kearney got the goals for Simon Thomas’ side at Barleylands.
Moving on to the other Cup competitions now. Firstly in the Reserve Cup, and Basildon Town A got an upset on spot-kicks, after drawing 1 – 1 with Division Two side Hutton Res at Polo Fields. Donnel Kujinga again netted for the Division Five side, and they won 5 – 4 on penalties to see them through. There was nearly another upset in the Denny King Cup tie this weekend as Division One side Beacon Hill Rovers also needed penalties to progress, after a 1 – 1 draw at Division Four leaders Roydon. Nader Benzid got the hosts’ goal, with Charles Fitt’s late goal meaning a shoot-out was needed. Rovers won that 4 – 2 but credit does go to Roydon, who are continuing to show they may well be alright, should they complete the job & gain promotion for next term.
We end this week with two ties in the Reserve Trophy. Firstly, Manford Way Res narrowly got the better of Leigh Town Res, as Manford won 3 – 2 to send the Division Three team out. Luke Bennett’s double, allied with Charlie Ewing’s strike outdid strikes by Zack Walker & Spencer Izatt for Leigh to send the Division Five side through. Also, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res also prevailed, following a 2 – 0 victory at home to Shenfield AFC Res, with Matthew Allen & David Falzon strikes securing the win at Silver Leys.