Match Report: Bowers & Pitsea 0 – 2 Ware (BLN 30.12.17)

Isthmian League Division North

Venue: Len Salmon Stadium

Attendance: 138

Saturday 30th December 2017 3pm KO

The 2017-18 Season: Match 48

Bowers & Pitsea: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Ware: Blue & Sky Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

 

Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Photos by Scott W & Andy Wilkins (Twitter: @andywilkins2015)

In my last match of 2017 and with the ESL on a festive ‘mini-break’, I travelled to the Len Salmon Stadium to see Bowers & Pitsea take on Ware in a rare Isthmian League Division North match (for me).

The hosts elected to rest a few key players with Messrs Knight, Dicks & Nyanja all on the bench with Lewis Manor (who recently signed a deal to stay at the club until season’s end) and Tony Stokes leading the attack. For Ware, hot-shot Yannick Kamanan led the line with Damien Green and skipper Nicholas Symons marshalling the defence.

The match began in quite a cagey way with the visitors conceding more fouls than they would’ve liked which therefore gave Bowers midfielder Jamie Salmon chances from distance and eleven minutes in, he sent one free-kick just wide of the right-side post. Four minutes later, forward Tony Stokes’s header went just wide. Ware had a lot of defending to do as they struggled to clear their lines at times though they managed to soak up pressure from the hosts.

As we past the 20-minute mark, the visitors started to push forward as winger Marvin Hamilton blasted a decent effort over the bar, while moments afterward, Sam Alderson’s free-kick fizzed just wide of home custodian Callum Chafer’s post. On the cusp of the half-hour point, Ware forward Ross Elsom mis-kicked his effort when in on goal while minutes later, following good work by winger Johnny Ashman, forward Lewis Manor slotted his shot wide.

Six minutes before the break, Ware responded as forward Yannick Kamanan toe-poked a shot wide in what was a let-off for Rob Small’s side. The visitors did break the deadlock only a minute later as Chafer brillantly denied Kamanan’s initial shot though Hamilton stole in to grab a tap-in. Although the hosts were not at the fluent best, it was still a little hard on them, especially given that Ashman was a real threat down the right flank.

Half-Time: Bowers & Pitsea 0 – 1 Ware

Ware made two changes at the break, with Acea Laurent and Hady Traore replacing Alaa Oujdi & Andrew Tirivanhu.

Bowers started the half ‘feeling the pressure’ a bit perhaps though Callum Leahy slotted his shot wide following a good run by full-back James Thomas eight minutes into the second period. Soon after coming off the bench, forward David Knight headed wide for the hosts. The visiting back-line remained resolute with substitute Traore making a good tackle to deny fellow substitute Fahad Nyanja from breaking down the right wing.

Also, Bowers struggled to create chances for the likes of Manor and Knight up top. You sensed that Ware were growing in confidence somewhat and with the hosts piling forward seeking that all-important leveller, with ten minutes remaining a long-ball found the pacy winger Alderson who beat the home defence and then coolly lobbed over the on-rushing Chafer to pretty much seal the points for Craig Edwards’ side. Late on, Knight and Nyanja couldn’t find the target for the hosts though in fairness, it could’ve been worse for the hosts as Kamanan sent a long-range drive wide and also sent another crashing drive against the woodwork and midfielder Ahmed Abdulla also blasted a shot wide of the left-side post in added-time.

In the end, it just wasn’t Bowers’ day and Ware deserved the points in what is their first win under Craig Edwards, the first of a few (at least) you suspect for the wily campaigner.

 

I’d also like to thank Bowers for their hospitality and well as it was my first visit to the ground, it is a ‘nice patch’ they have. Thanks also to Bowers assistant boss Mark Ashford and fellow non-leagu colleague Andy Wilkins who you may find is going down the line of Photography, my best wishes to him in that.

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Teams

Bowers & Pitsea

Callum Chafer (GK), Ryan Boswell, James Thomas, Martyn Stokes (Capt), Lewis Clark, Callum Leahy, Jamie Salmon (Jamie Dicks 58′), Ben Sartain, Johnny Ashman (David Knight 61′), Lewis Manor, Tony Stokes (Fahad Nyanja 61′)

Booked: Leahy, Boswell | Subs Not Used: Easterford & Pinto

Ware

Harry Voss (GK), Junior Appiah, Alaa Oujdi (Acea Laurent 46′), Andrew Tirivanhu (Hady Traore 46′) Damien Green, Nicholas Symons (Capt), Marvin Hamilton (Murat Karagul 73′), Ahmed Abdulla, Yannick Kamanan, Ross Elsom, Sam Alderson

Goal-scorers: Marvin Hamilton [40′], Sam Alderson [80′]

Booked: Oujdi, Symons | Subs Not Used: Harris & Yuill

Referee: Christopher Bodell
Assistant Referees: Dajour McKenzie-George & Kennedy Kikulwe

Isthmian League Watch (5.12.17)

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello & welcome to a feature piece looking at the top and bottom of all three Isthmian Leagues (Premier, North & South) as we come into the fifth month of the season (tables & results up to & including Dec 2nd)

Bostik Premier Division

At the summit, Dulwich Hamlet lead ambitious Billericay Town by three points though the Essex side have a number of games in-hand on the teams around them. Glenn Tamplin’s big-spending side has had success in both the FA Cup & FA Trophy so far this term while Hamlet have shown their intentions again after numerous promotion near-misses in recent years and off-the-pitch ‘issues’. In the chasing pack; Staines, Folkestone, Hendon & Metropolitan Police are seperated by just four points. Completing the top ten are Margate, Leiston, Wingate & F & Brightlingsea.

At the bottom, Worthing’s difficult start on & off-the-pitch certainly has had an impact as they sit seven points adrift at the foot of the table. It should be said that the earlier problems with the Woodside pitch have now been rectified, after a short spell ground-sharing at Bognor Regis. Above them, nine clubs are seperated by just five points. Tooting & Mitcham, Harlow and Needham complete the bottom four while Burgess Hill, Thurrock, Dorking, Leatherhead (though they have at least two games in-hand), Enfield Town and Merstham are just above Needham to show how tight this division is. With only one side being relegated this term, Worthing have work to do in the coming months you feel.

 

Bostik Division North

At the top of a highly-competitive division, AFC Hornchurch are leading the way with a four-point cushion over the chasing pack while also having games in-hand most of the sides immediately below them. Dereham Town, Bowers & Pitsea & Canvey lead the pack also looking for promotion as at least two sides go up this term. Recently-promoted Potters Bar and Barking are another four points further back while Maldon & Tiptree, Haringey Borough, Waltham Abbey and Hertford Town round out the top ten with only two points seperating those four sides.

At the foot of the table, Romford are four points behind the sides above them, having recorded only one win so far this term. Norwich Utd and Cheshunt are the sides most in danger of being caught by Paul Martin’s side though above them five teams are bunched up with only three points seperating them. Ware, Aveley, Mildenhall, Brentwood and Tilbury are those sides that could get dragged into a relegation scrap though again it has to be noted only one side will make the drop into Step 5 this term.

 

Bostik Division South

Lewes lead the South division having tasted defeat only once in 20 matches so far this term. They have a four-point cushion over Corinthian Casuals and Carshalton who lead the promotion-chasing pack (at least two sides will gain promotion ala Bostik North). Below them, six teams are seperated by five points. Cray Wanderers, Greenwich, Hythe Town & Sittingbourne lead that ‘mini-pack’ with Walton Casuals and Phoenix Sports just behind them. Whyteleafe complete the top ten.

At the bottom, points deductions have had an effect on two sides in the bottom four. Shoreham sit bottom after being deducted six points for ‘registration irregularities’, they are nine points adrift of Ashford Utd. East Grinstead and Molesey (who were stripped of three points due to fielding an ineligible player) complete the bottom four. Above them, the ten sides (11th – 20th) are only seperated by six points in an incredibly close mid-table. South Park, Herne Bay, Thamesmead and Hastings Utd head up this pack while Chipstead, Guernsey, Horsham, VCD Athletic, Ramsgate and Faversham round it up, with all ten believing they could push their way up the standings if they get on a good run.

Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 3 – 2 Enfield 1893 (FA Vase R3 2.12.17)

The FA Vase Third Round (Last 64)

Venue: Lower Road

Attendance: 85

2017-18 Season: Match 43

Saturday 2nd December 2017 3pm KO

Hullbridge Sports: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Enfield 1893: Green & White Shirts, Green Shorts, Green Socks

 

Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

On FA Vase Third Round day, Hullbridge Sports welcomed ESL stable-mates Enfield 1893 to Lower Road for an intriuging cup-tie. For the hosts, Russell Harley got the nod between the sticks, with Harry Watkins making his first start and skipper Jimmy Cox and Michael Salako leading the line. Regarding the visitors, they lost full-back Matthew Claxton in the warm-up because of a hamstring injury, David Ottley filled in while ex-Ilford winger Luke Thomas lined up on the right flank with forward John Bricknell being supported up top by Ben Bradbury. Jayden Hocking-Rising and Josh Sykes were options for Matt Hanning’s side from the bench.

This much-anticipated tie (with radio’s BBC Essex also in attendance) got underway with Hullbridge having the first real chance as Cox’s cross from the left found Salako though he couldn’t direct his header past visiting ‘stopper Michael Corderoy. The visitors did have more of the ball in the early stages, with the hosts arguably sitting too deep. Enfield winger Thomas was a consistent threat down the right flank with his direct running and pace.

As we got to the mid-way point of the 1st half, both sides were lacking that final ball to unlock defences thus far. Midway into the half, home midfielder Joe Pattison’s drive was blocked in the area, the referee pointed to the spot after adjudging it to be a handball. Cox stepped up and buried the spot-kick in the right corner.

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Hullbridge forward Cox coverts the first spot-kick (Image: Neil Hunwicks – Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16 & Used with permission)

Enfield nearly levelled on the half-hour as Bricknell’s free-kick shaded past the top-right corner with home custodian Russell Harley beaten. On the stroke of half-time, Hullbridge midfielder Harry Watkins’ free-kick was saved by Corderoy.

Half-Time: Hullbridge 1 – 0 Enfield 1893

The second half didn’t begin well for the visitors. Already aggrieved at the manner of the first spot-kick given against them, Enfield conceded another penalty two minutes after the re-start. Cox once again duly stepped up for Hullbridge and converted it well, low into the right corner of the net. On the hour mark, Salako was well-denied by Enfield full-back Joe Clark when poised to strike.

On 68 minutes, Clark’s cross from the left found midfielder Joe Johnson though he shot wide at the back post. Five minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty after a foul on Thomas, with Bricknell dispatching it well. So, 2-1 with a little over a quarter-hour to play – you knew it was going to get a bit frantic.

The ‘chaos meter’ went up a notch again with 11 minutes of allotted time left as Hullbridge substitute goalkeeper Jamie Merralls, who had only been on the pitch 12 minutes, was dismissed for reacting to being fouled. Home forward Cox had the unenviable task of taking the goalkeeper’s jersey.

IMG_20171202_202234
Hullbridge skipper Cox crowns an all-action game by taking the goalie’s gloves late on (Image by Neil Hunwicks & used with permission)

The action was far from over though as with nine minutes of normal time remaining, the hosts increased their lead with a pearler of a free-kick from Watkins, which past Corderoy into the left corner. Enfield showed more guts though a few minutes later to halve the deficit through Thomas’ strike from close range. As we entered six minutes of added-time, Enfield defenders Ryan Cosson and Clark had to be alert to deny Salako another sight of goal. Enfield by this time were peppering the home defence with balls into the box, though the defiant back-line, led by centre-backs Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn and Jordan Meikle dealt with it well though Enfield substitute Jayden Hocking-Rising’s shot did test stand-in stopper Cox.

As the full-time whistle sounded, unsurprisingly the Hullbridge players & staff showed their delight though they knew they had been in a real battle here, for which credit should go to Enfield. There really wasn’t much to seperate these two sides today, though it is Hullbridge who take their place in the next round of the competition.

Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 3 – 2 Enfield 1893

IMG_20171202_202052
Hullbridge players & management show their delight after the winning goal (Image by Neil Hunwicks)

As ever, I’d like to thank Hullbridge for their hospitality, club photographer Neil for the use of his superb images and wish Enfield the best for the remainder of the league campaign. It was also good to be joined by respected colleague Peter Dudley today and we both spoke to Hullbridge boss Darren Manning post-match which you’ll be able to hear on this week’s Grassroot Football Show on Thursday night (7th December).

Teams

Hullbridge Sports

Russell Harley (GK) (Jamie Merralls 67′), Jordan Meikle, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn, Tom Ranger (Michael Edgar 39′), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Charlie Buffin

Goal-Scorers: Jimmy Cox [Pen 23′, Pen 47′], Harry Watkins [81′]

Sent Off: Merralls [79′]

Subs Not Used: Offord, Kimmence, Pallett | Booked: Watkins

 

Enfield 1893

Michael Corderoy (GK), David Ottley (Josh Sykes 76′), Joe Clark, Ryan Cosson, James O’Brien (Capt), Joe Johnson, Luke Thomas, Joe Staunton, John Bricknell, Ben Bradbury, Harry Prince (Jayden Hocking-Rising 65′)

Goal-Scorers: John Bricknell [Pen 73′], Luke Thomas [84′]

Subs Not Used: Thoma, Tirivanhu | Booked: Thomas, Bradbury, Sykes

Following The ESL : 2017/18 Season (Part 1: July – October) (31.10.17)

Lower Rd pitch (H v WF ESL 29.7.17)
Lower Road pitch (29.7.17)

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

As the dawn of the new season approached back in July, Essex Senior League (or ESL) clubs first began the necessary pre-season campaign, ahead of the season proper which began in late July/early August. Two ‘new’ names joined the fray in Hackney Wick [in place of London Bari] and Wodford Town (2017) [replacing Haringey & Waltham] so we were set for a 21-team league season.

Although we didn’t know the specifics at the time, we knew that Promotion & Relegation were going to take on more significance this season. The former has been subject to ground-grading issues recently, while the latter hasn’t been in place at all, in recent times at least.

Among the interesting differences compared to last season [in which Barking seized the chance to win the division and ascend back to the Isthmian League] were players coming down from higher tiers, more teams arguably having ‘budgets’ and some clubs also actively seeking to improve themselves and being aware that the ESL itself was going to get more ‘coverage’. Not by the ‘recognised press’ who were more than likely to have their attention focused elsewhere, but by an increasing group of folks who seemingly prefer Non-League Football, particularly at this level.

So there’s your ‘scene’. Even at the end of last season, I doubt many people would hazard a guess as to who would be the ‘front-runne

rs’ for the ESL title this term. You could not discount ‘surprises’ either, indeed those sorts of teams could quietly build a platform early -doors from which to sustain during what is a long ol’ season.

Said ‘surprises’ did launch themselves ‘out of the blocks’ in the form of Basildon Utd, Sporting Bengal Utd & West Essex in the first couple of months of the season, as they were among the early leaders.

As a certain lanky soul [ie. Me] made his way from match-to-match and read other reports & articles from other good colleagues as the weeks drifted by, it became pretty clear that a) This is going to be one heck of a competitive season , b) not much was going to stay still and c) at times, anyone could throw up the odd ‘surprise result’ into the air. Throw in quite a few chances in the dug-out (managerial) as well and you get the picture.

Two things have grabbed me, one is the unforgiving nature of results. Why? Well, on occasion they don’t quite reflect the actual match you’ve seen. That score-board isn’t about “could haves, would haves and should haves” – it can be cold in that respect. The other thing is the old chestnut: Consistency – easy to say yet hard to accomplish. Factor in the likely changes in matchday squads & starting XIs though injuries, suspensions and unavailability etc and the variables rise.

So at the end of October, who are among the top six in the table? Well, Takeley lead by two points from Basildon Utd with Redbridge, FC Romania, Great Wakering Rovers and Clapton all in hot pursuit. At The bottom, seven clubs are separated by just three points.

It’ll be some battle throughout the division this term. As an independent, I’ll say this: Bring It On!

Thanks for reading.

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Hargrave Park pitch (28.10.17)