Eastern Senior League – Division One South
Venue: Jack Carter Centre [3G]
2022-23 Season: Match 56
Saturday 15 April 2022 – 3pm KO
Frenford: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts & Socks
Basildon: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Headline match sees Frenford grab late leveller to deny Bas a fine win
Frenford 2 – 2 Basildon Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The second match of the day saw a pivotal match in the Step 6 season as promotion contenders Frenford and Basildon Town battled it out at the Drive on the penultimate weekend of the regular season. With there being only one automatic promotion spot, both sides wanted the win to avoid two further matches in the play-offs to follow in quick succession after April 22nd. Dave Forbes’ side named Jack Ryan in goal, with a backline of Aaron Scott, captain Lewis Bartrip, Sam Cross and Ben O’Brien. The midfield had Tom Potter, Billy Karby and Harry Daly in its ranks, with the forward line featuring Charlie Heatley, George Booker and Raheem Gray. Postponements have affected Bas in the last fortnight, and they named Matthew Knight as their custodian, with a defence of Thomas Pain, Mitchell Keen, Daniel Okah and Joe Burgess. Grant Cumming, Charlie Kendall & captain Ryan Scougall were in midfield, with Jamie Bradbourn, Harry Brown and player-boss Marcus Bowers completing the forward line.
There are big moments in these types of games and the first one of them came after just five minutes as Frenford took the lead. A decent corner found its way into the box, and a well-timed run by centre-back Sam Cross ended with a decent header which bypassed Knight & found its way into the net. Basildon responded well though and as we neared the half-hour mark, forward Harry Brown blazed over the woodwork twice, as the home backline struggled to deal with good passing by Basildon which created the chances. Just past the half-hour, the hosts responded with George Booker’s good effort which was superbly denied on the goal-line by Thomas Pain. The end-to-end nature of this match intensified as we approached the interval. Brown’s good strike was well parried away by Frenford custodian Ryan for a corner. Frenford so nearly had a second goal in added time as another firm effort by Booker required another good intervention by Knight to keep the finely-poised match tight.
Half-Time: Frenford 1 – 0 Basildon Town
After the break, the tide turned somewhat as the home defence had a warning as Brown skewed another effort wide but his persistence would soon be rewarded. Basildon were building the momentum well and did level nine minutes into the half. Bowers fizzed in a dangerous cross from the right flank, which took out the home defenders & into the path of Harry Brown who headed home past Ryan at the near post. The tension was moving up the scale as we got into the last half hour, and the visitors were indebted to Knight for denying two good goal-bound efforts in as many minutes by Raheem Gray. Set-pieces and long throws were a threat for the visitors as they pushed hard to break the stalemate, from one such long throw by Bowers, the ball fell to Pain and his super effort was narrowly wide of the left-sided post.
There was a big moment on 71 minutes as Booker was sent off by referee Lee Markwick for his second booking & all of a sudden, Frenford had to rally and battle hard to try and repel a fired-up opposition. The drama would only rise further as we entered the last fifteen minutes, as centre-back Daniel Okah nodded wide from another threatening set-piece, before substitute Alfie Hilton was denied by an excellent covering interception by Frenford skipper Lewis Bartrip. The hosts responded quickly at the other end, as another good pass in by Gray found Charlie Heatley, but his decent effort was off-target.
With only two minutes of normal time remaining, Basildon Town did take the lead. Brown’s initial effort was well-saved by Ryan but Town recycled the ball well and Marcus Bowers turned well before firing in a good, low strike into the left corner, provoking sheer joy from their dug-out. However, that said joy turned to frustation only four minutes later as Frenford levelled to earn a point. Replacement Owen James struck a fine free-kick right into the far corner, past the despairing dive of Knight – that could be a really important goal in the title race. Frenford have reached 75 points now & face Benfleet in midweek & Hackney Wick on the last day.
Full-Time: Frenford 2 – 2 Basildon Town
This big match for both sides was predictably dramatic but Basildon nearly benefitted from a fine second-half performance, but a last-gasp fine set-piece by substitute James snuffed out the three points for Town as quickly as it had arrived moments previously. This match was also a superb advert for the division and ensures the race for both the title and the play-off spots will continue in the last week of a highly entertaining campaign.
There were some strong performances in this match. For Basildon, I felt right-back Thomas Pain had a really good game, contributing in both defence and attack, making several good tackles and also good runs down the flank as well as decent passing. Centre-back Mitchell Keen was another player to stand out here, adding steel to a tough visiting backline, being a good presence aerially as well. It would be remiss not to mention a good display from forward Harry Brown whose persistence and pace was a threat, particularly in the second half. He also took his goal well and contributed several other good passes. Lastly, a mention for goalkeeper Matthew Knight who made at least three good saves here to keep his team in the game at a crucial time.
Frenford winger Raheem Gray also had a very good match, utilising his pace and directness well, and put in several good crosses & was unlucky not to score as well. Central defensive duo Lewis Bartrip and Sam Cross both played their part to hold Bas at bay for most of the game, Bartrip making several good clearances & Cross showing good positioning as well as taking his goal well early on. Central midfielder Billy Karby also had a good game, battling hard against an energised opposition after the break and also recycled the ball to good effect too.
There was an impact from other results as well as Wormley Rovers lost at home 1 – 2 to Stanway Pegasus, meaning their match with Basildon in midweek is crucial to both teams’ prospects.
Frenford | Manager: Dave Forbes | Assistants: Lee Forbes, Ali Choroomi & Anthony Cook
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Ryan (GK), 2 Aaron Scott, 5 Lewis Bartrip (Capt), 6 Sam Cross, 3 Ben O’Brien, 4 Tom Potter, 8 Billy Karby, 7 Harry Daly (14 Owen James 65′), 9 Charlie Heatley (15 Sam Ince 85′), 10 George Booker, 11 Raheem Gray
Goal-scorers: Sam Cross [5′], Owen James [90’+2]
Booked: Bartrip, O’Brien | Sent Off: Booker (Two bookings) | Sub Not Used: Munns, Munton
Basildon Town | Manager (dugout): Lee Bunn | Assistants: Aron Peters & Rhys Fatt
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Matthew Knight (GK), 12 Thomas Pain, 16 Mitchell Keen, 20 Daniel Okah, 10 Joe Burgess, 18 Grant Cumming (4 Michael Onafuye 76′), 8 Ryan Scougall (Capt), 14 Charlie Kendall (17 Billy Hutchison 81′), 11 Jamie Bradbourn (7 Alfie Hilton 24′, himself replaced by 5 Keanu Hill 90′), 9 Harry Brown, 19 Marcus Bowers (15 James O’Brien 89′)
Goal-scorers: Harry Brown [54′], Marcus Bowers [88′]
Booked: Pain | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Lee Markwick
Assistants: Emmanuel Armah-Agyeman & Chris Noble