Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand. This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 26 February. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.
Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]
With additional reporting by Scott W
Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 26 February
As the winter months of the season came to a close, it was a memorable afternoon under brighter skies for Cowley Community, who dramatically came from behind in their semi-final to defeat Brentwood Athletic Reserves once again, repeating their feats of exactly two years ago and reaching the final of this season’s Essex Junior Trophy. Elias Tackie and Inarhu Rodriguez Martin both struck to send their team into another county final which they hope, this time, will finally see them kick a ball. They now face former EAL side Haver Town Reserves at Heybridge Swifts on Friday 1st April. Many congratulations to all involved at Cowley on reaching this stage of the competition!
It was also a good afternoon’s work in the London Junior Cup competition as last year’s finalists, FC Petrocub, put themselves just one performance away from a return to that same stage, returning home from their epic trip south of the river with another win under their belts, defeating Old Plymouthians 2 – 0. They now head to Wimbledon-based Yorxeter in three weeks time for their semi-final clash.
Back on the domestic cup front, it was quarter final action facing two of our clubs as Division One’s Barkingside A were looking to repeat their efforts of the previous stage, facing another Senior Division opponent this time around in the form of Rapid Chingford. It was the higher placed side who walked away with a spot in the semis as Sorin Tudose struck twice, adding to efforts from Federico Ardei and Andrei Boga as Rapid won it 4 – 0.
SENIOR DIVISION CUP
The quarter final action extended down into the Senior Division Cup competition also where the first of the last eight ties saw FC Baresi make the trip to the Marshes to face Woodford East. And it was East who warmed up in positive fashion for their county cup semi final by winning this tie 3 – 0. Adam Tabbani, Frank Glock and Liam Adams were all on the scoresheet to send their team through.
DIVISION TWO CUP
There were two first round clashes in the Division Two Cup competition where struggling St Francis found themselves in a terrific position early in their tie against title challengers Fairlop Rovers. The Saints were 2 – 0 up thanks to goals from Lewis Goulbourne and Theo Jacobs-Aaron before a Rovers fightback saw them level and then go into the lead themselves, eventually winning the tie narrowly 3 – 2. They now host Unitey in the last eight shortly.
The goals were flying in over in the Rainham where Royal Forest were the visitors to face Rainham Working Mens Club. Cameron Shakes scored a hat-trick for the Workies with Tyrell Phillips, Charlie Perry and Odo Osei-Tutu goals wrapping up a 6 – 1 home win to send their side to Redbridge Community in the quarter finals.
There were some big results in the Senior Division action over the weekend too as the title race was opened right up following a terrific victory for Jolof Sports in their home game against DTFC in East Ham. The hosts were 2 – 1 winners on the day as Abib Diop and Joshua Kweifio-Okai goals cancelled out an Alex Paraskeva effort to give their side a ninth win of the campaign. Over in Chigwell, that result was equally as big for Chadwell Heath Spartans but only if they could convert their efforts into three points against a struggling Tower United side. In a tight affair, it was finally decided by a single goals as Tom Callagher’s effort earned Spartans a vitally important 1 – 0 win to see them move level on points at the top of the standings.
The highest scorers of the day in the division were Kit Out London who came from behind at half time against CSM London to earn themselves a 7 – 3 victory at Noak Hill. Goals from Prince Esanbor, Zakaria Ahmed and Kamran Khan had put CSM into a 3-2 lead at the break but a Kit Out hat-trick from Marlon Ortiz plus goals from Aourid Ismael, Marios Lazaris, Yasin Zougui and debutant Salim won it. Over at Leyton County Ground, Lymore Gardens remain third in the table as they came through their home clash against bottom of the table Chigwell Town in a 2 – 0 scoreline, picking up an eleventh league win in the process. Tyrique Peters and Dylan Roberts were the Gardens scorers, eventually prevailing against a Town side desperate for points in their bid to stay in the division.
Frenford A are now just a couple of wins away from confirming a promotion place in the Premier Division and took a big leap towards that following a hugely important 2 – 1 win on Saturday against local rivals Oakside at the Jack Carter. Wisley Baltazar found the back of the net for the leaders as they moved to eleven wins for the campaign.
One of the other big challengers for honours are Crookz United and their game on Saturday saw them visit London Cranes in East Ham, a game which turned into a five-goal thriller. Two Abdouaziz Jeng goals and an Anthony Folkes effort proved vital for United as they edged the contest 3 – 2 to keep themselves well in the mix. A key battle down at the bottom end of the table on Saturday saw London Park City in action at home against Athletic Newham Under 23s with the hosts knowing they need to expand their points tally to avoid the dreaded drop. But Athletic Newham won this key battle 3 – 2, thanks to a double from Bryan Henry and an additional goal from Rodney Botuli, moving themselves up a place to sixth in the process.
There were exhilarating contests in Division One this weekend where we start the round-up from the game between a struggling Francis Luke side and Kwanzas London Sport at the Marshes. The sides combined to produce a very rare fifteen goal thriller with Kwanzas ultimately edging the game 8 – 7. Francis Luke’s Jahvarn Steward, who incredibly scored all seven goals for his side, will wonder how he ended up on the losing side. The league leaders were involved in an epic battle of their own, part of a twelve-goal contest against fifth-placed Wanstead in their clash at May & Bakers. The sides went toe-to-toe in trading blows before Belfry eventually pulled away to win this classic contest 8 – 4. Solomon Ogunwomoju struck a hat-trick, Jamie Redington and Kieran James scoring twice, and Gabriel Ogunwomoju once to maintain their position as the highest ranked unbeaten side in the county.
A relatively quiet game in the scoring stakes saw Something From Nothing make the trip to Hainault at the weekend to face an in-form Ilford Reserves side, jostling for league points in the mid-table mix. SFN started the day four points adrift of their opponents but two Temi Alaka goals cancelled out an Adam Motara effort for the Foxes as they won 2 – 1 to move to within a single point. A similarly close game saw two of the sides battling it out to steer clear of relegation difficulties go head-to-head with ninth placed Renegades playing host to tenth placed Forest Green. Praise The Lord Masasu grabbed a goal for the hosts but Green were able to level it up at 1 – 1 to ensure the teams took a share of the spoils.
Emerson & Upminster Reserves have put themselves in with a big shout of promotion this season in Division Two after they took on and defeated fellow promotion chasing Old Esthameians on Saturday, winning the game 4-1 at Hall Lane. Reece Stringer scored twice with Ben Lamb and Jamie Fox goals completing an important win for the hosts. There was a big result for Ryan Under 23s who reversed their fortunes against Loughton Lions in the space of one week, bouncing back from last week’s defeat to see off the Lions in a 5 – 1 scoreline in Debden. That saw Ryan scoop a sixth league win of the season and move up a place to seventh in the standings, giving themselves a nice buffer on the teams below.
Bottom of the table Newbury East have certainly not given up on their chances of staying up but are running out of time to do so as they picked up another league point on Saturday with a 1 – 1 draw against Redbridge Community at Hainault Rec. Habeeb Gayle scored his side’s goal but Redbridge scored one of their own to ensure they moved up a place to ninth.
It’s all change once again at the top of Division Three after Old Barkabbeyans Reserves returned to the summit, for the time being at least, following a hard fought 5 – 3 win against Flyers Under 23s. Fabio Balde netted a hat-trick with Mitchell Day and Geovany Cruz goals taking the visitors over the line ahead of a big game next week against their closest rivals. Third placed Royal Forest Reserves will be hoping for a draw in that top of the table game next weekend to bring them back into the frame and they ensured they will be there or thereabouts with a bounceback win on Saturday, defeating ASA 1 – 0 at Fairlop Oak. Will Asenso scored that only goal of the game to net his team a crucial win in the promotion race.
One pitch further over at Fairlop Oak, there was a real game of two halves involving two mid-table outfits as Lymore Gardens Reserves raced into an early 3 – 0 lead against Glendale through goals from Ryan Sylvester, Omani Green and Warren Isoka. But the Dales stepped it up in the second period with Zack Clark’s long distance effort finding the top corner and Joshua Adeojo striking too but it proved not enough as Lymore won 3-2 to confirm an eighth league win. In the division’s final game, two further sides locked in mid-table saw Together United make the trip to Bancroft Rugby Club to take on Buckhurst Way, the sides starting just three points apart. But by full-time, Together had extended that lead to six points as they walked away with a 2 – 1 win on the day, despite a Tom Richardson goal for Way.
In day’s sole Division Four action came from Rainham where Newham & Havering Borough were in home action with a clash against Avondale Rangers, starting the day level on points in mid-table. Borough goals from Andrew Elie and Reece Victory were equalled by goals from Mark Hayden and James Whitbread in an eventual 2 – 2 draw, ending the day back where they had started, level on points once again.
Fixtures – Saturday 5th March (Season Run-in begins)
EAL Senior Division
Blue Marlin v FC Petrocub | Fairlop Oak Playing Fields
FC Baresi v DT FC | at Lakeside Sports Ground (2.30pm KO)
Lymore Gardens v CSM London | Leyton County Ground
EAL Premier Division
Crookz Utd v North East Lions | Peter May Centre, Walthamstow
Dagenham Utd v Athletic Newham U23 | Castle Green Leisure Centre, Dagenham
Oakside v London Cranes | Fairlop Oak
Wapping v London Park City | Victoria Park, E9
and in Essex Premier Cup Semi-Final: Clapton CFC v Woodford East | Wadham Lodge (2pm KO)