Season 2020-21 So Far: Essex Senior League [ESL 20/21 23.11.20]

ESL crest

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to an article looking back at the Essex Senior League 2020-21 season so far, as part of my content during this enforced break of November 2020.

In this article, we look at the Essex Senior table in general and experiences of watching the division in the opening two months or so pre-break. Also in a new feature, I’ll be joined by an expert reporting panel of fellow Non-League writers to pass on our views on the ESL. They are Matt North [MN]  (@MattNorth_) and Aaron Moore [AM] (@aaron_moore25). My thanks to them both for their time & contributions in this article.

First up, we have the full table at the time the enforced break came in (on November 5th) which will be followed by our panel looking at how their tips pre-season are doing so far and respective experiences of the Essex Senior as well.

Essex Senior table (as of Wed November 4th – Lockdown)

Panel insight regarding Season 2020-21 So Far:

Key: Scott = SW, Matt = MN & Aaron = AM

Which clubs did you tip to be in each of the following areas of the table in August & have those clubs started the campaign in the vein you felt they would and why? (a) Top Six (b) Mid-table (c) Bottom Six

AM: (a) Top Six – “I think we are all in agreement of who will be the winner as Hashtag seem to find a way to win regardless of how they play. The other five will be a fight and tough to predict. Stansted because of the start they’ve made and they look very good. Saffron Walden have built a strong team, Hadley have games in hand and are one of the toughest teams to beat as are Walthamstow as I think bringing players back has boosted them!

(b) Mid-table – I think ‘Fosters, Hoddesdon and West Essex will be at the top of the mid table sides based on their starts and the teams they are beating. Takeley had a poor start so will struggle, I don’t think Manor can keep up with their form throughout the season and Redbridge and Sawbo win some but also lose important games.

(c) Bottom Six – I think the bottom six will pretty much stay the same to what is it now. Woodford have made it hard for themselves already and will find it tough to recover, Clapton & St Margaretsbury find it hard to get wins and I think too many draws will cost them, Ilford and Enfield have decent teams but again they are so inconsistent and I think they will struggle after their start and Sporting Bengal will get limited wins again and I think they will be in the bottom six.”

SW: (a – Top Six) “Before the season began, I thought the likes of Walthamstow, Hashtag Utd and Saffron Walden Town would be up there given all three sides’ keenness to progress up the Non-League ladder and their consistency last season, which the FA might have voided officially but for writers and fans etc, it is anything but meaningless. The way that the Tags have started tells you they mean business but their levels of experience, their management team led by Jay Devereux and their togetherness are all good reasons why they could be the team to beat. Saffron Walden have started to find their rhythm after a tricky start sitting in fourth spot while Walthamstow have made strides to further improve their squad, enticing back two-time winner of the Essex Senior ‘Golden Boot’ Dwade James after a brief spell at Hendon. Their management team led by player-boss Max Mitchell and Terry Spillane also have nous & vast experience.

(b – Mid-table) Going back to last season and the way they play, I would not have ruled out Hadley, Cockfosters, Stansted, Hoddesdon, Takeley and West Essex from being mid-table sides this term, if not better given how they all can ‘trouble the scorers’. Stansted and Cockfosters have started well and are again tough sides to beat with ‘Fosters goalkeeper Brad Robinson among the best custodians in the division.

With regards to the bottom of the table, I was intrigued how the likes of Sawbridgeworth, Enfield and Southend Manor would improve on last season’s tough respective campaigns. Manor in particular have shown grit and form at Southchurch Park in patches this term but they also have shelled a few in some damaging defeats thus far too.”

MN: (a – Top Six)  “Before the season even started, I knew that Hashtag United were going to be competing at the top and are certainly clear favourites for the title. I expected it to be the same four sides as last season in the title race in Hashtag, Saffron Walden, Walthamstow and Hadley purely because of how strong those sides are. Although the majority aren’t right up there at the moment, I can still see those four being up there when the season resumes. I did think Stansted would be around the top six positions and have been in a much better position than I thought. From watching them a lot this season, I feel as though Stansted will be another side to challenge for the title. As for 6th place, I thought that position would be very open in my eyes with the likes of Takeley and Hoddesdon being around there. Hoddesdon are currently sitting 5th so I may be spot on with that whilst Takeley are 8th so I them being around that area of the table as well.

In the mid-table places (7th-12th), I expected sides such as Cockfosters, West Essex and Redbridge to be occupying those positions. However, Cockfosters have had a much better start, sitting 2nd and look like challenging towards the top. However, Redbridge and West Essex are in a similar position to what I expected whilst I would have backed Woodford to be in mid-table but they sit bottom with just one win out of 11 games. Finally, St Margaretsbury was a side I thought would be sitting towards the bottom part of mid-table but are in 16th having made a poor start.

The sides I thought would be sitting around the bottom six are currently occupying those positions. Sawbridgeworth, Enfield, Ilford and Clapton were the four sides I thought would be near the bottom considering how those four got on last season. Sawbridgeworth had a very poor season last time out but this campaign they are in a much better position this time round and look unlikely to be right at the bottom. The other two sides I expect to be near the bottom but aren’t there this season are Southend Manor and Sporting Bengal, who both sit comfortably in mid-table territory. Manor are in 9th and doing much better than I thought whilst Bengal are 12th so they could still slip into the bottom six. Apart from that, I have been near enough spot on with my predictions for the bottom six at this early stage.”

Image from Southend Manor 0 – 1 Cockfosters (in FA Vase, Credit: Scott W)

2. Which clubs have surprised you with their start to the season and why? 

SW: As I mentioned earlier, Cockfosters have to be mentioned given the strides they’ve made to improve their defence as well as their attacking options. Saffron Walden and Hoddesdon have been buoyed by their recent form too and cannot be underestimated. Finally, Southend Manor and Redbridge have had an upturn to their form in general, with the latter really finding their feet since the appointment of George Christou in terms of wins.

In the bottom half of the standings, Sawbridgeworth Town already have four more points than they got by the end of the shortened season in March. That being said, their goal difference is the second worst in the division at this point so that may count against them as the season goes on. Finally, Woodford Town are bottom of the standings, having played the vast majority of their games thus far away from home, as they have had to wait for their new home at Ashton’s to be ready. I’ve seen them a couple of times at the start of the campaign and I wouldn’t be that surprised if they get a few wins to evade the bottom three by February, but again they do leak a few goals.

MN: Cockfosters have surprised me with their brilliant start to the season, which I think many others would have said as well. Considering they were around mid-table last season, Ryan Wade’s side have really stepped up this season and have become serious title challengers this early on in the season. However, time will tell to see if they can continue to keep up this form but for now, they are looking good. Stansted have slightly surprised me too as I didn’t expect them to be as high as they are now in 2nd but I feel as though have put themselves in a very good position. Meanwhile, Southend Manor have made a good start to their campaign and sit comfortably in 9th and picked up some great results whereas other people have tipped them to be near the bottom. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Saffron Walden and Walthamstow have both had difficult starts to the season and many would have seen them to be competing with Hashtag at this early stage. However, with that being said, we are only around 1/4 of the way through the season so there is still plenty of time for those two sides to get a good run of form going.

AM: I think Cockfosters surprised everyone with their start to the season. It was superb from them and put them in a good position for the rest of the season. Southend Manor was another surprise with the win over Stow and drawing with Hashtag. Woodford Town, Saffron Walden Town and Enfield are probably the other end of the scale. No one expected the Woods to be bottom nor did they expect Walden to have only won five out of their thirteen games this season and Enfield brought in a better calibre of players but are still struggling.

All things being good, if the season resumes in December, which sides do you believe are well-placed to go further up the standings and why?

AM: Walthamstow and Hadley will certainly rise up the table with the games in hand they have on the top five.

MN: I believe that Hadley can easily go further up the standings considering all their games in hand on other sides around them. The Bricks have won six out of their seven games this term but sit 6th so if they keep that run going, I see them competing with Hashtag United at the top. Meanwhile, at the bottom, I feel as though Enfield are well placed to get further up the table judging by their form since Jamie Cureton became player-manager. The E’s are only five or so points off the top half so the ball is very much in their court. Finally, another side who look likely to rise up the table is Redbridge. Before the start of the second lockdown, the Motormen had won four on the bounce and with games in hand on sides around them; I wouldn’t put it past them to push towards the top 6 places.

SW: I have to make it “three from three” and say Hadley will be in and around the top three. If they can make Brickfield Lane a fortress again this season and get a few wins on the road, they may still have a say in who gets the title. Takeley may also move up a few places if they can keep their impressive goal-scoring (currently on 34 goals from their eleven games) going.

Image from Saffron Walden 1 – 1 Enfield (September 14th, Image by Matt North)

What have been your favourite matches to watch live this term and why?

MN: One of my favourite matches to watch this season has to be Stansted’s 2 – 1 derby win over Saffron Walden. A huge crowd, an entertaining match along with a last minute winner for the Airportmen which sent the supporters going wild! Other noticeable matches were Hashtag United defeating Sawbridgeworth 4 – 2 and Takeley 3 – 1. However, the majority of matches I have visited so far this season have been entertaining.

AM: I really enjoyed watching the 6 – 0 win for West Essex over Southend Manor as they attacking play was superb. It was great from a neutrals point of view but also the Hashtag vs Sawbo game as it could have gone either way.

SW: I enjoyed the dramatic midweek match in early October where Southend Manor roared back from behind to pinch a 3 – 2 over Ilford. Both sides had the energy and had some class finishing to go with it. Also, on the opening day in September, Hadley started the season as they did a year previous with a strong 4 – 0 win over Woodford Town. That was a long-awaited return to the beautiful Non-League game competitively after six months out.

As a neutral, what grounds do you like visiting as a fan?

SW: I have to nominate Cockfosters’ Chalk Lane first for this. Yes, the ground is comparatively small but it has its own character and the committee also give you a really good, kind welcome. Also, St Margaretsbury’s Recreation Ground is a bit of a ‘hidden gem’ as well. Same goes for Hadley’s Brickfield Lane, though the club have catered well for visiting fans with their seated stand & a covered terrace on the other side.

AM: I’d say Lowfield (Hoddesdon Town). It is a very nice ground which some superb hospitality.

MN: Personally, when it comes to the quality of the ground, I really enjoy visiting Catons Lane, home of Saffron Walden. It’s a very welcoming club with some excellent facilities and the overall visit is an enjoyable one. I also like going to Hargrave Park which is generally down to the friendly committee and supporters and a club I am quite close to.

How different has it been watching Essex Senior matches so far this season, with all the COVID-enforced restrictions?  Has it altered the atmosphere on match day at all?

AM: I don’t think it had hampered atmosphere because it’s what the fans make it. That being said, it’s still strange having to follow the procedures, especially if you forget a mask. It’s hard knowing whether you’ll get into a game with the limited attendance (Usually 300 at this level)

MN: I have seen a difference this season but only in a positive way. Due to the COVID restrictions, no one can visit elite level matches such as the Premier League so opt to visit games in leagues further down the Non-League ladder such as the Essex Senior instead. A lot more supporters have been attracted to games this campaign in comparison to last season which I find brilliant! Of course you have a limit to the amount of supporters allowed in but I feel there is a much better atmosphere to the games now. For example, my brother started going to a few Stansted games and now he has been going on a more regular basis. I feel as though clubs have done very well to follow the COVID guidelines in place.

SW: I think the biggest difference is all the Distancing regulations, it does feel a bit eerie. That being said, it is brilliant to see fans of professional clubs visit their local Non-League sides during the stadia closure in the Premier League & the EFL. If anything, I also believe the fans that have stuck with Non-League for years have savoured matches a little more this year and the fact that it is reflected in attendances for many Essex Senior clubs is a good thing and long may that continue.

End

My thanks to Aaron & Matt for their valued contributions to this article and here’s a few snippets of info on them.


Matt North is a Non-League writer focused mainly on the Essex Senior League and also is an avid fan of Chelsea. He’s on Twitter – @MattNorth_ and his blog is at https://mattnorthfootball.wordpress.com/ 

Aaron Moore is also a Non-League writer, mainly for Walthamstow FC in the Essex Senior League and also is part of the media team of Harlow Town Ladies. He can be found on Twitter – @aaron_moore25 and his blog is at http://footballreview.net/ 

Season 2020-21 Match Report: Southend Manor 2 – 1 Woodford Town (Tues 8 Sept) [ESL 20/21 10.9.20]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Southchurch Park

Attendance: TBA

2020-21 Season: Match 7

Tuesday 8th September 2020 – 7.45pm KO

S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Woodford : Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks  

Manor grab crucial win late on with an Allen stunner

Southend Manor  2 – 1  Woodford Town

Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

The second match of the Essex Senior season saw me return to Southchurch Park to see Woodford Town’s visit to Southend Manor. Dee Safer’s side were beaten at Hadley on the opening day and their line-up here had the forthcoming FA Cup Prelim Round tie at Waltham Abbey in mind as there was only four survivors from that Hadley game in the starting line-up, James Scammell retained his place in goal, Conor Boon came in to skipper the side at centre-back, with Marcus Painter on the right flank. Zain Moreea was the support to centre forward Rigert Rama. The likes of Andrea Montovani and Jerry Luwero were options from the bench.

Manor also had a tough day as they lost at home to Sawbridgeworth and they named French goalkeeper Klinton Makayabo, with a back four of Joe Elliott, Billy Harrison, Jack Frost and skipper Reece Latimer. The front two were Ronnie Edwards and ex-Hullbridge forward Luca Frankis with Billy Rungay, Darnel Bromfield and Ben Allen on the substitute’s bench.

Onto the match itself, and Woodford were marginally the stronger side, with forwards Rigert Rama and Zain Moreea both having early looks at goal, the latter of which kept home stopper Klinton Makayabo alert. As we entered the midway point of the half, Manor gradually wrestled more of the ball and tentatively went forward, with winger Gianni Frankis sending in a fine centre from the hosts’ right flank to which left-sided winger Deividas Sertivietis’s shot at goal but was blocked by stern Town defender Rob Banfield. Fellow forward Ronnie Edwards also sent a looping header narrowly wide for Manor moments afterward.

Woodford responded as their characteristic pacey breaks down the flanks were aided by crisp long passes forward. Zain Moreea broke past the home backline and crossed in but it took a deflection which allowed Makayabo to gather. This ended up being a warning which Manor did not heed as on the half-hour, Moreea again sped past the Manor midfield and his right-sided run ended with a fine cross which Rama took a touch and fired home from close range. Manor did finish the half quite well as with six minutes left until the break, Gianni Frankis’ header when well-placed was collected by Woodford custodian James Scammell.

Then, three minutes before the interval, Manor did level the match as midfielder Matthew Keiller’s smart, looping header was well guided past Scammell and into the far corner, much to the delight of his team-mates.

Half-Time: Southend Manor  1 – 1  Woodford Town

Into the second half, Woodford once again started to build their passing game as they sought to regain the momentum and the lead, as ever noisily backed by the Towners’ faithful who once again sang throughout. Barely a minute after the half began, the impressive Moreea again showed his pace and trickery down the right channel, but his strike didn’t seriously trouble Makayabo in the Manor goal.

From this point, the visiting defence steadily became more and more active as Craig Waters’ team searched for the advantage. Town centre-back Conor Boon did well in marshalling his defence to clear crosses into the 18-yard box. Manor forward Luca Frankis had a header from close range saved by Scammell and brother Gianni Frankis also struck wide of the left-side post either side of the hour mark.

As we entered the latter stages of the game, the tension rose as it appeared both sides just wouldn’t be able to create the moment of magic to win the game. Home skipper Reece Latimer did drive his side forward and with five minutes left, they got their reward. Substitute Ben Allen had found his way into the right-sided channel outside the penalty area before lashing home and unstoppable strike which Scammell was powerless to stop going into the top-left corner. The hosts still had to hold on in the last few minutes as Rama sent a drive from about 15 yards but Makayabo was equal to it. After a few nervy minutes of added time, the final whistle blew and the Southend side got their first points of the season.

Full-Time:  Southend Manor  2 – 1  Woodford Town

In my view, this was a tight match which both sides could have won. Manor maybe just edging it because of their second-half display here. But you also have to note how Woodford did well despite a number of changes in this game, which in turn highlights the philosophy of how they play, a big credit to manager Dee Safer and his coaching team. In terms of stand-out performers, Manor were indebted to right winger Gianni Frankis who showed himself to be a willing runner and had pace and crossing ability. Skipper Reece Latimer, midfielder Matthew Keiller and forward Ronnie Edwards also deserve a mention for being part of the spine of the side that showed urgency to get the win.

Woodford also had a number of players that stood out, with tricky forward Zain Moreea growing in confidence with his pace and crossing, forward Rigert Rama also was a quick threat throughout. Mentions also go to winger Marcus Painter who played his part in the Town attacking moves, along with centre-back Conor Boon and full-back David Ola who also sent in a few telling long balls forward during the match. As ever, I wish both sides well for this long season.

Teams

Southend Manor   | Manager: Craig Waters  | Assistant: Garry Pond

1 Klinton Makayabo (GK), 2 Joe Elliott, 3 Billy Harrison, 4 Jack Frost, 5 Liam Jarrett (13 Billy Rungay 69’), 6 Reece Latimer (Capt), 7 Gianni Frankis (15 Ben Allen 74’), 9 Ronnie Edwards, 10 Luca Frankis (14 Darnel Bromfield 67’), 11 Deividas Sertvietis

Goal-scorers: Matthew Keiller [42’], Ben Allen [85’]

Booked: Bromfield   | Subs Not Used: Rogers, Acquah (GK)

Woodford Town    | Manager: Dee Safer | Assistant: Wayne St Louis

1 James Scammell (GK), 2 Joseph St-Luce Moynihan, 3 David Ola, 4 Aaron Matomisa (15 Dimi Kapsokostas 77’), 5 Conor Boon (Capt), 6 Rob Banfield, 7 Marcus Painter, 8 Harry Markatis, 9 Rigert Rama, 13 Zain Moreea (17 Alex Awobimpe 77’), 11 Cameron St Louis (14 Jerry Luwero 12’)

Goal-scorer: Rigert Rama [30’]

Booked: Rama, Luwero | Subs Not Used: Empochonstif, Montovani

Referee:  Kirk Edwards

Assistant Referees: Benjamin Horne & Robert Collins

Season 2020-21 Preview – Essex Alliance League [EAL 20-21 31.8.20]

 

Written by Scott W  [Twitter:@ScottMHC14] – Non-League/Grassroots Writer

Hello and welcome to a preview of the coming season’s Essex Alliance League {EAL) divisions, focusing on the top three divisions and giving you a run-down of the opening weekend’s fixtures of the new campaign. Also to note, coverage of the League will remain on the Grassroots Football Show (GFS) on East London Radio throughout the campaign as part of their Intermediate Football section.

If you’d like more info, you can find the EAL on Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL or via their website: http://www.essexallianceleague.com | Thanks for reading & wishing all EAL clubs a good season too.

We begin this preview with a look ‘at-a-glance’ at the sides who will contest the top division of the EAL, including their position last term where aplicable & their Twitter feeds where known. Featuring a heady mix of EAL veterans, new clubs plus a big returning club who has enjoyed success in the Essex Alliance League in the past.

 

EAL Senior Division 2020-21 Constitution

Club

Position Last Season (or a Returning/ New Club) Twitter feed Other Info
All Prospects 3rd – in EAL Div One @ProspectsAll
Blue Marlin 7th – in EAL Senior @BlueMarlinFC
Chigwell Town New Club @ChigwellTownFC
CSM London 4th – EAL Senior @CSMLondonFC Will play home games at the West Ham Community Grd [3G]  in Beckton this term
DT FC New Club @_dtfc Have signed to play home games at Harlow Arena [3G] this term
FC Baresi 6th – EAL Senior @FC_Baresi Won EAL Div One title in 2018/19
FC Petrocub 3rd – EAL Senior Not known
Jolof Sports Returning Club @JolofSportsFC Last played in EAL Senior in Season 2018-19 – played in Middx County Div One  (Central & East) in Step 8 last term
London Cranes 5th – EAL Senior Not known
Lymore Gardens 10th – EAL Senior @LymoreGardensfc
Rapid Chingford 11th – EAL Senior (Bottom) Not known
Tower Utd 2nd – EAL Div One @TowerUtdFC
West Essex Reserves 2nd – EAL Senior @westessexfcres Winners of Senior Division Cup in 2017/18
 
(13 clubs)
 

 

Now moving on to Division One, which sees three clubs receiving at least a double elevation. One of those clubs are Chadwell Heath Spartans who had a fine debut season in the EAl last term, finishing top of Div Three before the season was curtailed.

EAL Division One 2020-21 Constitution
Club Position Last Season (or a Returning/ New Club) Twitter feed Other Info
Chadwell Heath Spartans 1st  – EAL Div Three

(double elevation)

@CH_SpartansFC
Eastside 4th – EAL Div One @EastSideFC_
Francis Luke New Club Not known n/a
Frenford ‘A’ 5th – EAL Div Three
(double elevation)
Main: @Frenfordfc n/a
Kit Out London New Club @kol_cc n/a
Leyton Royal New Club Not known n/a
London Park City 7th – EAL Div One @londonarkcity n/a
North East Lions New Club @NorthEastSat1 n/a
Wapping Returning Club Not active n/a
Westhamians New Club @WHamians A previous iteration of the club played in the Essex Olympian League in recent times
Woodford East 1st – EAL Div Four
(Treble elevation)
@WoodfordEastFC n/a
 
(11 clubs)

 

Finally for our focused divisions, here is the Division Two constitution which has a number of familiar names to fans of EAL, plus a few clubs including one making a transition into Saturday Football in Belfry.

 

EAL Division Two  2020-21 Constitution
Club Position Last Season (or a Returning/ New Club) Twitter feed Other Info
Barkingside ‘A’ New Club Not Known n/a
Belfry New Club to EAL @fc_belfry Previously only played Sunday Football (ESFC)
Chingford Athletic ‘A’ 8th – EAL Senior (as Reserve side) Main: @ChingfordAFC n/a
Cowley Community 5th – EAL Div Two @CowleyFC n/a
Dagenham Utd New Club to EAL @DagenhamUtd_FC Also previously played in Essex Olympian League
Forest Green 9th – EAL Div One

(Bottom)

@Forestgreen19 n/a
Newham Wanderers 4th  EAL Div Three Not known n/a
Old Esthameians 6th –  EAL Div Two Not known n/a
Rainham WMC 2nd – EAL Div Two @RwmcTeam n/a
Royal Forest 4th – EAL Div Two @RoyalForestFC n/a
St Francis 3rd – EAL Div Three @StFrancis1930 n/a
Unitey 7th – EAL Div Two @FCUnitey n/a
 
(12 clubs)

 

Finally for this part of my preview, in the table below shows the sides that will compete in the ‘lower’ two tiers of the Essex Alliance League this season.

 Constitution – EAL Division Three EAL Division Four
Bailey Football Academy (New to EAL) Avondale Rangers
Epping Utd (New) Brentwood Utd Reserves
Fairlop Rovers Chingford Harriers
Flyers U23s Collier Row ‘A’
Forest Havering North (FHN) Athletic (New) Custom House Utd
Glendale Dagenham Utd Reserves
Loughton Lions Emerson Utd Reserves
Lymore Gardens Reserves Newham Royals
Melbourne Sports Royal Forest Reserves
Old Barkabbeyans Reserves Together Utd
   
(10 Clubs) (10 clubs)

 

Alright, now to round off this piece, here are the Fixtures for the opening weekend of the EAL season

 

Fixtures – Sat 5th September (Match Day #1) – Normally 2pm KOs

EAL Premier Division

 

All Prospects  v  West Essex Res   | Castle Green Leisure Centre 

Blue Marlin  v  Chigwell Town   | Ford’s Sports Club (Newbury Park)
CSM London   v   Tower Utd
   | West Ham Community Ground [3G], Beckton

DT FC  v  Rapid Chingford    |  The Harlow Arena  [3G]

FC Baresi  v  Lymore Gardens   |  Britannia Sports Ground, Walthamstow

FC Petrocub  v  London Cranes   | Noak Hill Sports Complex [3G pitch]

 

EAL Division One

 

Chadwell Heath Spartans   v  London Park City  | Mayfield Leisure Centre [3G]

Leyton Royal  v  North East Lions  | Salisbury Hall Sports Ground

Wapping    v   Francis Luke   |  Victoria Park, South Hackney

Woodford East  v  Westhamians   | Debden Park Sch, Loughton

Division Two

 

Chingford Athetic ‘A’  v  Unitey  | Town Mead Leisure Park

Dagenham Utd  v  Cowley Community   | Castle Green Leisure Centre

Rainham WMC  v  Old Esthameians   | Rainham Men’s Club

Royal Forest  v  Newham Wanderers  | Roding Valley Sch, Loughton

 

Division Two

 

Chingford Athetic ‘A’  v  Unitey  | Town Mead Leisure Park

Dagenham Utd  v  Cowley Community   | Castle Green Leisure Centre

Rainham WMC  v  Old Esthameians   | Rainham Men’s Club

Royal Forest  v  Newham Wanderers  | Roding Valley Sch, Loughton

 

Division Three

 

Glendale  v  FHN Athletic  | Roding Valley High Sch, Loughton

Old Barkabbeyans Res  v  Bailey Football Academy  | Barking Abbey Sports Grd

 

Division Four

 

Collier Row ‘A’  v  Emerson Utd Res  | Forest Row Centre, Lodge Lane

Dagenham Utd  Res  v Chingford Harriers   | Castle Green Leisure Centre

Match Summary: Corinthians 4 – 3 Wakebury (Tues 25 Aug) [PSF 20/21 26.8.20]

Pre-Season Friendly

Venue: Stambridge Memorial Ground

Season 2020-21: Match 3

Tuesday 25th August 2020 – 7.30pm KO

Corinthians: Sky Blue & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts

Wakebury: Yellow Shirts, Royal Blue Shorts

 

20200825_182015
Stambridge pitch pre-match [Image: Scott W]
 

Corinthians edge to the win in an enticing pre-season win over battling Wakebury

Corinthians 4 – 3  Wakebury

 

Match Summary & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

With some parts of normality returning after a hugely challenging last five months, my third pre-season match of season 2020-21 saw me return to Stambridge Memorial Ground to see two good Olympian League teams in Corinthians and Wakebury. Safety measures were in place for both spectators and players alike, with both sides having players unavailable. Joining us for this match was my GFS colleague Pete Dudley along with a few ground-hoppers, which is always nice to see.

The weather was definitely going to play its part in this match with the swirling wind making its presence felt in the first half and with two attack-minded sides, that was going to add to an exciting game. We weren’t disappointed on the latter front as chances came about in the early stages, with a decent visiting attack forcing a good save by home custodian Ethan Lemmon.  Moments later, a breezy team move on the part of the hosts ended with a neat finish by forward Jake Lang to break the deadlock with nine minutes on the watch.

To their credit, the Berries did keep to their attacking ethos, having some good attacks down the flanks and keeping the home defence alert However, their finishing wasn’t clinical enough at this point to make an immediate impact. Meanwhile, at the other end Corinthians also had chances as their rapid supporting forwards were posing a challenge to the opposition defence, though again they also couldn’t make the most of their opportunities.

A free-kick down the left-side channel for the hosts presented a good opportunity with three minutes to play before the break. Midfielder Luke Owen’s delivery evaded the visiting defenders and attacking full-back Bill Wilton was on hand to force it over the line from barely a yard out. The visitors were two goals down at the break, though young forward Harry Kateley had a couple of chances himself to negate the deficit.

Half-Time: Corinthians  2 – 0  Wakebury

20200825_200931
Corinthians in possession building an attack in PSF win over Wakebury

As the darkness approached, so did the threatening clouds as the second half got underway. Again, we didn’t have to wait long for more goals as two minutes into the half, Ben Munday (who scored nine league goals last season) hammered home an absolute thunder-bolt of a strike past Lemmon into the net to halve the hosts’ advantage. As we passed the hour mark, the hosts were getting revved up again and after missing at least two good chances, Lang got his second of the evening on 62 minutes with a well-placed curling finish from twenty-odd yards out to make it 3 – 1 to the hosts.

Once again the visitors responded in short shrift as a accurate free-kick from Munday made it a brace for him as well and kept Wakebury in the match. The hosts are a tough side to match though when they are ‘in the mood’ for goals though and restored their two-goal cushion with twenty minutes remaining through a deft lobbed finish from Jake Hodder – who notched eight times in the league last term, with only a certain Nathan Dewberry scoring more league goals for the club last season.

The action didn’t end there as Billy Bonham-Dare pulled another goal back barely two minutes later for the visitors, who stuck to their task well and that will please the management team of Matt Cardy and Dan Blewett. Unfortunately the driving rain rather influenced the latter stages of this entertaining game and although the hosts got the win, both sides have reason to be happy with their exploits here.

Full-Time: Corinthians  4 – 3  Wakebury

Goal-scorers (Corinthians): Jake Lang [9’ & 62’], Bill Wilton [42’], Jake Hodder [70’]

Goal-scorers (Wakebury): Ben Munday [47’ & 65’], Billy Bonham-Dare [72’]

Referee: Adekola Adeyemi

 

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Still from Corinthians 4 – 3 Wakebury PSF (6)

To close, Corinthians showed once again they are a side fill of goals and enterprising play which will set them up well for the coming season, having kept the vast majority of their squad from last term. A note also for Wakebury who fought their way back into the match very well, despite the worsening conditions in the second half.

These sides compete in Essex Olympian League Division Two (Corinthians) and Division Three (Wakebury) and tonight’s game in a good indication for how these sides will approach their respective divisions. Personal opinion here but I wouldn’t be surprised if both sides are aiming for elevation this term.  Finally, it was good to catch with the management from both sides and I wish them both well for the season ahead.

Season 2020-21: The FA Cup EPR Draw (Local sides) [FAC 20-21 18.8.20]

FA Cup Image

Compiled by Scott W   [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello all and welcome to a brief rundown of the draws in the FA Cup Extra Prelim Round, focused on our local sides in East Anglia. Thanks for Reading.

 

The FA Cup – Extra Prelim Round   (Ties to be played midweek – September 1st)

Long Melford  v  Northampton-on-Chenecks

Whitton Utd  v  Ipswich Wanderers

Newmarket Town  v  Walsham-le-Willows

Hadleigh Utd  v Mildenhall Town

Diss Town  v  Framlingham Town

Gorleston  v  Swaffham Town

Haverhill Rovers  v  Norwich Utd

Woodbridge Town  v  Biggleswade Utd

Stowmarket Town  v  Rothwell Corinthians

Wroxham  v  Arlesey Town

Godmanchester Rovers  v  Ely City

Redbridge  v  Harpenden Town

Park View  v  Hashtag Utd

 

Harlow Town  v  Enfield

Clapton  v  Sporting Bengal Utd

Hoddesdon Town  v  FC Clacton

New Salamis  v  Colney Heath

Southend Manor  v  Ware

Walthamstow  v  London Lions

Saffron Walden Town  v  Little Oakley

Baldock Town  v  St Margaretsbury

Stansted  v  Takeley

Cockfosters  v  Stanway Rovers

Hullbridge Sports  v  Hadley

Sawbridgeworth Town  v  Romford

Brantham Athletic  v  Benfleet  

Woodford Town   v  London Colney

West Essex  v  Crawley Green

Ilford  v  Halstead Town

 

 

 

 

Preview: Essex Olympian League Divisions Opening Weekend [EOFL 20-21 27.8.20]

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Archive Image – Leigh Town v Corinthians (Feb 2020 EPC Q-Final)

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello everyone and welcome to a preview of the Opening Weekend of the 2020-21 Essex Olympian League season, taking in all of the fixtures across League & the Senior League Cup. Given that the EOFL Premier Division sits at Step 7 (or to quote the new FA buzzword – a ‘NLS Feeder League’ – I know I prefer the former phrase), it has got the go-ahead, subject to changes & guidelines, to begin on Saturday September 5th.

On the opening day, the Premier Division does take ‘centre stage’ with regards to the League action, with the bulk of Senior One to Three sides in Cup action. The intention at this stage is that I’ll continue with the EOFL round-ups most weeks (at least) on this blog this season though I do ask EOFL Clubs to pass on goal-scorers & results where possible. Also I have to mention that until further notice, matches at Step 7 (EOFL Premier Division) will be played Behind Closed Doors, as per FA directives issued on August 4th.

Finally, if there is any info that is inaccurate, could I ask clubs to DM me on Twitter and I will amend, thank you. Every effort has been made to keep it up to date.

 

Saturday 5th September 2020 (2.30pm KOs unless stated)

EOFL Premier Division

Buckhurst Hill  v  Kelvedon Hatch   | Roding Lane

Catholic Utd  v  Canning Town  | Len Forge Centre [3G]**

Hutton  v  Basildon Town    | Polo Fields

Old Southendian  v  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts   | Garon Park [3G]

Rayleigh Town  v  Harold Wood Athletic   | London Road

Springfield  v  Leigh Ramblers   |  Springfield Hall Park

Sungate  v  Shenfield AFC   | Ilford Wanderers RFC

 

** = Indicates Catholic Utd’s new home ground for 2020-21 Season

 

EOFL Division One

Old Chelmsfordians  v  Rayleigh Town Res  | Lawford Lane

 

EOFL Division Two

Beacon Hill Rovers  v  Old Southendian Res   | Wickham Bishops Spts Gound

Harold Wood Athletic Res v  Leigh Town   | Harold Wood Park [Pitch #1]

 

EOFL Division Three

Basildon Town Res  v  Buckhurst Hill Res   | Basildon Sports Club

Toby Res  v  Leigh Town Res   | Ford’s, Newbury Park [Toby pitch]

 

EOFL Division Four

Chingford Athletic Res  v  Galleywood Res   | Town Mead [3G]

Shenfield AFC Res  v  Old Chelmsfordians Res   | The Drive, Warley

 

EOFL Senior Five

Collier Row Res  v  Epping Town Res   | Forest Row Centre (Pitch #2)

Herongate Athletic Res  v  Shoebury Town Res   | Billericay Road, Herongate

Roydon  v  AS Rawreth Res   | Roydon Playing Fields

Runwell Sports Res  v  Springfield Res  | St Luke’s Park

 

 

EOFL Senior League Cup – Round 1 (2.15pm KOs unless stated)

 

Collier Row  v  Toby  | Forest Row Centre (Pitch #1)

Corinthians  v  Runwell Sports   | Stambridge Memorial Ground

Epping Town  v  Hullbridge Sports ‘A’   | Epping Rugby Club, Upland Rd**

Hashtag Utd Development  v  Manford Way   | Barleylands Road

 

Laindon Orient  v  Ongar Town  | Markhams Chase, Laindon Link

Lakeside Utd  v  Snaresbrook   | Lakeside Spts Grd [3G] | (2.30pm KO)

May & Baker Res  v  Newbury Forest Res   | May & Baker FC

Old Barkabbeyans  v  Galleywood   | Barking Abbey School, South Park Drive

Ramsden Scotia  v  FC Hamlets   | Nursery Sports Ground

 

Ryan  v  AS Rawreth  | Wadham Lodge Spts Grd [Inter. Grass Pitch]

Shoebury Town  v  ACD Utd   | Cupid’s CC (Pitch #2), Shoeburyness

Wakering Sports  v  Rochford Town   | Cupid’s CC (Pitch #1), Shoeburyness

 

** Denotes that Epping Town will play home games at Epping Rugby Club this season, leaving previous home Stonards Hill for 2020-21

Season 2020-21 Constitution: Essex Olympian League Divisions Preview [EOFL 30.7.20]

 

Compiled by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

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EOFL Crest

Hello everyone and welcome to the another of my articles previewing the 2020-21 season, ahead of the start of a very unique pre-season. In this piece we’ll have a look at the Constitutions for all six Essex Olympian League (EOFL) divisions (the Premier Division sits at Step 7 & is a ‘NLS Feeder League’). These listings could still be subject to alteration in due course, but is compiled from known information. Thanks to the EOFL for the info used, you can find out more on their website – eofl.co.uk

Finally, if there is any info that is inaccurate, could I ask clubs to DM me on Twitter and I will amend, thank you. Every effort has been made to keep it up to date.

Key

(NEW) = New Side for 2020/21 Season

* Taken Voluntary Relegation (one division lower)

^ = Name TBC (Given May & Baker have entered a side in the Essex Senior Reserve Division)

 

Premier Division – Senior Two (Top three Tiers of Olympian League) Constitution

EOFL Constit 20-21 Prem - D2 Image

Premier Division

The EOFL top-tier is a rarity in this it is untouched by club movements in 2020-21. Prior to the rapid shut-down caused by Covid-19, Sungate led the table, six points ahead of Leigh Ramblers. The Belfairs Park side saw manager Wayne Seal depart during the close season, I’d like to wish him well in his new role as a assistant boss to Dave Forbes at Frenford this term. Reigning champions Buckhurst Hill finished third last term but were denied the chance to play out their remaining twelve games to go for the title. Better news for Mark Williams’ side came this week as the club received permission by Epping Forest District Council to put in floodlights, a hundred-seater stand and a similar sized standing area at their Roding Lane ground, as they seek to finally get themselves up to Step 6 in the near future.

Elsewhere, managerial changes also took place at four other clubs with former Basildon Utd & Walthamstow forward Marcus Bowers returning to Basildon Town as player-manager. Also, ex-Southend Manor boss Stuart Marshall coming in at Catholic Utd who will also look to challenge at the higher reaches of what this writer believes will be a highly-charged and competitive division this term.  Harold Wood Athletic are also in a transition period as long-standing gaffer Kris Taylor stepped aside to a new role ‘Club Manager’. Also, Matt Singh has been appointed as first team boss at Hutton, after taking charge of the Reserves last season (in Division Three). I’d like to wish all four managers well in their new role.

It goes without saying that Basildon Town, Hutton & Harold Wood Athletic will all be looking for better campaigns than last as they all ended up in the bottom three back in March.

 

EOFL Senior One & Two

Senior One is largely unaltered from last term as well, with one notable exception. In what is an unusual turn of events, Lakeside (Firsts) decided to fold at the end of the season, despite a fourth-place finish. There will be more to come on that below in Senior Three. Two known changes also in the dugout for Senior One clubs as ex-Epping Town goalkeeper Trevor Grace was appointed as boss at Manford Way shortly after the season’s premature closing. Also, with former boss Jason Emery concentrating on his role as Chairman at Runwell Sports, Jason Plom has been appointed as his successor as manager. I’d like to wish both well in their new roles.

Staying with Runwell Sports, they are another club which has laid big plans for the future, with the opening of a new academy and work starting later this year on a new clubhouse, changing rooms and importantly, a new 3G playing surface, following the likes of Frenford, Bowers & Pitsea and Old Southendian who have all gone down that route.

Chingford Athletic, Old Chelmsfordians and Ongar Town will once again be looking to be in the top four though again, it could again be a hard-fought division. Into Senior Two, and whilst the clubs competing in it are unchanged, Leigh Town, Beacon Hill Rovers, Old Southendian Reserves and Corinthians will once again look to replicate their top-four finishes from last term. It was in a way a ‘surprise’ division, but in the sense of the quality of football being much better than you might have thought. Old Southendian Reserves will have a new gaffer as well, with Ben Manley stepping down, being replaced by last season’s skipper Oliver Tatton-Bennett as they begin their first full campaign on their 3G surface at Garon Park. Ryan and Rochford Town were fortunate perhaps to avoid the drop to Senior Three and will want a better campaign this term as well.

 

EOFL Senior Three – Five constitution

EOFL Constit 20-21 D3 - D5 Image

Round-up – EOFL Senior Three to Five

First, in Senior Three there are two new sides and one side exiting. The side that have withdrawn is White Ensign Reserves who have elected to move to the Essex Senior Reserve Division, following the lead of Frenford Reserves who departed for the same division the season previous. The new sides are a re-imagining of Lakeside Reserves from last term, being rebranded as Lakeside Utd who I understand will remain at the Lakeside Sports Ground 3G where they played last term. Also, Manford Way Reserves have returned after an inactive spell and will compete alongside last season’s top three of ACD Utd, Wakebury and Corinthians Reserves.

Next, in Senior Four, there are three new sides with Sungate Reserves who come up from the Essex Alliance League Division Two last term, but they have previously played in the EOFL in years gone by. The other new side is a re-brand of sorts as it was announced at the end of last season that Forest Glade, who finished fifth last term, would join the Hashtag Utd family of sides, and will compete under the moniker of Hashtag Utd Development this term.

Finally, in Senior Five, there are two sides who will face the likes of Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves, Springfield Reserves and Collier Row’s second-side. AS Rawreth’s Reserve side is restored after a spell out and will compete in the sixth-tier from September. Epping Town also field a reserve side in the sixth-tier so we wish them well as the club continues its rebuilding at Stonards Hill. Lastly, in a cruel twist, last season’s Senior Four table-toppers Roydon have effectively dropped a division, due to their reserve side folding in the summer, who did compete in this division last season, earning a decent mid-table finish.

That’s all from this Preview piece, coming up soon will be a look at the draws for the EOFL Senior League Cup and Reserve League Cup which the Olympian League Committee will run this season. Thanks for reading.

Season 2020-21 Allocations: Essex Senior & Eastern Senior League South [ESL & EaSL 2.8.20]

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Archive Image: Shoebury Park

Compiled by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of a number of articles looking at previewing the 2020-21 season. In this piece we’ll have a brief look at the Constitutions for the Essex Senior (Step 5) and Eastern Senior League South division (Step 6) although these could still be subject to alteration in due course, given that they have already from the provisional listing we saw a glimpse of last week.

Essex Senior League 2020-21 (Step 5)
Clapton

Cockfosters

Enfield FC

Hadley

Hashtag Utd

Hoddesdon Town

Ilford

Redbridge

Saffron Walden Town

Sawbridgeworth Town

Southend Manor

Sporting Bengal Utd

St Margaretsbury

Stansted

Takeley

Walthamstow

West Essex

Woodford Town

(18 clubs)

The Essex Senior League looks similar to the 2019-20 season, with two notable exceptions. There were murmurings that FC Clacton could be moved ‘sideways’ and join the ESL but they remain in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Premier at present. Perhaps more surprising though is the move out of the league of Tower Hamlets (Formerly known as Bethnal Green Utd) – they have been moved laterally to the Southern Counties East Premier Division, among the likes of Fisher FC, Glebe and Punjab Utd. The FA Allocations piece also mentions that they will leave Mile End and therefore play at Phoenix Sports this season.

 

Eastern Senior Lge South 2020-21 (Step 6)
Barkingside

Benfleet

Brimsdown**

Burnham Ramblers

Coggeshall Utd

Fire Utd

Frenford

Hackney Wick*

Halstead Town

Harwich & Parkeston

Holland

Little Oakley

Lopes Tavares

May & Baker

Newbury Forest

White Ensign

Wivenhoe Town

Wormley Rovers

 

** – New Club

* – Alteration

(18 clubs)

Meanwhile in Eastern Senior League South (Step 6, run by Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League), the teams in this division also have to adapt to changes. Firstly, Brightlingsea Regent Reserves have withdrawn which brings the league down to 17 clubs. Next in an update to the original article, Hackney Wick have been restored to the division, after initially being placed in the Spartan South Midlands Division One, alongside the likes of Milton Keynes Robins, Enfield Borough and New Salamis. Wick have also confirmed that they will be ground-sharing at Witham Town’s Spa Road this season.

Coming from the Spartan South Mids Division One are Brimsdown, who played at Ware’s Wodson Park last term, but are on the move – they will replace Hashtag Utd as tenants at Tilbury FC’s Chadfields this coming campaign.

 

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