Season 2019-20 – Club In-Focus: Leigh Town [EOFL I-F 8.6.20]

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Leigh Town Squad [Image from Dave Adelman]
Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] with additional photos courtesy of Dave Adelman

Hello and welcome the to part four of my ‘In-Focus’ series of blogs which clubs themselves give their thoughts on the 2019-20 season and their favourite moments, matches and more. In this article, I caught up with Essex Olympian League Division Two side Leigh Town. I’m pleased to that manager Jack Pearman (JP), assistant boss Alex Kennedy (AK) and Chairman Dave Adelman (DA) all shed some light on how they felt the season went.

My thanks to Jack, Alex and Dave for their time (and to Dave for graciously sending the photos), you can find the side on Twitter: @LeighTown1st & @Leigh_townfc

 

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Leigh Town management look on [Image by Dave Adelman]
Going into the Essex Olympian League season at Division Two level after promotion from Division Three the previous season, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition? 

DA: If I am honest, there was a little bit of trepidation due to the fact that in reality we were promoted via the backdoor and we were introducing a new management team in Jack Pearman and Alex Kennedy, along with the knowledge that we would probably be without our leading goal scorer of the last three seasons due to injury for the whole campaign.

JP: To be honest, I was initially worried after struggling to get good numbers to most pre-season games. Although saying that, we still held our own and only lost one game during pre-season. Knowing the talent I had in the squad and the ability of our players I was always confident that we would be more then capable of competing.

AK: To be honest I was confident we would be up there or there abouts, quite a few teams came up from Division Three to Division Two, so we knew what they were all about. We had a strong squad going into pre-season and added a few decent signings which was all we needed.

 

What was the favourite match of the season and why?

JP: My favourite match was easily Epping away, which was our first game back after the Christmas period which we won 4 – 2. Epping had massively hyped it up all over social media and the feeling before the game was that their players were expecting to walk all over us, however thankfully we proved them wrong.

AK: There’s quite a few to pick from to be fair but for me it’s Epping Town away, they had built the game up massively in the week leading up to it on social media etc and I don’t think they quite expected us to turn up and roll them over like we did so yeah that was a good one.

DA: Not sure that Jack or Alex would agree with my choice but my memory goes back to the second game of the season when we travelled away to Beacon Hill Rovers with a heavily-depleted team (without nine regular squad members) and we came away with a 2 – 0 victory. After the game we found a lovely little pub in the Essex countryside and every player to a man celebrated a hard-fought victory. I had a feeling then that the season ahead was going to be a little different and with some luck successful.

 

What was your best performance away from John Burrows this season?

JP: Personally, this was May and Baker in our third game into the season. Having won the previous two games this was a huge test for us; however, we went into half-time with a 5 – 0 lead. The first-half performance was by far the best I have seen from my lads.  Although the opposition changed their tactics in the second period, they were unable to break us down, which gave us a lot of belief and made us a stronger unit. The performance was significant.

AK: Have to say Chingford Athletic away. Going into this one I think both sides were unbeaten and hadn’t dropped any points, and obviously them being a division above us we knew it would be difficult, but the boys were unbelievable that day and went into half time 2 – 0 up. Second half, we had a lot of defending to do but the lads were solid and Chingford just could not break us down.

DA: Unfortunately the best away performance of the season was one of the few games I was unable to attend, which resulted in Jack and the lads travelling away to a high-flying undefeated Chingford team who were proudly sitting at the top of Division One and deservedly winning 2 – 0. Easily the best away performance I witnessed was against a lively Epping Town early in the New Year where the boys won 4 – 2 in an extremely competitive encounter.

 

What was your best performance at John Burrows this season?

DA: A tough one… On reflection we beat four teams from leagues above in the various cup campaigns, however massive satisfaction was taken from our win against local rivals Corinthians in the quarter-final of the Essex Premier Cup in a game which turned out to be a fine advertisement for Div. 2. [I watched this match as well, it was a corker – Ed]

Running a close second was a league game against Laindon Orient, which wasn’t probably considered a great performance by the management team, but a vital one in which we won 1 – 0 having beat the same opposition the previous week in the cup 4 – 1 … a potential ‘banana skin’ overcome!

JP: I would say the best performance I have seen this season at JB was the 4 – 1 win against Laindon Orient. The reason for this was because at 1 – 0 down after only five minutes, however the lads reacted and decided to turn it around by showing tremendous tenacity, ability and strength and completely turning the whole game around which led us in the end deservedly winning 4 – 1. Over the years Laindon have been our biggest rivals, which made the result even sweeter.

AK: Hard to pick one game in particular to be honest but I’d say the Laindon Orient game in the cup, we went 1 – 0 down after about five minutes in but after that goal we just turned up and was too much for them. It finished 4 – 1 in the end but could have easily been a lot more. We were class.

 

On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?

JP: My most memorable moment was beating Chingford Athletic away 2 – 0 in the cup, with both sides going into the match unbeaten, we knew it would be a big challenge. Having gone 1 – 0 up early doors, Chingford I remember soon after hit the bar which could have been a game-changer. We importantly scored a second before half-time. The defensive performance on the day was unbelievable and the changing room antics after the game showed how much it meant to everyone.

DA: As a club we have always placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of a great social side stressing constantly that LTFC is more than just a football club. One Saturday afternoon stands out, which was referred to as “Ladies Day”. The lads had a big game against Harrold Wood from the EOFL Premier Division in the Cup, which we won 2 – 0. Prior to the game an invite went out to players’ partners and mums who proceeded to turn up in big numbers to support the lads ending up in very good, hearty social time at the clubhouse and were great company.

AK: When Dansie got smacked in the face with the ball and nearly scored off his hooter! No, I would say the Essex Premier Cup quarter final win against Corinthians was a memorable moment, both clubs also raised a lot of money that day for a local girl Lily Whyte who sadly passed away.  That was a nice touch from both clubs.

 

 

Were there any low points of the campaign for you? 

DA: Frankly on-the-pitch very few!  From day one, since the bulk of the players and management joined the club, they have been nothing less than a credit to themselves and to LTFC both on and off-the-pitch.

The low point undoubtably will be that the team have remained undefeated in every single competitive game during season 2019/20, resulting in them topping EOFL Div.2, reaching semi-final of the Essex Premier Cup, Quarter-final of EOFL Senior Cup and seemingly they are going to remain unrewarded, which is an extremely bitter pill to swallow, especially as the reason we all get involved at this level is to ideally gain some silverware and glory.

JP: For me personally the dropping of points away at Ryan…  I could give you every excuse in the book for this result but sometimes with a poor performance you tend to learn more about your side than when winning. The fact that we still managed to get a last-minute equaliser showed the character and the little bit of luck you need during the season.  Credit to Ryan they done everything they could to stop us playing!

AK: Probably the only game we dropped points which was away to Ryan FC, other than that we have not really had any low points to be honest, it has been a quality season.

 

Besides yourselves, which team do you believe played the best Football in your division this season?

JP: This one is a tough one to answer for me, but Wakering Sports seemed to push us extremely hard in both our games against them with their lads working their socks off and never giving up.

AK: Basing it on the games we have played this season I would say Old Southendian Reserves, we always have good matches against them. Corinthians are a decent little side as well.

DA: Stand-out opposition in my opinion, which was clearly reflected in their style of play was Epping Town, Laindon Orient and our local rivals Corinthians. Strangely given the overall strength of Division Two, the only points we dropped last season was against a highly-competitive Ryan, who finished bottom of the table.

 

How important is it that the EOFL matches are covered by amateur media, particularly with focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid?

DA: You cannot be anything other than impressed with the efforts made by the EOFL to keep everyone informed and motivated via the various media options available. Seeing or hearing your clubs name ‘up in lights’ gives everyone a fantastic buzz and this was highlighted when Simon Thorosian (Mr LTFC) was invited by BBC Essex Sport [Radio] to make the draw for the Semi-final of the Essex Premier Cup where to everyone’s amusement, all efforts from the broadcaster failed when they tried to stop him talking all things Leigh Town FC… keep up the great work Scott!

JP: Amateur media plays a massive part for us as a club in helping clubs at our level get noticed and recognised especially when advertising results and things going on within the club, which can only help create interest and improve our profile.

AK: Yeah I think you guys are doing a great job, it’s always nice to read reports on the game from a neutral point of view as well, keep doing what you’re doing – a lot of people appreciate it!

 

Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?

JP: Without giving to much away I can’t wait to get pre-season back up and running, a few new faces to help strengthen the side and push players for places is always healthy, along with new sponsors has to mean nice new kits!

LTFC is just getting started we are not just a football team were a family!

 

DA: The club during the break cannot be accused of ‘sitting on their backsides’. In whatever league our first team start next season they will I assume start with a healthy degree of confidence. Recent conversations with the management team suggest that all the squad from last season remains intact and they should be bolstered by hopefully three or four strong new signings. who will hopefully quickly buy into the unique team spirit that has been fostered by Jack and Alex, which in all my years involved in our great game has rarely been matched. The introduction of strong new sponsors looks likely and once the pandemic finishes, we will once again continue discussions with the various authorities about sourcing a dedicated LTFC facility.

AK: Yes, as Dave mentioned we haven’t just been sitting around, we’ve been planning a lot for next season for whenever that may be, but the whole squad is right up for it and we’ve got a good few signings coming on board as well so we’re ready to go again. Bring it on.

Season 2019-20 – Club In-Focus: Buckhurst Hill Reserves [EOFL 19/20 I-F 3.6.20]

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EOFL Crest

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the third blog in my ‘Club In-Focus’ series. In this piece, I’m pleaed to welcome Buckhurst Hill Reserves, who played in Essex Olympian League Division Three in 2019-20. Manager Jason Murray (JM) & player Rhys Davies (RD) represent the team, looking back on their season in their own words.

My thanks to Jason & Rhys for their time and thanks for reading. You can find the team on Twitter: @bhfcReserves

Going into the Essex Olympian League season at Division Three level after promotion from Div Four the previous season, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition?

JM: This season was my first campaign with this team, and we quickly overhauled the existing squad. We gambled on bringing in a group of young players who had never played men’s football before. In truth, I had no idea if they would cope, the plan was to try and adapt as we we went along.

What was the favourite match of the season and why?

JM:  There was some fantastic performances along the way but a favourite of mine has to be the 1 – 0 cup win against Aveley u23s. They came with a decent reputation and certainly didn’t disappoint, we had to be very good without the ball that day. I saw something new from this young group, the boys were disciplined whilst always carrying a real threat at the other end.

RD: I’d say the Essex Cup win over Aveley under 23s. They are a very good, young talented side and I think it really showed what we are capable of as a team.

What was your best performance away from Roding Lane this season?

JM: The best away performance would be the 3 – 2 win at Corinthians Reserves, we couldn’t have had a worse start. We only had 11 players through injury and working commitments, our Coach/Centre-Back Phillip Ferris had to stand in between the sticks Again. We also had one of our players who was giving two more a lift, stopped by the police on route! So we had 8 players with about 5 minutes before kick off. The lads were brilliant that day and stuck to the game plan, and we beat a very good side more convincingly than the 3 – 2 scoreline would suggest. I’d also like to mention the nice gesture from their manager who praised our lads in the changing room after the game.

RD:  I would say our first game of the season (at Hullbridge Sports ‘A’). We won 3 – 2 and I think we came from behind to win. It was good for me personally as I managed to grab two goals myself, one of them being the winner. There has been some good performances all season but I think that one will stick as it was our first competitive game as a team.

What was your best performance at Roding Lane this season?

JM:  I wouldn’t say it was our best performance but the 5-3 win against Leigh Town Reserves was well overdue. We felt we owed them one, after crashing out the cup via a goalkeeping error and a very dubious late winner. We were also well beat, in the league at their place to be fair,  our encounters tend to be a little more vocal than any of the other fixtures in the league.

RD: Will have to say Vs Aveley U23 again. It was just a solid and hard earned win.

On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?

JM: There has been lots of memorable moments from the matches we played and the performances the boys have put in. Still I can’t help but to laugh when I recall the Lakeside Goalkeeper sledging our coach Philip Ferris for his long coat the “Onesie” Comment was a real highlight for me.

RD: Scoring a 35-yard belter with my weaker foot. Lobbed the keeper into the top bins(top corner of the net). I’ll be honest – I didn’t aim for top bins though ha! (Modest! – Ed)

What was the low point of the campaign for you?

JM:  It would have to be our Cup exit’s away at Leigh Town Reserves and Wakering Sports reserves I really fancied us in both competitions to go a lot further.

RD: For me personally getting knocked out of the Essex cup after doing so well in that competition. Against a team we really should of beaten. One of those games where nothing went right for us.

Besides yourselves, which team do you believe played the best Football in your division this season?

JM: Toby were excellent against us in the first half but I’d have to say it was ACD United that played the most effective brand of football in the division. Our boys really looked their age against them and the 3 – 0 defeat in truth flattered us.

RD: I would probably say Collier Row or ACD. Both teams you can tell been playing together for a while. Both teams deserved to be at the top to be honest.

Which players (outside of your own club) stood out for you this season?

JM: Collier Row forward Ed Hart was first class in both games we played, he’s a real handful. The little fella at Toby, Marc Porter-Brown was also excellent against us and likes to play in those dangerous little pockets.

RD: Ed Hart (Eddie the Eagle) for Collier Row. Class player and I’m lucky enough to be playing with him on Sundays next season.

How important is it that the EOFL matches are covered by amateur media, particularly with focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid?

JM: I think the amateur media coverage Is a very important part of the grass roots game. It highlights all the good work that’s going on lower down the football pyramid. I look forward to the match reports and divisional round-ups and try to get a feel of how the other teams are playing.

RD:  I think it’s great giving coverage as there are some truly talented players at this level that really could play in higher divisions and get paid to do so… I believe it could help players with their careers and development.

In your opinion Jason, what is the most important thing about managing a Reserve side?

JM: The role of a reserve team, must be to ultimately support the First team, however as in our case our young squad is some way off at present. This season we were introducing 16 -17 year old’s into the men’s game therefore I see the role slightly differently. We are developing a team to compete at our level, with the long-term goal to create players that will push for a first-team place.

Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?

JM: This coming season I have added to the coaching team, bringing in some top coaches i have worked with over the last few years. I feel this is going to allow me to concentrate on the management side of things and help us be much better prepared for the next campaign. I also feel last season was a coming of age for most of the squad, and I am expecting even more from them this time around. We even have a few of them driving now!

End

If your club (at Essex Olympian, Essex Senior or Eastern Senior League South levels) would be interested in sharing your thoughts on your 2019/20 season then please DM me on Twitter by June 7th 2020. Thank you

Season 2019-20 – Club In-Focus: Old Southendian Reserves [EOFL 19/20 I-F 28.5.20]

Old Southendian FC
OS emblem (Image: OS/Twitter)

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the latest of my ‘Club In-Focus’ blog series, where we ask Clubs how they felt their 2019-20 season went. This time around, it’s the turn of EOFL Division Two side Old Southendian Reserves, who play on the 3G at Garon Park, which opened this season. I caught up with Manager Ben Manley (BM), his assistant (and brother) David Manley (DM) and last season’s captain Olly Tatton-Bennett (OTB), representing the players’ viewpoint.

My thanks to all for their time and thanks for reading. You can find the team on Twitter: @OSFCReserves

 

Going into the Essex Olympian League season at Division Two level after winning Division Three the previous season, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition? 

BM: To be honest a lot of teams came up with us from Division 3 which we had won the previous season so our aim was to secure a 3rd consecutive promotion.

DM: We’ve also played teams in leagues above us in cup games over the last couple of years and generally faired pretty well against them. We also have a lot of quality and depth in the squad so another promotion was always the goal.

What was the favourite match of the season and why? 

BM: I would probably say Corinthians away which you yourself attended Scott. I thought we played some great football that day coupled with a lot of grit and determination which is what our side is all about and we also scored some great goals. I also really enjoyed Barnston away. It was our first game in the Essex Premier Cup having won the Essex Junior Cup the previous season. We had several players out that day and I even had to start in goal! We came from behind a couple of times and were really up against it but ended up winning on penalties with some heroics from our goalkeeper George Dugdale after drawing 3 – 3 aet.

DM: I’d agree with the cup game Ben mentions as that was an epic battle of two teams going for it. I wasn’t at the Corinthians win but the home game against them where we scored an equaliser in the last minute was great and we actually had a chance in the last seconds to win the game which would have topped everything else!

What was your best performance away from Garon Park this season?

BM: Along with the game at Corinthians, probably Epping away although we did end up drawing. We were unfortunate to play them twice towards the beginning of the season when they were very strong. They had already turned us over at our place and had won all their games up until playing them away. We played them off the park that day, squandered a lot of chances and as always happens when you can’t put a team to bed, we conceded a last minute equaliser!

DM: Yep, this was by far the best football we played on a nice big pitch.

What was your best performance at Garon Park this season?

BM: I would have to say our home game against Beacon Hill Rovers. Up until that point, I think they’d only lost once and we really needed to win to keep us fighting at the top end of the table. It was a real battle but we fight hard and scored some fantastic goals including a worldy from top scorer Molsy (Greg Molford), a free kick from Tatts (Oliver Tatton-Bennett) and 18 year old Lewis Telling scoring with his first touch for the club!

 

On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?

DM: I actually think one of the great memories personally was when the final whistle went in our first game of the season against Wakering Sports. We’d put a lot of effort into our pre season and knew it was so important to get off to a good start.  It was a really tough game but getting that first win as new managers was a great feeling!

OTB: Personally a moment that sticks out for me is actually Andy Cable hammering home right near the end of the game to bring us back to 3-3 against May & Baker Reserves. It was raining heavily at Garons and I think we had been behind three times in the game before pulling it back again to level up. Typical gritty performance but really showed our commitment!

 

Were there any low points of the campaign for you? 

BM: Losing at home to Epping 5-1 was a horrible day for me. I think we got our tactics wrong that day and didn’t really turn up but I learned a hell of a lot from that defeat and I think it really helped me improve for the rest of the season. Tatts breaking his collarbone was also a particular low point for me as he’d been having such a fantastic season, grabbing games by the scruff of the neck and I know the rest of the team really fed off him throughout.

DM: Agree with the Epping result…I was away at the time but hearing we’d lost did put a huge downer on the weekend!

OTB: Definitely breaking my collarbone!

Besides yourselves, which team do you believe played the best Football in your division this season?

BM: I think our division was extremely strong and a lot of teams wouldn’t be out of place in the Essex Olympian Premier division as can be seen by some of the results in the Essex Premier Cup. Epping were strong both times we played them as were Chris Stoneham’s Corinthians. I thought Laindon Orient were also very good when we played them and we were very fortunate to get a point from that game and of course Leigh Town had a fantastic season and are great at finding a way at getting a result. We always seem to have cracking games against them.

DM: I agree, Corinthians and Leigh Town are very similar to us in terms of their playing styles, and like us they play with a bit of bite about them so it always makes for a great game against us.

How important is it that the EOFL matches are covered by amateur media, particularly with focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid? 

BM: The job you do along with others is so important. We play at a really good standard with players and management having to travel quite far at times and most of us paying for the privilege! There is also so much hard work and volunteering that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t always see, so I think it’s great that we get the kind of recognition and coverage that you give. I know everyone at the club really appreciates it as well.

Ben, you’ve indicated you’ll be stepping aside as Old Southendian Reserves boss in the summer, what are your favourite moments from your tenure as manager of this team?

BM: I think generally watching the lads buy into and implement the subtle changes we’d made to the system was great to see. Some of the team goals we scored as a direct result were superb. Generally speaking as well, seeing some of the youngsters come through and improve in confidence week in week out, particularly Lewis Caplin and Nick Skinner, was one of the most rewarding parts of managing last season.

Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?

BM: We’ve made our links with Southendian Youth more official which is an exciting time for the club and it gives their players a real path into men’s football as we’ve already seen some of their guys such as Lewis Caplin make the step up. Aside from that, we have Olly (Tatts) and David along with Josh Bambury taking the team forward next season and I know they have very ambitious plans for next season! I’m very much looking forward to supporting them and seeing how far they can go.

End

If your club (at Essex Olympian, Essex Senior or Eastern Senior League South levels) would be interested in sharing your thoughts on your 2019/20 season then please DM me on Twitter. Thank you

 

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Olympian League Premier Division [EOFL SR 19/20 30.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the fifth piece of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.

In this piece, I look back what was a fascinating Essex Olympian League Premier Division campaign, rounded out with an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goal-scorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I was fortunate to see a few of the teams in action live this term.

 

EOFL Premier Division   (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At the summit were Sungate, who amassed forty-four points from their 22 matches in what was a very good season for the East London-based side. They had the secod-best defensive record, conceding twenty-nine times (at a average per game (or GpG) of 1.32) and also enjoyed the joint-best goal-scoring record, scoring 52 times (GpG of 2.36). I saw them come back to win a really enterprising game at Old Southendian in February and you could certainly see why they were hot in front of-goal and they will hope to carry on the impetus going forward. Leigh Ramblers had a really good campaign, finishing in second spot. Wayne Seal’s team had a strong end to the season, ending up with thirty-eight points from their 22 games played. They won seven of their 11 matches at their Belfairs Park home and were also joint-high goal-scorers with 52 strikes this term. Murmurings indicate that they are looking to build the club going forward and they will be a threat next term you feel. Last season’s champions Buckhurst Hill finished in third, with 32 points gained from only fourteen matches. Postponements and Cup runs perhaps thwarted Mark Williams’ side from a higher finish and you would not have gone against Hill obtaining a top-two finish, had the season gone on for another month. As it was, they still got ten league wins, along with being the division’s fourth-best goal-scorers with 46 strikes (a GpG of 3.28) and held the best defensive record (16 goals shelled) for the second consecutive campaign. Not bad going! Factor in their three entrants in the leading goal-scorers chart (see below) and you start to see why Hill are highly-regarded in the local Non-League scene. Both of their losses this season came in South Essex, at Rayleigh Town and Leigh Ramblers but it does seem they are well-placed for another tilt at success next term.

In fourth place were Catholic Utd, having managed 31 points from their twenty-one matches this term. The ‘Super Hoops’ are based at Bowers & Pitsea’s Len Salmon Stadium [3G] and grabbed seven wins from their thirteen games there. They scored fifty-one goals (GpG of 2.43) to put them in third in the list of ‘Entertainers’ this term though it was at the other end where the issues were, having shelled 39 goals this season. Their form tailed towards the end of the campaign, and they were uncharacteristic in their loss at Old Southendian in late January, which I watched. Utd have announced that former Southend Manor & Waltham Abbey Reserves boss Stuart Marshall will take the reins next season and it is good to see him back in the game, all the best to him. Kelvedon Hatch made the most of a decent run prior to the cut-off to finish fifth, having got thirty points from their 20 outings. Glen Golby & Steve Willis’ side certainly were not dull to watch, having struck the net forty-one times and conceded 45 times (a GpG of 2.25) this term. I saw them lose out narrowly at Old Southendian in December and you could see why quite a few of their players have played at a higher level, the guile and the craft is there. On that note, Petrit Elbi deserves a mention as their top goal-scorer with eight goals.

Into mid-table now, with Springfield finishing sixth with twenty-eight points from their 20 games played. Nine of them were wins with 44 goals scored, the fifth-best record in the division. Unfortunately, they conceded forty-nine goals as well, the second-worst in the division. Their Arun Close home was the place of six of their wins this term, and they also can champion the league’s top goal-scorer in Dave Wareham who netted fifteen times. Congratulations to him. The club saw a transition as well as stalwart Glen Wilkinson moved upstairs to Director of Football, with former Laindon Orient & Rayleigh Town Reserves co-boss Dan Williams coming in the second half of the season. They seem well set for another promising campaign next term. Rayleigh Town are another club with plans for the future, and they ended up seventh with twenty-five points from their 16 matches. They were hampered by weather & Cup fixtures somewhat though still won eight of their games, having scored thirty-three times and conceded 33 times as well – the fifth-best defensive record. I saw Paul Higgins’ side in action back in August as they defeated Leigh Ramblers, though I must note that like a lot of clubs at this level, they are welcoming and do deserve to increase their fan following as they play decent football as well.

In eighth place were a club I saw a few times in the second half of the campaign: Old Southendian. They found a degree of form in that second part of the season to also end on twenty-five points from their 22 matches. An inferior goal difference saw them below their local rivals Rayleigh, but Connor Lane’s team still won seven times, three of which I saw in person. Stats-wise, they struck 38 goals (a GpG of 1.73) and shelled 42 times as well though as is so often the case, the stats don’t tell the whole story. At their best, they do play some good stuff and given the experience they have in abundance in their squad, that isn’t a surprise.  Nick Henesy and Ed Gould both got eight goals apiece and as has been well-publicised, they are another of the clubs to play on artificial 3G at Garon Park.

 

Another club that saw a managerial change in Bishop’s Stortford Swifts finished ninth. They accrued twenty-three points from their 20 matches and on the face of it, you may call it a very mixed campaign. They scored 35 goals (a GpG of 1.75) and conceded forty-three times but they did get five of their seven wins at Silver Leys this term. Former Epping Town boss Billy Cove came in as manager in February and you sense the club’s focus has been renewed as they picked up two important wins over Kelvedon Hatch and Sungate which staved off immediate relegation worries at that time. I would predict a more positive season to come for the Swifts. Canning Town ended up tenth with twenty-three points coming from the 22 matches they contested. Their defence was the most troublesome area for the Beckton-based team, having conceded 49 times, the joint-second highest in the division. They did finish the season well though, with four wins in their last eight games with the pressure on so that may bode well for the next campaign. Another side who finished strongly sits in eleventh, which is Shenfield AFC, who won Division One in 2018/19. They garnered twenty-two points from their 18 matches, having won four of their last seven matches. That was quite the opposite of their early-season woes, as they didn’t win any of their first six games. It is true that only the bottom three sides had more trouble in front of goal, as AFC netted thirty times in all, though the team were more than decent at the back, shelling 35 goals to gain the sixth-best defensive record in the division. Ben Carroll also deserves to be mentioned as he grabbed nine league goals this term, well done Ben. Basildon Town were just below them in 12th, with 21 points from their fifteen outings. Those points came from their seven league wins, and they struck the net 27 times, the joint-lowest in the division. Couple that with conceding 48 times and you can see why the management would be frustrated to say the least. I saw Town at Old Southendian in late February and to be honest, they played well in patches so that must add to the frustration.

Now to the bottom two, with Hutton ending up 13th having gathered eighteen points from their 14 matches, having been one of many clubs affected by the deluge of rain over the winter. Gary Damrill’s team on five of their matches and although going forward they scored 27 times (joint-lowest with Basildon Town), the promising statistic is that they conceded 32 goals, which was the fourth-strongest defensive record. Quirks of numbers indeed. Top scorer Will Marlowe netted eight times as well so congrats to Will. Finally, Harold Wood Athletic ended a season they would probably like to forget bottom, also on 18 points from the same amount of matches. They finished below Hutton because of a much weaker goal difference, largely due to conceding 53 times. Stalwart boss Kris Taylor moved sideways at season’s end, to be replaced by former Barkingside boss Alex Goldstone and they will certainly want a better season next time out.

To close this part, I’d like to note my belief that the quality of the Premier Division is rising this season. Some may disagree with that and they are welcome to their opinion, I just don’t think it is an accident that players are dropping into Step 7 and on the same note, there are some good managers as well. All in all, it should be a really fascinating division next season, if it isn’t too badly affected by the current world events (No, I’m not saying the ‘C-word here). I hope to watch a few matches in this division again next term.

 

EOFL Premier Division  – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

    Club/s League Goals League Starts
1 Dave Wareham Jr Springfield 15 18
         
=2 Nathan Sollosi Buckhurst Hill 12 12
  Jake Clarke Sungate 12 15
         
=4 Fehinti Falola Buckhurst Hill 10 8
  Suleyman Zuhdu Buckhurst Hill 10 11
         
6 Ben Caroll Shenfield AFC 9 15
         
=7 Will Marlowe Hutton 8 8
  Petrit Elbi Kelvedon Hatch 8 13
  Nick Henesy Old Southendian 8 13
  Joe Nathanson Springfield 8 13
  Aaron Baldwin Catholic Utd 8 14
  Rhys Fatt Leigh Ramblers 8 14
  Reece Clarke Sungate 8 15
  Daniel Williams Leigh Ramblers 8 16
  Ed Gould Old Southendian 8 18
         

 

Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Premier Division  (focus on League Starts)

      Appearances
    Club/s League Starts Bench Total
1 Michael Sammut Catholic Utd 21 0 21
           
=2 Thomas Kearney Catholic Utd 20 1 21
  James Smith Sungate 20 1 21
  Ryan Batchford Springfield 20 0 20
  Ryan Lowe Leigh Ramblers 20 0 20
  Rorie McKenzie Sungate 20 0 20
  Tyron Thomas Canning Town 20 0 20
           
=8 Billy Evans Canning Town 19 1 20
  Reece Still Bishop’s Stortford Swifts 19 1 20
  Dylan Skinner Leigh Ramblers 19 0 19
           
=11 Ed Gould Old Southendian 18 2 20
  Dave Wareham Jr Springfield 18 1 19
  Adam Palmer Bishop’s Stortford Swifts 18 0 18
  Scott Truman Sungate 18 0 18
  Bradley Vaughan Catholic Utd 18 0 18
  Matt Wilson Old Southendian 18 0 18
           

 

2019-20 Season – Club In-Focus: Wakebury FC [EOFL 2019/20 I-F 29.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome the first of a possible series of blogs which clubs themselves give their thoughts on the 2019-20 season and their favourite moments, favourite matches and more. First up is Essex Olympian League Division Three side Wakebury, who joined the EOFL last summer, after a spell in the Southend Combination League.

In this piece, manager Matt Cardy and assistant boss Dan Blewett (MC & DB) and club captain Chris Gore (CG) giving a players’ viewpoint, shed some light on how they felt the season went. My thanks to Matt, Dan & Chris for their time, you call find the club on Twitter: @Wakebury_FC

Wakebury FC
Wakebury emblem (Image: Wakebury FC/Twitter)

 

  • Going into your first Essex Olympian League season at Division Three level, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition?

MC & DB: Looking back and reflecting now, we are really pleased with the progress we made through the season. We stepped up to most challenges put in front of us. The players bought in to how we want to do things and as the season went on we felt we was getting better all the time. Joining the EOFL was a big step for a club of our size and we was aware we would be “punching above our weight” and be underdogs in the majority of games so to be sitting in a promotion spot at the close of play is really pleasing and we are glad to have achieved the clubs’ highest-ever finish in this fashion. This level of progress motivates us more to get better and improve all aspects of the club.

 

  • What was the favourite match of the season and why?

MC & DB: We’re going to go a bit ‘outside the box’ on this one. It was Basildon Town Reserves (away) in our first-ever EOFL league game. We won the game 3 -1 after going 1- 0 down to a penalty in the first half (which is still a mind-blowing decision thinking about it now!) we had made a big effort in the summer to bring in better characters to make us mentally stronger, this was a test of that in the first game and we was able to turn it around in style and win the game, this set us up for the rest of the season as we demonstrated how much character we have on a number of occasions.

CG: For me personally, my favourite match of the season came away at ACD Utd – we went into the game with 12 available players, 2 – 0 down inside the first 10 minutes, then an injury put us down to 11, which included the manager & assistant! We managed to come back and grab a point with a last-minute free-kick. It was a great performance with all factors considered.

 

  • What was your best performance away from Shoebury Park this season?

MC & DB: Toby Reserves (away). Although we lost the game, this was 100% the turning point in our season. We all came away feeling hard done by and this brought the group closer together and saw us go on unbeaten. We played with 10 men for 35 minutes and battled against a top side heroically at times. This was our last defeat of the season and really got us moving in the right direction.

CG:  Our best away performance would be away at Leigh Town Reserves. Having lost to them a couple of weeks before and after suffering a couple of defeats we came into the game under pressure as we wanted to challenge at the top. We completely dominated the game from start to finish and came away with a 3 – 1 win.

 

  • What was your best performance at Shoebury Park this season?

MC & DB: Corinthians Reserves would be a stand-out home performance. We had billed it to the players as the ‘game of the season’. Make or break. I could feel it changing just before we went out for kick-off that the players were in the right frame of mind. We had really created a squad that wanted to step up and be involved in these pressure moments. We went 1 – 0 down just after half time and in our first season in charge, we would have collapsed. But this group used that goal as extra motivation to perform. We went on to win 3 – 1 and it was a great show of character and determination. We were proud of the players following that performance.

CG: Our best home performance would be against Corinthians Reserves. We knew going into the game that if we wanted to challenge for the league title we needed to win this game. I felt we was under pressure as a side and even more so going 1 – 0 down just after half-time. We managed to come back and win 3 – 1 which showed the amount of character we have as a side.

 

 

  • On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?

MC & DB: Generally speaking, we would say how we grew as side the longer the season went on. When you have an idea in your head of how you want your team to play and be, we really made some big strides this season to working towards that. Off-the-pitch, the players became a tight-knit group, the best group since we began four years ago. We built a side of not only good players but good people – that’s why we have had a good season.

CG:  Back to the away game at ACD, to steal a point with a depleted side and with the free-kick being the last kick of the game. The celebrations after the goal showed how much it meant to everyone. To go away from home with the side we had out on the day, it meant a huge amount to everyone.

 

  • Were there any low points of the campaign for you?

MC & DB: Home defeats. We lost two league games at home and both times we under-performed. Looking back, that is the only frustration of the season. We don’t like losing. Especially in games where we should be winning. The week following a defeat always seems to drag on a little bit more and you are just counting down to the next Saturday to hopefully right the wrongs of any defeat.

CG:  Lowest point would Toby Reserves (away) back in November. Probably our first big game of the season, after taking an early lead we had goal wrongly disallowed. After dominating we were hit with a ‘sucker-punch’ to make it 1-1 at half time. Early in the 2nd half we was reduced to 10 men and battled on a muddy pitch until the last minute when was beaten by a penalty. That day we showed so much character, and that was our last defeat of the season and was a real turning point.

 

  • Looking forward to 2020/21 season (whenever it starts), what are the aspirations for the club?

MC & DB:  We hope to rewarded how we feel we should be after a fantastic debut season in the EOFL. We hope the relevant people see sense and reward all sides across the divisions for their hard work. We are ambitious and will always strive to improve all aspects of what we do. From our coaching to how we deliver information to the players in preparation for matches, this period of lockdown has given us great chance to evolve how we work and we can’t wait to put some new strategies and practices in place for next season.

 

  • Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?

MC & DB: We have announced the launch of a new youth set-up. Wakebury Youth is a new strand of the club and something we believe is vital to having a long-lasting, stable football club. Football Clubs are all about young people so it will be great to see some young players coming over and represent the club. This being said, we are looking out for any coaches or volunteers that want to help and get involved in Wakebury Youth, so if anyone is reading this and wants to get involved do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! This is an exciting time and we continue to grow on and off-the-pitch.

End

 

My particular thanks to Matt Cardy, Chairman of Wakebury for setting this piece up & I wish the club well going into next season. If you’d like to contact the club, a reminder that you can find them @Wakebury_FC on Twitter or by email at wakeburyfc@gmail.com

If your club (at Essex Olympian level for the moment) would be interested in sharing your thoughts on your 2019/20 season then please DM me on Twitter. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the article & stay safe.

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Olympian League Division One [EOFL SR 19/20 27.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the fifth piece of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.

In this edition, I look back at the EOFL Division One campaign, rounded out with an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goal-scorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I won’t shirk, I’ll get the apology in now that I didn’t see any EOFL Division One matches live, but I will try to treat it the same as the other divisions that I did see matches in (Premier, Div Two & Div Three) this season.

EOFL Division One  (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At the top of the standings at this point was Chingford Athletic, who continued their terrific progress up the EOFL divisions following promotion from Division Two last term. Dave Richbell’s side won fourteen of their 17 matches to end up on an impressive 43 points. In doing so, they had the best home record, winning eight of their ten matches at Town Mead [3G] and had the second-best goal-scoring record, striking the net 48 times (at a Goals per game average (Or GpG) of 2.82). The only sides to beat them this term were Old Chelmsfordians and Lakeside and the fact they had two entrants in the top five of the goal-scoring charts (see below) means they will again look for elevation next term you feel. All in all, another good campaign that chairman Lee Bowers can reflect on with pride.

In second spot were Old Chelmsfordians, six points further back on 37 points from their seventeen matches played. All season they have been a tough side to breakdown, having the fourth-best defence conceding twenty goals and are the top-scorers in the division, having plundered 54 goals (a GpG of 3.17) and to cap it off, the Chelmsford-based side also had the second-best home record, winning seven of their nine matches at Lawford Lane. Matthew Crick also topped the goal-scoring charts with 15 league goals this term. Ongar Town were third on 31 points from only eleven matches, having been blighted by weather and being in Cup action as well, particularly the Essex Premier Cup. Even so, they won ten of their matches, scoring 36 and conceding only nine times – the best in the division. They were unbeaten at their Fyfield Village Hall home as well, winning six of their seven matches there. Had the season continued, the East London side may well have caught the leaders though they can still be more than satisfied with a fine season.

Lakeside finished in fourth place, having accrued 29 points from their fifteen matches. Not bad going at all for the promoted side. It is one of those statistical quirks that six of their nine wins this season came away from their Lakeside Sports Ground 3G home. Plus, their goal-scoring and defensive records sit in mid-table, with them having the sixth-highest scoring record with 31 (GpG of 2.06) and having shelled 22 goals, the sixth-best in Division One. Highly-rated forward Drew Klessa-Smith was again their top league goal-scorer with eight goals and they can look forward to another good campaign next term. Another side in the Chelmsford area finished fifth, in Galleywood. They got 24 points from their fifteen outings, though they won six of those and only lost three times. In an interesting stat twist, they were the lowest scorers of anyone in the top seven sides (with 23 strikes this term), whilst also having the fifth-best defensive record with 20 goals conceded. Going from that, they are a tough side to defeat and will look to maintain that going into the next campaign.

A point further back in sixth were Rayleigh Town Reserves, under the leadership initially of Lee Bunn and Dan Williams before the latter’s departure meant Bunn took sole charge in the last couple of months or so. They improved on a bottom-two finish in 2018/19, having won seven of their 13 matches to end up on 23 points. They were not a dull side to follow, having struck the net thirty-five times (at a GpG of 3.18) but also shelled 30 goals themselves and it was perhaps the latter that hindered them from achieving a top-four finish, though it’s worth noting they did have matches in hand on most of their rivals. The Town second-side also were unbeaten in their last five matches so they will be optimistic that they will have a decent season again next time around. They were six points clear of Shoebury Town in seventh, who ended a mixed season to put it mildly with seventeen points from 18 matches. They only won three matches, though they did also draw a league-high of eight matches as well. The mixed theme continues as Shoebury struck 38 times this term (a GpG of 2.11), only to concede 49 goals at the other end, the third-worst in the division. On a better note, star forward Dominic Binns again was their highest goal-getter, grabbing eleven goals this season so congratulations to him. Plaudits also go to Mitchell Odd and Matthew Smith, the other two Town players in the top goal-scorers chart this term with six goals apiece.

Next in the standings were another club affected by weather and Cup action in FC Hamlets, who got 15 points from their eleven matches, after a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player. On a happier note, Ashley King’s side had the second-best record defensively, only shelling twelve goals in their league season, as well as another fine in the London Junior Cup, which saw them make the Final once again. It is impossible to leave out a mention for the 2018-19 Division One Top goal-scorer Charlie Heatley, who added a further ten goals this term. Respect to you Charlie. I would also like to wish departing player-boss Ashley King well as social media reports indicate he will move on in the summer. Snaresbrook are two points behind their fellow East London side in ninth, having reached thirteen points from their ten matches, as the weather heavily impacted their fortunes. Their management will probably look to the point that they scored nineteen goals in their matches this term, the second-most goal-shy this term. Ramsden Scotia are a point further back in tenth spot, having been deducted two points as well. They finished fifth in the previous season though the Billiericay-based side had more problems going forward this term, scoring eighteen goals in their 15 games (GpG of 1.20) – the lowest in the division. Their top-scorer Jamie Auvache (6 goals) deserves a mention too for preventing a worse outcome there.

Into the bottom four now and Manford Way had another hard campaign following relegation from the Premier Division in 2018-19. They finished in eleventh spot with 11 points from their fifteen matches (after being deducted two points). Unfortunately, their biggest headache this term was at the back as they conceded forty-eight goals (average of 3.20 a match) which is the fourth highest this league term. Top-scorer Joe Lovell got six of the twenty-two league goals they did strike though they will look to improve next term. In twelfth place is Herongate Athletic, who gained three points as a result of an opposition error to end on eleven points from their15 matches. Goalscoring wasn’t a particular issue for them, having scored twenty-six goals (the highest number of all the bottom six clubs) though their troubles were in defence, having conceded fifty-three times which was the division’s joint-worst record this season. Two wins all campaign really lends itself to the feeling they will want to improve next term. Below them are Runwell Sports in 13th after a very hard campaign for outgoing manager Jason Emery, who will concentrate on being Chairman next season. Sports grabbed ten points from their 14 matches though in fairness, they did show glimpses of improving form both in the league and in Cups in the second part of the season. They may have got themselves higher in the standings given the big number of matches they had to play and in another anomaly, they only conceded 26 goals, the best defensive record of the bottom six sides.

Finally, Toby prop up the table in last place, having gained seven points in their 18 matches. One win all season (which was against rivals Herongate Athletic in early February) almost tells the tale sadly for the previous season’s Div Two runners-up which saw them promoted, and also conceding 53 goals did hamper their aspirations to evade the bottom two. Wish them well next campaign.

 

EOFL Division One – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

    Club/s League Goals League Starts
         
1 Matthew Crick Old Chelmsfordians 15 16
2 Alex Gordon Chingford Athletic 14 15
         
=3 Aaron Blair Ongar Town 11 11
  Lee Lashley Chingford Athletic 11 10
  Dominic Binns Shoebury Town 11 (1 pen) 12
         
6 Charlie Heatley FC Hamlets 10 11
         
7 Rodney Wilson Rayleigh Town Res 9 10
         
=8  Max Johnson Old Chelmsfordians 8 14
  Drew Klessa-Smith Lakeside 8 14
         
10 Joshua Boxall Ongar Town 7 8
         
=11 Martin Mixture Old Chelmsfordians 6 4
  Mitchell Odd Shoebury Town 6 6
  Luke Quinton Lakeside 6 6
  Joe Lovell Manford Way 6 9
  Joe Lilly Ongar Town 6 9
  Jamie Auvache Ramsden Scotia 6 10
  Matthew Smith Shoebury Town 6 13
         

 

Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division One (focus on League Starts)

     

Appearances

    Club/s League Starts Bench Total
           
=1 Benjamin Britton Toby 17 0 17
  Matthew Crick Old Chelmsfordians 16 1 17
           
=3 Aaron Clark Shoebury Town 16 0 16
  Joe Peters Old Chelmsfordians 16 0 16
           
=5 Alex Gordon Chingford Athletic 15 0 15
  Sean O’Sullivan Toby 15 0 15
  Max Johnson Old Chelmsfordians 14 1 15
  Drew Klessa-Smith Lakeside 14 1 15
           
=9 Liam Aston Lakeside 14 0 14
  Ollie Pettit Lakeside 14 0 14
  Sam Pettit Lakeside 14 0 14
  Samuel Pollard Old Chelmsfordians 14 0 14
  Liam Saunders Old Chelmsfordians 14 0 14
  William Strutt Lakeside 14 0 14
           
=15 Charlie Adams Runwell Sports 13 0 13
           

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Olympian League Division Two [EOFL SR 19/20 26.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the third piece of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.

In this piece, I look back at a very competitive Essex Olympian League Division Two campaign, rounded out with an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goal-scorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I managed to watch a few Division Two matches this term so they may be mentioned here.

 

EOFL Division Two  (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. Leigh Town were deservedly top of the standings at the cut-off point, as they garnered an impressive 43 points from 15 matches, in which they were not beaten. Unsurprisingly, they had a good defence, the second-best in the division (conceded on average less than a goal a game) whilst also being pretty handy in attack, scoring 44 goals (as an average of 2.93 goals per game or GpG). Jack Pearman’s side were also a good Cup side as I saw them defeat fellow Div Two side Corinthians in the Essex Premier Cup at John Burrows Recreation Ground at the start of February. It’s a credit to both teams that you wouldn’t have thought you were watching two third-tier Olympian sides, such was the passion, energy & physicality on display.

Back to the League, and in second spot was Beacon Hill Rovers, having racked up 36 points from their 15 matches. Rovers had the second-best record at home this term with six wins from their seven matches there, along with having the third-best defensive record, being breached seventeen times. Their two top-goalscorers in Adebolu Adeyemi and Stephen Bennett both hit ten goals as well so credit goes where it’s due. Both clubs will be aiming for another successful campaign next term and if they can keep their squads together, you wouldn’t bet against them doing it either. The next two sides are quite local to me. In third place are Old Southendian Reserves, under the management of Ben Manley. Ten wins in 17 matches isn’t bad going for a second-side that won the Division Three title the previous campaign. Factor in a very decent end to the season with six wins in their last eight matches and having the fourth-best defence this season and it is certainly one to look back on with some fondness. I also have to note the fine performance they put in to win at Corinthians, back in December. To call it ‘determined’ would be an understatement.

Just behind OS Ressies in fourth were Corinthians, who were promoted two divisions, having won Division Four in 2018/19. Chris Stoneham’s youthful, attack-minded side are a delight to watch when they are on-song, no two ways about that. They had ten wins from their fourteen matches to make it to 31 points in all, though could have got in the top three had the season continued. There are two stats that can’t be taken off them though, firstly that they were the divisional top-scorers with 54 goals (a GpG of 3.71 – some going in any league). Secondly, Nathan Dewberry ended up the division’s top goal-getter with 16 goals though to many in the local Non-League scene that won’t come as a surprise, given his pedigree. Even so, respect to you Nathan and to your team-mates on a good season.

Into mid-table now, and May & Baker Reserves ended up being in fifth place. Jimmy Donald’s side had a fine end to the campaign which pushed them up the mid-table places somewhat, and acquired 28 points from 17 matches (though they benefitted from getting three points as an opposition side had fielded an ineligible player in late August). The side certainly has its place in the club pathway, with the first team now competing in Step 6 (Eastern Senior League South) and they struck the net 48 times in all, the second-best in the division. They were also not a dull side to watch as they also conceded fourty-four times and the main downer on their season you have to say is that pourous defence. That being said, the main thing for this team is development you feel and they will look for another strong campaign in 2020/21 I believe.

Laindon Orient were two points behind them in sixth, despite only playing twelve matches due to being hindered by the incessant rain (remember that?) before the season’s premature end. Neil Blackburn’s side still won eight of their matches and can be proud of their defensive record, only letting in eleven goals all league season. They may be another side to watch out for next season. Epping Town finished in seventh spot after having a difficult end to the campaign. That has been well-publicised elsewhere and with a new set-up, they ensured they saw out the campaign with 20 points from their 16 matches. Even though in the early stages of the campaign they were in the top four and looking menacing, you also can’t help but feel that the best thing right now is that they have a new management team under ex-Bishop Stortford Swifts’ boss Stuart Hoskins and they exist to go again next term.

Wakering Sports are in eighth, a point behind on 19 points from their sixteen matches. Overall, Mitchell Gleeson’s side had a solid if unspectacular season though they can build on the record on scoring 37 goals this term (a GpG of 2.31) which was the sixth-best this term. They finished well-clear of the bottom four as Harold Wood Athletic Reserves were eight points adrift on 11 points in ninth spot, after navigating a tough campaign. Defensively-speaking, they were decent though their issues were at the offensive end, striking the net only 18 times, the divisions’ worst this term. It must be said that had the campaign continued, they may have gone up a place or two but they will look for a better campaign next time out.

In tenth place, Rochford Town had another campaign of strife, getting nine points from their 18 matches. Goal-scoring was an issue for John Smith & James Cooper’s side, making the net bulge 21 times though having seen them in February, they struck me as a hard-working, committed side under the captaincy of Freddie Pettitt. As was the case in recent seasons though, their defence is their undoing to an extent, with sixty goals conceded, a record only the two sides below them were worse at. Promoted AS Rawreth also struggled, finishing 11th (second-bottom) by virtue of an inferior goal difference, also on nine points from 16 games. They had the joint-weakest goal=scoring record with 20 goals, and hotshot Louis Hill got nine of those goals himself so plaudits to him. They will hope for a better campaign at the back, as they shelled 63 goals (average per game of 3.94) which arguably knackered their season right there. And finally, recent strugglers Ryan also had another very tough season, finishing bottom on one point from 18 matches. It’s worth noting that they lost five points during the season for fielding an ineligible player & being unable to play a fixture but even so, it’s been a sobering season for the East London side. They conceded sixty-five goals this term and they will hope the talent from their promising junior sides will one day play for the first-team.

EOFL Division Two – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

  Club/s League Goals League Starts
   
1 Nathan Dewberry Corinthians 16 10
   
=2 Adebolu Adeyemi Beacon Hill Rovers 10 10
Stephen Bennett Beacon Hill Rovers 10 12
   
=4 Ashley Blackburn Laindon Orient 9 10
Max Jones Leigh Town 9 10
Louis Hill AS Rawreth 9 13
   
7 Jake Hodder Corinthians 8 11
   
=8 Alex Paraskeva Epping Town 7 8
Shane Cooper Leigh Town 7 10
Mohammed Sesay Wakering Sports 7 11
   
=11 Gabriel Odili May & Baker Res 6 2
Ben Franklin Old Southendian Res 6 8
John Bolton-Smith Corinthians 6 11
Leo Clarke Corinthians 6 12
Greg Molford Old Southendian Res 6 12
Glen Warwick Epping Town 6 12
Oliver Taton-Bennett Old Southendian Res 6 13
Ben Rowe Wakering Sports 6 16
   
   

 

Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division Two (focus on League Starts)

 

Appearances

  Club/s League Starts Bench Total
   
=1 Jacob Hubble Rochford Town 16 0 16
Freddie Pettitt Rochford Town 16 0 16
Ben Rowe Wakering Sports 16 0 16
   
=4 Danny Pallett Wakering Sports 15 1 16
Luke Stillwell Old Southendian Res 15 0 15
   
=6 Harry Ford Rochford Town 14 1 15
Ethan Bird AS Rawreth 14 0 14
Callum Burns-Green Wakering Sports 14 0 14
George Dugdale Old Southendian Res 14 0 14
Jack Power Rochford Town 14 0 14
Lewis Sherwood Beacon Hill Rovers 14 0 14
Adam Smith Leigh Town 14 0 14
   
=13 Mitchell Gleeson Wakering Sports 13 2 15
Akeem Matthews Ryan 13 1 14
Luke Owen Corinthians 13 1 14
Matt Welsh Rochford Town 13 1 14
   

 

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Olympian League Division Three [EOFL SR 19/20 23.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the second of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.

In this piece, I look back at Essex Olympian League Division Three, including an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goalscorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I was fortunate enough to attend a few Division Three matches this term so they may be referenced to as well here.

 

EOFL Division Three  (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At that point, ACD Utd held the top spot with 43 points from 18 matches. This record included thirteen wins and only the one loss, which was away at rivals Wakebury in late October. Michael Wade’s side were also the best side defensively in this division this term with only 19 goals conceded all league campaign, not bad for their first campaign as an Olympian League side. Fellow newcomers Wakebury were four points adrift in second place, with twelve wins from their 19 matches this term. Matt Cardy & Dan Blewett’s side were the most entertaining side this term with 56 goals scored, at an average of 2.95 Goals per game (GpG). The Shoebury-based side were not as proficient in defence and that may have cost them the top spot but both Wakebury & ACD have a lot to be proud of this season.

Another promoted side ended up being third in Corinthians Reserves. Terry Rose & Ben Adams’ team had an impressive twelve wins from their 15 matches, with only two losses, at home to Buckhurst Hill Ressies and away at Wakebury, which I was pleased to watch in-person. On a better note, they are the second-best goal-scorers this term with 51 goals (but in fewer matches than the Berries so the GpG is 3.40). A sturdy defence as well may have seen them climb into the top two, had the season continued. The next two sides ended in close formation in fourth & fifth respectively. Firstly, Toby Reserves were fourth on 29 points, with nine wins from their 18 matches. They were also fourth in the ‘Entertainers’ listing, with a substantial number of their 40 goals this season coming from forwards Marc ‘The Flea’ Porter-Brown and Luis Ruiz. In fifth place are Collier Row with 28 points from fourteen matches, which included an impressive nine wins for you guessed it, another promoted side (from Div Five in 2018/19). What is also noteworthy is that Row have the third-most miserly defence this term as well with 25 goals conceded, so plaudits to them on that.

Another side I saw this term in Hutton Reserves finished in sixth spot, having played the least amount of matches this term (13), ending up with 21 points. Matt Singh’s side grabbed seven wins this term, though as a caveat, six of those wins were at home. The other win was at White Ensign Reserves in mid-December, which happened to be the game I watched them in. Factor in an impressive goal-scoring record of 35 strikes (a GpG of 2.69) this season and again, they also have grounds for optimism next season. Leigh Town Reserves and Buckhurst Hill Reserves finished in seventh and eighth spot respectively. Leigh’s second-side, under the leadership of Robert Hutchings-Spiller ended up with 20 points from their 14 matches played. Unlike their first team in the division above, Town’s defence was breached 33 times this term as they won six and lost six of their matches this season. Hill’s second-team were two points behind them in eighth spot with 18 points from their fourteen games. Again, their defence was their ‘Achilles heel’, shipping 35 goals at an average of 2.50 per game.

Into the bottom four now, with Lakeside Reserves ending up ninth on 14 points from their 17 matches. All four of their wins this term came in their last nine matches as the latter half of the campaign saw them evade the dreaded bottom two. It was that poor start to the campaign (they didn’t win in their first ten matches) that contributed to them having the second-worst defensive record, conceding 48 times. Basildon Town Reserves finished tenth with 13 points from 15 matches. A difficult campaign at both ends of the pitch was highlighted by them having the third-weakest side in terms of goal-scoring, having scored 23 times and also conceding 41 goals, the fourth-worst in the division. Even so, their four wins this term matches the win count combined for the bottom two sides this term.

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Still from White Ensign Res v Hullbridge ‘A’ (2nd Nov 19)

White Ensign Reserves were 11th, with three wins chalking up the bulk of their ten points gained this term. Manager Jack Caten has had it hard this term, as his side conceded 53 times in their 18 matches, the worst in the division. That said, they continue the club’s tradition of playing at the Len Forge Centre [3G] which is good to see. Finally, another new side in Hullbridge Sports ‘A’ ended up propping up the table, with one win all season – away at rivals Lakeside Reserves. It was a rare great day for Jason Mole’s side, as they scored four points all season and conceded forty-six  goals in their 15 matches this term. I saw the bottom two duke out a 1 – draw in November (image above) at the Len Forge.

EOFL Division Three – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

  Club/s League Goals League Starts
   
1 Max Hall Corinthians Res 18 14
2 Charlie Little Wakebury 17 10
3 Ed Hart Collier Row 16 13
   
=4 Sean O’Callaghan Hutton Res 15 9
Michael Wade ACD Utd 15 11
   
6 Marc Porter-Brown Toby Res 14 14
   
=7 Harry Davison Lakeside Res 9 10
Harry Kateley Wakebury 9 17
Luis Ruiz Toby Res 9 17
Ben Munday Wakebury 8 (+1 pen) 14
   
=11 Chris Pope Leigh Town Res 7 12
Alex Hubbard Leigh Town Res 7 14
   
=13 Tommy Fraine Buckhurst Hill Res 6 9
George Wickings Hutton Res 6 10
Grant Cumming Basildon Town Res 6 11
Landry Gogoa Buckhurst Hill Res 6 11
Luke Smith Corinthians Res 6 13
Samuel Payne ACD Utd 6 14
Ashley Webb Corinthians Res 6 14
   

Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division Three (focus on League Starts)

  Appearances
  Club/s League Starts Bench Total
   
1 Liam Jarrett Wakebury 19 0 19
   
=2 Jamie Alexandrou ACD Utd 17 1 18
Harry Kateley Wakebury 17 1 18
   
   
=4 Ben Perry Wakebury 17 0 17
Luis Ruiz Toby Res 17 0 17
Ollie Williams ACD Utd 17 0 17
   
=7 Daniel Buglione Wakebury 16 1 17
Dominic Cooper Toby Res 16 1 17
Chris Gore Wakebury 16 1 17
   
=10 Yaw Danso White Ensign Res 16 0 16
Archie Matthews White Ensign Res 16 0 16
Mason Oakley ACD Utd 16 0 16
Matthew Thompson Lakeside Res 16 0 16
   

 

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Olympian League Division Four [EOFL SR 19/20 22.4.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the first of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA. Sufficed to say, I felt it was important to mark what’s been another fascinating campaign in the Essex Olympian League, Essex Senior League & Eastern Senior League South (leagues I’ve watched mostly this season just gone).

Anyway, we begin the series with a look at Division Four, including an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goalscorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. Thanks for reading.

 

EOFL Division Four  (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At that point, Roydon took advantage of a fine run of six wins from their last eight matches to get themselves to the top of the standings, with 39 points from their 15 unbeaten matches played. Ten of those matches were at home and the North West Essex side won eight of them, drawing the other two. They also were the best ‘Entertainers’ in the division this term, scoring 67 goals at an average of 4.46 Goals per game (GpG).

Their nearest rivals in second spot were former leaders Chingford Athletic Development, who if I recall correctly were a new side in the EOFL this season, supporting the club to begin a pathway for the first team (who played in Senior One this term) for players. The Ath ‘second-side’ amassed 38 points from their 19 matches, scoring 61 goals in the process (the second best in the division) and having three entrants in the Top Goalscorers listing but more on that later.

Ongar Town Reserves finished in third spot after a mixed campaign, with 28 points from their 17 matches. Five of their nine wins came away from home interestingly though it is also worth noting that only six of those 17 games were at home. A leaky defence arguably stopped them from being nearer the top two at the cut-off point, though it is certainly a campaign to build on next term.

Next, three clubs all on 27 points with goal difference proving decisive in separating them. In fourth spot are Wakering Sports Reserves, having won eight of their 16 matches and having a better defence than their nearest rivals. Forest Glade also ended on 27 points though ended up fifth, because of inferior (and zero) goal difference. They won eight of their 19 matches in total, though had a better second half of the campaign as they rose up the mid-table spots. Catholic Utd’s Reserve side finished in sixth, also on 27 points though because a negative goal difference dragged them down. Continuing the mantra of the first team somewhat, the ‘second-side’ scored 52 goals and conceded 58, the second worst defence in the division. Also, five of their eight wins at their home pitch at the Len Forge Centre [3G].

There lays a gap of seven points before we reach the bottom half sides. Firstly, Galleywood Reserves are in seventh spot, having won six of their 14 matches to end on 20 points. A hard-earned quirk of their season is that they have the fourth best defensive record in the division, with 26 goals conceded. Only three of the top four sides are above them in terms of having a more miserly defensive record. Leytonstone Utd are a point behind them in eighth place, having grabbed six wins from their 15 matches which isn’t bad going when you factor in they were the second weakest in terms of scoring goals in Division Four in 2019-20. Laindon Orient Reserves are just behind in ninth spot, with six wins and nine losses from their 15 matches. Unfortunately, the O’s second-side do have that poorest goal-scoring record this term, along with the third-worst defence. Club Chairman Neil Blackburn will hope for better next term, you feel.

Rounding off the division are Old Chelmsfordians Reserves (10th, 17 points from 15 matches), Shenfield AFC Reserves (11th, 12 points from 16 games) and lastly, Canning Town Reserves who amassed two wins  from their 18 matches to end up with ten points, whilst also conceding sixty goals, the worst in the division.

 

EOFL Division Four – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

 

Player Club/s League Goals League Starts
 
1 Franklin Craik Catholic Utd Res 19 13
2 Lewis Watson Roydon 17 12
3 Tom Vine Wakering Sports Res 16 12
4 Lewis Page Roydon 15 9
5 Frankie Goodhall Ongar Town Res 14 10
 
=6 Zak Robinson Galleywood Res 12 10
James Medlock Leytonstone Utd 12 15
 
=8 Luke Dimond Chingford Athletic Dev 11 7
Jack Zielinski Ongar Town Res 11 7
George Burton Chingford Athletic Dev 11 9
Scout Bown Roydon 11 11
 
12 Dean Peck Galleywood Res 10 7
 
=13 James Warder Catholic Utd Res 8 10
Matthew Gauci Forest Glade 8 16
 
15 Umar Ali Chingford Athletic Dev 7 12

 

Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division Four (focus on League Starts)

  Appearances
  Club/s League Starts Bench Total
 
1 Kian Burton Chingford Athletic Dev 18 1 19
 
=2 Joseph Edwards Forest Glade 17 0 17
Shaun Warren Forest Glade 17 0 17
 
 
=3 Nathan Ackie Chingford Athletic Dev 16 2 18
Patrick Clarke Chingford Athletic Dev 16 1 17
Billy Calder Shenfield AFC Res 16 0 16
Matthew Gauci Forest Glade 16 0 16
Charles Simpson Forest Glade 16 0 16
 
=8 Jayson De Araujo Canning Town Res 15 1 16
Harry Holt Ongar Town Res 15 1 16
Trevor Kabuchu Ongar Town Res 15 1 16
James Medlock Leytonstone Utd 15 0 15
Lee Pellin Laindon Orient Res 15 0 15
 

Round-up: Essex Olympian League & Cups (Sat 7 Mar) [EOFL 19/20 8.3.20]

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Archive Image: Corinthians v Rochford Town in EOFL D2 last month 

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to this week’s review of Essex Olympian League action on Saturday 7 March. The weather continued to blight fixtures though there were still a lot of big matches in League & Cups that took place. Thanks for reading.

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EOFL Crest

Essex Olympian League – Saturday 7 March

Premier Division

In the Premier Division, Sungate picked up a narrow 1 – 0 win at Rayleigh Town to extend their lead at the summit to six points. Buckhurst Hill can still catch them if they win five of the eight matches they have in hand on the ‘Gate. Rayleigh remain in seventh spot. Meanwhile, Kelvedon Hatch rose to fifth place after a 3 – 2 win over Harold Wood Athletic in a match moved to Frances Bardsley Academy 3G in Romford. Calvin Poku, Theo Ola and Joe Gregory all netted for Hatch, with Rob Whitnell and Jack Brown-Sykes scoring for Ath, who remain bottom, five points adrift of the top ten.

Shenfield AFC also secured a much-needed three points with a fine 5 – 2 win at mid-table Springfield. Ben Carroll grabbed a treble here, with Samuel Lock and Alex Tredgett also notching for AFC to send them up to 11th spot, four points clear of the bottom two.

Match OFF: Basildon Town  P – P  Leigh Ramblers   |

 

Senior Division One

In Senior One, FC Hamlets won 2 – 0 at bottom side Toby through goals from Charlie Heatley and Jack Patten to secure their fifth league win this term, having played only 11 matches, due to postponements & Cup ties. Ashley King’s side rise to seventh spot and still have an outside chance of securing a top-four finish.

Lakeside edged to a 1 – 0 success over Runwell Sports with Jody Reynolds getting the only goal to go five points clear in fourth. Runwell remain in the bottom three. Also, Galleywood also won away from home, 2 – 0 at Ramsden Scotia thanks to strikes by Matthew Buckingham and replacement Jamie Rick, which sent ‘Wood up to fifth. Ramsden have lost three on-the-spin and remain in tenth.

 

Matches OFF:
Manford Way  P – P Rayleigh Town Res   |

Shoebury Town P – P   Herongate Athletic |

Snaresbrook  P – P  Old Chelmsfordians |

 

Senior League Cup

In the one EOFL Senior Cup Quarter-Final tie, Catholic Utd edged to a 1 – 0 win over fellow Premier side Hutton at the Len Salmon Stadium. Jay Nash got the only goal to see the Super Hoops through to the last four.

Essex Premier Cup: Semi-Finals

In the one Essex Premier up Semi-Final that did take place at Roding Valley Sch 3G, Premier side Buckhurst Hill edged past impressive Senior One side Chingford Athletic on penalties after a pulsating 3 – 3 score-line after extra-time. Sam Sollosi netted twice for Mark Williams’ side in normal time, before Fenti Falola netted in extra time though Chingford showed their warrior spirit with Alex Gordon netting a double of his own which was added to by Gary Murray. Hill won the ensuing shoot-out 5 – 4 though this battle adds fuel to the thought that Dave Richbell’s side will be a Premier Division side next term. Congrats to both teams though it is Hill who make it through to the Final to defend their title at Billericay Town’s New Lodge on Wednesday April 11th.

Match OFF: Leigh Town  P – P  Ongar Town  | New Date: Sat March 14th

 

Senior Division Two

Two matches survived in Senior Two, as Beacon Hill Rovers went back up to second spot with a 3 – 1 home win over Wakering Sports in the early kick-off, moved to Plume Sch in Maldon. Nathan Ruggles, Ade Adeyemi and a late Stephen Bennett spot-kick saw Rovers to a fifth straight win and are seven points off leaders Leigh Town. Corinthians also endorsed their promotion chances with a 4 – 2 win at May & Baker Res. Alfie Knight, Ollie Brickwood, John Bolton-Smith and Dan Cooksley all netted for Chris Stoneham’s side who went above their opponents into fourth place. Ryan Leavens and Ricardo Teixeira struck for Jimmy Donald’s team though their own aspirations of elevation took a dent here as they have five matches left to play.

Match OFF: Laindon Orient  P – P  Epping Town

 

Senior Division Three

Finally for the round-up section in Senior Three, Wakebury failed to gain ground on leaders ACD Utd as they were held 0 – 0 by Toby Res at Shoebury Park. It looks increasingly likely that Corinthians Res are the biggest threat for the title though the Berries will still want to secure a top-two finish for the best chance of promotion. Elsewhere, Lakeside Res got their third win in their last five with an important 3 – 1 win at Collier Row. This win sent ‘Side up to ninth, four points clear of the bottom two and handed Row a setback in their focus for a top-three finish.

Also, Corinthians Res handed White Ensign Res another heavy loss as Terry Rose’s side won 6 – 0 at Stambridge Memorial Ground. It was an ensemble cast of scorers with Steve Solarin, Max Hall, Ashley Webb, Ryan Woodley, George Penfold and Taner Dagyaran all on target as the hosts remain third and cut the deficit to leaders ACD to six points with three matches in hand on them. Ensign’s second side have three matches left to get out of the bottom two, they sit second-bottom and are three points away from Basildon Town Ressies.

Matches OFF:

Buckhurst Hill Res  P – P  Hutton Res   |

Hullbridge Sports ‘A’  P – P Basildon Town Res |

 

Senior Division Four results

Canning Town Res  1 – 1  Roydon

Forest Glade  P – P  Catholic Utd Res

Galleywood Res   P – P  Wakering Sports Res

Old Chelmsfordians Res  2 – 4  Chingford Athletic Development

Ongar Town Res  P – P  Laindon Orient Res

Shenfield AFC Res  0 – 2  Leytonstone Utd

 

Senior Division Five results

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res  4 – 0  Shoebury Town Res

Herongate Athletic Res  P – P  Collier Row Res

Roydon Res  2 – 2 Springfield Res

Runwell Sports Res  1 – 0  Newbury Forest Res