S22-23 Match Report: Frenford 0 – 3 St Margaretsbury (Sat 14 Jan) [EaSL Sth 22-23 15.1.23]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Jack Carter Centre 3G

Attendance: 48

2022-23 Season: Match 35

Saturday 14th January 2023 – 3pm KO

Frenford: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

St Margaretsbury: Yellow Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks


Excellent St Margaretsbury performance sees them win at leaders Frenford

Frenford  0 – 3 St Margaretsbury

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

This weekend saw a welcome trip to Jack Carter Centre 3G in Gants Hill for the Eastern Senior League South match between leaders Frenford and St Margaretsbury. Dave Forbes’ side were looking to build on their five-point lead at the summit, following Stanway Pegasus’ narrow win at May & Baker 16 hours previously. He named recent signing Josh Blackburn in goal, with a defence of full-backs Augustine Appiah & Jack Sykes and skipper Lewis Bartrip & Sam Cross in central defence. The midfield included Tom Potter, Billy Karby and Charlie Munns, with centre forward Nick Reynolds being supported by Raheem Gray & Johnathon Vandyck on the flanks. St Mags have found it tough to get points away from home since I saw them win at Benfleet in August, but nevertheless they are a tricky mid-table side. Co-managers Paul Holding & Adam Connolly fielded Sidi Haidara as their custodian, with their defence being comprised of Bayon, Berg, Hayden-Eley & Daniels. The hard-working duo of Mulqueen & Moutawafiq were in central midfield, with forwards Marko Protic & Isaac Stevens being supported by Jacob Waring & captain Kamarni Collington.

The visitors started the game well, looking to get in behind the Frenford defence, utilising the artificial playing surface to good effect. They took the lead after only 12 minutes as a surging run by skipper Kamarni Collington down the right flank ended with a good ball into the box which ended up finding forward Marko Protic who fired in a low strike into the net, beyond Frenford stopper Josh Blackburn. The hosts were unable to rally and retain the ball, as the spirited St Mags forward line were understandably buoyed by this early goal. They added a second goal seven minutes later as Collington was well-found this time, and his low finish calmly doubled his team’s advantage, also netting his fifth league goal this term.


The first chance of note really for Frenford came midway through the half as strong centre-back Lewis Bartrip powered a header off-target from a set-piece. But the concern was at the other end, as an effort from close range by forward Isaac Stevens was denied by Blackburn just befote the half-hour mark. Strikes from range by Charlie Munns & Billy Karby kept St Mags custodian Sidi Haidara alert, with Munns’ effort being spilled by the goalkeeper initially before he gathered the ball just before Frenford forward Nick Reynolds could pounce. Sam Cross also fired in a set-piece just before the break which Haidara gathered, but in the main it was the visitors who looked energetic & composed in attack.

Half-Time: Frenford  0 – 2  St Margaretsbury

St Mags skipper Collington (right) on the ball early on

After the break, St Mags set about their task with renewed vigour and added a vital third goal five minutes into the half. A good break down the right flank by creative midfielder Sami Moutawafiq, bypassing his marker ended with picking out Collington who again showed calm finishing by slotting the ball into the left corner, for his second goal of the day. Not long after that, Frenford boss Dave Forbes made changes from the bench, as Tim Dennis & Sam Munton replaced Jonathan Vandyck & Jack Sykes respectively. The hosts did gradually push on in attack, as the visitors were more content to defend their advantage.

Frenford full-back Jack Sykes (#3) breaks into penalty area in 2nd half

Midway through the half, quick winger Raheem Gray saw his strike for the hosts blocked, and very shortly afterwards, a good strike on goal forced an excellent save by Haidara to turn it beyond the post. For the post part, the hard-working central defence of Callum Berg and Jake Hayden-Eley made it tough for the hosts to find the likes of Reynolds & Munns and latterly Wisley Baltazar, who came on for the last ten minutes. The St Mags defence was well supported by the team as a whole who assisted them well, as they completed a fine win in NE London.

Full-Time: Frenford  0 – 3 St Margaretsbury

In summary, this was a good, enterprising game played in wintry, windy conditions. St Mags more than deserved the points and the combination of rapid counter-attacking play, good passing & calm finishing secured the points for Paul Holding & Adam Connolly’s team. Frenford found it hard to retain possession after conceding early doors, against a hard-working visiting side. Resilent defending by St Mags also negated the amount of forward moves by the hosts, although thry had to defend well in the last half hour to keep the conclusive score-line.

There were a lot of good performances from the St Mags side today. They were led by captain Kamarni Collington who scored two calm goals, put a number of good crosses into the box and generally put in a high-energy performance. Tricky midfielder Sami Moutawafiq also made a few good dribbling runs in midfield, providing a good assist as well. Tom Mulqueen had a good game, tracking the hosts’ midfield well and assisting in forward moves too. Lastly, full-back Sammy Bayon was tireless in providing a good outlet on the right flank, putting in good passes and tracking back well

For Frenford, skipper Lewis Bartrip led his defence well, clearing several dangerous balls into the box, as well as posing a threat from attacking set-pieces. Winger Raheem Gray made good intelligent breaks down the channels as well as neat passing at times. Lastly, midfielder Billy Karby & right-back Augustine Appiah put in solid displays, showing high work rate and giving their team an option in counter-attacks, particularly in the second-half on what was a frustrating day for them.

St Mags full-back Sammy Bayon about to clear the ball in 2nd half

Congrats to St Mags on their win & I’d like to wish both teams well for the season ahead.


Teams

Frenford  |  Manager: Dave Forbes |  Assistants: Lee Forbes, Ali Choroomi & Anthony Cook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Josh Blackburn (GK), 2 Augustine Appiah, 3 Jack Sykes (15 Sam Munton 59′), 5 Lewis Bartrip (Capt), 4 Tom Potter, 6 Sam Cross, 8 Billy Karby, 7 Johnathon Vandyck (12 Tim Dennis 59′), 10 Charlie Munns (16 Liam Newton 83′), 9 Nick Reynolds (14 Chris Reed 76′), 11 Raheem Gray (17 Wisley Baltazar 79′)

Subs Not Used: None | Booked: None


St Margaretsbury  | Manager: Paul Holding & Adam Connolly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Sidi Haidara (GK), 2 Sammy Bayon, 5 Callum Berg, 6 Jake Hayden-Eley, 3 Kai Daniel, 4 Sami Moutawafiq, 7 Tom Mulqueen (18 Charles Nicol 75′), 10 Jacob Waring, 11 Marko Protic (8 Gerson Artur 82′), 9 Isaac Stevens (12 Miles Holding 75′), 14 Kamarni Collington (Capt)

Goal-scorers: Marko Protic [12′], Kamarni Collington [19′ & 50′]

Subs Not Used: Ndukwu | Booked: Haidara, Bayon


Referee: Dumitru Vasile
Assistants: Jamie Wood & Liam Dawson

Advertisement

S22-23 Match Report: Benfleet 0 – 2 May & Baker (Sat 26 Nov) [EaSL South 22/23 26.11.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Park Lane, Canvey

Attendance: 25

2022-23 Season: Match 29

Saturday 26th November 2022 – 2pm KO

Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts & Socks

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


Reece Latimer about to clear for Bakers in 1st half

High-tempo Bakers get good win at Benfleet

Benfleet  0 – 2  May & Baker

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

This weekend saw a return to Park Lane for a big Eastern Senior League South match as May & Baker were the visitors for Benfleet at Canvey Island’s Park Lane. Both teams were looking to grab the win to sustain the their push for the play-offs. ‘Fleet were missing half a dozen players here including Taylor Lawrence, Billy Carter & goalkeeper Florent Gislette.

Oliver Johnson was the chosen custodian here for Alex Salmon’s side, behind a defence comprised of Flynn Monk, Billy Shulver with centre-backs Sonny Hartman & Cory Rider. The midfield included Billy Purdy, Mason Shave & skipper Aaron Russell. Ben Foord led the line, with support from Grant Frances & Deolindo Lima. Bakers’ were looking to move on from a surprise loss at home to Wivenhoe Town a week ago. Jack Riddell was between the posts for them, with their backline comprised of full-backs Kunle Adeyemi & Cain Brougham plus captain Jamie Marsh & Reece Latimer as centre-backs. Kalum Bama, Robert Bagnall & Anthony Cooke were in midfield, with a forward line led by Gabriel Odili with support from Luc Harpon and Idris Aminu.

The early-going in this match was fairly tight, with both sides keen to grab the impetus. The visitors forced a intervention in the first minute as forward Gabriel Odili’s cross needed ‘Fleet centre-back Cory Rider to clear the ball away in the middle of the six-yard area. Rider was involved again soon after in Benfleet’s best early chance. Billy Shulver’s corner was flicked on by Rider before captain Aaron Russell got the final touch but it was cleared on the line by the resilent visiting defence.


Bakers had a few half-chances themselves as they were starting to find their neat, rapid passing game, supporting from the flanks by the rapid Idris Aminu & Luc Harpon. Defender Reece Latimer had headed over at the far post while Luc Harpon also fizzed a strike off-target before the twenty-minute mark. Energetic midfielder Kalum Bama also had a fine strike well-parried away by ‘Fleet custodian Oliver Johnson.

Just when you thought the team-talks would be required to get both teams to raise their levels, it was May & Baker who took the lead a minute before the break. Another neat, fast passing move involving Bama and Odili ended with finding Rob Bagnall at the edge of the 18-yard box, before he found the corner with a well-taken, low finish.


Half-Time: Benfleet 0 – 1 May & Baker

The competitive nature of this match continued after the interval, as tireless forward Ben Foord got round the Bakers defence before getting his strike at goal, but was well-gathered by the alert Jack Riddell in the Bakers’ goal. That sight of goal encouraged Jordan Harris’ side to press forward with renewed vigour and they doubled their lead in some style on 56 minutes. May & Baker midfielder Kalum Bama’s fierce drive was too strong for Johnson to get across to deny him as it found the net.

At the other end, forward Grant Frances were making a couple of clever runs to test the May & Baker defensive high line, but Frances had strayed off-side before his shot found the net and so it was chalked off. The hosts were finding it tough to get past the visiting defence and test Riddell, though midfielder Billy Purdy did slide pastto have a glimmer at goal but he could only scuff his strike wide of the left-side post.

Ben Foord runs down left channel for Benfleet

Benfleet showed some resolve to ward off further forward moves towards the end of the game, with substitutes Abidemi Lamina & Remi Awosanya making good runs but in the end, two goals were enough for Bakers’here, who rise to sixth spot. Other results meant Benfleet dropped to fifth, only a point clear of May & Baker.

May & Baker full-back Kunle Adeyemi (#3) clears ahead of Flynn Monk’s challenge for Fleet

Full-Time: Benfleet 0 – 2 May & Baker

To sum up this hard-fought battle, Bakers showed again why they are tough to play against, mixing a high-tempo game with neat passing & a resolute defence. Benfleet couldn’t quite test opposition stopper Jack Riddell enough here, despite some promising forward play at times. The first goal was going to be crucial here, and Bakers pushed on after the interval to claim a deserved three points.

Both sides had stand-out performers here. For victors May & Baker, midfuekder Kalum Bana put in an all-action performance, putting in a high-energy stint going from box-to-box well, defending well as well as sprinting forward, making neat passes and took his goal very well indeed. Jamie Marsh was also a commanding presence at centre-back, powering away clearances well. Full-back Kunle Adeyemi also made several good darting runs down the left as well as being a strong presence defensively, making several telling interceptions. Lastly, a mention for Robert Bagnall who inter-changed passes well with Bama & Cooke in a fluid central midfield, throughout the game & also took his goal with aplomb.

For Benfleet, Ben Foord once again put in a characteristic hard-working shift running down the channels & put in several good passes as well. Fellow forward Grant Frances also posed problems at times and had a goal chalked off for off-side, as well as making intelligent runs against a tough Bakers’ backline. Deolindo Lima also had a good game, pushing down the rught side and also tracked back well defensively, plus a word too for stalwart Sonny Hartman, who certainly aided his defence against the high number of good balls into the box and made good tackles at times.

Kudos to May & Baker on their win & I’d like to wish both teams well for the rest of the season.


Teams

Benfleet  |  Manager: Alex Salmon |  Assistants: Michael Cundy & Ray Coker

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Oliver Johnson (GK), 2 Flynn Monk (12 Henry Sims 58′), 3 Billy Shulver, 5 Cory Rider (14 Cameron Harris 58′), 6 Sonny Hartman, 4 Billy Purdy, 7 Mason Shave (15 Jack Frost 58′), 8 Deolindo Lima, 10 Aaron Russell (Capt), 9 Grant Frances (17Jake Frost 75′), 11 Ben Foord

Subs Not Used: None | Booked: Monk & Purdy


May & Baker | Manager: Jordan Harris | Assistants: Scott Harding & Rob Leech

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Riddell (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Kunle Adeyemi, 5 Jamie Marsh (Capt), 6 Reece Latimer, 4 Kalum Bama (14 George Breen 79′), 10 Anthony Cooke, 8 Robert Bagnall, 7 Luc Harpon (17 Billy Gannon 90’+2), 9 Gabriel Odili (16 Remi Awosanya 84′), 11 Idris Aminu (12 Abidemi Lamina 73′)

Goal-scorers: Robert Bagnall [44′], Kalum Bama [56′]

Subs Not Used: T Harding | Booked: None


Referee: Rhys Collins
Assistants: Paul Falvey & Richard Longden

S22-23 Round-ups: Eastern Senior League South (Sat 8 Oct) [EaSL Sth 22-23 9.10.22]

Archive Image – Benfleet v Newbury Forest in FA Vase

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello & welcome to the latest of my occasional series, looking at the Eastern Senior League South League action, rounding-up the seven matches on Saturday 8 October, which saw three teams get important away wins.

EaSL South –  Saturday 8 October

We start with a fine win for May & Baker as they won 3 – 0 at Stanway Pegasus. Kalum Bama, Abidemi Lamina & substitute Daniel Barth’s late goal secured an impressive win for Jordan Harris’ side at Stanway Sch 3G, which takes them level on points with Rosi Webb’s side. Benfleet remain in fourth after a 2 – 0 triumph at Coggeshall Utd, with Grant Frances and Taylor Lawrence the goal-getters there for Alex Salmon’s side.

Frenford also are in a good position in fifth after a superb 3 – 2 success at Basildon Town. Nick Reynolds scored twice (one from the penalty spot) for Dave Forbes’ side, with Tom Potter getting the opening strike. Rhys Fatt & Keanu Hill both netted for player-boss Marcus Bowers’ side but they drop into mid-table. Park View are in sixth after a surprise 2 – 1 victory over leaders Burnham Ramblers, with Emerson Dju & Kyron Mitchell the heroes for the hosts at New River Sports Centre. Ben Wood’s header ensured a late reply for Ramblers but their lead remains at two points because of other results.

Elsewhere, Enfield Borough got a big 5 – 1 success over Cannons Wood at Maurice Rebak Stadium. The ensemble cast of scorers were Walid Hirsi, Grisiano Kadriu, Malachi Soile, Georgi Steed & Rinidie Lokilo-Imponge as they rose to seventh spot in the table. Wood remain winless & four points adrift at the bottom. St Margaretsbury wre held 1 – 1 by Barkingside at the Recreation Ground. Ethan Daniels with the goal for Paul Holding & Marce Collington’s team. The other game saw a 3 – 3 draw between hosts Wormley Rovers and Newbury Forest. Josh Smith netted twice for Leo Connolly’s team, with Ansa Edem also on target for the visitors there.

That’s all for this edition, thanks for reading.

S22-23 Match Report: Benfleet 3 – 1 Newbury Forest (Sun 25 Sept) [FAV 2RQ 25.9.22]

The FA Vase

The Isuzu FA Vase – Second Round Qualifying

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 62

2022-23 Season: Match 17

Sunday 25th September 2022 – 3pm KO

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

Newbury: Navy Blue Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Benfleet sprint down the left channel in first half

Good all-round Benfleet display sees them through to First Round

Benfleet  3 – 1  Newbury Forest

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

The FA Vase Second Round Qualifying weekend was extended with a ‘bonus’ match at Park Lane as Benfleet hosted Newbury Forest in this battle of the Eastern Senior League South sides. Benfleet had regular stopper Florent Gislette between the posts, a defence comprised of centre-backs Jack Frost and skipper Cory Rider, with full-backs Martyn Lacey and Billy Carter. Taylor Lawrence and Henry Sims were in central midfield, while the forward line had Deolindo Lima and Ben Foord up too, with Mason Shave and Billy Purdy the chief support to them. Newbury Forest won on spot-kicks at Step 5 side Whitton Utd in the previous round but their league form hasn’t quite got going as yet. Long-time boss Leo Connolly had Harrison Cole as their goalkeeper, with a defence of full-backs Tony Shaw and Matt Connolly , with Ansa Edem & captain Jack Hurley in central defence. Mustafa Kahie and Mohamed Hussein were the centre midfield pair, with Anis Assoweh the creative midfielder supporting forwards Chaka Barnett, Freddie Bose and Ali Abdulkadir.

This match got going at lightning speed as Alex Salmon’s side made the most of a strong start. Barely two minutes into the game, the ball was played into the path of forward Deolindo Lima and he made no mistake tucking away a low finish past the helpless Newbury stopper Harrison Cole to opn the scoring. Newbury’s stuttering start was further exacerbated just four minutes later as tireless forward Ben Foord was brought down in the area, and referee Ka Ho Wong immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Taylor Lawrence stepped up to take the spot-kick and smashed it into the right corner, giving the unfortunate Cole another oppurtunity to pick the ball out of his net. Cole did keep his side in it arguably, as he denied Foord moments later when the striker was in one-on-one.

After that difficult start for Leo Connolly’s side, they gradually got their way into the game, lkept the ball better and with the likes of Freddie Bose, Mohamed Hussein and Chaka Barnett in the side, they soon pushed on to threaten the Benfleet goal as they did somewhat retreat, giving Forest more ball time. Newbury did take full advantage of that change in attitude as they halved the deficit on 16 minutes. From a set-piece, the ball was passed into full-back Matt Connolly’s feet and he let fly a stunning 30-yarder which surprised the home backline and the crowd as it flew into the net.

Deolindo Lima (far left) keeps ball in play early on for ‘Fleet

In some ways, Benfleet had to re-assert their game all over again as the visitors unsurprisingly had more motivation now to get back into the tie. Chances were less frequent for either side, but it’s fair to say Benfleet’s best chance came ten minutes before the break as a searching cross from the right by full-back Billy Carter found Foord at the far post and whilst his header had enough power, it didn’t quite have the accuravy as it fizzed wide of Cole’s near-side post.


Half-Time: Benfleet 2 – 1 Newbury Forest

The atmosphere was getting a little tense early oin the second half as Newbury continued to have a decent amount of possession. Benfleet did get a third goal at a crucial time, on 51 minutes. A free-kick was awarded in a promising position, but Lawrence still curled in a superb flighted effort which sailed high into the net, giving Cole little chance. That was Lawrence’s secoond goal and added to a good performance as well.

To be fair to Forest though, they didn’t really flinch at the scale of the task ahead of them, and Barnett continued to make several enterprising runs down the left channel, testing the calibre of Benfleet right-back Carter. Although they showed some promise on the ball, centre forward Ali Abdulkadir only had a couple of glimpses at goal which didn’t test Gislette unduly.


That being said, as we got into the latter stages, Forest did have a couple of half-chances, with Chaka Barnett firing over after another good darting run down the left flank, and replacement Josh Smith’s low effort had to be cleared off the goal-line. The ‘Fleet responded as Lima made another good surging run, before finding winger Mason Shave in a good position, and Shave’s strike was well-held by Cole.

There was concern at the end for Newbury as skipper Jack Hurley had to be assisted off the pitch with what looked like a bad knee injury, so I’d like to wish him well in his recovery. After a few moments of added time, the referee blew for full-time and Benfleet will be happy with their day’s work and of course, another £725 in prize money won.

Newbury full-back Tony Shaw [#2] in possession after the interval

Full-Time: Benfleet 3 – 1 Newbury Forest

In summary, Benfleet’s start to the game was crucial and while they backed off a bit after getting their two-goal lead, Newbury could not quite test home stopper Florent Gislette enough to get back into the game. Lawrence’s superb set-piece ultimately made the game safe for Akex Salmon’s side, despite Newbury’s decent approach play which certainly kept the home defence alert.

There were some really good performances in this match. For winners Benfleet, forward Deolindo Lima really put in a hard-working performance and gave the visiting defence a difficult afternoon. Lima also took his goal well early on. Midfielder Taylor Lawrence put in a good all-round shift, making good runs and passes, plus that free-kick was important at the time it came in the game. Ben Foord also did well in attack, running down the channels as well and with two in the forward line, it meant he could drop deep to set off moves, while full-back Martyn Lacey also had a good game down the left side, stretching the visiting defence more and providing good passes too.

For Newbury, winger Chaka Barnett made several good runs down the left side utilising his pace and dribbling abilities, and gave the Benfleet defence some nervous moments, and tested Gislette on a couple of occasions. Forward Ali Abdulkadir was a good presence and had glimpses of goal at times. Mohamed Hussein put in a good display in central midfield, showing good awareness and energy levels while number ten Freddie Bose also covered a lot of ground in defence and attack to assist his team, and also made some neat passes.


Teams

Benfleet  | Manager: Alex Salmon | Assistants: Dave Saxton & Ray Coker

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Martyn Lacey, 5 Jack Frost, 6 Cory Rider (Capt), 4 Taylor Lawrence, 8 Henry Sims, (15 Billy Shulver 69′), 7 Mason Shave, 10 Billy Purdy (16 Aaron Russell 58′), 9 Deolindo Lima, 11 Ben Foord (17 Jake Frost 83′)

Goal-scorers:  Deolindo Lima [2′] , Taylor Lawrence [pen 6′ & 51′]

Booked: Purdy, Lima | Subs Not Used: Scott, Monk


Newbury Forest  |  Manager: Leo Connolly |  Assistant: Bostry Bansende

Starting XI (Subs): 13 Harrison Cole (GK), 2 Tony Shaw, 3 Matt Connolly, 5 Jack Hurley (Capt), 6 Ansa Edem, 4 Mustafa Kahie (12 Josh Smith 46′), 8 Mohamed Hussein, 7 Anis Assoweh, 10 Freddie Bose (18 Joshua Kanu 65′), 9 Ali Abdulkadir, 11 Chaka Barnett

Goal-scorer: Matt Connolly [16′]

Booked: Shaw, Abdulkadir |  Subs Not Used: Gates, Anderson


Referee: Ka Ho Wong
Assistants: Daniel Mann & Joe Lannon

S22-23 Match Report: Barkingside 1 – 1 May & Baker  (Wed 31 Aug) [EaSL South 22/23 1.9.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Cricklefield

Attendance: 100

2022-23 Season: Match 11

Wednesday 31st August 2022 – 7.45pm KO

B’side: Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Black Socks

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


Late leveller sees Bakers to a point at Barkingside

Barkingside 1  –  1 May & Baker

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

The midweek Non-League matches resumed at the end of August, as Barkingside hosted their second Wednesday home match of the season as they welcomed May & Baker in another Eastern Senior League South tie. The hosts are still under the management of Steve LeSage, and he named Hayden West in goal, with a defence of Jordan Cornelius, Elliot Scott and Josh George. Archie Hammond skippered the side, with the forward line being led by James Ross, supported by Michael James-Akerele & Codey Cosgrave. May & Baker returned to league action after a tough battle with Stotfold in the FA Vase just three days before. Seb Barford was their goalkeeper, with a defence of Cain Brougham, Kunle Adeyemi and centre-backs Toulouwa Dada and captain Jamie Marsh. Remi Awosanya led the forward line, with Jayden Silcott-Brown & Idris Aminu on the flanks.

It was ‘Side who began the match with a flourish and stated their intent in the first minute as skipper Archie Hammond’ strike from a freekick was only narrowly over the crossbar. Visuting custodian Seb Barford was the busier stopper as Bakers just about managed to deal with the impetus and pace from Steven LeSage’s side. There was definitely some pushback from a big penalty decision on 14 minutes as the hosts were awarded a spot-kick. Midfielder Harrison Burke’s penalty was initally saved well by Barford but Burke got onto the rebound to slot home at the second attempt, as the visiting defence were unable to prevent it, much to the ire of Barford.



To be fair to ‘Side, they were having the better of the first half which was tight and more than a little scrappy. Chances were not plentiful either and Bakers were probably grateful to get to the interval with a slim disadvantage, given how little they tested home stopper Hayden West.

Bakers look to set up another forward move

Half-Time: Barkingside 1 – 0 May & Baker

Into the second half now, which did liven up somewhat. Bakers were starting to get themselves going towards the hour mark, with Jamie Marsh firing an effort off-target from the edge of the penalty area. On 62 minutes, Barkingside responded as Demi Elegushi’s strike was denied by a decent save from Barford. As we went into the last 25 minutes, Barkingside were defending deeper and deeper in their own half as Bakers maintained the pressure with some decent passing.

With 77 minutes on the clock, Bakers substitute Trevor Harding fizzed a strike narrowly over the goal frame, and Idris Aminu being denied twice in four minutes by ‘Side stopper Hayden West. Moments after fellow substitute Shaun Omogbai’s low effort dribbled agonizingly wide, Bakers finally did make their pressure tell.


Bakers substitute Daniel Barth took full advantage of his marker being unable to clear by firing home a fine strike from inside the area, giving West little chance to deny him as the ball flew high into the net.

Full-Time: Barkingside  1 – 1   May & Baker

To sum up this match, it had glimmers of good play but it didn’t quite find the spark of consistent creativity that said glimmers had perhaps promised, particularly in the first half when the hosts were at their strongest. Bakers definitely had the better of the last 25 minutes though and although they left it late to earn a point, it isn’t a bad result. I suspect boss Jordan Harris will know though that they will need to play better to rack up the wins required in order to reach their target for this term.

There were some good performances from both sides here. For hosts Barkingside, midfielder Harrison Burke looked lively and made some good runs down the middle, as well as some neat passes and got his goal after seeing his spot-kick saved by Barford. Forward James Ross was a good presence too in their forward line, making a welcome return to Football at start of this term.  Also, a mention for Codey Cosgrave as well who contributed to his team’s all-round performance, particularly in the first half.

For May & Baker, winger Jayden Silcott-Brown had a good game, testing the Barkingside left side with his quick runs and decent passing. Idris Aminu also had a good game, particularly in the second period when Bakers’ were posing problems and had a couple of decent chances to score himself. Finally, determined centre-back Jamie Marsh was typically resolute defensively as their team gave less oppurtunities away for their opponents to hurt them after the interval.

This may have been a bit of a scrappy game but the food went down well with quite a few of the spectators, which helps when it gets a bit chilly as it did here. I’d like to wish both teams well for the season ahead.


Teams

Barkingside  | Manager: Steven LeSage | Assistant: Tommy Shelts

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Hayden West (GK), 2 Jordan Cornelius, 3 Josh George, 6 Elliot Scott (12 Josh Peach 68′), 5 Shaquel Foyewa (16 Jon Vanvdyck 63′), 4 Harrison Burke, 7 Codey Cosgrave, 8 Demi Elegushi, 9 James Ross, 10 Archie Hammond (Capt) (15 Joe Oates 74′), 11 Michael James-Akerele (14 Dan Jones 59′)

Goal-scorer: Harrison Burke [14′]

Subs Not Used: Gayer | Booked: James-Akerele, George, Foyewa, Elegushi


May & Baker  | Manager: Jordan Harris | Assistant: Scott Harding

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Seb Barford (GK), 2 Cain Brougham (16 Ryan Leavens 74′), 3 Kunle Adeyemi, 5 Jamie Marsh (Capt), 6 Toulouwa Dada, 4 Kalum Bama (17 Trevor Harding 70′), 7 Jayden Silcott- Brown (15 Shaun Omogbai 67′), 8 Robert Bagnell, 9 Remi Awosanya (18 Daniel Barth 67′), 10 Anthony Cooke, 11 Idris Aminu

Goal-scorer: Daniel Barth [87′]

Sub Not Used: Breen


Referee: Jordan Dixon-Walker

Assistants: Grant Moody & Abu Taher

S22-23 Match Report: Benfleet 1 – 2 St Margaretsbury (Sat 20 Aug) [EaSL South 22/23 20.8.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 50 (Est)

2022-23 Season: Match 7

Saturday 20th August 2022 – 3pm KO

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

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

The ball is passed through to Stone [#3] for Benfleet [Image by Scott W]

Resilent St Margaretsbury grab 99th minute winner to deny Benfleet at Park Lane

Benfleet  1 – 2  St Margaretsbury

Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Photos by James Waple & Scott W

This weekend saw the first visit to Park Lane this term to see Benfleet take on visitors St Margaretsbury, who were bottom of the early standings and obviously keen to push on. Benfleet were looking to find the form which saw them win at Wivenhoe Town last week, rather than the form that saw them lose 1 – 2 to Burnham Ramblers in midweek. The hosts are now managed by Alex Salmon and he named stalwart Florent Gislette in goal, with a backline of Deolindo Lima, Frankie Stone, Martyn Lacey and skipper Cory Rider. Mason Shave and Lee Scott were the chief support to forward Ben Foord, with Henry Sims and Billy Carter among the midfield. St Margaretsbury had Sidi Haidara between the sticks, with a defence of Harry Gilzean, captain Emmanuel Ndukwu, Ethan Daniels and Alffie Campbell. Their front line was led by Gerson Artur and Kamarni Collington, with support from Miles Holding and Kai Daniel.

Shave [#11] attempts to break past St Mags defence [Image by James Waple]

This match was delayed by 13 minutes because of the match officials being delayed but when we did get underway, both sides had openings to grab that important early goal. For the visitors, both Miles Holding and Kamarni Collington had half-changes but they could not defeat Benfleet custodian Florent Gislette. The hosts had more ball time in the early stages, with their chance eminating from a fine centre by full-back Frankie Stone, which found forward Ben Foord and his flick was well clawed away by St Mags stopper Sidi Haidara.

Stone (far left) crosses in to find the forwards [Image by Scott W]

Benfleet were showing good effort levels but they could not quite craft their favoured passing game, and they had those earlier warnings which was underlined when St Margaretsbury broke the deadlock on 23 minutes. In a congested penalty area, St Mags managed to find Gerson Artur and without hesitation, his well-taken strike beat Gislette on its way to the right corner of the net. Clear-cut chances were not easy to come by but Collington still sent a set-piece narrowly over the woodwork and Mason Shave had a glimpse at goal before his effort was gathered by the visiting goalkeeper Haidara.

Collington [#14] uses his pace to run down the channels for St Mags [Image by James Waple]

St Mags went into the interval with that slender advantage, though they were showing increasing confidence in their defensive abilities, while the ‘Fleet needed to raise their game a notch or two.

Half-Time: Benfleet 0 – 1 St Margaretsbury

Into the second half then and St Mags were continuing to frustrate the home side, though their resolve was commendable given recent results. There was a nervy moment for St Mags, four minutes in as a short pass back to the ‘keeper by defender Alfie Campbell was seized on by Shave, but Haidara denied him again with his feet. Benfleet continued to press for that important leveller, but St Margaretsbury were holding firm.

St Mags close down Lacey [#4] in first half [Image by James Waple]

As we entered the latter stages of this match, the the tension went up a gear as St Mags nearly made the points safe as Campbell’s crisp strike was well parried away by Gislette. Alex Salmon’s side responded immediately at the other end with a fierce strike by Foord being well saved by the impressive Haidara.

We went into added-on time with St Mags still just the one goal ahead but there was two big monents yet to come. First, with six minutes played in added time, Benfleet struck as a set-piece ended up with Deolindo Lima heading on for Foord to get something on the ball to force it over the line, with the diving defender unable to clear the ball off the goalline. Then there was another twist in the tale, as St Mags launched the ball up field on the counter, and Gerson Artur again found himself in on goal and fired home into the left corner to seal the game with pretty much the last kick of the game.

The Goalkeeper’s perspective… for St Mags ‘keeper Haidara in second half [Image by James Waple]

Full-Time: Benfleet 1 – 2 St Margaretsbury

To sum up at times a gritty and scrappy battle, there were a number of occasions where Benfleet threatened to get back in the game though credit has to go to a well-organised St Margaretsbury side, who made it hard to get through their backline. Their young side has seen a lot of change since last term, but joint-managers Paul Holding & Marce Collington will be happy with the resolve shown by their team here. As for the hosts, they couldn’t create enough on a consistent basis and when Foord scored in added-time, they may well have thought they had grabbed a point but the ‘footballing gods’ were not smiling on them today.

There were some good performances from both sides here. For victors St Mags, I felt forward Kamarni Collington really gave his team a good outlet going forward, stretching the home defence with his pace and dribbling. Full-back Harry Gilzean also impressed, showing good defensive awareness in making timely interceptions and playing a few good passes from the back. Forward Gerson Massala Artur took both his goals well wiith well-taken finishes, and a word for goalkeeper Sidi Haidara who made three good saves to keep his team in the game today.

For Benfleet, Frankie Stone had a good game at left-back, putting in several important crosses to keep the visiting defence alert. Forward Ben Foord showed his usual tireless running and took his goal well in a crowded penalty area. Mason Shave also made some decent runs but ultimately couldn’t get into faultless striking positions, while centre-back Martyn Lacey also showed good composure and positioning to deny the visitors more runs on goal.

Congrats to St Mags on their win & I’d like to wish both teams well for the season ahead.


Teams

Benfleet    |  Manager: Alex Salmon | Assistants: Dave Saxton, Michael Cundy & Ray Coker

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Deolindo Lima, 3 Frankie Stone, 4 Martyn Lacey (16 Billy Shulver 70′) 5 Cory Rider (Capt), 6 Taylor Lawrence, 7 Billy Carter (12 Flynn Monk 62′, replaced by 14 Jack Frost 90′), 8 Henry Sims, 9 Ben Foord, 10 Lee Scott (15 Billy Firman 62), 11 Mason Shave (17 Jake Frost 70′)

Goal-scorers: Ben Foord [90’+6]

Subs Not Used: None | Booked: None


St Margaretsbury  | Joint-Managers: Paul Holding & Marce Collington | Assistant: Dom Woods

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Sidi Haidara (GK), 2 Harry Gilzean, 3 Emmanuel Ndukwu (Capt) (15 Dylan Goldsmith 84′), 5 Ethan Daniels, 4 Alfie Campbell, 6Jason Brown (17 James Lawrance 90′), 7 Kai Daniel (12 Jack Standing 78′), 8 Isaac Evans, 9 Gerson Massala Artur, 14 Kamarni Collington, 11 Miles Holding

Goal-scorers: Gerson Massala Artur [23′ & 90’+9]

Subs Not Used: None | Booked: Campbell & Haidara


Referee: Kevin Harrington
Assistants: Martin Burroughs & Brian Chapman

S22-23 Round-ups: Eastern Senior League South (Sat 13 Aug) [EaSL Sth 22/23 14.8.22]

Archive Image – Frenford 3 – 3 May & Baker in early August [Image by Scott W]

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello & welcome to the first of an occasional blog series this term looking at the action in the Eastern Senior League South, starting with this weekend (Sat 13th August). This weekend’s action saw some good away wins and also one club marked the loss of a great man.


Eastern Senior League South – Saturday 13 August

We begin with a fine victory for Benfleet as they kept up their good form with a 4 – 1 victory at Wivenhoe Town. Ben Foord and Mason Shave put Alex Salmon’s side ahead before the interval, and Jake Frost added a third just past the hour before an OG added further gloss to the scoreline. John Thain got one back for the Dragons though they fell to defeat here. Frenford also got a win on the road, as they defeated Newbury Forest 3 – 2 at Oakside. Raheem Gray, Charlie Munns and Simon Peddie all scored for Dave Forbes’ side, who are only outside the play-off spots on goal difference.

There was a sombre atmosphere at Leslie Field on Saturday as Burnham Ramblers marked the loss of Chairman and long-standing club official Martin Leno with a two minutes’ silence pre-match. Enfield Borough were the visitors and a superb treble for substitute Andreas Aranganathan secured all three points for Boro in a 3 – 2 victory and resisted a spirited comeback from the hosts.

Elsewhere, May & Baker got another three points as a Daniel Whitehead goal just after the half-hour was enough to give Jordan Harris’ team a 1 – 0 win over St Margaretsbury at Parkside 3G. Bakers went level on points with early leaders Stanway Pegasus after this win. Tower Hamlets also got a narrow win in their first game back at Mile End Stadium, as Tobi Irefin’s strike was enough to beat Coggeshall Utd 1 – 0. Justin Gardner’s new team are up to 12th spot.

In other action, NW London were held 1 – 1 by visitors Hackney Wick at Brickfield Lane. Also, Wormley Rovers got a decent 2 – 0 triumph over Sporting Bengal Utd.

End

S22-23 Match Report: Frenford 3 – 3 May & Baker (Tues 2 Aug) [EaSL Sth 22/23 3.8.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South

Venue: Jack Carter Centre [3G]

Attendance: 119

2022-23 Season: Match 4

Tuesday 2nd August 2022 – 7.45pm KO

Frenford:  Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts &  Red Socks

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


Superb battle for the neutral ends with Frenford & Bakers sharing the points

Frenford 3 – 3 May & Baker

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

The new season began its midweek foray with a welcome visit to the Jack Carter Centre to see two sides that are highly-regarded in Frenford and May & Baker. The hosts were looking for their first win this term, whilst Bakers were looking to build on a good opening weekend win. Frenford fielded Jack Ryan in goal, with a back four of Alfie Karby, Tom Potter, captain Simon Peddie and Jack Sykes, with wingers Josh Fisayo and Raheem Gray the chief support to forwards James Peagram and Charlie Munns. Bakers had Seb Barford between the posts, with a defence of skipper Jamie Marsh , George Breen and Dauda Nimaga and the full-backs Cain Brougham and Ryan Leavens bombing forward at every oppurtunity. Forwards Shaun Omogbai and Anthony Cooke were supported by rapid wingers Abidemi Lamina and Idris Aminu.

This match did ‘get through the gears’ pretty fast with the visitors looking decent in possession, but it was Frenford who had the better of the early chances, with wingers Josh Fisayo and Raheem Gray both having strikes on Seb Barford’s goal. However, it was Jordan Harris’ tea who broke the deadlock on 11 minutes. From a set-piece from the far side, the threatening ball in found captain Jamie Marsh who powered home a fine header into the right corner, evading the grasp of home stopper Jack Ryan.


Impressive winger Abidemi Lamina had another strike blocked soon after as Bakers looked to push further ahead with the impetus they had created. The match was gathering pace and Dave Forbes’ side levelled on 22 minutes as a powerful strike by Harry Daly was denied by Barford, only to find forward James Peagram well-positioned to strike low into the net on the rebound. The home contingent were celebrating that equaliser but barely three minutes later, Bakers were back ahead. Idris Aminu’s fine weighted pass found fellow winger Lamina who strode through onto goal and his low strike got the better of Ryan to give Bakers the advantage for the second time.

The frenetic pace was still increasing as both defences were struggling to prevent chances. Frenford responded yet again on 34 minutes as a decent strike by energetic midfielder Sam Munton got past the gloves of Barford to make it tw-two. It didn’t stop there though, those of us ground-hoppers in attendance were really finding tricky to keep up but Frenford took the lead for the first time, two minutes after they levelled. Winger Raheem Gray stole in behind the visiting defence and his cool finish ensured that the hosts’ held a slender advantage at the interval.


Half-Time: Frenford 3 – 2 May & Baker

The interval was a chance to catch our breath and while the second half had less goals, it certainly did have plenty of action and big moments. Bakers made a double change of their forward line at the half-time, which saw Trevor Harding and Daniel Whitehead come on to replace Anthony Cooke and Shaun Omogbai. Both substitutes had early chances on goal in the second half and sure enough, they were level with 53 minutes on the clock.

Aminu was involved in the build-up, making another fine run down the right channel, and the ball found its way to Whitehead who connected well with his strike and it was well-saved by unfortunate Frenford stopper Ryan, though Robert Bagnall anticipated the rebound well and promptly tucked the ball into the net into the left corner, to level things up once again.

Ryan was in action throughout the half, making several important saves with his defence finding Bakers’ rapid forward moves tricky to contain. We nearly got a stand-out goal midway through the half as visiting captain Jamie Marsh showing some of the poise of a forward before firing narrowly wide of the target.


/

Frenford’s chances were comparatively rare in the second half but visiting custodian Seb Barford still had to be alert to deny Peagram’s initial effort, only for the rebound to find its way to Munton and without hesitation, his follow-up strike was well-blocked by a Bakers defender. Jordan Harris’ side responded with several set-pieces in the latter stages but Harding’s late strike was well-denied by Ryan’s legs.



Full-Time: Frenford 3 – 3 May & Baker

To sum up this enthralling, attack-minded match at both ends of the pitch, both sides contributed heavily to the game and whilst it can be debated that Bakers had more chances to win it, it would be a positive outlook to menton that both teams deserved something from this match, given their respective efforts. This division once again shown the entertaining factor it has, even if both defences may be disappointed.

There were some great performances from both teams. For Bakers, winger Abidemi Lamina was a consistent, pacey threat dpown the right flank, utilising his pace and trickery well. Lamina also took his goal well so plaudits to him. Also, skipper Jamie Marsh put in another good display at centre-back, being a resolute presence in the heart of the backline and also his powerful headed goal was important for his side’s impetus at that point. Winger Idris Aminu had a fine match too, creating several good half-chances for his team-mates and can be pleased with his performance. Finally, substitute Daniel Whitehead made a big impact after entering the match at half-time, having several efforts at goal and was well-thwarted by the Frenford defence and goalkeeper Jack Ryan.

For Frenford, goalkeeper Jack Ryan did have an excellent game, making at least five good saves to keep his team in the game at times. Ryan also deserved something from this match for his importance to the team, whilst centre-back Alfie Karby also made several important challenges as well. Forward James Peagram took his goal well to typify a good display, particularly in the first 45 minutes. Lastly, recent signing Sam Munton put in a good energetic display, also tracking back well to assist his team’s defence.

I’ll end this report by wishing both teams well for the rest of the season and also a big thanks to Frenford manager Dave Forbes for his warm welcome, on behalf on the club at this match. It is appreciated.

Bakers’ Lamina (#7) arrows in a fine long-throw late on

Teams

Frenford    |  Manager: Dave Forbes |  Assistants: Lee Forbes & Anthony Cook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Ryan (GK), 5 Tom Potter (15 Liam Newton 20′), 2 Alfie Karby, 4 Simon Peddie (Capt), 3 Jack Sykes, 6 Harry Daly (12 Charlie Fairhead 63′), 7 Josh Fisayo, 8 Sam Munton, 10 Charlie Munns, 9 James Peagram, 11 Raheem Gray (14 Callum Owen 65′)

Goal-scorers: James Peagram [22′], Sam Munton [34′], Raheem Gray [36′]

Booked: Gray, Owen | Subs Not Used: Pegg, Silva


May & Baker  | Manager: Jordan Harris | Assistant: Scott Harding

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Seb Barford (GK), 2 Cain Brougham, 3 Ryan Leavens, 5 Jamie Marsh (Capt), 6 George Breen, 4 Douda Nimaga (16 Kalum Bama 86′), 7 Abidemi Lamina, 8 Robert Bagnall, 9 Shaun Omogbai (14 Trevor Harding 46′), 10 Anthony Cooke (15 Daniel Whitehead 46′), 11Idris Aminu

Goal-scorers: Jamie Marsh [11′], Abidemi Lamina [25′], Robert Bagnall [53′]

Booked: Cooke, Nimaga | Subs Not Used: George, Riddell (GK)

Referee: Andrew Crossley
Assistants: Kevin Curran & Paul Watts

S21-22 Match Report: Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town  (Sat 30 Apr) [EaSL Sth 21-22 30.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South Play-Off Final

Venue: Roding Lane

Attendance: TBC

2021-22 Season: Match 78

Saturday 30th April 2022 – 3pm KO

Buckhurst: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

 Halstead: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks 


Halstead produce excellent display to overcome odds & book their place in Step Five

Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town

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

with additional photo by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks.

The last weekend of Senior football for the current season began with a welcome return to Roding Lane for this hotly-anticipated Eastern Senior League South Play-Off Final as Buckhurst Hill welcomed Halstead Town. Unsurprisingly, there was a substantial crowd in attendance for this game which had the ultimate prize for these two sides – Promotion to Step 5. Buckhurst defeated Wivenhoe narrowly last week, while Halstead won in extra-time against Benfleet to set this tie up.

The warmth of Summer was in evidence here, and we didn’t have a slow start to proceedings here either. After just three minutes, Halstead made the most of a corner and central midfielder Jack Schelvis stole half a yard of space before bundling home his effort into the net, which left home stopper Daniel Blockley stranded. The goal was understandably celebrated by the ‘Halstead Ultras’ – standing behind that goal. Buckhurst Hill responded with a forward press of their own, with the impressive Tyler Dolan getting past the visiting defence, only to be denied by Halstead’s commanding goalkeeper Jack Cherry, who came out and gathered.

The nerves were still present in the Buckhurst defence on 17 minutes, as Jordan Palmer’s effort was spilled by Hill stopper Daniel Blockley and went out for a set-piece. The half was moving on into the midway point with Buckhurst finding it difficult to carve out strong chances but they got a crucial leveller, as forward Suleyman Zuhdu’s strike came back off a Halstead defender before looping over Cherry and into the net. Just when you thought the Humbugs might have blinked, three minutes later they took the lead once again. Another fine pass in by winger Jordan Blackwell came to forward Calvin Poku in the penalty area and he quickly got his strike away and it found the left corner. It was a well-taken goal but it precipitated another response by the Stags front-line.

Buckhurst looking to push forward, Liam Foster on the ball here [Image by Scott W]

Two minutes before the interval, Zuhdu was unfortunate to not add to his goal tally as a fierce strike sailed into the crossbar and back off the underside of it without crossing the line. The Humbugs had one more half-chance before the break as Palmer headed narrowly wide of Blockley’s woodwork. Overall though, Halstead had (much like the week before in the Semi-Final) set their stall out to make it difficult through resolute & organised defence and they were 45 minutes away from a famous win.


Buckhurst defender Henry Day (left) looks for options [Image by Scott W]

Half-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2  Halstead Town


The second half began with Buckhurst Hill having the ball in the Halstead half for long periods. Dolan once again found his way into the penalty area after evading a visiting defender but Cherry once again stood tall and denied him. Zuhdu also headed wide soon afterward. On 54 minutes, a fine centre by full-back Liam Foster found Nathan Sollosi but Cherry was in action again to tip Sollosi’s shot wide. Full-back Keaton Moore also powered in a well-struck effort which missed the top corner by inches.

Despite Buckhurst creating the chances they had, they did not quite look entirely comfortable. Pressure could well have played a part in that, and they were growing frustrated with their profligacy in front of goal. Zuhdu was again denied by Cherry who did well to deny a powerful effort by the Buckhurst captain, but substitute Callum Ibe also blazed over when well-placed ten minutes after coming onto the field. The Humbugs did not have many forays forward as they were defending in numbers but Poku was still showing his quality in holding the ball up and making good runs on occasion.


Halstead defender Ryan Carter (2) jostles with the run of Suleyman Zuhdu (10) for Buckhurst

With Buckhurst taking a few more risks seeking that important equaliser, forward Adam Hampson fired well over after being found well on the counter-attack. On the whole though, you have to applaud the work rate and attitude of the Halstead side who did emerge with a famous victory, which means they are getting promoted to Step 5. It is a testament to the high standards Buckhurst have set this season that they are still tough opposition, even if they were not quite at their best. It will be intriguing to see how they start next season but they are a club who have come a long way since their Step 7 days.

Halstead remain resolute & organised in defence, Sonny Shilling (9) on the ball for Buckhurst

Full-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2   Halstead Town

In summary, Halstead had to produce a superb display in defence which was allied to clinical finishing to edge their way to a second momentous victory in as many weeks, which means they will compete in Step 5 after a gap of 17 years, most likely in the Essex Senior League come August. They are a side that will be a welcome addition and don’t be surprised if they surprise a few next season. You had to feel for Buckhurst who contributed heavily to the match, but conceding early was costly for them and they could not make the most of their chances which they created having had long spells of ball retention, and had some strong performances. This loss will hurt, but it should not detract from what is still a fabulous first campaign of Senior football for Mark Williams’ side.

There were several creditable performances in this match. For victors Halstead, winger Jordan Blackwell had another stand-out match on the right flank. I believe he got assists for both their goals, and he also made several important passes and showed good work rate. Defender Chris Harris also epitomised his teams’ resoluteness in defence, making several big interceptions and block tackles. Goalkeper Jack Cherry also showed once again how important a player he is to the side, making at least three fine saves when the Humbugs backline was breached. Finally, forward Calvin Poku showed guile and good finishing for his goal and despite not having much opportunity to test the Buckhurst goalkeeper, he took his goal very well to change the momentum of this match.    

For Buckhurst Hill, I thought Tyler Dolan had a really good game, showing his high energy, good passing and movement. He was unlucky in not scoring today. Full-back Keaton Moore also contributed to his team’s forward moves well & was inches away from scoring a fabulous goal. Centre-back Jonah Gregory also did well, showing good alertness and positioning. Lastly, talisman Suleyman Zuhdu has to get a mention as he was central to the hosts’ forward moves, showing good passing and work rate. Also, Halstead stopper Cherry did superbly to deny him on two occasions. Zuhdu will end the season as the League’s top goal-scorer on 37 goals.

Finally, I’d like to wish Halstead well in their campaign at Step 5 next season, they will be a tough side to beat – a testament to manager Mark McLean and his staff. Commiserations to Buckhurst Hill as well, they will emerge from this experience as a stronger club in time.


Here are your Play-Off Final winners – Halstead Town!! [Image by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks]

Teams

Buckhurst Hill  | Manager: Mark Williams  | Assistant: JP Kent

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster (14 Sam Sollosi 77’), 3 Keaton Moore, 5 Henry Day, 20 Jonah Gregory, 6 Jack Griggs (15 Jake Moss 40’), 7 Tyler Dolan, 8 Josh Banfield, 9 Sonny Shilling (21 Callum Ibe 60’), 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Nathan Sollosi

Goal-scorer: Suleyman Zuhdu [22’]

Booked: Griggs  | Subs Not Used: Nicholson


Halstead Town     | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: David Streetly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Chris Harris, 5 Nick Miller, 6 Jack Schelvis, 7 Jordan Blackwell, 8 Jordan Palmer, 9 Calvin Poku (14 Markus Dunn 90’+2), 10 Adam Hampson, 11 Kane Gilbert

Goal-scorers: Jack Schelvis [3′], Calvin Poku [25′]

Booked: Gilbert, Carter | Subs Not Used: Walker, Kendle (GK)


Referee: Dario Matthewson

Assistants: Michael Jarvis & Daren Bigg

Fourth Official: Ashley Tyne

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