S21-22 Match Report: Catholic Utd 4 – 0 Hutton (Tues 3 May) [EOFL 21/22 4.5.22]

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Len Forge Centre 3G

2021-22 Season: Match 81

Attendance: 35 (Est)

Tuesday 3rd May 2022 – 7.30pm KO

Catholic Utd: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Gren & Socks

Hutton: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Hutton launch a counter-attack in first half

Super Hoops put on convincing display to defeat hard-working Hutton

Catholic Utd  4 – 0 Hutton

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

The ‘Senior’ (Step 6 & above) season may have ended but the Intermediate season re-started for me with a welcome return to Len Forge 3G to see an intriguing match between two top six sides in Catholic Utd and Hutton in an Essex Olympian League Premier Division match. Both sides were looking to finish the season strongly and have big matches coming up at the weekend, with Galleywood the visitors to the Len Forge and Hutton welcoming promotion-chasing Basildon Town so both teams would have wanted to put in a good performance here.

This match got underway with the home side enjoying an early flourush, with quick forward Joe O’Kane doing well to bypass approaching defenders before firing off-target on two seperate occasions. Fortunately though for the supporting home contingent watching, they didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal. Midfielder Carl Read was involved in the build-up, finding forward Aaron Baldwin well before the latter struck low past Hutton stopper Adrian Faherty and into the corner to give Simon Thomas’ side the advantage.

Alfie Whiteaker about to take a throw-in for Utd

The visitors were up for the challenge of dealing with some fine forward play by Utd, but couldn’t threaten at the other end enough, as on 22 minutes a good cross from the right side allowed George Nash to get a header in on goal but Utd custodian Louis Godwin-Green could gather comfortably. Catholic Utd continued to press forward and it was little surprise they got the next goal. On 37 minutes, the impressive Franklin Craik got past a covering defender well before firing a goal-bound strike which Faherty did well to keep out, but fellow forward James Warder was following up and he helped himself to a tap-in from close range.

With the interval approaching, Hutton did have a good chance six minutes before half-time, as hard-working forward Brad Freeman’ strike forced a good save out of Godwin-Green before midfielder Lewis Scott’s follow-up header was also saved.

Half-Time: Catholic Utd 2 – 0 Hutton

Utd GK Godwin-Green about to launch the ball forward

Matt Singh’s side knew they had to get the next goal to reinvigorate their chances in this game, but it was Utd who started the second half well, with Craik making another fine sprint before his effort went narrowly wide of the goal frame. The hosts pretty much sealed the points with a counter-attack on 56 minutes. Godwin-Green had punched away a teasing Freeman cross and from that, a quick forward move allowed Joe O’Kane to show good composure before stroking the ball into the net, to cap a good performance from him.

James Warder made it four two minutes later as he finished a fine move also involving Baldwin & Craik to end up with a close-range finish. The Reds just looked a little tired, understandable given they had a tough battle with rivals Rayleigh Town only four days previously. They did find some energy though in the latter stages as Utd backed off a little defensively given their hefty lead.

Luke Ricketts (7) on the ball for Hutton

With seventeen minutes left, midfielder Joshua Seal made a super surging run down the middle but again, Lewis Scott was denied as he couldn’t find the target. Godwin-Green also made two good clearances late on, remaining alert and earning his team a satisfying defensive shut-out.


Full-Time: Catholic Utd  4 – 0 Hutton

To summarise, Utd put in a very good display here, particularly in the first hour or so. Their defending was decent but their four-man forward line was difficult for their opponents to deal with, utilising pace, movement and good passing. Allied with good finishing, Simon Thomas’ team deserved the win though as ever, Hutton kept going and created a bit more late on in the game with their approach play, they just couldn’t find that telling final pass.

There were several good performances here. For victors Utd, I thought Franklin Craik put in a very good display, showcasing his high work rate, good movement and decent ball striking which provided at least one assist. Fellow forward Joe O’Kane also impressed, showing good awareness and an eye for goal, showing good composure to get his goal. Centre-half John Nutman was a good steadying influence at the back and goalkeeper Louis Godwin-Green needed to make a few good clearances to keep his team’s clean sheet.

For Hutton, I thought dependable centre-back James Gardner made several good interceptions to help his team stay in the game in the first half, while Joshua Seal making several runs from midfield and also showing good passing & determination. Forward Brad Freeman also put in a characteristic hard-working display and replacement Billy Chilcott also gave his team more pace  in attack after the break.

With this win, Utd still have a shot of taking fifth spot while Hutton still need a point to secure another fine fourth-placed finish.  My thanks to Catholic Utd boss Simon Thomas and Hutton boss Matt Singh for their assistance pre-match.

Catholic Utd looking to push forward in first half

Teams

Catholic Utd  | Player-Manager: Simon Thomas | Assistant: Tom Harding

Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 2 Patrick Kearney, 3 Alfie Whiteaker, 20 John Nutman, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt), 16 Carl Read, 7 Thomas Kearney, 10 Joe O’Kane, 9 James Warder, 19 Aaron Baldwin, 11 Franklin Craik

Goal-scorers: Aaron Baldwin [13′], James Warder [37′ & 58′], Joe O’Kane [56′]

Subs On (Time): 17 Jay Nash [62′], 5 Tom Elliott [73′], 14 Alex O’Leary [73′]


Booked: None  | Subs Not Used: Harding, Thomas

Hutton  | Manager: Matt Singh |  Assistant: Bill Stratford

Starting XI: 1 Adrian Faherty (GK), 2 Tom Stephens, 3 John Carroll, 5 James Gardner (Capt), 4 Stephen Judge, 8 Lewis Scott, 18 Joshua Seal, 7 Luke Ricketts, 9 Brad Freman, 10 Will Marlowe, 11 George Nash

Subs On (Time): 12 Billy Chilcott, 17 Jude Keeling & 19 Jamie Rivers [all three on 46′], 6 Jamie Greenwood [64′]

Booked: None | Sub Not Used: None


Referee: James Perry
Assistants: Oliver Townsend & Simon Brickwood

S21-22 Match Report: Hashtag Utd Res 2 – 1 White Ensign Res [AET] (Mon 2 May) [LCP 3.2.22)

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – Len Cordell Plate Final

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: 122

2021-22 Season: Match 79

Monday 2nd May 2022 – 11am KO

Hashtag: Blue & Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks

Ensign: White Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

The glassware… The Cordell Plate (Image by Scott W)

Hashtag Reserves battle hard to overcome resilient Ensign Res in LCP Final

Hashtag Utd Res 2 – 1 White Ensign Res (AET)

Short Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

with Photos by Scott W & Katie Dorling (on behalf of ESL)

The first match of ‘ESL Finals Day’ saw an early kick-off for the Len Cordell Plate Final between Hashtag Utd Res and White Ensign Res. Both sides have good campaigns in their respective Reserve Divisions (One and Two) for different reasons, and the Tags side was looking to end the campaign on a high after losing out of the League title to Billericay Town U23 recently.

This match got underway with both sides looking to gain an early advantage but also content to keep things tight and give their opponents an edge. Central defender Joe Burgess had a header gathered by Tags stopper Jack Gannon and layer-boss Kiernan Hughes-Mason’s free-kick also came off the woodwork but there were relatively few chances. That was until the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes as forward Emmanuel Abudiore stole in ahead of his marker from yard out to head home past Gannon and give the Ensign team the lead.

Image by Scott W

Hashtag did respond well to that setback and importantly, they levelled before the break. Hughes-Mason was again involved as his set-piece was powerfully headed in by Brandon Chapman, who did have a strong all-round performance here. Ensign custodian Archie Matthews could do nothing to prevent that fine header. The tension was exacerbated just before the interval as Jonny Vandyck was given a straight red card for kicking out at an Ensign defender, after the Tags player had won a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area. Even so, we went into the break all-square and that feeling continued into the second half though Hashtag were having more ball time, with winger Ed Cooper having a few good darting runs down the flank, assisting creative forward Tommy Sykes, who was also posing problems.

The match itself was getting gritty with chances not overly apparent, although substitute Kieran Wilson-Fowler was giving Ensign an important outlet down the flanks to keep the Tags defence alert. They were well marshalled by Tags stalwart Marcus Stamp. Ensign nearly won it in added-time as Abudiore was in on goal with only Gannon to beat but the Tags stopper did well to gather the forward’s strike.

Full-Time (90 mins): Hashtag 1 – 1 Ensign

Image by Scott W

So Extra Time was required and seven minutes in, Hashtag replacement Brad Bunker did well to guide a header from another good Hughes-Mason centre on target, but Matthews did well to judge the trajectory of the ball and gather. As it turned out, that was a let off for the robust but tiring Ensign backline and four minutes into the second part of Extra Time, another Hughes-Mason free-kick was angled into the back post and Bunker was there to pounce with a firm header past Matthews.

The last chance of note for the Division Two side came seven minutes from time as a set-piece by Ensign skipper Zach Somerset-Butler was on target but lacking the power to bypass Gannon. The Final whistle blew and Hashtag could at last celebrate a victory in a match that will many watching may mention as gritty. Ensign have every reason to be proud of their efforts though some would debate that they needed to create more to test a good Hashtag backline here.

Image by Katie D

Full-Time (AET): Hashtag Res 2 – 1 Ensign Res

Congratulations to Hashtag Utd Res on their Plate victory and best wishes to White Ensign Res who made the Tags work hard for the win, despite them being a division below their opposition in the Reserve divisions.

You have to give the Tags’side credit though for pushing on well in extra time and they were the more attacking side in the latter stages of the contest, despite playing more than 75 minutes with ten men. Good performances in this match for Hashtag were led by captain Tommy Sykes who really looked to instigate forward moves by way of good passing & had several decent efforts on goal. Winger Ed Cooper and player-boss Kiernan Hughes-Mason also played their part in a good team performance, as did Brandon Chapman, who got awarded man of the match.

The young Ensign side also put in a good display and kept things tight for long periods with a hard-working display. Forward Emmanuel Abudiore took his goal well and put a good shift in, while defender Owen Dixie also did well to make it difficult at times for the opposition forwards and made some good passes. Finally, Josh Reilly also made a difference when he came on or the last hour or so of the game and gave his team some more impetus with some timely tackles.


Teams

Hashtag Utd Res   | Player-Manager: Kiernan Hughes-Mason  | Assistant: Paul Prosser

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Gannon (GK), 2 Nathan Wilson, 3 Matas Skarna (14 Ali Alanezi 84′), 5 Marcus Stamp (16 Joel Bevan 105′), 6 Brandon Chapman, 7 Ed Cooper (9 Brad Bunker 69′), 8 Jonny Vandyck, 4 Iyiola Adebayo, 12 Tommy Sykes (Capt), 10 Kiernan Hughes-Mason, 11 Rujorn Tuitt (15 Tommy Kilcast 116′)

Goal-scorers:  Brandon Chapman [39′],  Brad Bunker [109′]

Booked: Skarna, Stamp, Sykes | Sent Off: Vandyck [43′]  | Subs Not Used: None


White Ensign Res  | Manager: Liam Phillips  | Assistant: Joe Phillips

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Archie Matthews (GK), 18 Owen Dixie, 16 Joe Burgess, 5 Joshua Hayward, 10 Joss Pountney (3 Josh Reilly 59′), 2 Yaw Danso, 7 Zach Somerset-Butler (Capt), 8 Daniel Wringe (15 Emmanuel Grey-Coker 98′), 13 Emmanuel Abudiore, 17 Lewis Brown (11 Kieran Wilson-Fowler 72′), 9 Shemarie Perkins-Palmer

Goal-scorer: Emmanuel Abudiore [25′]

Booked: Hayward, Dixie, Reilly, Grey-Coker  | Subs Not Used: Curtis


Referee: Dwayne Uylett

Assistants: Andy Wheaton & Darrell Adams
Fourth Official: Joe Lannon

S21-22 Match Report: Cockfosters 2 – 3 Enfield (Mon 2 May) [ESL ECC 3.5.22]

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – Errington Challenge Cup Final

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: 466

2021-22 Season: Match 80

Monday 2nd May 2022 – 3pm KO

Cockfosters: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Enfield: White Shirts, Blue Shorts, White Socks


The Silverware… the Winners permanent Trophy & the Errington Cup itself [Image by Scott W]

Superior finishing gives Enfield Errington Cup glory at Burroughs Park

Cockfosters  2 – 3 Enfield

Match Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

With photos by Katie Dorling (on behalf of ESL), Scott W, Enfield FC & James W

The second match of ESL ‘Finals Day’was the big one, with Cockfosters taking on Enfield for the Errington Challenge Cup. Gavin Kelsey’s team had Charlie Mann in goal, Danny Haigh & Michael Okafor in central defence, with skipper Matt Thomson & Joe Entwistle in midfield, and led by forwards Theo Coeta and top-scorer George Beattie. The E’s were looking to round off a good campaign with silverware and had James Bransgrove between the posts, Alfie Mason, Jack Johnson & Tyler Corkett in defence with a forward line of Dwade James and Louis Johnson assisted in the flanks by Samrai Gebrai & Kieran Bishop.

Image by Scott W

It was the North London side who started the match well, with several enterprising runs down the channels. Midfielder Joe Entwistle had the first half-chance of note, firing off-target. As the half went on though, the E’s had more momentum & possession as Samrai Gebrai also struck wide for Jamie Cureton’s side. The opening goal may have had a little fortune about it but it was still a crisp strike by Louis Johnson which bounced and decieved Reds stopper Charlie Mann who did well to get a glove on it but couldn’t prevent the ball from going into the net.

Five minutes afterward, Enfield really took advantage of their good spell as forward Dwade James smashed home an unstoppable strike right into the top corner, giving Mann no chance. It was one of the best technique goals you will see anywhere. Unsurprisingly, that goal compromised Cockfosters’ rhythm and it got worse still on 32 minutes. A fine cross from the left side found Gebrai who powered in a header into left-side corner.


Cockfosters launch a counter-attack.. [Image by James W]

So at the interval, ‘Fosters were well behind despite showing good approach play and they gave the E’s some nervy moments in defence. Strong finishing was the difference thus far in this game.

Half-Time: Cockfosters 0 – 3 Enfield

After the break, the Reds rallied and got a goal they did deserved as star winger Reece Mosanya stole half a yard of space and slotted in past Enfield stopper Bransgrove. Now it was the ‘Fosters who were making the E’s backline a little wary as centre-back Michael Okafor who nearly slotted home at the backpost but it only found the side-netting.

Another turning point happened on the hour as Okafor was dismissed for a really tough tackle on Enfield skipper Reece Conway, who had to be substituted after several minutes of treatment. Ryan Ramsay replaced him, and ‘Fosters depleted defence nearly conceded again soon afterward with James having an effort wide, much to Mann’s relief.


Reece Mosanya looks up to start a forward move (Image by Katie D)

As we entered the last twenty minutes of the match, Cockfosters were again pushing forward with George Beattie making runs from deep down the flank & the nerves were rising in the Enfield defence. The Reds had another good effort on goal on 81 minutes through Beattie’s freekick from 25 yards which went narrowly over the woodwork.


Samrai Gebrai sprints forward for Enfield… (Image by Katie D)

As the minutes ebbed away, there was one more fantastic strike left in the contest. Barely a minute after coming off the bench, Daniel Ferrigno unleashed a fine strike which curled round Bransgrove’s grasp to really add to the tension in the seven additional minutes of stoppage time. Cockfosters pushed on looking for what was earlier an unlikely leveller but they were unable to force extra time. Take nothing away from both sides though who contributed to an absorbing contest which was worthy of the competition.

Image by Scott W

Full-Time:  Cockfosters 2 – 3 Enfield

To summarise this entertaining Errington Cup Final, Enfield’s finishing in the first half was quite simply the difference that gave them a commanding half-time advantage. Dwade James’ goal was a terrific display of technique while Samrai Gebrai got a rare header for his side’s third goal. ‘Fosters came back into the match well in the latter stages despite centre-back Michael Okafor’s red card. It’s also worth adding that substitute Dan Ferrigno’s goal was also brilliant.

There were terrific performances by several players in this game. For victors Enfield, forward Dwade James was announced as Man of the Match & his stunning goal was worthy of it. But James also showed good movement and good energy, while defender Tyler Corlett had another strong match as the right-sided defender here, making several crucial interceptions. Also, a word for talented forward Samrai Gebrai, who also made several telling runs, made good passes and took his goal well. For Cockfosters, winger Reece Mosanya had a fine game, being his team’s best creative outlet, showing good movement and also a decent goal. Also, forward Theo Costa made some good intelligent runs and was unlucky not to score, while Reece Barrett also provided a good presence in a attacking midfield role.

Congratulations again to Enfield but also a word for Cockfosters who gave it everything today and made it a nervy end for the E’s with their comeback.

Finally, as this is my last Essex Senior-related match of the season, I’d like to say thank you to all at the Essex Senior League for their hospitality at the three Cup Finals in the last three weeks. It’s been a long season but also a good one & it is an privilege to write on the ESL. Thank you to all the Clubs & Match Officials as well.

Enfield celebrate with the Cup [Image Credit: Enfield FC]

Here are your winners, Enfield FC!

Enfield team applauding their fans with the Cup [Image by James W]

Teams

Cockfosters     |  Manager: Gavin Kelsey  | Assistant: Glenn Draper

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Charlie Mann (GK), 2 Rueben Campbell, 3 Prince Madu, 5 Michael Okafor, 6 Danny Haigh, 4 Joe Entwistle (15 Zivonimir Lopes 88′), 7 Matt Thomson (Capt) (14 Dan Ferrigno 88′), 8 Reece Barrett (16 Fred Agyemang 69′), 9 Theo Costa, 10 George Beattie, 11 Reece Mosanya

Goal-scorers: Reece Mosanya [52′], Dan Ferrigno [89′]

Booked: Mosanya  | Sent Off: Okafor [59′] | Sub Not Used: Constanti, N Barrett


Enfield     |  Player-Manager: Jamie Cureton | Assistants: Terry Fogarty & Lee Hanning

Starting XI: 1 James Bransgrove (GK), 21 Tyler Corlett, 5 Jack Johnson, 15 Alfie Mason, 8 Reece Conway (Capt) (7 Ryan Ramsay 64′), 16 Jack Cousins (20 Jeffrey Cobblah 80′), 4 Alex Warman, 9 Kieran Bishop, 10 Louis Johnson, 27 Dwade James, 11 Samrai Gebrai (3 Toby Barlow 90’+1)

Goal-scorers: Louis Johnson [18′], Dwade James [23′], Samrai Gebrai [32′]

Booked : Bishop & Gebrai | Subs Not Used: Luther, Cureton

Referee: James Keane

Assistants: Richard Airey & Royan Campbell
Fourth Official: Michael Scott

S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 30 Apr) [EOFL 21/22 1.5.22]

Image still from Rayleigh Town v Sungate this week [Image by Scott W]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello and welcome to this week’s extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this week, including the midweek action In League & Cups and the action on Saturday 30 April. The focus this week is on the League action in the top three divisions. Thank you for reading & thanks to Pete Dudley for allowing links to his reports to be added.

Essex Olympian League – Midweek [Mon 25 – Thurs 28 April]

The midweek action began with the EOFL Reserve Trophy Final held at Basildon Utd FC. May & Baker A got the silverware after a 2 – 0 triumph over Ongar Town Res, with Abraham Jairette and Ryan Mugera getting the job done, much to the felight of all at ‘Bakers, congrats to them. On Tuesday night, Rayleigh Town maintained their push for a minimum top-three finish with a gritty 1 – 0 over Sungate at London Road. Captain George Vile’s free-kick was enough to claim the win. Fellow Non-League writer Pete Dudley [@ped1980] was there & here’s his report: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/04/rayleigh-town-1-sungate-0.html

On Wednesday night, Galleywood Res got a good 2 – 1 victory at Sungate Dev, with Ben Smith and an OG overcoming James Oderinde’s reply for the hosts there. The win keeps ‘Wood in ninth. Finally on Thursday night, Runwell Sports added the EOFL Denny King Memorial Cup to their Division One Promotion as they won 09 – 8 on penalties following a 1 – 1 draw with Snaresbrook. Ife Ogunbayo netted for the East London side, but Charlie Little replied for Robert Hodgson’s side. Congrats to all at Runwell & Pete Dudley was also there, here is his report: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/04/runwell-sports-end-season-with.html


Essex Olympian League – Saturday 30 April

Now onto the weekend’s action, Ongar Town still lead the way on goal difference following a 3 – 2 win away at Catholic Utd. Harry Rawlins, Joe Lilly and Freddie Mattock got the goals to outdo replies from John Nutman and Carl Read for Utd to grab a vital win. Ongar host the same opponents in their last game on May 14th. Basildon Town are also still in contention after a 2 – 1 success over Sungate at Gardiners Close, with Rhys Willson and replacement Rhys Fatt grabbing the important strikes. Marcus Bowers’ team visit Hutton next weekend in their last game. Rayleigh Town have almost secured a third-placed finish now after a 2 – 1 victory at Hutton, with George Vile and substitute Philip Anunwa both netting to give them another important victory.

In the race to avoid relegation, Leigh Ramblers got a massive 6 – 0 victory at Harold Wood Athletic in their last game of the season. Jack Unwin netted a fine treble here, with Ryan Lowe netting twice and Jacob Meads adding the other goal to give the Rams a good chance of staying in the division, while ‘Wood will compete in Division One next term. Galleywood also got a 2 – 0 win at Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, with Thomas Watling’s 16th league goal this term & Matthew Crick’s strike giving them the points. ‘Wood need two points to mathematically secure safety. Lastly, Old Southendian still harbour a chance of a top-seven finish after a 3 – 1 success at Shenfield AFC.


In Division One, Snaresbrook took a big step towards safety with a 6 – 2 triumph over Epping Town at Hackney Marshes. Ife Ogunbayo netted twice for Rob Caine’s side, with Lee Lashley, Rajpal Bumbra and substitutes Saxon Shine & Youssef Moumen all netted also to take them to with fine points of safety, with three matches left to play. Epping will finish no lower than seventh in what has been a decent season for Stuart Hoskins’ side.

In Division Two, Hutton Res got a huge 3 – 1 win at relegation rivals AS Rawreth to extend the gap between the two sides to five points. A draw in the Reds’ second side’s last game may be enough to ensure they avoid a bottom two finish whereas Rawreth have to win in both games. May & Baker A also got a walkover win over Old Southendian Res which means they end their season in mid-table.


Moving now into Division Three, and Hashtag Utd Development got a big 1 – 0 triumph at Wakering Sports Res to secure the Division Three title. Jay Knight’s early goal was enough to claim the points and congratulations to Denis Simpson’s side on their elevation. Catholic Utd Res got second spot after a convincing 5 – 0 victory at Hullbridge Sports Res meant they ended the season on 50 points, congrats to Eamonn Kearney’s side there who have now secured back-to-back promotions. Wakering Sports finish third in this division and have still had a fine season, but will have to wait to see if they do get elevated as well. The other game in D3 saw Buckhurst Hill U23 grab a 2 – 1 victory over Leigh Town Res to end their season in seventh spot, with substitute Enis Demirbala got both goals for Darren Gosnell’s side here. Leigh end in 9th, five points above the bottom two. & Josh Burrage’s side will seek to improve next term.

Lastly this week, in Division Four there was still promotion to be settled and Old Chelmsfordians Res moved into the lead position for that second spot after a 4 – 1 victory at home to Roydon. A win in their last game will undoubtedly secure elevation to the fourth-tier. Southend Manor Dev also ended their season in seventh after a 3 – 2 win at Sungate Dev. Jack Mead scored twice for the visitors here, with replacement Thomas Roser also on target. The Sungate side have to win both remaining games with a large goal swing to rivals Leytonstone to avoid a bottom two finish now. Chingford Athletic Res also got a walkover win against Wakering Sports A who will finish in eighth spot.

EOL Division Five season has now been completed.

That’s all for this week, the EOFL round-up will continue into May.

S21-22 Match Report: Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town  (Sat 30 Apr) [EaSL Sth 21-22 30.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – Division South Play-Off Final

Venue: Roding Lane

Attendance: TBC

2021-22 Season: Match 78

Saturday 30th April 2022 – 3pm KO

Buckhurst: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

 Halstead: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks 


Halstead produce excellent display to overcome odds & book their place in Step Five

Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town

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

with additional photo by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks.

The last weekend of Senior football for the current season began with a welcome return to Roding Lane for this hotly-anticipated Eastern Senior League South Play-Off Final as Buckhurst Hill welcomed Halstead Town. Unsurprisingly, there was a substantial crowd in attendance for this game which had the ultimate prize for these two sides – Promotion to Step 5. Buckhurst defeated Wivenhoe narrowly last week, while Halstead won in extra-time against Benfleet to set this tie up.

The warmth of Summer was in evidence here, and we didn’t have a slow start to proceedings here either. After just three minutes, Halstead made the most of a corner and central midfielder Jack Schelvis stole half a yard of space before bundling home his effort into the net, which left home stopper Daniel Blockley stranded. The goal was understandably celebrated by the ‘Halstead Ultras’ – standing behind that goal. Buckhurst Hill responded with a forward press of their own, with the impressive Tyler Dolan getting past the visiting defence, only to be denied by Halstead’s commanding goalkeeper Jack Cherry, who came out and gathered.

The nerves were still present in the Buckhurst defence on 17 minutes, as Jordan Palmer’s effort was spilled by Hill stopper Daniel Blockley and went out for a set-piece. The half was moving on into the midway point with Buckhurst finding it difficult to carve out strong chances but they got a crucial leveller, as forward Suleyman Zuhdu’s strike came back off a Halstead defender before looping over Cherry and into the net. Just when you thought the Humbugs might have blinked, three minutes later they took the lead once again. Another fine pass in by winger Jordan Blackwell came to forward Calvin Poku in the penalty area and he quickly got his strike away and it found the left corner. It was a well-taken goal but it precipitated another response by the Stags front-line.

Buckhurst looking to push forward, Liam Foster on the ball here [Image by Scott W]

Two minutes before the interval, Zuhdu was unfortunate to not add to his goal tally as a fierce strike sailed into the crossbar and back off the underside of it without crossing the line. The Humbugs had one more half-chance before the break as Palmer headed narrowly wide of Blockley’s woodwork. Overall though, Halstead had (much like the week before in the Semi-Final) set their stall out to make it difficult through resolute & organised defence and they were 45 minutes away from a famous win.


Buckhurst defender Henry Day (left) looks for options [Image by Scott W]

Half-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2  Halstead Town


The second half began with Buckhurst Hill having the ball in the Halstead half for long periods. Dolan once again found his way into the penalty area after evading a visiting defender but Cherry once again stood tall and denied him. Zuhdu also headed wide soon afterward. On 54 minutes, a fine centre by full-back Liam Foster found Nathan Sollosi but Cherry was in action again to tip Sollosi’s shot wide. Full-back Keaton Moore also powered in a well-struck effort which missed the top corner by inches.

Despite Buckhurst creating the chances they had, they did not quite look entirely comfortable. Pressure could well have played a part in that, and they were growing frustrated with their profligacy in front of goal. Zuhdu was again denied by Cherry who did well to deny a powerful effort by the Buckhurst captain, but substitute Callum Ibe also blazed over when well-placed ten minutes after coming onto the field. The Humbugs did not have many forays forward as they were defending in numbers but Poku was still showing his quality in holding the ball up and making good runs on occasion.


Halstead defender Ryan Carter (2) jostles with the run of Suleyman Zuhdu (10) for Buckhurst

With Buckhurst taking a few more risks seeking that important equaliser, forward Adam Hampson fired well over after being found well on the counter-attack. On the whole though, you have to applaud the work rate and attitude of the Halstead side who did emerge with a famous victory, which means they are getting promoted to Step 5. It is a testament to the high standards Buckhurst have set this season that they are still tough opposition, even if they were not quite at their best. It will be intriguing to see how they start next season but they are a club who have come a long way since their Step 7 days.

Halstead remain resolute & organised in defence, Sonny Shilling (9) on the ball for Buckhurst

Full-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2   Halstead Town

In summary, Halstead had to produce a superb display in defence which was allied to clinical finishing to edge their way to a second momentous victory in as many weeks, which means they will compete in Step 5 after a gap of 17 years, most likely in the Essex Senior League come August. They are a side that will be a welcome addition and don’t be surprised if they surprise a few next season. You had to feel for Buckhurst who contributed heavily to the match, but conceding early was costly for them and they could not make the most of their chances which they created having had long spells of ball retention, and had some strong performances. This loss will hurt, but it should not detract from what is still a fabulous first campaign of Senior football for Mark Williams’ side.

There were several creditable performances in this match. For victors Halstead, winger Jordan Blackwell had another stand-out match on the right flank. I believe he got assists for both their goals, and he also made several important passes and showed good work rate. Defender Chris Harris also epitomised his teams’ resoluteness in defence, making several big interceptions and block tackles. Goalkeper Jack Cherry also showed once again how important a player he is to the side, making at least three fine saves when the Humbugs backline was breached. Finally, forward Calvin Poku showed guile and good finishing for his goal and despite not having much opportunity to test the Buckhurst goalkeeper, he took his goal very well to change the momentum of this match.    

For Buckhurst Hill, I thought Tyler Dolan had a really good game, showing his high energy, good passing and movement. He was unlucky in not scoring today. Full-back Keaton Moore also contributed to his team’s forward moves well & was inches away from scoring a fabulous goal. Centre-back Jonah Gregory also did well, showing good alertness and positioning. Lastly, talisman Suleyman Zuhdu has to get a mention as he was central to the hosts’ forward moves, showing good passing and work rate. Also, Halstead stopper Cherry did superbly to deny him on two occasions. Zuhdu will end the season as the League’s top goal-scorer on 37 goals.

Finally, I’d like to wish Halstead well in their campaign at Step 5 next season, they will be a tough side to beat – a testament to manager Mark McLean and his staff. Commiserations to Buckhurst Hill as well, they will emerge from this experience as a stronger club in time.


Here are your Play-Off Final winners – Halstead Town!! [Image by Halstead Town FC, used with thanks]

Teams

Buckhurst Hill  | Manager: Mark Williams  | Assistant: JP Kent

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster (14 Sam Sollosi 77’), 3 Keaton Moore, 5 Henry Day, 20 Jonah Gregory, 6 Jack Griggs (15 Jake Moss 40’), 7 Tyler Dolan, 8 Josh Banfield, 9 Sonny Shilling (21 Callum Ibe 60’), 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Nathan Sollosi

Goal-scorer: Suleyman Zuhdu [22’]

Booked: Griggs  | Subs Not Used: Nicholson


Halstead Town     | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: David Streetly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Chris Harris, 5 Nick Miller, 6 Jack Schelvis, 7 Jordan Blackwell, 8 Jordan Palmer, 9 Calvin Poku (14 Markus Dunn 90’+2), 10 Adam Hampson, 11 Kane Gilbert

Goal-scorers: Jack Schelvis [3′], Calvin Poku [25′]

Booked: Gilbert, Carter | Subs Not Used: Walker, Kendle (GK)


Referee: Dario Matthewson

Assistants: Michael Jarvis & Daren Bigg

Fourth Official: Ashley Tyne

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 34 – Sat 23 Apr) [EAL 21-22 25.4.22]

and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 23 April. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

With additional reporting by Scott W

Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 23 April

DIVISION TWO CUP

The line-up for the Division Two Cup Final is now complete as the second semi-final took place on Saturday with Emerson & Upminster Reserves in action away at Unitey. A sparkling performance from the hosts saw Unitey book their place at Dagenham & Redbridge as Bubintende Masadi’s hat-trick, a brace from Ahmed Dousa and a Mohammed Abaker goal sealed a 6 – 1 win. Tobi Onafeko grabbed the Emerson goal in reply.

SENIOR DIVISION

It’s celebration time for DTFC as the Harlow based side were crowned league champions on Saturday in their last league game of the season, defeating Kit Out London in a 3 – 1 scoreline to seal the title at the Harlow Arena. Many congratulations to all involved at the club on this significant achievement, confirming promotion to Step 6 football in the process! They still have cup ties ahead to really make this an even more memorable campaign.

The chase for the runners-up spot will go down to the last games of the season as Chadwell Heath Spartans kept themselves in the mix with a 5 – 0 success in their last game of the season. Rapid Chingford were the final visitors to Chigwell where Harry Payne and Jeffrey Nketia both struck twice and Ray Hunwicks netted the other to finish a very creditable season for the Spartans.

Woodford East go into their remaining games knowing what they need to do and saw their runners-up quest dented with a shock defeat at home against FC Baresi at the Marshes. Connor Brathwaite’s double and an Andrew Rowe goal were not enough as Raymond Pok scored twice for the visitors with Tyreece Robertson, Jeffery Botendo and Abdisamad Mohamed strikes handing Baresi a 5 – 4 win.

Over in Noak Hill, Lymore Gardens kept up their outside hopes of a top four finish as they sent FC Petrocub to a big defeat, Lymore winning the game 7 – 3 ahead of a big week for Petrocub. Andre Rashford scored a hat-trick with Bradley Williams, Alex Coster, Tyriq Davies and Jonathan Hurrell efforts finishing off the game. In matters at the other end of the table, the race to beat the drop will head to a dramatic conclusion it appears as both of the bottom two sides recorded hugely important wins. Bottom team Tower United had a massive game at home against Blue Marlin and were able to record a 6 – 1 success, despite a Josh Morris goal for the visitors. That result closes the gap between the two sides to just a couple of points.

Over in Dagenham, a game with just as much significance saw Chigwell Town get themselves into a 3 – 0 lead in their game against top four chasing Jolof Sports. John Lye scored two and Ross Chimes one and they eventually held on to take the victory, despite second half fightback goals from Joshua Kweifio-Okai and Ahmadou Seye, the 3 – 2 victory giving Town vital points.


PREMIER DIVISION

The race for promotion in the Premier Division is into the final sequence of games and Dagenham United’s final game of the season has seen them move up into second place as they came through 3 – 1 victors in their game against Crookz United. Ancuba Cassama, Iaia Jau and Shaquille Mathurin were the men on target to give Dagenham a big chance of a top three finish.

In the other game from the division, Oakside’s own push for the top three is also still on track after they recorded win number ten this season with a 5 – 1 success away against Athletic Newham Under 23s. Kieren Huddart, Jahvid Irish, Demi Elegushi, Sam Davie and Kyrone Scotland were all on the scoresheet with this crucial three point haul. Rodney Botuli got the solitary reply for Newham, who will finish in mid-table.

DIVISION ONE

The promotion race in Division One took another turn on Saturday as promotion favourites, Cowley Community, slipped to defeat with two games to go, going down 3 – 1 to Kwanzas London Sport. Dwayne White scored for the hosts but his efforts were not quite enough as Kwanzas recorded their own ninth win of the campaign in their final league game of the season.

Something From Nothing will be relatively pleased with their first outing in Saturday football as their last league game of the season saw them confirm a top half finish following a 3 – 2 win at home against relegated Francis Luke. Brighton Tutalamon scored twice for Luke but those goals were not enough to take any points from the game.

DIVISION TWO

League leaders, Fairlop Rovers, missed the chance to take the title on Saturday as they could only take a single point from a double header against a rampant St Francis side who themselves moved further clear of danger at the bottom. Saints were 3 – 2 winners in the first game with Martin Valkov (2) and Omar Hafid netting the all important goals before taking a point in game two, Godwill Kumpana netting to make it 1 – 1.

The only side left who can catch the leaders are Rainham Working Mens Club but they failed to make the most of that Rovers slip as they could only draw in their home game against Old Esthameians, the two sides starting the day six points apart. That gap remained by full-time with neither side able to trouble the scorers in a 0 – 0 draw.

Over in Loughton, two more sides locked in a mid-table battle, Royal Forest and FHN Athletic, met at Roding Valley with the latter holding a slender one point lead going into the fixture. By full-time they had extended that to four as FHN ran out 3 – 1 victors to record their ninth league win of the season with three games to go.


DIVISION THREE

Congratulations are in order for the now confirmed Division Three league champions after FC Baresi Under 23s secured the points they needed to take the title, beating Buckhurst Way 6 – 0 in their eighteenth game of the season to move above runners-up, Old Barkabbeyans Reserves. Zach Aliane has had a fine season and he netted a hat-trick, Joshua Adu and Kii Jean-Baptiste scoring the others. Well done to all involved with the team on such a fine success.

Over in Hainault, two further sides completed their league seasons with Royal Forest Reserves the hosts to a Glendale side, both teams knowing the game had little riding on it with positional matters resolved. The Trees scored a couple of early goals and consolidated that with a third in the second half with Josh Loften, James Nelson and Tom Alexander all netting in a 3 – 0 scoreline.

S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 23 Apr) [EOFL 21/22 24.4.22]


Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello and welcome to this week’s extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this week, including the midweek action on Tuesday 19 April and the action on Saturday 23 April. The focus this week is on the League action in the top three divisions. Thank you for reading.

Essex Olympian League – Tuesday 19 April

The midweek action was centred on the Premier Division with two big games. First, Basildon Town got a crucial win as they edged to a 3 – 2 victory over Galleywood at Basildon Sports Club. Graham Harrison, Rhys Willson and Benkjamin Smith all scored to send Marcus Bowers’ side to the top of the table ahead of the weekend’s action. ‘Wood responded through strikes by Luke Seaton and Jack Lakin but they still had several matches left to gain points. Also, Sungate comfortably defeated Harold Wood Athletic 4 – 0 to push Ath ever closer to being relegated. Arif Mustapha, James Smith, Jake Willis and replacement Kyran Chiedozie all struck to send the ‘Gate up to sixth, with aspirations still of a top-four finish.

Essex Olympian League – Saturday 23 April

Remaining with the top-tier onto Saturday’s action now, and Basildon Town were held to a 1 – 1 draw by spirited Canning Town at Gardiners Lane. Graham Harrison netted his 18th league goal of the campaign but Canning levelled to keep themselves in contention to avoid the bottom two. This result also thwarted Bas as Ongar Town got a home walkover win over injury-hit Kelvedon Hatch, which sent Ongar back to the summit on goal difference. Both teams now have two matches and Basildon need two big wins to overhaul that goal deficit.

Galleywood hauled themselves to within a point of their nearest rivals after a 2 – 1 success at home to Harold Wood Athletic. Sam Donn & an OG outdid Billy Reed’s goal for Ath in a result which means Harold Wood are unable to mathematically avoid a bottom-two finish. The hosts here have four matches to gain at least two points to make sure of finish above the top three. Elsewhere, Hutton were held 1 – 1 by a Sungate side dealing well with a hectic run of fixtures. Brad Freeman netted for Matt Singh’s side here but realistically a third-place finish is their objective now. ‘Gate have six games left to gain nine points to confirm at least a fifth-placed finish.

Rounding out the action in Step 7 was Old Southendian’s 3 – 3 draw with Bishop’s Stortford Swifts at Garon Park 3G. Harry Bovington scored twice for the visitors, allied with substitute Edward Pinch’s goal which sees Swifts inch towards a top-ten finish. OS remain eighth. Also, Springfield drew 1 – 1 with Shenfield AFC at Arun Park, with Tristan Ofori-Sampong scored for Francesco Zabotti’s side. AFC have now reached 30 points this term.

In Division One, there was only one match played but also we heard of a big alteration to the final table. Wakering Sports got a 4 – 3 win over Old Chelmsfordians at Lawford Lane, with Aaron Clark, Ben Burrows, Joseph Burton and substitute Alfie Fossett all scored for Sports but while the result was enough to see them secure third spot, events elsewhere meant it was not significant. Epping were adjudged to have fielded an ineligible player in their win over Toby two weeks ago, which meant Toby awarded the points which in turn lifted them above Runwell Sports and claim the title by a point. Both sides will compete in the Premier Division next term as Toby also announced their future plans for a ground move to Barleylands in 15 months’ time.  Congratulations to Toby & Runwell Sports on their promotion.


EOFL Divisions Two, Three & Four

Into Division Two now and what was a hugely significant day for ACD Utd as they won their title decider with Harold Hill 1 – 0 at Westlands. Michael Wade’s 26th league goal of the season was enough to secure yet another title for Greg Knock’s side and they will be in the second-tier next season. Congratulations to all at ACD Utd. Hill need one point from their last match at Hutton Res next month to join them in Division One. That is because Manford Way lost 2 – 1 at Rayleigh Town Res. Sam Barker and Byron Down got the goals as Rayleigh came from behind to end their season on a high. Manford have to win their last game to finish third as Wakebury edged a super match, winning 5 – 4 over Rochford Town at Nursery Sports Ground. Jerry Nkoy notched a treble here for Matt Cardy’s team, with Daniel Buglione also netting his 10th league goal this term and Jake Farthing also scoring here. Rochford will finish bottom and after a good run in Division Two in the last few seasons, it looks very likely they will drop down to Division Three.

In the other game in this division, Harold Wood Athletic Res secured their place in the division next season with a 2 – 1 success over AS Rawreth at Harold Wood Park. Josh Portway and Oliver Portway both netted to give Wood’s second-side an important win. For Rawreth, they will need at least one win to overhaul closest rivals Hutton Res and stay out of the bottom two.

In Division Three, Wakering Sports Res got a priceless 4 – 2 victory at Corinthians Res to put themselves in the best position for the Division Three title & promotion. Eben Rowledge got two goals for the visitors, with Connor Fardyga’s 25th league goal this term and Scott Clark’s 15th goal of the campaign securing victory. Sports are a point clear of Hashtag Utd Dev who were held 1 – 1 by promotion rivals Catholic Utd Res at Barleylands. Shaun Warren netted for the hosts, but Franklin Craik’s 20th league goal this term for Ressie side was enough to claim a point an ensure the race for promotion goes into the last day next weekend. Hashtag travel to Wakering in what is sure to be a big game at Cupid’s.

Lastly, Hullbridge Sports Res got a fine 4 – 1 triumph at Buckhurst Hill U23 in the early game. Joe Ives netted twice for Sports here, with Harry Ives and George Mole also on target to render Jacob Richards’ goal as mere consolation. Both teams are likely to finish in lower mid-table.

Lastly for the main part of this week’s round-up, in Division Four Galleywood Res got a 2 – 0 win over Springfield Res in the late game. Clarke Green and substitute Craig Skipper both netted to give them a big win and dent the visitors’ chances in the promotion race.  Also, Wakering Sports A defeated Sungate Dev 4 – 1 in North East London, meaning they will finish at least eighth.

Div Five – Snaresbrook Res  H – W  Pitsea Athletic Res

S21-22 Match Report: Billericay Town U23 1 – 2 Harlow Town Res (Sun 24 Apr) (ESL LDC Final 25.4.22)

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – League Divisional Cup Final

Venue: Capershotts (Waltham Abbey FC)

Attendance: 165

2021-22 Season: Match 76

Sunday 24th April 2022 – 3pm KO

Billericay: Blue Shirts,  Black Shorts, Blue Socks

Harlow: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks


Harlow’s late winner sees them lift the ESL League Divisional Cup at Capershotts

Billericay Town Res  1 – 2 Harlow Town Res

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

The second & final match of this last weekend of the League part of the ESL campaign saw a welcome ‘bonus’ match at Capershotts as Reserve League Division One Champions Billericay Town Reserves (or U23s) faced Harlow Town Reserves for the League Divisional Cup, which is a new competition in the Essex Senior this term. It is a rare pleasure to see Reserve teams and this was my third Reserves match of this campaign.

The good crowd of over 160 in attendance saw a very open-ended start to the game as both sides were looking to gain the advantage. In the early moments, Harlow forward Manny Phagura got in on goal evading his marker but his goalbound effort was gathered by Billericay stopper Jordan Williams. The Blues side was assisted by the good play down the left flank by Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo and one of his teasing crosses into the centre so nearly found the head of forward Louie Vesper who had a well-timed run in the eighteen yard area.



Harlow responded at the other end as forward Charles Nicol got ahead of his marker and powered a header off-target on 14 minutes. The decent approach play continued from both teams but it was Mbambo who curled in a good ball which evaded the unfortunate Horgan and came back off the post onto him and into the net with 31 minutes on the watch. The Hawks were undeterred though and responded barely two minutes later as attacking midfielder Henry Clark found the run of forward Marko Protic and he finished with aplomb, low under the dive of Williams to level things up.

Williams was called into action again four minutes before the break as a decent move that involved full-back Callum Berg and Protic ended with a curling strike that the Billericay stopper gathered.


Half-Time: Billericay 1 – 1 Harlow


It would be fair to say that the second period was not quite at the same pace as the first half, although there were a few decent chances for either side. Just shy of the hour mark, Billericay midfielder Freddy Cooper sent a header in on goal which Horgan gathered well enough. At the other end, Harlow’s creative forward Manny Phagura had been fizzing in some good passes and one of those on 69 minutes found Nicol who had narrowly strayed offside.

Danny Brown’s side responded with two decent chances, first after a good move involving substitute Nyan Mesuria and Vosper led to Cooper firing his effort wide. Soon afterward, decent build-up play by Mbambo led to full-back George Cornwell having a go at goal, forcing a decent save from Horgan.

Cornwell (2) making a good run down the right flank for Blues (Image by Scott W)

But just when it looked as though it would would finish level after the 90 minutes, Harlow got a crucial winning goal on eighty-four minutes as decent play in the build-up ended with full-back Sammy Bayon drilling in a good low strike which left the unfortunate Williams stranded as it found the net. The Blues could not respond and had to settle for their runners-up medals in what has still been a good campaign for them.

Charles Nicol (far right) jostling for possession with Billericay’s Tom Duffy

Full-Time:  Billericay Town Res  1 – 2 Harlow Town Res

To summarise this match, a really energetic first-half meant that both sides were finding it tricky to match said energy levels after the interval. The Billericay side showed enough to display why they had won the ESL Reserve League Division One title but they could not dominate a good Harlow side, whose main focus ended up being this competition. The late winner really did come at a good time as we were hurtling towards another 30 minutes, for the second time this weekend. It was hard to deny Harlow their win as they put in a good all-round effort.

There were some really good performances in this game. For Harlow Res, I felt forward Charles Nicol had a really good game, provuding his team with a good focal point in attack and show good physicality and passing. Fellow forwards Marko Protic and Manny Phagura also shone, with Protic taking his goal well and being a constant threat to the Billericay backline, while Phagura was the creative passer & dribbler just behind them in the formation. Finally, a word for full-back Sammy Bayon who already put in a hard-working performance before producing a fine strike for the winning goal.

For the Billericay side, I thought winger Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo showed why he’s had loan spells elsewhere in Senior football this term, showcasing good pace, passing and movement in addition to his goal. Freddy Cooper had a fine game in central midfield and made several good passes, while forward Louie Vosper did test the stout Harlow backline with his pace and trickery. Lastly, full-back George Cornwell did well to provide an attacking option at times, making several good runs down the right flank & added some good passes as well.

Here are your winners – Harlow Town Reserves!

Congrats to the victors Harlow but I will add it was good to see both teams looking to play the game in a fast, enterprising style.


I’ll end with some thanks, firstly to Essex Senior League President Rob Errington and also to Match Referee Craig Wood, for his assistance pre-match. Thank you.


Teams

Billericay Town Res     |  Manager: Danny Brown 

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jordan Williams (GK), 2 George Cornwell, 3 James Drake, 18 Henry Lukombo, 16 Tom Duffy (Capt), 5 Josh Brown (7 Nyan Mesuria 63′), 17 Freddy Cooper, 8 Jack Taylor, 14 Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo, 11 Robert Adams, 9 Louie Vosper (19 Kaylen Harris 87′)

Goal-scorer: Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo [31′]

Booked: Mesuria  | Sub Not Used: Davey, Bassa, Clubb


Harlow Town Res     | Manager: Adam Connolly

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Robert Horgan (GK), 2 Sammy Bayon, 3 Callum Berg, 5 Reece Hardwick, 6 Greame Butler (Capt), 4 Jamie Brooker (18 Harry Yorke 90′), 14 Eden Hayday, 10 Henry Clark, 19 Manny Phagura, 9 Marko Protic, 7 Charles Nicol (8 Ishmeal Fiadzomor 84′),

Goal-scorers: Marko Protic [34′], Sammy Bayon [84′]

Booked: Clark | Subs Not Used: Harwood, Ambrose, Parker


Referee: Craig Wood
Assistants: Yaron Woolf & Katie Dorling

Fourth Official: James Latham

S21-22 Match Report: Benfleet 1 – 2 Halstead Town (Sat 23 Apr) [EaSL Sth P/O SF 24.4.22]

Eastern Senior League – South Division Play-Off Semi-Final

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 162

2021-22 Season: Match 75

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – 3pm KO

Benfleet: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts,Sky Blue Socks

Halstead: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Action still from first-half (Image by Scott W)

Halstead battle hard to overcome Benfleet in play-off Semi-Final

Benfleet  1 – 2 Halstead Town (AET)

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

The first match this weekend saw a return to Park Lane for a crucial Eastern Senior League play-off Semi-Final, as Benfleet ,who finished 3rd in the League season) entertained Halstead Town, who finished the season strongly.

Buoyed on their sizeable travelling contingent of supporters, Halstead looked to keep things tight early-doors as Halstead forward Calvin Poku struck wide of home custodian Florent Gislette’s woodwork. Benfleet looked to retain possession and gain the impetus as well, and prominent forward Ben Foord had a half-chance two minutes into the game but visiting stopper Jack Cherry did well to deny him. The same two players were key on eleven minutes as a fierce strike by Foord was well-parried onto the woodwork by Cherry.

You may have thought at this point that it was a case of when Robert Polkinghorn’s side would break the deadlock. But that wasn’t the case as the Humbugs certainly defended stoutly and the hosts couldn’t quite create the clear chances their possession advantage may have given them. It got worse for Benfleet on twenty-four minutes. From a relatively rare foray forward at this point in proceedings, a good run down the right channel by winger Jordan Blackwell ended with a fine cross into the six-yard area, which allowed wily forward Calvin Poku to slot home from close range after evading the ‘Fleet backline.

Benfleet looking to get test Halstead keeper Jack Cherry

Benfleet were playing some neat football, but their finishing was going astray. A good move involving full-back Joe Hunter and defender Sonny Hartman ended with Foord again firing off-target. Halstead did also clear a good header off the goalline and they did ride theur luck a little. But for me, the Humbugs were also more composed in defence and they were not rattled by the task at hand. Cherry was called into action again just before the break as a good header by centre-back Cameron Harris from about eight yards out was denied by the Halstead captain.

HT: Benfleet 0 – 1 Halstead

Billy Carter (left) about to launch long pass on for Benfleet

Benfleet needed to find another gear after the interval as although Halstead had few chances in the first half, they looked a danger going forward and they did catch the Blues defence napping on occasion. Early on in the second half, impressive winger Frankie Stone sprinted clear of the retreating visiting defence, only to be denied by an excellent recovery tackle by a Humbugs defender.

I was starting to wonder on the hour whether this match would be a case of ‘missed chances’ for the hosts. On 62 minutes, the Poku was again given too much space in the area by the home defence with his resulting strike being well-denied by Gislette. Benfleet sensed they had to level quickly and responded as Foord was through on goal but again a superb recovery challenge by full-back Ryan Carter stifled the oppurtunity to shoot past Cherry.

Jordan Blackwell (right) launches a forward move for Halstead

Benfleet were really cursing their luck after a free-kick by substitute Henry Sims was nodded on by Foord and Stone’s prod at goal was cleared off the goal-line. Fourth official Ian Pascu signalled six added minutes to play and just as you started to think the solitary goal would be the winner, Benfleet finally scored. A powerful header by Harris found the net in a congested area two minutes into added time and gave them a chance in extra-time.


Joe Hunter (far left) about to cross the ball in for ‘Fleet (Image by Scott W)

FT (90 mins): Benfleet 1 – 1 Halstead 

So, thirty minutes added time we had but there was a near -immediate dramatic turn in the match. Just two minutes in, Benfleet’ defence was caught trying to clear by Poku, who unselfishly slotted in Jordan Palmer who calmly finished past the grasp of Gislette. Halsyead really should have made the game secure eight minutes later but forward Adam Hampson’s decent strike was well-saved low down by Gislette.

Benfleet gave it everything in the second period of extra-time but it wasn’t to be. To their credit, Halstead showed plenty of desire, composure and application to edge their way to the play-off Final with a gritty and commendable performance.


Full-Time (AET):  Benfleet  1 – 2 Halstead Town

This match was a dramatic encounter though in summary, Halstead just edged it on composure in both penalty boxes, in my view. They took their goals well from the relatively few chances they had, compared to their hosts who couldn’t convert their morass of chances due to a combination of profligate finishing and last-ditch Humbugs defending.

There were some fine performances in this match . First, for winners Halstead. Winger Jordan Blackwell put in a fine display, exercising his movement and pace to good effect to stretch the home backline. Forward Calvin Poku also showed his guile and got an goal & an assist as part of a good all-round performance. Goalkeeper Jack Cherry pulled off three good saves in the first-half to keep it tight and centre-back Garry Burdett had another good game, showcasing desire and good positioning.

For Benfleet, I felt full-back Joe Hunter had an excellent game showing high energy, good passing and good awareness too. Support forward Frankie Stone also had a good game too, showing good pace, awareness and movement. Cameron Harris had another good game at centre-half making several good interceptions & also taking his goal well. Lastly, a word for forward Ben Foord who was their focal point up front and never stopped grafting. He was a constant threat until he had to be substituted late on.

Victors Halstead applaud their travelling supporters post-match

Congrats to both sides but it is Halstead who go on to face Buckhurst Hill in the Final after they defeated Wivenhoe 3-2 today. That will be a tough game.


Teams

Benfleet    |  Manager: Robert Polkinghorn  | Assistant: Robert Rook

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Florent Gislette (GK), 2 Billy Carter, 3 Joe Hunter, 4 Martyn Lacey, 5 Cameron Harris, 6 Sonny Hartman (17 Billy Bonham-Dare 67′), 7 Frankie Stone (15 Danny Hurford 108′), 8 Aaron Russell (Capt), 9 Robert Lacey, 11 Ben Foord (14 Mason Shave 86′), 10 Taylor Lawrence (12 Henry Sims 73′)

Goal-scorer: Cameron Harris [90’+2]

Sin-bin: R Lacey (115′)  | Subs Not Used: Frost


Halstead Town  | Manager: Mark McLean | Assistant: Pete Travers

Starting XI: 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Garry Burdett, 5 Nick Miller (14 Greg Strong 106′), 6 Alfie Cleal, 7 Jordan Blackwell, 8 Jordan Palmer, 9 Calvin Poku (15 Curtis Abel 92′), 10 Adam Hampson, 11 Jordan Pavett (12 Louis O’Sullivan 83′)

Goal-scorers: Calvin Poku  [24′], Jordan Palmer [ET 2′]

Booked: Miller | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Chris Darling
Assistants: Sam Jones & Iain George

Fourth Official: Ian Pascu

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Round-up (Wk 33 – Sat 16 Apr) [EAL 21-22 19.4.22]

Action Still from Woodford East 0 – 2 Sungate in EPC Final on Wed 13 April [Image by Scott W]

Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand.  This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 16 April. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

With additional reporting by Scott W

Essex Alliance League Round-up – Saturday 16 April

COUNTY CUP

Wednesday night saw the much-anticipated conclusion of the BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup competition where Woodford East were representing the league in the final against Sungate at Billericay Town’s New Lodge ground. Woodford had the best of the first half chances, shading the half. Sungate were much improved in the second period and took a lead with a great strike on the hour mark by George Johnson, holding onto their lead well and then netting a deserved second thanks to substitute Arif Mustapha just before the end as ‘Gate won 2-0 to lift the cup. East can hold their heads high after a wonderful run in the competition and not looking out of place in the final.

If you’ like more on this match, NonLeague writers Scott W & Pete Dudley were both in attendance, here are their reports

Scott: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2022/04/14/s21-22-match-report-woodford-east-0-2-sungate-epc-final-wed-13-apr/

Pete: https://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2022/04/sungate-2-woodford-east-0.html


SENIOR DIVISION CUP

There was further midweek action on Wednesday night as Lymore Gardens took on Chigwell Town in the quarter finals of the cup at Cricklefields. Lymore were in fine form and secured their place in the last four with a 4 – 0 winning performance, Richie Dorcas, Dylan Roberts and Alex Coster all getting on the score-sheet as they await the winner from the other last eight tie.

DIVISION ONE CUP

It was semi-final Saturday in the Division One Cup competition over the weekend as both games took place simultaneously, the first seeing Barkingside A looking to overcome indifferent league form in a local derby game against Wanstead. A seven goal thriller saw Ali Rajim score two and James Blewitt one for ‘Side but their efforts proved not quite enough as Wanstead responded through a Edson Lami treble & one from Segio Lourenco to win 4 – 3 and take their place in the final.

In the other semi-final, over in Dagenham, it was a battle between league champions Belfry and RCXI for the right to take on Wanstead in the final in May and this one also so a close game. But Belfry goals from Solomon Ogunwomoju and Daniel Osborne were the difference in the end between the sides as the hosts won 2 – 0 to keep hopes alive of a league and cup double.


SENIOR DIVISION

A huge week in the Senior Division title race has seen DTFC put one hand on the coveted silverware after they produced a winning performance in a crucial trip to Chadwell Heath Spartans. A late, late goal was the only difference between the sides as Kazim Bishop netted that all important effort to win the game 1 – 0, moving them four points clear of the chasing pack. A win this Wednesday evening will be enough to see DT lift the crown.

The importance of that goal was emphasised even further as news came in from Noak Hill where Woodford East were in town to take on FC Petrocub, the Essex and London cup finalists meeting in a crucial league encounter. Connor Brathwaite found the back of the net for Woodford but Petrocub were in fine form ahead of their big occasion and netted twice to win the game 2 – 1, putting a huge dent in the title race.

Jolof Sports have moved up to fourth spot in the table with four games to go, leaping above Lymore Gardens following a hard fought 2 – 1 win away at Chigwell Town on Saturday afternoon. Joshua Kweifio-Okai and Papa Ndiaye both struck for Jolof with Ryan Gurry scoring the Town goal in reply as the hosts walked away with the points.

An important point was earned by Tower United in their battle to avoid the drop into the Premier Division as they took a share of the spoils in an exciting 3 – 3 draw away at Rapid Chingford over at Lakeside. Abdullah Jama scored a hat-trick in a fine performance but Sorin Tudose, Andrei Boga and Vlad Bucur goals ensured the hosts took a share of the spoils.

PREMIER DIVISION

The race for promotion into the National League System continues to hot up in the Premier Division with a key game on Saturday seeing Oakside taking on Crookz United in Collier Row. With games in hand, both sides still retain hopes of a top three finish but had to settle for a point each as the game finished in a 1 – 1 draw, keeping them fourth and fifth respectively.

DIVISION ONE

In Division One, there was just the one game also as Cowley Community made the trip to east London to take on Kwanzas London Sport, the former knowing they still remain favourites for the runners-up position. But they didn’t get everything their own way and had to settle for a 1 – 1 draw with Anthony Conteh scoring for Cowley. They sit just a point outside of the promotion places with two games in hand.


DIVISION TWO

The title race is reaching a conclusion in Division Two as Fairlop Rovers moved to the cusp of silverware following a solid victory over the weekend, beating Newbury East 5 – 1 in Hainault. Sehraan Hussain struck for the visitors but Rovers scored five of their own, meaning they can win the league with a double header success next weekend. That outcome was made possible following an exhilarating game in Rainham where Redbridge Community secured a terrific three point haul with a 5 – 3 win against cup finalists, Rainham Working Mens Club. Sean Tormey scored twice and Cameron Shakes once but their efforts were not enough as Redbridge ran in five goals of their own to take the points.

There was another huge result at the bottom of the table where St Francis moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, picking up a fifth league win following a 3 – 0 away win at Fords against Old Esthameians.  Skye Salmon, Martin Valkov and Abdullah Azizi were the Saints scorers for a vital points haul.

The division’s other game was another goal-filled encounter as Loughton Lions and Royal Forest met in Debden for a local derby game between two sides who know each other well. The sides shared six goals with the game ending in a 3 – 3 scoreline with Joe Meader netting twice for Forest & Joe Owers got the other goal. Lions moved to eleventh with four games left in their campaign while Royal Forest look comfortable in ninth.


DIVISION THREE

The huge game in Division Three saw FC Baresi Under 23s and Old Barkabbeyans Reserves battle it out for pole position in the race for the title. Old Barks started their final game with a four point advantage but an FC Baresi 6 – 4 success saw the latter put one hand on the trophy, now needing one victory from their last three games. Jay Elliott scored a hat-trick and Michael Ryder one for Old Barks with Joshua Adu (2), Maamoon Khan, Harrez Aliane, Zach Aliane and Hamza Shire all netting in reply.

Fourth placed Lymore Gardens Reserves gave themselves a great opportunity of holding on to that position come the end of the season as their second to last game of the campaign saw them secure a 4 – 1 win at Royal Forest Reserves in Hainault. Richard Grove scored for the hosts but four Garden goals courtesy of Warren Isoka, Rob Small, Tafari Miller and Raheem Sinclair were more than enough to take the points.

Together United are another side in with a shout of a top four finish this season as their penultimate league game saw them pick up all three points with an away success against Flyers Under 23s at King Georges. A 4-0 win was enough to add win number ten to their solid record this campaign and move to within two points of fourth spot.