TEMPLATE Essex Senior League Round-up [ESL 2019/20 Blog Date]

Featured Image: ESL Badge

 

Match Photo from the week here

 

Written by Scott W  (Twitter:@ScottMHC14)

 

 

Hello & Intro

 

 

Saturday / Match Action  Date

 

 

Format – Home   3 – 1 Away   | Home Venue

 

Results here

 

 

 

That’s all for this weekend’s Essex Senior League action. Thank you for reading. Check back regularly for more Essex Senior League round-up articles, Match Reports from the ESL & elsewhere, plus the regular Essex Olympian League round-up articles here on my blog.

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

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

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

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

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

 

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

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

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

What was the favourite match of the season and why? 

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

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

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

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

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

What was your best performance at Garon Park this season?

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

 

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

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

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

 

Were there any low points of the campaign for you? 

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

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

OTB: Definitely breaking my collarbone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End

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

 

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Senior League (Part 2 – Bottom half) [ESL SR 19/20 10.5.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the second of a two-part blog looking back at the Essex Senior League 2019-20 season, as part of my Non-League ‘Season Review’ series.

In this concluding part, I look back at the sides in the bottom half of the division from the dry statistics perspective and my own thoughts on seeing them in action during the campaign, followed by the stats on Top Goal-scorers this season.

For The Top Ten sides in the ESL, add this URL: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/season-review-2019-20-essex-senior-lge-p1/   Thanks for reading.

 

Essex Senior League   (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with most Football at or below Step 3 (Isthmian Premier Division in the local area), the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later.

Beginning the bottom half in 11th are West Essex. The Stags had a season of transition with thirty-one points being gathered in their 24 matches. Their campaign was also blighted by weather-affected postponements though they still struck fifty-one goals (a goals per game average (GpG) of 2.125) and also shelled fifty-one in defence. They won five of their 12 matches away from their Mayesbrook Park home and their strong team ethos spread to their goal-scorers with Michael Mignot (10 league goals), Brad Russell (8) and Hakim Medfai (6) leading the way on that front. It is also notable that they have continued to encourage young talent into the first team this term. I saw them in action defeat Woodford in September, win well at Sawbridgeworth Town and narrowly lose at Cockfosters, the latter two matches both in October. Their attacking pace has continued from last term though I think for most of the season they have been that bit stronger defensively, despite suffering a few heavy losses this term. It may be that their counter-attacking style favours playing away from home, but I believe it is also about longer-term brick-building you feel for the club as they seek to strengthen the youth side of the club to build pathways through to Senior football.

 

In 12th place were Clapton. The Tons had a very strong ‘end’ to the campaign to record thirty-one points also from their 27 matches.  Five of their nine wins this term came in their last eight matches and Julian Charles’ side were nomads, playing at Parkside before finishing the campaign at Southchurch Park. They scored forty goals and conceded 59 in total, though their ten losses from seventeen away matches also impeded them. I saw them twice back in November where they lost at Stansted after a decent start and then gave Saffron Walden Town a test before falling to a loss at home to the Bloods. They struck me as a decent side on-the-pitch though their concentration did let down at times. Deimar Queni led the goal-scoring charts with six league goals so well done Deimar.

In 13th place are Ilford, with Jonny Fowell’s side gaining thirty points from their twenty-eight games. Stats will show that they scored only 31 league goals (a GpG of 1.11) which is the third-lowest in the division this term, though they did concede fifty times at the other end, which on balance is second-best of all the bottom-half sides. Cricklefield was their ‘fortress’ with all league eight wins this season coming from their 15 home games, with only five points coming away from home. Being positive, I have little doubt that Fowell and his strong coaching team will be aiming for a better season next time out. I saw them narrowly best Tower Hamlets at home back in August before giving it their all in a draw with Walthamstow in late January. I found them to be a determined outfit with some talented players who will improve with coaching & experience.

St Margaretsbury ended up in 14th spot with twenty-six points from their 28 games, after a tough end to the season which saw them gain one win in their last ten matches. Tony Wild & Ray Bartlett’s team had issues finding the net, as they scored 36 goals (a GpG of 1.28) whilst shelling forty-eight goals at the other end. Forward Kyle Roberts snared eleven league goals to lessen the threat of being caught in the bottom four. In one of those quirks, I saw them twice against Southend Manor this term. Firstly, in early September where they just edged to a win at home in a real helter-skelter high-scoring battle before Manor returned the favour at Southchurch Park in early January. When I saw them they played quite an open, attacking style and benefitted by having the likes of Ryan Reed on set-pieces too. But in defence, they could be got at, much the same as their rivals in that bottom half. It was announced post-season that Tony Wild has moved across to lead the Youth section next term, with Bartlett taking sole charge of the first team, I’d like to wish both well in their respective roles next season.

A point behind St Mags were Sporting Bengal Utd in 15th, having gathered twenty-five points from their 26 matches, after being deducted three points early on in the campaign. Imrul Gazi’s side have played a attractive style of football for several seasons now, though this term they were that bit more vulnerable defensively, having conceded 62 goals (a GpG of 2.38) this term. Curtley McIntosh led the way in attack with a very respectable twelve league goals, with support from Bobby Redwood who got seven. As mentioned in the previous part of this article, Bengal contributed hugely to a fine match in their draw with Redbridge at Mile End in late September and reminds us that they have a very capable side, even if the consistency isn’t quite there.

Enfield 1893

Into the bottom four now, starting with Enfield in 16th spot. Matt Hanning’s side had twenty-four points on the board from their 26 matches, thanks in part to a decent run of two wins and three draws in their last eight matches. Defensively they conceded sixty-six goals – the second-worst in the division but to their credit, in the last few matches they did tighten up at the back and had the season continued, they may have ended the season in a better position. One plus for them as well was their new home of Woodside (Bishop’s Stortford) and they got some fine results there, winning five of their 14 matches there this season. In 17th spot was Southend Manor who endured a tough season it has to be said. They gained twenty-three points from their 26 matches, with four of their six league wins coming at Southchurch Park. The principal issue for them was scoring goals, as they scored twenty-eight times during the entire season – the lowest in the division (a GpG of 1.07). When I saw them live though, they did have their moments (particularly in the midway point of the season as they held Sawbridgeworth in November and edged to victory of St Margaretsbury in early January) but earlier in the campaign, lapses of concentration & confidence showed in home losses to Redbridge and Cockfosters.

 

Moving into the bottom two, and in 18th place were Tower Hamlets. They were a point adrift of Manor on 22 points from their 27 games played. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hamlets had one of the youngest squads to play in the division, certainly this season if not going further back into the league’s history. One for the historians that is. On their day, their pace and exuberance was tough to stifle, but on the other end of that scale is that their inexperience cost them, defensively in particular. They shipped sixty-five goals (a GpG of 2.41) and they didn’t win any of their last ten league matches which did put them in the position that they finished, but ran the top-of-the-table sides close which did earn John Jatto’s side respect.  Finally, bottom of the standings were Sawbridgeworth Town who won eight points from their 28 matches. Two league wins all season kind of sets the tone though what really leaps off the page was the unfortunate defensive record, conceding ninety-nine goals this term (a GpG of 3.53). Their league wins came against Cockfosters at home in mid-November and at Sporting Bengal in mid-February. I saw them lose out at home to West Essex in mid-October where they had promising parts of the game but not enough end product.  When I saw next saw them battle hard for a point at Manor at the end of November, there were signs they were tightening up and their attacking promise was evident too. Ultimately though, you’re forced to concede that it was a very harsh campaign for Sawbo and one they can scarcely afford to see again.

 

 

Finally, here’s the Leading Goal-scorers in the Essex Senior League 2019/20

(Source: essexseniorleague.co.uk)

       
    Club/s League Goals Total Goals (All Comps)
1 Dwade James Walthamstow 27 40
2 George Smith Hashtag Utd 19 26
3 Solomon Ofori Hadley 18 25
         
4 Gavin Cockman Saffron Walden Town 16 20
5 Suiabo Balde Tower Hamlets 15 15
6 Lewis Francis Walthamstow/ Saffron Walden Town 13 17
         
=7 Taylor Tombides Redbridge 12 19
  Curtley McIntosh Sporting Bengal Utd 12 16
  Issac Marfo-Jacobs Hoddesdon Town 12 15
         
=10 Kyle Roberts St Margaretsbury/ Hadley 11 15
  Connor Hammond Stansted 11 13
         
=12 Michael Mignot West Essex 10 15
  Manny Hammond Hadley 10 12
  Ned Clarke Cockfosters/ Hadley 10 10
         
=15 Charlie Cole Saffron Walden Town 9 28
  Bryn Thorpe Takeley 9 15
  Alfie Bartram Hadley 9 12
  Hassan Nalbant Redbridge 9 11
  Cameron Ferguson Hadley 9 9
         
         

 

Season Review 2019-20: Essex Senior League (Part 1 – Top 10) [ESL SR 19/20 5.5.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to the first of a two-part blog looking back at the Essex Senior League 2019-20 season, as part of my Non-League ‘Season Review’ series.

In this first part, I look back at the top ten sides in the division from the dry statistics perspective and my own thoughts on seeing them in action during the campaign, followed by the stats on ‘Clean Sheets’ this season. Thanks for reading.

 

Essex Senior League   (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)

As with most Football at or below Step 3 (Isthmian Premier Division in the local area), the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later.

Saffron Walden Town

We start off the Top ten rundown at the summit, where Saffron Walden Town led having grabbed sixty-six points from their 29 matches. Jason Maher’s side had another very strong campaign, with a much-admired strike force featuring the likes of Charlie Cole, Nathan Scarborough and highly-rated prospect Tyger Smalls breaking into the team in the second part of the campaign. The ‘Bloods’ hit 69 goals this term (at a Goals per game (GpG) average of 2.38) and had the fourth-best defence in the division (marshalled by the likes of Scott Pethers and club stalwart Spike Bell), conceding twenty-eight times in the league. They have all the hallmarks of a top side, being gritty when they need to be but also having searing pace going forward and can score goals almost at will when I watched them in-person. I also must give a special mention to determined forward Gavin Cockman, who struck sixteen league goals to lead his side in attack and personally he had a superb campaign.

Hashtag United

In second place are Hashtag Utd, who memorably won the Eastern Senior League South in their debut campaign in 2018-19. It was another very positive season for Jay Devereux’s side, having accrued sixty-five points from their 26 matches prior to the season being halted. The ‘Tags’ were the most in-form side in March, with six wins from their most recent eight matches. Overall, they scored sixty-six times (a GpG of 2.54) and conceded 27 goals, the third-best defensive record in the division. Their home record was right up there but it was away from their temporary home of Chadfields that they excelled, winning eleven of their thirteen matches away from home. Striker George Smith was a superb addition to the team, firing home nineteen league goals, but canny signings during the season like centre-back Luke Wilson, goalkeeper Louis Hawes and midfielder Tom Anderson added to their momentum. I saw them in their opening ESL match where they surprisingly lost to Southend Manor, though after that they won their next ten matches on-the-reel. Then in January, an inspired spell after half-time saw them bypass Redbridge and at that point you knew they would take some stopping. For all the hype that follows them around, they are a very promising side and will expect to be right in the tussle for promotion again next season. They are on the move once again, having agreed to ground-share at Bowers & Pitsea’s Len Salmon Stadium next season, which will only add to the optimism going forward.

 

Walthamstow resided in third place, with new manager Max Mitchell taking the reins in late January. The East Londoners gained sixty-three points from their 26 games, winning twenty of them. They netted seventy-three times (a GpG of 2.81) and yes, Dwade James got 27 of those himself to end up the league’s top scorer for the second season in succession, you also have to applaud the stats at the other end of the pitch. Notably, they shelled only seventeen goals, the league’s best this term (a GpG of 0.65) and custodian James Bransgrove also gathered 16 clean sheets (see below), which speaks for itself. Previous gaffer Ryan Maxwell has to take some credit for assembling the team he did, and therefore was largely responsible for his side losing only one of their twelve away matches this term. I saw them since back in August where they just outshone Stansted and battle to a point at Ilford in late January though with Mitchell settling in well since his appointment, the ‘Waltham Rabble’ will be fired up once again next term for another good season at Wadham Lodge.

 

Next in the table were league newcomers Hadley in fourth. They garnered 57 points from their twenty-six matches and have the esteem of scoring the most goals this term, with eighty strikes (a GpG of 3.07) and letting in only twenty-four goals, the second-best record in the division this term. I saw them back on the opening day where they comfortably defeated Enfield though the best thing I recall about that day was the good atmosphere at the club, not forgetting the intriguing ‘Tennis Ball Challenge’ game which is a rather unique half-time spot of entertainment. I saw them again in October where they had to play well to win at Takeley. Forward Solomon Ofori was arguably their star player this term with eighteen league goals to his name, though I’d also mention Luke Jupp, Cameron Ferguson and Manny Hammond who also were right up there in the goal-scorers chart and for their importance to the team. I doubt I’m the only writer who hopes they remain with the league next season as they certainly played their part in it for the football they played and the good people at the club. They were the only side unbeaten at home, winning 13 of their fourteen matches at Brickfield Lane, with only Saffron Walden Town holding them to a draw in the ESL in January. Finally, who could forget the FA Cup run to the Third Qualifying Round where they lost out at National League South side Havant & Waterlooville in early October.

 

In fifth spot are Stansted, who got fifty points from their 27 matches this term. A mixed start to the campaign was swiftly nullified from the memory banks during mid-season as they achieved a new club record of twelve straight league wins which shot them up into the top six. They were in good nick towards the ‘end’ of the season as well. Having scored fifty-five goals in all this term (a GpG of 2.04) and their form at Hargrave Park was to be envied, with ten wins from their 14 matches at home. Paul Pittuck and John Watters’ side also made the last 64 of the FA Vase, and had a grand away day at Thurlow Nunn Premier high-flyers Stowmarket Town to show for it. Connor Hammond ended up their top scorer with eleven league goals, though in fairness the goals were well spread out this term. These two canny managers are known for having determined sides and that was certainly the case again this season. I saw them narrowly lose out at Walthamstow early-doors before besting Clapton in November. You wouldn’t be surprised if the Airportmen are competitive once again next season.

 

Takeley

Takeley were once again in the upper echelons of the table in sixth place, garnering forty-three points from their 24 matches, as the indecent weather in the winter heavily affected their fixtures. Interestingly, their form away from Station Road was slightly better than at home, as Marc Das’ side won seven of their 13 matches away, with only three losses. They struck 46 goals this term, whilst the familiar steely backline remained, conceding thirty-four goals (a GpG of 1.42) – the fifth-best record in the ESL. Bryn Thorpe deserves a mention for being top scorer with nine league goals (15 in all competitions) and stopper Matt Gill also racked up six clean sheets as well. When I saw them back in late October, they were beaten by the better side in Hadley and their form toward the season’s halt wasn’t super with two wins and three losses in their last eight matches though it is a testament to the reputation that Das & co have built that you can’t rule out his side from having a good season, even if they are not the most spectacular.

 

Hoddesdon TOwn

That thought remains with the next club in seventh which was filled by Hoddesdon Town, having won 41 points from their twenty-seven matches. The solid nature of the previous season was maintained, with the Lilywhites conceding 35 times (a GpG of 1.29) and notching a half-century of goals too. Isaac Marfo-Jacobs was their top goal-getter with twelve goals, prior to his departure for Isthmian North side Witham Town. Jordan Halls got six league goals as well to help cover during the latter part of the campaign. Goalkeepers Simon Dent and Aaron Bull got ten clean sheets between them as well and you would feel Simon Riddle’s side are well-placed for another top-half finish at least in 2020/21.

Redbridge are next in eighth spot, having recovered from a mid-season lull to notch thirty-eight points from their 25 games. Weather also affected the improving Oakside stadium, though the fact that they scored 57 league goals (a GpG of 2.28) says a lot for manager Micky Wetherall and his coaching staff. They also shelled 56 goals in defence which arguably held them back a bit but you also have to credit the manner of how they play. Their high-scoring draw at Sporting Bengal Utd in late September was one of my matches of the season, just for the attacking intent shown by both sides. Then in early October, they showed a more gritty side as they won at Southend Manor. Finally, a rare Friday night outing at Oakside in early November saw them just lose out to Woodford Town in another highly-competitive game. Incredibly, eight of their 12wins this came on-the-road and overall, I believe Micky will be happy enough with their campaign.

In ninth place were Woodford Town, after claiming thirty-four points from their 28 matches. Their season could ably be labelled as inconsistent though they did end up finishing well, with four wins from their last eight matches. Remaining at the Harlow Arena this term, they got six wins from their fourteen home games while having their struggles on away days, with four wins and nine losses from their fourteen matches away from home. I saw them lose out at West Essex in September before winning at Redbridge in early November. If they have a more settled squad next term, you would think they will finish higher next term, given they have some talented prospects in the young side. Finally for this part, in tenth spot are Cockfosters, another new side to the division. Ryan Wade’s team gathered thirty-four points also from their 26 matches and ended below Woodford on goals scored. Their Chalk Lane base saw them win six of their twelve matches and going forward, they are an enterprising side to watch, with Billy Healey and Ned Clarke among those impressing. I watched them narrowly defeat West Essex in late October and as some of my peers have said on radio this season, on that occasion they showed how much of a welcoming club they are and they should be congratulated for that. I also saw them make the most of a first-half blitz to win at Southend Manor in November before they ground out a win at Tower Hamlets in early December. All in all, they are a god side to watch and much like Hadley, I hope they remain in the ESL as they have added to the division this term.

 

Essex Senior League  – Goalkeepers’ Clean Sheets

(Source: essexseniorleague.co.uk)

    Club/s Clean Sheets
1 James Bransgrove Walthamstow 16
       
=2 Luke Ward Hadley 13
  Nicholas Eyre Saffron Walden Town 13
       
=4 Bradley Robinson Cockfosters 7
  Tim Pitman Hashtag Utd 7
       
       
=6 Matthew Gill Takeley 6
  Simon Dent Hoddesdon Town 6
  Alex Read Woodford Town 6
       
9 William Hunt Clapton 5
  Jack Coker West Essex 5
       
=11 Aaron Bull Hoddesdon Town 4
  Louis Hawes Hashtag Utd 4
  George Marsh Stansted 4
  Florent Gislette Redbridge 4
  Alex Jennings Enfield 4
       

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

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

EOFL Premier Division  – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

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

 

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

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

 

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

eofl-logo
EOFL Crest

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @SottMHC14]

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

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

 

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

As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At the top of Division Five, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves led the way with 39 points gained from their 18 matches. Danny Page’s side managed twelve wins from those games and in doing so were the joint-top scorers in the division with 51 goals (a Goals per game (or GpG) of 2.83) and also shared the best defensive record with the same side in Springfield Reserves, in shelling 22 goals this term. All in all, a really good season for the Swifts second-side so congrats to them. In second spot were the aforementioned Springfield Reserves who had only played 14 matches, resulting in twenty-eight points. They also notched 51 times this season and led the goal-scoring chart in the division by virtue of a better average (GpG of 3.64). Their top-scorer James Page struck sixteen of those goals himself so credit must go to him.

The chasing pack were pretty close behind, led by Collier Row Reserves who ended the term in third spot with twenty-five points from their 15 matches. The Romford-based side struck the net forty-seven times this term (a GpG of 3.13) though also conceded 32 times, giving them the fifth-best defensive record at this level. Roberto Carvalho also merits a mention with thirteen goals making him Row’s second-side’s top goal-getter. Herongate Athletic Reserves are next in fourth, having been deducted two points for failing to play a fixture in September, they ended up with 24 points from their seventeen games, with eight wins this term. They struck forty-eight goals this term (a GpG of 2.82) though it may frustrate them to have shelled 46 goals as well. One for Non-League fans to follow as fans don’t often like goal-less stalemates. On a better note, they also have two entrants in the leading goal-scorers chart (see below).

Also on twenty-four points were Newbury Forest Reserves in fifth spot. They played 15 matches, with no stalemates here, only eight wins and seven losses. One positive statistic for them was that their record at the back was thirty-one goals conceded, the fourth-best record in the division. Roydon Reserves are a point behind in sixth, having gathered twenty-three points from their 15 outings. Their miserly defence shelled twenty-five goals, the third-best record at this level but that good point is somewhat dampened by their goal-scoring, having made the net rustle thirty times and despite scoring on average two goals a game, it was still the fourth-worst in the division. The next two sides were both relegated from Division Four in 2018/19. First, Old Barkbbeyans ended in seventh, on twenty-one points from their sixteen games. Their goal difference saw them finish here, having won six matches this term. They scored thirty-nine goals this term and a mention has to go to top goal-scorer Michael Ryder who nabbed twenty-four of them to end as the division’s best marksman. Well done Michael. Leigh Ramblers Reserves are eighth woth 21 points also, having won seven of their twenty matches. They did complete their season before the season’s halt, and by the stats, it was a mixed one. They struck forty-four goals (a GpG of 2.20) but also shelled fifty-one times which was the second-worst record in defence this term. Ola James was their top goal-getter with twelve goals so congrats to him.

Into the bottom three now, and in ninth spot were Shoebury Town Reserves, having only played thirteen times due to weather issues earlier in the campaign. They still gained twenty points, thanks largely to their six wins this term. Goal-scoring was their main ‘Achilles heel’, gathering 28 goals (a GpG of 2.15) which in fairness still isn’t bad going. Runwell Sports Reserves finished tenth, with 16 points (after having two points taken away for being unable to fulfil a fixture in November) from their sixteen matches. They managed six league wins, though again it was the offensive side of the pitch which troubled them a bit, having scored 26 times (a GpG of 1.62) this term, the second-lowest goal-scoring side at this level. Finally, it was a season of development for bottom side Wakering Sports Development, who finished with eleven points from their 17 matches. Unfortunately, they scored only fourteen goals  this term and conceded a whopping sixty-eight times (or on average, four goals a game) though to be positive, their experience this season will hold them in good stead as they continue their transition into Adult Football.

 

EOFL Division Five – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season

    Club/s League Goals League Starts
1 Michael Ryder Old Barkabbeyans 24 14
2 James Page Springfield Res 16 13
3 Roberto Carvalho Collier Row Res 13 8
         
=4 Liam England Springfield Res 12 (+1 pen) 12
  Ola James Leigh Ramblers Res 12 14
         
6 Glen Jordan Herongate Athletic Res 11 9
         
=7 Valentine Lawrence Herongate Athletic Res 10 (+1 pen) 9
  Nicholas George Collier Row Res 10 11
  Josh Robinson Old Barkabbeyans 10 12
         
10 Jordan Handcomb Roydon Res/ Bishop’s Stortford Res 9 14
         

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

     

Appearances

    Club/s League Starts Bench Total
=1 Edward Foskett Leigh Ramblers Res 17 1 18
  Lewis Harvey Leigh Ramblers Res 17 1 18
           
=3 Joe Howson Leigh Ramblers Res 16 3 19
  Ben Wood Old Barkabbeyans 16 0 16
           
=5 Jake Fairman Leigh Ramblers Res 15 1 16
  Taylor Stewart Leigh Ramblers Res 15 1 16
  Archie Lambert Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res 15 0 15
  Khari Pobi Newbury Forest Res 15 0 15
           
=9 Jordan Handcomb Roydon Res/ Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res 14 2 16
  Luke Harradine Old Barkabbeyans 14 1 15
  Kyle Stanley Roydon Res 14 1 15
  Danny Adderson Roydon Res 14 0 14
  Ryan Blake Old Barkabbeyans 14 0 14
  Tony Carlton Herongate Athletic Res 14 0 14
  Oliver Gees-Howes Collier Row Res 14 0 14
  Ola James Leigh Ramblers Res 14 0 14
  Ewan Rockell Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res 14 0 14
  Michael Ryder Old Barkabbeyans 14 0 14
  Kai Wade Collier Row Res 14 0 14
  Lewis Kelsey Leigh Ramblers Res 14 0 14
           

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

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

End

 

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

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