Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the last edition of the Essex Olympian League column for the 2022-23 season, looking at the action in all divisions & Cups from the week to Saturday 13 May, at the end of the piece you’ll see the Champions from all six league divisions listed.
EOFL Premier Division
Two matches were played in the top-tier. Galleywood got a morale-boosting 2 – 1 win in their bottom-two clash with Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, held at Melbourne Park 3G. Freddie Bartram & Lee Judd got the goals for the relegated side to outdo Chris Gibbs’ reply for Swifts, who will finish second-bottom. Also, Runwell Sports‘ superb campaign goes on as they defeated Toby 4 – 3 at St Luke’s. Luca Frankis, Charlie Little, Riley Armstrong & James Dalton all netted here for Robert Hodgson’s side. Albert Perry’s brace & Ben Picton’s strike made it tight but Mark Jones’ side have still had a good season.
In Division Two, AS Rawreth ended their season in the best possible way, as the relegated side won 3 – 2 at home to Catholic Utd Res at the Warren. Eamonn Kearney’s team have the Reserve Cup Final in midweek against Wakering Sports Res at Heybridge’s Scraley Road.
In Division Four, Herongate Athletic Res defeated Pitsea Athletic Res 3 – 1 at Basildon Sports Village to fortify fourth spot. Habeeb Apatira, Alex Newton & replacement Kai Redmond all netted to seal the win. Pitsea Res finished eighth.
One other thing to mention, the Senior Cup Final this week was postponed because of the one thing that may be remembered – hefty rain. It has be re-set for May 24th, again at Heybridge’s Scraley Road. …
‘Roll of Honour’ champions by division
Hutton – EOFL Premier Division
Old Chelmsfordians – EOFL Division One
Shoebury Town – EOFL Division Two
Basildon Town Res – EOFL Division Three
Leigh Ramblers Res – EOFL Division Four
Manford Way Res – EOFL Division Five
Many thanks to all those who have read this column this term & to all who shared it as well. Have a good Summer.
Harold Wood: Sky Blue Shirts, Claret Shorts & Socks
ACD: White Shirts, Black Shorts & White Socks
Harold Wood claim promotion with gritty win over decent ACD Utd
Harold Wood Athletic 1 – 0 ACD Utd
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The final match for me in the Essex Olympian this season saw a nice return to Harold Wood Park, for this EOFL Division One match between promotion-chasing Harold Wood Athletic and mid-table ACD Utd, who also played their last game this season here. ‘Wood Manager John Field has done a fine job in keeping his team in the running for the top-two & his team have led the table for large parts of the campaign. Here, they had Jack Moore as their goalkeeper, a defence of Perry Robinson, skipper Zach Holding, Daniel Spittle and Jack Baines. Louis Bazely, Ben Woolven and Connor Sheehan were in midfield and Leroy Griffiths led the attack, supported by Tyrone Scarlett and Max Shepherd. ACD have had another decent season and boss Jack Munns named Tyler Richards as their goalkeeper, with a backline of captain Jamie Alexandrou, Alex Bessent, James Bell and Ollie Williams. Their midfield featured Jake Noble, Shaun Farrow and Billy Wren, with the forward line being comprised of Jacob Dingli, Samuel Payne and Scott Perkins.
In the early-going here, it was the visitors who settled slightly better and they certainly were up for the battle. Moments later, an early drive by Wood forward Tyrone Scarlett was comfortably gathered by ACD stopper Tyler Richards and Jack Munns’ team soon pushed on again. Ollie Williams was making the most of some space down the left flank, and his cross was half-blocked by Wood’s Ben Woolven but the ball eventually found Billy Wren & his strike needed the intervention of Wood goalkeeper Jack Moore to tip it over although there was an ACD player off-side in the same move. The visitors were certainly competing well and Harold Wood did not find it easy to retain possession in midfield, with Louis Bazely and Connor Sheehan having to work hard to restrict the flowing ACD forward moves.
Harold Wood did have a goal chalked off for off-side, as Shepherd’s low effort didn’t count while ACD defender Alex Bessent headed off-target. At this stage, it was looking more likely that the visitors would break the deadlock but one piece of oppurtunistic quality altered that perception. Three minutes before the break, as a defensive clearance went awry for ACD but just outside the 18-yard area, Wood forward Leroy Griffiths judged the ball coming out of the air superbly and his fine first-time strike sailed over Richards and high into the net. Certainly a goal to savour that one was.
Half-Time: Harold Wood 1 – 0 ACD Utd
As we resumed after the break, the visitors brought on Billy Rungay and Shaun Goddard. Again, ACD were a threat down the channels four minutes into the half as another good run & cross by Williams found Rungay at the back post and he headed narrowly wide, under pressure. As we approached the hour mark, Harold Wood Athletic were starting to have more ball time and were testing the visiting defence a bit more readily. A good ball in from Griffiths found defender Perry Robinson but his header couldn’t test Richards. As they often did, ACD responded well moments later, as first Samuel Payne’s strike was cleared off the goal-line by a covering defender and seconds later, Rungay’s shot was gathered by the well-positioned Moore.
The tension was growing somewhat here as we went into the last twenty minutes of this one, as Utd substitute Warren Taylor fired over the woodwork from a decent position. Quick forward Max Shepherd was finding more space down the right flank as the game went on & his strike was narrowly wide. ACD certainly didn’t back off as we entered the last five minutes of normal time, as another good strike by Billy Rungay needed the intervention of Moore as he pulled off another good save, before Bessent’s decent strike required another good save from the Harold Wood custodian.
The four minutes of added time may well have seemed longer to the Harold Wood players but soon enough, referee Richard Wilsher blew his whistle for the last time today & the celebrations could begin for a understandably chuffed home side.
Full-Time: Harold Wood Athletic 1 – 0 ACD Utd
Given the significance of the match for the hosts, this was going to be a nervy one but their second half display made it harder for ACD to create chances, after Jack Munns’ side had put in a good first-half display to not only stifle the hosts but also in creating several chances themselves. Wood had to grind it out towards the end, assisted by a tough backline & a few good saves by young custodian Jack Moore. Congratulations again to all at Harold Wood, as they join champions Old Chelmsfordians in getting promoted to the Premier Division next term.
The stand-out mentions start with victors Harold Wood. Centre forward Leroy Griffiths led the line well and his physical presence was tough for a resolute ACD side to deal with, and his goal was a super piece of technique. Max Shepherd made a number of good runs down the right flank & made some neat passes as well as tested the visiting defence, also getting back to defend well when needed. Powerful central midfielder Connor Sheehan also put in a hard shift for his team, was good aerially & also made some good interceptions. Lastly, a mention for goalkeeper Jack Moore who made some criticial saves in the latter moments of the game to thwart a talented ACD forward line. Congrats to him.
For ACD, I felt defender Alex Bessent had a very good game and made it tough for the hosts to get into any particular rhythm in the first half-hour, making good tackles & showing good defensive awareness. Ollie Williams also gave it everything & put in a number of good crosses from the left side, stretching the Harold Wood backline well. Midfielder Billy Wren also put in a good shift as Jack Munns’ side put in a good display going forward & retained the ball for good parts of the game. Finally, forward Scott Perkins contributed well, making several good runs and had a few chances to really make it a different game as well as putting in some good passes too.
Harold Wood Athletic | Manager: John Field | Assistant: Rod Edwards
Starting XI: 1 Jack Moore (GK), 2 Perry Robinson, 11 Zach Holding (Capt), 8 Daniel Spittle, 3 Jack Baines, 6 Louis Bazely, 17 Ben Woolven, 18 Connor Sheehan, 9 Tyrone Scarlett, 10 Leroy Griffiths, 7 Max Shepherd
Goal-scorer: Leroy Griffiths [42′]
Subs ON [Time]: 12 Thomas Butler [68′, replaced Robinson], 5 Jacob Roberts [77′], 16 Freddy Shepherd [89′, replaced Sheehan]
Booked: Griffiths, Butler, Moore | Subs Not Used: Harris & Sykes
ACD Utd | Manager: Jack Munns |
Starting XI: 1 Tyler Richards (GK), 23 Jamie Alexandrou (Capt), 5 Alex Bessent, 40 James Ball, 3 Ollie Williams, 36 Jake Noble, 15 Shaun Farrow, 47 Billy Wren, 32 Samuel Payne, 9 Jacob Dingli, 20 Scott Perkins
Sub ON (Time): 2 Billy Rungay [46′], 14 Shaun Goddard [46′], 19 Warren Taylor [68′]
Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up, looking at the action in all divisions & Cups from the week to Saturday 6 May, in this penultimate edition of the column this season.
In the top-tier, we start on Monday where Catholic Utd endorsed their quest for second-placed finish with a 3 – 2 victory at Sungate. Aaron Baldwin, Liam Oliver and replacement Franklin Craik got the goals for the victors in that one. Onto Tuesday night and Shenfield AFC‘s last home game of the season saw a 3 – 1 success over Kelvedon Hatch. James Burt scored for Darren Hunt’s side but a welcome treble for Luke Williamson secured the points at St Martin’s. Moving onto Wednesday night, Hutton‘s march to the title continued with a 1 – 0 win at Sungate, with Lewis Scott the goal-scorer at the Wanderers Sports Ground. Toby also held Rayleigh Town 1 – 1 at the Nursery Sports Ground. Rhys Willson netted for the Brewers and Harry Talbot got the reply for the visitors.
Elsewhere, in Division Three on Wednesday, Basildon Town Res defeated Chingford Athletic Res 2 – 0 in a rare Reserve game played at Rookery Hill. Antony Aylett & Ashley Drury netted to seal the champions’ 14th league win of the term. Chingford will finish fourth.
EOFL Premier Division
We start the weekend action with Catholic Utd who secured second spot with a fine 5 – 1 victory over Shenfield AFC at the Len Forge. Harrison Day’s double plus goals for Aaron Baldwin, James Warder and Kofi Goodrum sealed the points, with Elliott Thompson notching for AFC, who have two games remaining. Rayleigh Town sealed third a 2 – 1 victory at Sungate which gives them something to shout about after a tough last month of the campaign. Hutton go in Step 6 on the back of four straight wins as they won 4 – 2 over Galleywood at New Lodge 3G (their home for next term). Lee Judd and replacement Max Orrin netted for the visitors who drop into Division One, would like to wish them well for next term.
Meanwhile, Springfield‘s terrific run continued as they defeated Toby 4 – 1 at Arun Park. Will Wheeler’s double, plus goalls by Harry Kateley & Reece Latimer ensured their fourth straight victory & Matt Cardy’s side will be optimistic of a stronger season next term, currently sitting in seventh. Toby have their Senior Cup Final with Catholic Utd in midweek & could still finish in top eight if they win one of their remaining two league matches. Also, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts can still finish outside the bottom two after a 4 – 2 success at home to Canning Town. Matthew Allen netted two goals here, with Joe Holt and replacement Ryan Whiteman also on target for Swifts, who will leapfrog Kelvedon if they win their last match.
EOFL Reserve League Trophy Final
It was another Final on Tuesday night at Woodside, with Manford Way Res earning more silverware on spot-kicks after a 2 – 2 draw with Runwell Sports Res. Alex Gray & Max Harrington scored for Runwell but Callum Thomas & Aaron Clements responded for Manford, before they won the shoot-out 8 – 7 & congrats to them on a fine season, which included the Division Five title.
EOFL Divisions One & Two
Into Division One now, and the match I attended saw Beacon Hill Rovers end their season with the three points, as they edged to a late 3 – 2 success at Corinthians. Karl Swanborough netted twice & skipper Charles Brewer added a close-range strike to seal the win. Connor Summerhill netted two goals for Chris Stoneham’s side but they will finish fourth. Rovers will end the term in sixth. If you’d like more on this game, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2023/05/07/s22-23-match-report-corinthians-2-3-beacon-hill-rovers-sat-6-may/
In Division Two, champions Shoebury Town ended their season unbeaten after a 4 – 0 triumph at Hutton Res. Mechack-Kisoka Asuka netted another double here to reach 31 league goals himself, three goals ahead of ‘Golden Boot’ rival Connor Fardyga of Wakering Sports Res. Luke Jackson & replacement Alfie Fossett also netted to crown off a memorable campaign for Garry Johnson & John Galley’s side. The other match saw Hashtag Utd Development secured third spot after a 5 – 2 win at Harold Wood Athletic Res. Matthew Gauci, Tony Stevens, Thomas Matthew, Samuel Pratt & Chandler Wray’s tenth league goal this term was enough to overhaul strikes by Kieran Moynihan and James Pottle but ‘Wood will finish fourth.
EOFL Division Four
In the fifth-tier, Galleywood Res got the win they needed to avoid the bottom two after a 2 – 1 triumph over Leytonstone Utd. Lukas Rodlauer & replacement Sam Rawlinson both scored to see their side up to ninth in their last game. The news isn’t quite as good for Lytonstone who will finish bottom & drop to Division Five despite a commendable response in their last few matches. Leigh Ramblers Res made it to 50 points in their last game, following a 5 – 0 win at Pitsea Athletic Res. The ensemble cast of Jamie Lovell, Joe Howson, Max Pitts, Ethan Nunn & Michael Coffey all netted for the champions. And lastly, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res won 4 – 1 at home to Herongate Athletic Res at Silver Leys. Thomas O’Keefe netted for Ath but goals from Matt Kemp, substitutes Daniel Bunting & Ryan Stewart plus an OG confirmed the points & they can still finish fourth if they better Herongate’s result in their respective last games.
Tough duel sees Barking emerge with Errington Cup on spot-kicks
Redbridge 1 – 1 Barking (Barking won 5 – 4 on pens)
Match Report by Scott W [ Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Photos by Scott W & @EssexSenior
The first game of the weekend saw another Essex Senior League Cup Final, this time the Errington Cup Final between Peter Butcher Trophy winners Redbridge and in-form Barking at Aveley’s Parkside. Redbridge were going for a unique treble after their exploits earlier in the week, and boss George Christou named Connor Wheatley as their goalkeeper, with Michael Pindy and Tayo Olukolu the fast attacking full-backs, alongside a central defence of Joe Elliott and Nathan Okoye. Skipper Jack Chawner & Jamie Price were in central midfield, with Abs Thompson & Solomon Ogunwomoju supporting forwards George Purcell and Brian Moses. Barking finished their ESL campaign strongly under manager Nick Harding and had Harvey Simson in goal, with a backline of Kyrell Palmer, Kenedi Dariri, Alfie Leach & captain Eljay Worrell. Jess Norey & Jack Folan were the steel in central midfield, with Darnell Baxter-Alleyne & Sa-Sean Lutumba on the flanks and Sam Shaban and Ahmed Abdulla in attack.
I will add right from the outset that this was a real tough duel between two fast forward lines & two strong defences and the first half in particular saw both sides gradually turn up the pace on each other. Chances were not plentiful, but there was intrigue among the more than 350 fans in attendance. On 17 minutes, following a good break down the left, Solomon Ogunwomoju’s firm strike brought a good save out of Barking custodian Harvey Simson. Shortly before that, fast winger Sa-Sean Lutumba let fly with a decent strike from an acute angle just outside the penalty area, and centre-back Kenedi Dariri also headed over. Redbridge captain Jack Chawner also had an effort blocked, as the tension steadily grew. In short, both sides were having their moments with decent forward moves but that decisive goal could not be found.
HT: Redbridge 0 – 0 Barking
After the break, Barking winger Darnell Baxter-Alleyne had an effort off-target after a good turn down the left side, as they were having a good phase at this point. Shortly after coming off the bench, forward Lauric Diakiesse made a good run down the left and the ball eventually came to forward Sam Shaban although he was denied a clear chance by the good positioning of the Motormen’s Joe Elliott who cleared. Redbridge responded through chances by tall frontman Brian Moses who blasted the ball over Simson’s goal & George Purcell who headed wide after a cross from deep by Michael Pindy. Substitutes Reuben Campbell & James Barlow were adding more energy & pace down the channels for the Motormen but the spine of Barking’s defence & midfield were nullifying their chances to good effect, particularly Jess Norey and Kenedi Dariri.
The nerves from both sets of supporters were rising and it looked increasingly likely that the extra 30 minutes would be required, although right on the stroke of 90 minutes, as Barking substitute Tim Ogunrinde struck a superb strike which powered off the woodwork.
After 90 mins: Redbridge 0 – 0 Barking
So extra time began in earnest in good time, and Barking were edging the first period when forward Ahmed Abdulla’s decent strike from a narrow angle was well-denied by Redbridge goalkeeper Connor Wheatley at the near post. Nick Harding’s side did take the lead ten minutes into extra time, as Abdulla turned provider, as his cross was headed in well by Dariri, who had showcased his aerial skills in defence for most of the game. The side in Blue here continued to push down the flanks, with the trickery of replacement Loui Hazelwood making it tough for the hard-working Barking midfield.
There was another goal & more drama to come 19 minutes into the allotted thirty as a curling, dipping set-piece by Hazelwood got past Simson and the goal-line before it came off the woodwork, and just like that, Redbridge were level again. Both sides gave it all they had but the dreaded penalty shoot-out would soon be upon us. In some ways, it was fitting as you had to commend the work rate & energy levels of both teams.
After a tense lottery of spot-kicks, it came to the two number 16’s. Firstly, Motormen midfielder Jamie Price (who had a very good game it must be said) blazed his penalty over & then Barking substitute Daniel Brock stepped up & duly blasted his penalty into the net, to cue joyous scenes among the Barking contingent, many congratulations to them on winning the Errington Challenge Cup.
Full-Time (AET): Redbridge 1 – 1 Barking (Barking won 5 – 4 on spot-kicks)
In summary, this was a battle of two sides who both had strong defences which did affect the quality at times, but the passion that both teams showed at the end of a gruelling season was commendable. Barking edged to a slender lead in extra time, but didn’t panic after conceding and it was hard to not be pleased for them after winning a tense penalty shoot-out. It’s hard on George Christou’s team but their stellar week could not end with further history being made, we wish them well in Step 4 next term.
We start the honourable mentions with victors Barking. In a match which was so tight for long periods, central midfielder Jack Folan had a fine game, putting in a high-energy performance in defence and attack. Folan broke up the play well and made some astute passes. Full-back Kyrell Palmer had a fine game also, dealing well with the threat of Ogunwomoju & Olukolu down his flank & made good interceptions. Centre-back Kenedi Dariri ended a fine season with a strong defensive showing, and his aerial ability also saw him net a crucial goal. Lastly, a word for winger Sa-Sean Lutumba who was a real threat down the left side in what was a cagey first half, utilising his pace and movement to good effect.
For Redbridge, central midfielder Jamie Price had a very good game overall, winning headers and breaking up the opposition attacks well as well putting in a very hard shift & making neat passes. Centre-back Joe Elliott continues to impress this term & he made some vital clearances as well as standing up to the inventive Barking forwards well. Finally, a mention is deserved for forwards Solomon Ogunwomoju & Tayo Olukolu who used their pace well and showed every bit of passion & drive that this match will be remembered for. Ogunwomoju made several key passes & Olukolu showed admirable work rate as well.
Redbridge | Manager: George Christou | Assistant: Jack Toghli | Physio: Graham Pitkin
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Connor Wheatley (GK), 17 Michael Pindy, 3 Joe Elliott, 6 Nathan Okoye, 11 Tayo Joshua Olukolu (12 Mustafa Kahie ET 16′) , 8 Jack Chawner (Capt), 16 Jamie Price, 7 Abs Thompson (4 Loui Hazelwood 90′), 10 Solomon Ogunwomoju (5 Reuben Campbell 61′), 9 George Purcell (18 Ibrahim Kehinde ET 2′), 19 Brian Moses (15 James Barlow 75′)
Goal-scorer: Loui Hazelwood [ET 19′]
Booked: Olukolu | Sub Not Used: None
Barking | Manager: Nick Harding | Physio: Ally Maloney
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Harvey Simson (GK), 2 Kyrell Palmer (12 Harry Baker 79′), 5 Kenedi Dariri, 6 Alfie Leach, 3 Eljay Worrell (Capt), 4 Jess Norey, 8 Jack Folan (16 Daniel Brock 84′), 7 Darnell Baxter-Alleyne (14 Lauric Diakiesse 54′), 11 Sa-Sean Lutumba (17 Tim Ogunrinde 54′), 9 Sam Shaban, 10 Ahmed Abdulla (15 Alessandro Wisdom ET 17′)
Goal-scorer: Kenedi Dariri [ET 10′]
Booked: Palmer, Abdulla, Leach | Sent Off: Norey [ET 27′, two bookings] | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Tom Wyatt Assistants: Connor Cornell & Katie Dorling Fourth Official: Charlie Roberts
FC Clacton: Yellow Shirts, Navy Shorts, Yellow Socks
Redbridge battle to retain Peter Butcher Trophy
Redbridge 1 – 0 FC Clacton
Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Photos by Scott W (unless stated), Essex Senior [@EssexSenior] & @TheOnionbag1, used with thanks
The first game of May saw a welcome return to covering the Essex Senior’s Peter Butcher Trophy Final, as the defending champions Redbridge took on FC Clacton at Takeley’s Station Road. George Christou’s team rotated their squad a bit here, naming George Martin as goalkeeper, with a defence of Bradley Bennett, Joe Elliott and centre-backs Olamiji Ayoola & Dean Hall. The midfield had Remi Nelson, Abd Thompson, Jack Chawner and Jerold Cobblah, with the forward line being led by Ibrahim Kehinde and skipper James Barlow. Clacton were also forced to make a couple of changes but could name Luke Avenell in goal, with a backline of powerful centre-backs Chris Ribchester and Michael Okafor, with Jordan Lartey & captain Billy Wales. Kyelan Marvell and Jack Marshall were in central midfield, with Teddy Collis and Rueben Cowler on the flanks. Top goalscorer Mekhi McKenzie was joined by Adam Tilson in attack.
The celebratory mood for the hosts after their comeback win in the Inter-League play-off Final at Haywards Heath Town just 48 hours previous to today was added to here pre-match with a presentation of the Essex Senior Runners-up Shield as well, seen below.
The match itself got underway and both sides battled from the opening minute, but it was the Seasiders who had the edge in terms of ball time and glimmers at goal. Clacton centre-back Chris Ribchester headed over early on, before fellow centre-back Michael Okafor’s low 20-yard drive needed a decent parry from Motormen custodian George Martin, while the follow-up by Mekhi Mckenzie was also well-blocked. Despite their early promise in terms of play, it was the Motormen who broke the deadlock on twenty minutes as a good ball through the middle found forward Ibrahim Kehinde and he bypassed the off-side trap and slotted home past Seasiders stopper Luke Avenell into the right-side corner.
Kehinde was in on the action again on twenty-eight minutes but this time a fine block by Okafor denied him a shot at goal. Clacton were finding it hard to get down the channels but when they did, wingers Teddy Collis and Rueben Cowler looked to get in behind to produce those telling crosses, while midfielder Kyelan Marvell was also getting on the ball and looking to instigate forward moves with some decent passes as well.
Half-Time: Redbridge 1 – 0 FC Clacton
The rain started before the break as well but both teams were looking to find their fluency here. George Christou brought on Solomon Ogunwomoju at half-time, replacing Abs Thompson and it gave them a little more pace & energy in their forward line. The half began with more battling in midfield, and Redbridge skipper lost his footing at the crucial moment when well-poised to strike just three minutes after the resumption. For the most part, Clacton’s defence was rebuffing the opposition, but a minute it was a good piece of oppurtunism by McKenzie who did well to seize the ball ahead of the impressive Olamiji Ayoola and get a strike away, bringing a decent save out of Martin.
The minutes ticked by as stern defending by this resolute & galvanized Redbridge side was equal to Clacton’s attacks and you felt the longer they could defend, the harder it would be for the Seasiders. McKenzie was still a threat throughout both with his pace & his aerial ability, but unfortunately Tommy Austin’s side overall were not at their best here. Saying that, they forced Redbridge to defend deep in the latter stages but they were not to be denied here.
It could have been easier for the Blues as on 84 minutes, but midfielder Remi Nelson’s good strike was judged well by Avenell as be parried the all over the crossbar. Despite six minutes of added-time, it was not to be for the Seasiders as referee Daniel Baines soon blew the final whistle, which started joyous scenes for the Motormen, who won the Trophy for the second season in succession – some statistic that is by the way!
Full-Time: Redbridge 1 – 0 FC Clacton
In summary, this was a gritty battle that Redbridge had to stay alert in to deal with an enterprising Clacton side who couldn’t quite establish enough chances to seriously test Motormen stopper George Martin. In truth, this was a game which didn’t provide a morass of chances for either side, but Tommy Austin’s team could not make the most of their promising patches in the game. The Motormen would not be denied thanks to a strong defensive display. Congratulations to Redbridge on a fine achievement & also on their promotion to Step 4. The quest remains now whether they will notch a memorable treble when they play in the Errington Cup Final on Friday night against Barking, and be the first team to do it since Witham Town did in 2012.
A mention also for hard-working Clacton, who still have had a memorable season under manager Tommy Austin & assistant Ryan Salter. They finished fourth in the league, six points clear of in-form Takeley & reached this Final as well. I’d like to wish them all the best going forward, hopefully they will remain in the ESL next term as they are a good side to watch.
We start the honourable mentions with victors Redbridge. Centre-back Olamiji Ayoola really did have a good game, making several good interceptions and was also a good aerial presence as well. Centre forward Ibrahim Kehinde also got the conclusive goal as well as showing good movement at times. Central midfielder Jack Chawner also put in a very good shift & was a decent outlet from set-pieces as well in a match that was always tight. For Clacton, I must add that central defender Michael Okafor had another very good game, battling well against the opposition forwards & made a few runs forward as well at times, forcing a decent save out of Martin at one point. Forward Mekhi McKenzie also worked hard and had a few half-chances at goal, turning past his marker well too on occasions. Finally, midfielder Kyelan Marvell put in some good passes & did well from some of the Seasiders’ free-kicks too.
Redbridge | Manager: George Christou | Assistant: Jack Toghli |
Starting XI (Subs): 1 George Martin (GK), 2 Bradley Bennett, 3 Joe Elliott, 5 Dean Hall, 6 Olamiji Ayoola, 8 Jack Chawner, 4 Jerold Cobblah (14 Reuben Campbell 75′), 7 Abs Thompson (10 Solomon Ogunwomoju 46′), 16 Remi Nelson, 9 Ibrahim Kehinde (11 George Purcell 62′), 15 James Barlow (Capt) (19 Brian Moses 69′)
Goal-scorer: Ibrahim Kehinde [20′]
Booked: Thompson, Elliott, Purcell | Sub Not Used: Pindy
FC Clacton | Manager: Tommy Austin | Assistant: Ryan Salter
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luke Avenell (GK), 2 Jordan Lartey, 3 Billy Wales (Capt), 5 Chris Ribchester, 6 Michael Okafor, 8 Jack Marshall, 4 Kyelan Marvell, 7 Teddy Collis (15 Toby Harms 90’+2), 10 Adam Tilson (16 Charlie Thompson 69′), 9 Mekhi McKenzie, 11 Rueben Cowler (14 Samuel Thompson 77′)
Booked: Okafor, Ribchester, Marshall | Subs Not Used: Hanna, Lamb
Referee: Daniel Baines Assistants: Denis Hasanaj & Olabisi Omotosho Fourth Official: George Barker
Runwell’s fine comeback grabs victory over spirited Rayleigh
Runwell Sports 5 – 1 Rayleigh Town
Match Report & Photosby Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The last month of the Non-League season continued with another Intermediate match, this time at Step 7’s Essex Olympian Premier Division as In-form Runwell Sports welcomed Rayleigh Town to St Luke’s Park. The hosts were looking for a victory to supplement their top-four ambitions while Rayleigh needed the points to bolster their fading hopes of promotion, in part due to injuries & their hefty recent fixture list. Rob Hodgson’s team named loanee custodian Tommy Woodcock behind a defence comprised of Charlie Buffin, Damian Siemienczuk and centre-backs Matteo Mgoma & Ollie Quick. In central midfield was Taylor Armstrong & Owen Barratt, while the creative Charlie Little and captain Joe Olley supported forwards Gianni Frankis and Luca Frankis. Rayleigh named regular stopper Mark Brown in goal, with their backline being Mitchell Allen, Alfie Larkin, captain Charlie Seaden and Joe Lovett. Ethan Deller and Matthew Oaten were in midfield, with Lewis Robson and Sonny Woodward the support duo to forwards Ebeneezer Djan and Philip Anunwa.
The early stages of this match saw the visitors start brightly, and they did make the breakthrough after nine minutes as a fine darting run by forward Philip Anunwa down the left side of the penalty area past his marker and firing a low drive past home stopper Tommy Woodcock into the net. Runwell couldn’t quite gather their passes at this point and debatably sat too deep which stifled them when they did push forward for the majority of the half. Rayleigh have further chances to put themselves clear though Lewis Robson headed off-target and soon afterward, Anunwa had two chances that didn’t require Woodcock’s intervention, but Anunwa’s third chance was a fine strike which did need a decent save by the Runwell goalkeeper. As we passed the half-hour mark, the weather started to make pitch conditions more tricky and home full-back Damian Suemienczuk made a good run down the left, with his cross being half-cleared, and the ball fell to midfielder Owen Barratt who powered a fierce drive which was blocked by a resolute Rayleigh backline.
Sometimes in games it matters when you score & that was certainly true here as Runwell levelled just before half-time. A decent cross by Charlie Little got past the visiting defence in a congested penalty area to find forward Gianni Frankis who got enough power on his header to take it over the goal-line before it was hacked away. Not only would this alter the team-talks at the interval for both sides but the depleted visitors (who really had put a lot into this half) faced a long forty-five minutes to come.
Half-Time: Runwell 1 – 1 Rayleigh
After the break, the rain intensified and had a further effect on playing conditions. The home side rallied in the the last half hour, and on the hour a good cross by Little tracked the run made by Siemienczuk at the far post but his close-range effort was denied well by Rayleigh goalkeeper Mark Brown, and replacement James Dalton reacted first but couldn’t find the net. However, the hosts did take the lead on sixty-two minutes, thanks to a good strike by Luca Frankis which found the right-side corner. Before Town had the chance to recover their composure, Runwell netted again two minutes later. Luca Frankis again the scorer as the savvy forward netted from close-range with a low finish, past Brown. At this point in proceedings, the torrent of forward moves came from Runwell and they made it four on seventy-one minutes as a neat aerial ball by Joe Olley found Luca Frankis who slotted home to complete a ten-minute treble.
Rayleigh brought on Calvin Armstrong and joint-lead goalscorer Harry Talbot for the latter stages and although Anunwa was still making good runs down the flank, the effects of three games in six days was showing on a still talented side. Runwell further endorsed their top-four credentials, as well as the fact they bossed the second half by adding a fifth goal on 81 minutes, as Gianni Frankis netted from close range to make it five goals for the Frankis brothers in this game, that will be a statistic noted for its rarity.
As the darkness was starting to descend, referee Jeff Stanley blew his whistle for the final time and Rayleigh were understandably gutted given that their promotion aspirations have most likely gone now, but they should be proud of their season all the same. They certainly gave Runwell a good test here, although Rod Hodgson’s team continue to accrue some excellent results this term, in their first season back at this level for two decades.
Full-Time: Runwell Sports 5 – 1 Rayleigh Town
Full credit to Runwell who responded well after a stuttering start to outpace an understandably tiring Rayleigh side after the interval and clinical finishing turned the tide of this match. Rayleigh edged the first half with a high-energy performance & had chances to extend their lead as well but conceding right on half-time proved detrimental. Rayleigh have to face Catholic Utd at home tomorrow (Sat 29th Apr) as the race for second spot heats up.
There were some fine performances by both teams in this match. For victors Runwell, forward Luca Frankis’ rapid treble proved his significance to his team and also battled well in the tricky conditions, making darting runs down the left side. Creative midfielder Charlie Little put in some telling crosses and also contrubuted well defensively too. Lastly, midfielder Owen Barratt and full-back Charlie Buffin put in good, hard-working displays to aid their side in grabbing the initative as the match went on.
For Rayleigh, we start with a deserved mention for forward Philip Anunwa who really tested the home defence to good effect, utilising clever movement to get round his marker on a number of occasions and took his goal well too. Next, young midfielder Ethan Deller also shone, using his pace, good passing and dribbling ability to unsettle the hosts and competed well also. Finally, a word for creative midfielder Sonny Woodward who made several important passes and also skipper Charlie Seaden who used his experience well to marshall the defence alongside Alfie Larkin and made it tough for Runwell to create notable chances in the first half.
Runwell Sports | Manager: Robert Hodgson | Assistants: Jason Davis & Ian Read
Starting XI: 1 Tommy Woodcock (GK), 2 Charlie Buffin, 3 Damian Siemienczuk, 5 Ollie Quick, 6 Matteo Mgoma, 4 Taylor Armstrong, 8 Owen Barratt, 10 Joe Olley (Capt), 7 Charlie LIttle, 9 Gianni Frankis, 11 Luca Frankis
Shoebury: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts & Socks
Goal-hungry Shoebury emphatically defeat depleted Rayleigh Res
Rayleigh Town Res 0 – 11 Shoebury Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The last month of the Non-League season began with a rare but welcome visit to London Road as Rayleigh Town Reserves welcomed title-chasing Shoebury Town in an Essex Olympian League Division Two fixture. With several of the reserve side augmenting the First team squad due to a hefty injury list, the hosts had to field several of their Development side here. Shoebury were keen to grab the points here to go back to the summit. Rayleigh’s youthful side contained Bradley Spindler in goal, with a backline comprised of Zachary Skillett, Sam Anderson, captain Joe Whittaker and Jamie Scott. Their midfield had Liam Brooks, Max Dunnett, Cavan Goodley and Conor Brooks, with Freddie Mason and Ethan Deller in attack. Shoebury brought a strong side here, with Rohan Hart their goalkeeper, a defence of Jack Clarke, Suhail Yasin, Jenson Gentry and Aaron Marshall. Jack Nolde, skipper Callum Merenda were in central midfield with Luke Jackson and Izaih Antoine supporting forwards Mechack-Kisoka Asuka and Jack Woodham.
The visitors immediately took charge of this match with two goals in the opening five minutes. In the first minute, Shoebury’s lead scorer Mechack-Kisoka Asuka’s attempted cross decieved home custodian z\Bradley Spindler and found the net, and just as the hosts were attempting to re-gather their composure, Jack Woodham netted his tenth league goal this term with a low drive into the net. Shoebury were giving little away in terms of possession and only a decent goal-line block prevented Woodham from notching again on 17 minutes. The visitors got their third goal from the penalty spot on twenty-two minutes after a foul at the far post allowed Luke Jackson to fire home into the right corner, beyond Spindler. Even at the half-hour mark, it was fairly clear who would emerge with the victory although another decent effort from Woodham required the intervention of Spindler, befre Asuka headed narrowly over seconds later.
Rayleigh did try and push when they did have concerted periods of possession, with Max Dunnett and Zach Skillett pushing forward to goof effect, and forward Freddie Mason did have an effort blocked by a resolute Shoebury backline who were keen to keep hold of their shut-out. The visitors netted two more goals before the break, firstly on 32 minutes Asuka put in another good cross from the right channel, and Woodham timed his approach well before firing low into the net. And six minutes after that, Woodham netted his third goal with a cushioned header from close range with custodian Spindler couldn’t keep out.
At the interval, it was hard not to feel sympathetic to the youthful Rayleigh side, although all credit to Shoebury as their goal-scoring prowess will be a potent asset for the already-promoted team next term.
Half-Time: Rayleigh Res 0 – 5 Shoebury
After the break, Shoebury made four changes withe weekend’s game at home to Harold Wood Athletic Reserves in mind, knowing that if they win that tussle, they will clinch the Division Two title. Lewis Hunt, Timi Tinubu, Oliver Chew and Enoch Gyimah all came on for the visitors, and there was no let up in the chances for Garry Johnson & John Galley’s side. On 51 minutes, it was six and a good finish by Mechack-Kisoka Asuka earned him his second goal, which he converted to a treble four minutes later with a good header which found the net. It was at the midway point where the hosts started to have a little more ball time, and Mason and fellow forward Ethan Deller kept the visiting defence alert. With sixty-five minutes played, Shoebury made it eight-nil, as a good header by Jackson netted his second goal in another decent perfornance from him.
Rayleigh kept playing with commendable spirit, and substitute James Singleton’s effort needed a decent save from Shoebury goalkeeper Rohan Hart to prevent any chance of a follow-up strike. Unfortunately for the home side, the pain wasn’t concluded yet as a attempted clearance from replacement Oliver Chew’s effort was diverted into their own net for the ninth goal to the visitors. With the daylight starting to fade, the visitors did get their tenth goal on eighty-one minutes with another decent finish by hard-working midfielder Callum Merenda. Izaih Antoine had also had a good game down the right side for Shoebury and a well-struck effort evaded the home defence and found the net with five minutes remaining.
Shoebury substitutes Oliver Chew and Enoch Gyimah did well to keep testing the over-worked home defence, although the home defence made some good clearances, notably captain Joe Whittaker, it was hard to argue with the dominance showed by the title-chasing Shoebury side who duly went back to the summit with this win.
Full-Time: Rayleigh Town Res 0 – 11 Shoebury Town
Full credit to Shoebury who started the game with a good mindset and more than earned the points they came to contest for, showcasing some good play, high work rate and a lot of decent goals. I also want to credit Rayleigh Res as well though as for some of this team, this was a glimpse of what Intermediate football is and whilst the result is a painful one for them, the experience will set them in good stead overall.
There were some good performances by both teams here. For Shoebury, forwards Mechack-Kisoka Asuka and Jack Woodham both netted good trebles here, with Mechack’s treble seeing him go level with rival Connor Fardyga (of Wakering Sports Res) on 28 league goals, he was a threat all game and used his pace and passing to good effect. Woodham also passed 10 league goals here and showed composure as well as decent movement. Support forward Izaih Antoine had a good game also, making several good passes and good darting runs down the right side & took his goal well. Lastly, skipper Callum Merenda did well in midfield and also contributed to his team’s attacks as well as scoring a goal.
For Rayleigh Res, captain Joe Whittaker did his best to make it hard for the opposition, making several good interceptions. Forward Freddie Mason also tried hard to test the Shoebury backline, with a few weaving runs and some neat passes while a mention also has to go to full-back Zachary Skillett and to Max Dunnett, who broke down the channels to decent effect on a few occasions.
Rayleigh Town Res | Manager: Dave Barker |
Starting XI: 1 Bradley Spindler (GK), 2 Zachary Skillett, 4 Sam Anderson, 6 Joe Whittaker (Capt), 14 Jamie Scott, 16 Liam Brooks, 5 Max Dunnett, 17 Cavan Goodley, 15 Conor Brooks, 10 Freddie Mason, 11 Ethan Deller
Subs ON [Time]: 9 James Singleton [12′], 7 Joe Lovett [78′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Allen, Armstrong
Shoebury Town | Co-Managers: Garry Johnson & John Galley
Starting XI: 1 Rohan Hart (GK), 2 Jack Clarke, 17 Suhail Yasin, 15 Jenson Gentry, 11 Aaron Marshall, 4 Jack Nolde, 7 Callum Merenda (Capt), 8 Luke Jackson, 10 Mechack-Kisoka Asuka, 9 Jack Woodham, 14 Izaih Antoine
Goal-scorers: Mechack-Kisoka Asuka [1′, 51′ & 55′], Jack Woodham [5′, 32′ & 38′], Luke Jackson [pen 22′ & 65′], OG [70′], Callum Merenda [81′], Izaih Antoine [84′]
Subs ON (Time): 3 Lewis Hunt [46′], 18 Timi Tinubu [46′], 21 Oliver Chew [46′], 23 Enoch Gyimah [46′]
Manor: Yellow & Black Shirts, Black Shorts & Yellow Socks
Enfield: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, White Socks
Ruthless Enfield humble Manor to secure Essex Senior title
Southend Manor 0 – 8 Enfield
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This match in the Essex Senior League saw relegated Southend Manor take on Enfield and after other results twenty-four hours earlier, the equation for Jamie Cureton’s side was simple – another three points would seal the ESL title. Manor are looking to build some momentum ahead of next season, and named Bradley Davison is goal, with a backline of Leonardo Stefanes-Ribeiro, Ryan Willsmer and centre-backs Kevin Toualeu & Leon Lewis. Skipper Eliandro Soque was alongside Soumen Nandi in central midfield, with Callum Morris supporting the forward line of Deimar Queni, Tobi Olusanya and Celso Da Silva. Enfield named a strong squad, with Jarvis Monk their goalkeeper and captain, a defence of Alfie Mason, Junior Mubiayi and Jack Johnson. The attack-minded midfield contained Alex Warman, Usman Adeniji, Samrai Gebrai and Louis Johnson, with the forward line being led by Luke Hirst, Tom Richardson and Solomon Ofori.
The early stages of this contest saw the hosts begin with a decent foray forward, with forward Deimar Queni putting in a good cross from the right side, which needed an acrobatic clearance from an E’s defence. Enfield responded immediately with the opening goal, as a defensive error forced home stopper Bradley Davison out of position and he couldn’t gather the ball, allowing E’s forward Luke Hirst the chance to round him & slot home into an empty net. The visitors so nearly doubled their lead on nine minutes as forward Solomon Ofori found fellow attacker Tom Richardson but his effort was blocked by the Manor defence. The open nature of the game continue as full-back Leonardo Stefanes-Ribeiro had a header at the near post blocked. Unfortunately for the home side, that open-ended nature of this game continued.
Moments after Richardson headed wide from another good set-piece, Enfield pretty much made the points safe. On twenty-five minutes, from midfielder Alex Warman threatening free-kick, Samrai Gebrai directed his header well at the near post to find the far corner. Then four minutes later, Hirst was involved again as his run ended with his pass finding Richardson who calmly finished past Davison into the left corner. At this point, the E’s were flying down the flanks almost at will, as Louie Johnson did well to keep the ball in play before his cross was well-gathered by Davison. Another telling moment came on fourty-one minutes, as having earlier been in the sin-bin, centre-back Leon Lewis was also sent off for a tough tackle on Gebrai. The champions-elect were more than happy with their work at the interval, the question was would they drop off in tempo after the interval, we soon got the answer to that.
HT: Manor 0 – 4 Enfield
After the break, there was plenty of action. If there was any lingering doubt over the result, it was extinguished four minutes into the half as Luke Hirst made another good run before finding a crisp low finish which past Davison into the net. Manor still had the occasional foray forward, with Queni doing his best to test the visiting defence in the channels, although substitutes Jack Grosvenor & Jack Cousins contributed to keeping the E’s shut-out intact. On the hour, a good run & cross by Alfie Mason from the left found Warman & his strike forced a decent save out of Davison. Enfield certainly were not finished with scoring goals, as another replacement got on the scorer-sheet on 66 minutes, as Gavin Cockman’s header at the far post found the net, with Mason again involved in the build-up.
It was six on seventy minutes as Luke Hirst sealed his hat-trick after another dazzling run got past the defence and fired home well to secure his treble and took his tally this term to 25 league goals.
The pain for the overwhelmed hosts regarding the scoresheet ended on seventy-six minutes with Cockman being fouled in the eighteen yard area, which allowed Louis Johnson the chance to fire home his spot-kick past the unfortunate Davison to make it an incredible eight goals for the rampant champions. Hirst could have had another in the latter stages as after one of several searing runs by substitute Kieran Bishop, his pass found Hirst whose effort was half-blocked & came off the post, before having another effort which Davison gathered on the goal-line.
The final whistle came and Enfield celebrated with their travelling support as the achievement of promotion was sinking in. Congrats to manager Jamie Cureton, his staff, the players and all at the club.
Full-Time: Southend Manor 0 – 8 Enfield
In summary, the visitors really endorsed their fine season with the manner of this victory, which was ruthless as they added to their advantage steadily during the match. The points here meant they are Essex Senior League champions for season 2022-23. Manor started the game fairly well in their passing & their mindset but simply had no answer to Enfield’s pace, incisive passing & finishing as well.
The stand-out mentions starts with victors Enfield. We have to start with forward Luke Hirst who took his goals well, made good passes and used his pace well to further unsettle the home backline. Samrai Gebrai also had a good game, breaking from the left flank to good effect, getting round defenders well and contributing good passes & a good goal. Central midfielder Alex Warman is an important presence in this team & his set-pieces were decent and tackled well. Lastly, substitute Kieran Bishop added a lot of pace & direct running on the right side, making several important runs & passes.
For Manor, forward Deimar Queni showed good purpise, making several good breaks and neat passes. Soumen Nandi also put in a decent performance, as circumstances in second half meant he pushed forward & kept the work rate going too. Goalkeeper Bradley Davison made a few decent saves as well to prevent the scoreline being higher, while full-back Ryan Willsmer also had a decent game, making a few decent interceptions.
Southend Manor | Interim Manager: Jerry Omango | Assistant: Jon Casey
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Bradley Davison (GK), 2 Leonardo Stefanes-Ribeiro (18 Oliver Andrayas 81′), 3 Ryan Willsmer (23 James Casey 70′), 5 Leon Lewis, 6 Kevin Toualeu, 4 Eliandro Soque (Capt), 8 Soumen Nandi, 10 Callum Morris, 7 Deimar Queni, 9 Tobi Olusanya (15 Thabo Mgwenya 42′), 11 Celso Da Silva (16 Kian Skilbeck 53′)
Sent Off: Lewis (41′, two bookings) | Subs Not Used: None
Enfield | Manager: Jamie Cureton | Assistants: Jim Duggan, Gary Hart & Terry Fogarty
Starting XI (Subs): 26 Jarvis Monk (GK & Capt), 3 Alfie Mason (2 Joshua Luther 70′), 5 Junior Mubiayi (6 Jack Grosvenor 46′), 15 Jack Johnson (12 Jack Cousins 46′), 16 Usman Adeniji, 4 Alex Warman, 10 Louis Johnson, 11 Samrai Gebrai, 14 Tom Richardson (18 Gavin Cockman 60′), 9 Luke Hirst, 30 Solomon Ofori (7 Kieran Bishop 53′)
Goal-Scorers: Luke Hirst [9′, 49′ & 70′], Tom Richardson [18′], Samrai Gebrai [25′], Solomon Ofori [29′], Gavin Cockman [66′], Louis Johnson [pen 76′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Brian Taylor Assistants: Gary Telling & Mitchell Rolfe
Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest Essex Olympian League column, looking at the action in all divisions & Cups from Saturday 15 April, as the weather again impacted events, but 15 matches did take place this week.
EOFL Premier Division
In the top-tier, we start with a rare Bank Holiday Monday match as Catholic Utd convincingly won 6 – 0 at relegation candidates Galleywood. Harrison Day netted a treble here, with Brad Vaighan, James Warder & Lucas Polyblank also scoring for Simon Thomas’ team. The win strengthened Utd’s hopes of a third-placed finish. Onto the weekend now, and Hutton remain seven points clear at the top after a 5 – 1 win over Shenfield AFC at Hannakins Farm 3G. Jude Keeling netted twice here, with Stephen Judge, Lewis Scott & replacement Freddie Miller all scoring for Matt Singh’s team here. Rayleigh Town had to battle to grab a 3 – 2 win at Catholic Utd, with Jack Long, Phil Anunwa & Harry Talbot all scoring for Paul Higgins’ team. James Warder was amo g the scorers for Utd.
Elsewhere, Kelvedon Hatch got a important 3 – 2 victory over Toby at New Hall. Drew Klessa-Smith, James Nottage & substitute James Burt got the goals for Darren Hunt’s team, which takes them out of the bottom three. Replacements Ethan Hardy & Oliver Dingli showed their impact by scoring a goal each but they still have a good chance of a top ten finish. Bishop’s Stortford Swifts drew 0 – 0 with Springfield, which leaves Swifts vulnerable to be caught by Galleywood in the relegation battle. Finally, Leigh Ramblers battled a 1 – 0 victory over Sungate at Belfairs Park, despite playing 45 minutes with ten men. Justin Hazell got the big goal there, which sees the Rams back up to fourth spot.
Moving into Division One now, and Corinthians bagged an important 3 – 1 victory at Epping Town to stay in the promotion race. They have a hard road ahead, having to play Old Chelmsfordians and Manford Way in their next two games, so this was a key win.
In Division Two, Shoebury Town held Wakering Sports Res 2 – 2 to stay on course for the title. Jack Woodham & Mechack-Kisoka Ausuka got the goals for Town, who remain a point clear withan extra game to play compared to their rivals.
EOFL Divisions Three, Four & Five
Division Three saw Pitsea Athletic win 3 – 2 at Old Chelmsfordians Res, which takes them into second spot, having now completed their season. Old Chelms’ second-side have one game left but will finish eighth.
Now in Division Four, the big game at the summit saw Leigh Ramblers Res defeat rivals Roydon 2 – 1 at Belfairs Park. Goals from Luis Bracci & Charlie Batchelor were enough to outdo Kyle Stanley’s reply for the visitors & send Rams three points clear st the top, with three matches left. The positive for Roydon is that one more win from their last two games could be enough to seal promotion. Collier Row ended their campaign with a 3 – 2 victory at home to Ongar Town, with Arley Barker & an OG accounting for Ongar’s goals. Row remain third but two more wins for Herongate Res will see them claim that place. Lastly in D4, Leytonstone Utd got a huge 1 – 0 win at Shenfield AFC Res come off the bottom. They still need four points from their last three games to exit the relegation zone but it is still possible.
In Division Five, Wakebury Res ended their season with a 4 – 2 victory at Sungate Res. Arry Hardy netted a hat-trick for Joe Creak’s side, with Ross Barnes also netted his tenth league goal of the season to see them go back into third spot. Basildon Town A need a win in the last game of the division to overhaul them. Shoebury Town Res also drew 5 – 5 with bottom side AS Rawreth Res at the Ekco Sports Club. Rodang Ngesang netted twice for AS here, with Ramadhan Ramadhan & substitutes Samuel Hall and Joe Terrell also scoring for the visitors.
Before we close this article, just to mention that the last EOFL round-up of the season is set to be on May 15th. As ever, my thanks to all regular resds of this column.
Headline match sees Frenford grab late leveller to deny Bas a fine win
Frenford 2 – 2 Basildon Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The second match of the day saw a pivotal match in the Step 6 season as promotion contenders Frenford and Basildon Town battled it out at the Drive on the penultimate weekend of the regular season. With there being only one automatic promotion spot, both sides wanted the win to avoid two further matches in the play-offs to follow in quick succession after April 22nd. Dave Forbes’ side named Jack Ryan in goal, with a backline of Aaron Scott, captain Lewis Bartrip, Sam Cross and Ben O’Brien. The midfield had Tom Potter, Billy Karby and Harry Daly in its ranks, with the forward line featuring Charlie Heatley, George Booker and Raheem Gray. Postponements have affected Bas in the last fortnight, and they named Matthew Knight as their custodian, with a defence of Thomas Pain, Mitchell Keen, Daniel Okah and Joe Burgess. Grant Cumming, Charlie Kendall & captain Ryan Scougall were in midfield, with Jamie Bradbourn, Harry Brown and player-boss Marcus Bowers completing the forward line.
There are big moments in these types of games and the first one of them came after just five minutes as Frenford took the lead. A decent corner found its way into the box, and a well-timed run by centre-back Sam Cross ended with a decent header which bypassed Knight & found its way into the net. Basildon responded well though and as we neared the half-hour mark, forward Harry Brown blazed over the woodwork twice, as the home backline struggled to deal with good passing by Basildon which created the chances. Just past the half-hour, the hosts responded with George Booker’s good effort which was superbly denied on the goal-line by Thomas Pain. The end-to-end nature of this match intensified as we approached the interval. Brown’s good strike was well parried away by Frenford custodian Ryan for a corner. Frenford so nearly had a second goal in added time as another firm effort by Booker required another good intervention by Knight to keep the finely-poised match tight.
Half-Time: Frenford 1 – 0 Basildon Town
After the break, the tide turned somewhat as the home defence had a warning as Brown skewed another effort wide but his persistence would soon be rewarded. Basildon were building the momentum well and did level nine minutes into the half. Bowers fizzed in a dangerous cross from the right flank, which took out the home defenders & into the path of Harry Brown who headed home past Ryan at the near post. The tension was moving up the scale as we got into the last half hour, and the visitors were indebted to Knight for denying two good goal-bound efforts in as many minutes by Raheem Gray. Set-pieces and long throws were a threat for the visitors as they pushed hard to break the stalemate, from one such long throw by Bowers, the ball fell to Pain and his super effort was narrowly wide of the left-sided post.
There was a big moment on 71 minutes as Booker was sent off by referee Lee Markwick for his second booking & all of a sudden, Frenford had to rally and battle hard to try and repel a fired-up opposition. The drama would only rise further as we entered the last fifteen minutes, as centre-back Daniel Okah nodded wide from another threatening set-piece, before substitute Alfie Hilton was denied by an excellent covering interception by Frenford skipper Lewis Bartrip. The hosts responded quickly at the other end, as another good pass in by Gray found Charlie Heatley, but his decent effort was off-target.
With only two minutes of normal time remaining, Basildon Town did take the lead. Brown’s initial effort was well-saved by Ryan but Town recycled the ball well and Marcus Bowers turned well before firing in a good, low strike into the left corner, provoking sheer joy from their dug-out. However, that said joy turned to frustation only four minutes later as Frenford levelled to earn a point. Replacement Owen James struck a fine free-kick right into the far corner, past the despairing dive of Knight – that could be a really important goal in the title race. Frenford have reached 75 points now & face Benfleet in midweek & Hackney Wick on the last day.
Full-Time: Frenford 2 – 2 Basildon Town
This big match for both sides was predictably dramatic but Basildon nearly benefitted from a fine second-half performance, but a last-gasp fine set-piece by substitute James snuffed out the three points for Town as quickly as it had arrived moments previously. This match was also a superb advert for the division and ensures the race for both the title and the play-off spots will continue in the last week of a highly entertaining campaign.
There were some strong performances in this match. For Basildon, I felt right-back Thomas Pain had a really good game, contributing in both defence and attack, making several good tackles and also good runs down the flank as well as decent passing. Centre-back Mitchell Keen was another player to stand out here, adding steel to a tough visiting backline, being a good presence aerially as well. It would be remiss not to mention a good display from forward Harry Brown whose persistence and pace was a threat, particularly in the second half. He also took his goal well and contributed several other good passes. Lastly, a mention for goalkeeper Matthew Knight who made at least three good saves here to keep his team in the game at a crucial time.
Frenford winger Raheem Gray also had a very good match, utilising his pace and directness well, and put in several good crosses & was unlucky not to score as well. Central defensive duo Lewis Bartrip and Sam Cross both played their part to hold Bas at bay for most of the game, Bartrip making several good clearances & Cross showing good positioning as well as taking his goal well early on. Central midfielder Billy Karby also had a good game, battling hard against an energised opposition after the break and also recycled the ball to good effect too.
There was an impact from other results as well as Wormley Rovers lost at home 1 – 2 to Stanway Pegasus, meaning their match with Basildon in midweek is crucial to both teams’ prospects.
Frenford | Manager: Dave Forbes | Assistants: Lee Forbes, Ali Choroomi & Anthony Cook
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Ryan (GK), 2 Aaron Scott, 5 Lewis Bartrip (Capt), 6 Sam Cross, 3 Ben O’Brien, 4 Tom Potter, 8 Billy Karby, 7 Harry Daly (14 Owen James 65′), 9 Charlie Heatley (15 Sam Ince 85′), 10 George Booker, 11 Raheem Gray
Goal-scorers: Sam Cross [5′], Owen James [90’+2]
Booked: Bartrip, O’Brien | Sent Off: Booker (Two bookings) | Sub Not Used: Munns, Munton
Basildon Town | Manager (dugout): Lee Bunn | Assistants: Aron Peters & Rhys Fatt
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Matthew Knight (GK), 12 Thomas Pain, 16 Mitchell Keen, 20 Daniel Okah, 10 Joe Burgess, 18 Grant Cumming (4 Michael Onafuye 76′), 8 Ryan Scougall (Capt), 14 Charlie Kendall (17 Billy Hutchison 81′), 11 Jamie Bradbourn (7 Alfie Hilton 24′, himself replaced by 5 Keanu Hill 90′), 9 Harry Brown, 19 Marcus Bowers (15 James O’Brien 89′)
Goal-scorers: Harry Brown [54′], Marcus Bowers [88′]
Booked: Pain | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Lee Markwick Assistants: Emmanuel Armah-Agyeman & Chris Noble