Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest Essex Olympian League column, tracking the action in all divisions & Cups from Saturday 4 March, as the top three all won in the top-tier, plus Sungate & Toby progressed in the Senior Cup.
In the two Senior Cup ties this weekend, Toby sealed their progress with a 5 – 1 victory at Bishop’s Stortford Swifts. Albert Perry netted twice for Mark Jones’ side, with Rhys Willson, Harry Barham & Tom Roser also on target as they made the last four. They are joined by Sungate, who needed a spot-kicks to get past second-tier side Old Chelmsfordians after a 1 – 1 daw at Lawford Lane. Bobby Port’s team won the ensuing penalties 7 – 6 to go through. In the Denny King Cup, Shoebury Town showed no lack of determination as they had two late goals from Jack Woodham to thank for a 2 – 1 victory over Beacon Hill Rovers at Ekco Sports Club. Rounding out the Cup section this week is three games in the Reserve Trophy. Harold Wood Athletic Res went through, winning 4 – 3 on penalties after a 2 – 2 draw against Toby Res at Nursery Sports Ground. Substitutes Josh Portway & Derek Hawtin for Ath forced the resulting shoot-out. They are joined in the next round by Old Chelmsfordians Res, who won 3 – 2 at Sungate Res and Runwell Sports Res, who edged past Canning Town Res 1 – 0 at St Luke’s Park.
EOFL Premier Division
There was one midweek match this week, as Catholic Utd again caught up on their fixtures, as they defeated Toby 3 – 0 at Southchurch Park, in a match I attended. Liam Oliver’s first-half treble was enough to seal the points for Simon Thomas’ side. For more on this game, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2023/03/02/s22-23-match-report-catholic-utd-3-0-toby-tues-28-feb-eofl/
Onto the weekend Premier action now, and Hutton got back to winning ways with a slender 1 – 0 success at Leigh Ramblers. Connor Hammond got another important goal to keep Matt Singh’s side top by seven points. The chasing pack both won though, as Catholic Utd backed up their earlier midweek win with a 2 – 0 triumph at Springfield. James Warder & Liam Oliver both scored to keep the Essex Bhoys in second place, a point clear of Rayleigh Town, who in turn defeated Kelvedon Hatch 3 – 1 at Thames Road. James Nottage netted for Hatch, but goals from Harry Talbot, Ben Baxter & Lewis Robson secured the win for Paul Higgins’ side.
Meanwhile, Old Southendian remain fifth after an impressive 3 – 0 win at Shenfield AFC. Mattias Tonking’s brace of spot-kicks was added to by Callum Ludlaim’s goal to seal another win for Altan Ali’s team. Runwell Sports sit sixth with several matches in hand after their 3 – 0 victory at strugglers Galleywood. Charlie Little, Gianni Frankis & Oliver Williamson all netted for Robert Hodgson’s team, in what could still be a memorable season for them.
EOFL Divisions One & Two
There were two games in Division One this week, both games involving the chasing pack. Epping Town grabbed a much-needed three points with a 2 – 1 win at home to ACD Utd. Billy Wren netted for Utd here but two goals for Chris Gormley saw Stuart Hoskins’ team remain third and with a four-point lead over Manford Way, who claimed the points thanks to a 3 – 0 success over Herongate Athletic. David Alele, Siddy Clarkson & Charlie Parish all scored here for Manford.
Moving into Division Two now, and we begin with an important win for Rayleigh Town Res, who got past Hutton Res 2 – 1 at London Road to head out of the bottom two. Goals from Byron Down and Adam Wright were enough to seal the win for Dave Barker’s team. Hashtag Utd Development also bagged the points after a 1 – 0 success over May & Baker at Barleylands. Matthew Gauci’s goal was enough to see Denis Simpson’s team back up into third but they are five points adrift of Wakering Sports Res, who demolished Old Southendian Res 8 – 2 at Cupid’s. Connor Fardyga again led the scorers for the hosts, with four goals here & he was assisted by Adem Beji’s double plus strikes from Alex Jenkins & Oliver Greene to see Sports reduce the arrears to leaders Shoebury to four points.
Lastly, Catholic Utd Res defeated AS Rawreth 3 – 0, in a rare Ressie game played at the Len Forge. Daniel Williams, Finlay Grant & replacement Matt Creevy all scored to give Eamonn Kearney’s side a win which takes them up to sixth.
EOFL Divisions Three, Four & Five
In Division Three, Leigh Town Res moved into second place after a 1 – 0 win over Chingford Athletic Res. Chris Pope got the decisive goal in this one. They are now three points clear of Pitsea Athletic after they lost 1 – 2 at Hullbridge Sports Res. Paul Morris & Nicholas Sherlock got the goals to see Hullbridge level on points with their opponents. Springfield Res won 3 – 1 at Buckhurst Hill U23, with Tristan Ofori-Sampong & substitutes Liam England & Jacob Brewer all on target to give them a third consecutive win & helps them up to sixth. Olaobajuwon Olagbaju got the reply for Buckhurst there.
In Division Four, promotion-chasing Leigh Ramblers Res had two late goals to thank for a superb 2 – 0 win at leaders Roydon. Substitutes Ethan Nunn & Taylor Stewart both scored to keep the gap to second spot at three points, with several more matches to play. Roydon’s title charge took a dent and their lead drops to three points. Herongate Athletic Res reside in second spot now after they powered past Leytonstone Utd 6 – 1 at Billericay Road. Ryan Creed had a debut to remember as he struck four goals here. Byron Brackett & Habeeb Apatira also netted to more than secure the points. Ongar Town also bagged a terrific win, 5 – 0 at Pitsea Athletic Res. Tommy Smith netted twice, with Mason White, Ethan Hook & replacement Adoreke Oke all adding to the scoresheet in a win which keeps them sixth. The last game in this division saw Shenfield AFC Res defeated Galleywood Res 3 – 1, to take them eight points clear in seventh spot.
In Division Five, Wakebury Res got a superb 5 – 3 victory over leaders Manford Way Res at Shoebury Park. Connor Lane netted four goals for Joe Creak’s side & an OG sealed the win. George Green netted two for Manford & Callum Thomas added another but their lead stays at two points, wiith a match in hand. Basildon Town A have all but secured at least fifth spot after they won 3 – 1 at Shoebury Town Res. Donnel Kujinga, Shawn Banks & replacement Luke Soley all scored here, to give the Bas’ third side lingering hope of a top-two spot as they have two matches in hand on their closest rivals.
The other result this weekend saw Collier Row Res convincingly win 9 – 1 at AS Rawreth Res, to keep themselves in fourth.