Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & Happy New Year to the readers of this column. Welcome to the first edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up series in 2023. This week, we look at the action in all divisions from Saturday 7 January, plus the Cup ties this week.
EOFL Premier Division
Firstly in the top-tier, Hutton extended their seemingly unassailable lead at the top to 14 points after a 5 – 0 victory at Springfield. David Johnson netted twice here for Matt Singh’s side, with Jude Keeling, Tom Stephens and substitute Connor Hammond also netting here. The hosts remain second bottom, two points adrift of Toby. Sungate are in third on goal difference, despite being held to a goal-less draw by Bishop’s Stortford Swifts. Leigh Ramblers are up to fourth after a gritty 1 – 0 victory at home to Runwell Sports at Belfairs. Scott Clark again got a crucial goal for Mark Hunter’s team.
Meanwhile, Catholic Utd started the calendar year with a 4 – 1 triumph at home to Kelvedon Hatch at the Len Forge 3G. James Burt scored for Hatch, but a team effort turned the tide as Franklin Craik, Aaron Baldwin, Tom Kearney and replacement Harrison Day all scored to keep Simon Thomas’ side in sixth, but are only two points adrift of Sungate in third. Shenfield AFC also picked up a big home win, as they triumphed 4 – 0 over Galleywood at St Martin’s Sch 3G. Jack Maleary, Ben Absolon, Jack Panons & Ben Carroll all netted here to send them three points clear in ninth, with matches in hand over most of the teams around them. ‘Wood’s tough season continues, as they are five points adrift of exiting the bottom two. Finally, Old Southendian got back to winning ways in some style as they won 6 – 0 at home to Toby at Garon Park, which sent them up to fifth on goal difference in what is a very tight chasing pack.
EOFL Divisions One & Two
Division One only saw three matches this week because of the weather but Epping Town got a huge 6 – 1 victory over strugglers Wakering Sports. Scout Bown netted four goals here for Stuart Hoskins’ team, to take his season’s league goal tally to 16. Edirin Eghwrudje and Abdul Kamara also scored here to add to the visitors’ pain and reduce leaders Harold Wood Athletic’s lead at the summit to four points. Beacon Hill Rovers also got a cucial victory, defeating Herongate Athletic 3 – 2 at Wickham Bishops. Bertie Whymark took his goal tally to seven this term with a double here, with William Strutt also netting for the hosts. Manford Way also drew 1 – 1 with Old Chelmsfordians, with Daniel Demain coming off the bench to score for the hosts there, with the point gained seeing them up to seventh in the table.
Into Division Two, there were some big results for the top four sides. Leaders Shoebury Town are four points clear at the top after an important 3 – 0 victory over Hashtag Utd Development, who dropped to third. Mechack-Kisoka Asuka scored another two goals to take his league goal tally to 13 this term. Substitute Enoch Gyimah added the other goal for Garry Johnson & John Galley’s side here. Wakering Sports Res are up to second spot after a 5 – 0 win against AS Rawreth at Cupid’s. May & Baker‘s Olympian side had to battle hard before completing a 4 – 3 victory at Catholic Utd Res, in a match moved to Waterside Farm Centre on Canvey. Carl Patten struck twice for Josh Lowbridge & Antony McDonald’s side, with Darren Seymour and Alfie Horan also scoring for the visitors there, who stay sixth but are only four points behind Wakering Sports Res in second, which endorses how tight the top half of the table is.
Elsewhere, Hutton Res moved up to eighth following a big 3 – 2 win at Wakebury. Thomas Price, Billy Chilcott and Ronnie Richardson-Cook all netted here for the visitors. Finlay Dorrell & Ben Perry responded for Matt Cardy’s team here but they lost ground on the top two. The other result saw Old Southendian Res win 4 – 2 at Rayleigh Town Res.
EOFL Divisions Three, Four & Five
In Division Three, Basildon Town Res are eight points clear at the summit after a 2 – 1 victory over local rivals Pitsea Athletic Res. Jamie Bradbourn’s brace sealed the points for the hosts, overturning Ath’s goal by substitute Carlos Dias. Ath fell to their first defeat this term & dropped to fourth. Hullbridge Sports Res are up to second after a comprehensive 8 – 0 victory at strugglers Corinthians Res. Jay Knight, Harry Mole and substitute George Mole all got doubles here, with Joe Tuskin and Joseph Gray strikes adding further gloss to the score-line.
Leigh Town Res are now third after a 5 – 2 success at home to Springfield Res at John Burrows Rec. Chris Pope netted twice here for Town, with Jack Pearman, Steve Birnie and Joshua Dalton all on target to render Liam England & William Roe goals for Springfield as consolation goals. Chingford Athletic Res grabbed a 4 – 1 victory at Old Chelmsfordians Res, with the ensemble cast of Luke Dimond, Bilel Benyoucef, George Miller and replacement Conor Medhurst all scoring for Ath.
Moving into Division Four, and Leigh Ramblers Res gained ground on second-placed Collier Row with a 1 – 0 victory at Forest Row. Luis Bracci got the decisive goal there, to raise his side up to third in the table. In the only other game in the division, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res were held 1 – 1 by Ongar Town at Silver Leys. Matthew Allen scored for Swifts, with Benjamin Adams responding for Ongar. Swifts drop to fifth, while Ongar are in eighth.
Finally for the League action this week, In Division Five the leaders are Manford Way Res, who won 4 – 1 at AS Rawreth Res. Callum Thomas, Luke Bennett, Charlie Ewing & Rakim Janneh all netted to extend their lead at the top to five points. Justin Burrell got the solitary goal back for the Rawreth team, who are three points adrift at the bottom. Wakebury Res moved into second spot following a 3 – 1 triumph over Basildon Town A at Shoebury Park. Ross Barnes’ treble saw Joe Creak’s side to their seventh win this term. Jamie Miller got the reply for Bas, who are now in sixth.
Elsewhere, Runwell Sports Res are up to fourth after they won 1 – 0 at home to Sungate Res. Daniel Hobbs got the only goal there at St Luke’s Park. The other result saw Shoebury Town Res draw 1 – 1 with Collier Row A at the Ekco Sports Club (Pitch 2).
In the Cup action this weekend, Canning Town emerged with a 4 – 3 win on penalties in the Senior League Cup after drawing 1 – 1 with Division One side Harold Hill in the early kick-off at Noak Hill 3G.
In the one match in the Reserve League Cup, Herongate Athletic Res got a morale-boosting 2 – 1 victory over Harold Wood Athletic Res, thanks to goals from Kemston Allen and replacement Jasper Stuckey. Josh Portway got the reply for Harold Wood’s Ressie side there but they exited the Cup here.