S21-22 Match Report: Rayleigh Town Res 2 – 2 AS Rawreth (Sat 4 Sept) [EOFL 21/22 5.9.21]

Essex Olympian League – Division Two

Venue: London Road (Back pitch)

2021-22 Season: Match 19

Saturday 4th September 2021 – 1pm KO

Rayleigh Res: Navy Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Navy Blue Socks

Rawreth: Green Shirts, Green Shorts, White Socks


Rawreth grab a point in well-contested match at Rayleigh Reserves

Rayleigh Town Res 2 – 2 AS Rawreth

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

This weekend saw a rarity of a double-header in the Essex Olympian League. The early match was in EOFL Division Two, which saw AS Rawreth, now managed by Josh Hutchins, travel to London Road to face Rayleigh Town Res who voluntarily dropped down to this division in the summer. Dave Barker’s home side had Jayden Powell between the posts, with a defensive four of centre-backs Dan Webb and Jordan White with full-backs Lewis Dines and William Vile. Support for the front two of Ebeneezer Djan and Matt Oaten came from wingers Byron Down and Kempson Allen. Their options from the bench were forward Robbie Allen plus midfielders Dean Hazleton and Brandon Martin and Jack Taylor. AS Rawreth embarked on a new era in the summer under Hutchins and assistant Callum Bolger and fielded Oliver Johnson as goalkeeper, with a central defensive pair of captain Reece Samuel and Alex Swan, with Tom Binks leading the attack, supported by Ryan Kenyon, Said Ahmed and Mason MacCullum. On their substitutes’ bench were forwards Danny Carr and Mahir Adbulkadir and defenders Todd Bolger and James Brice.

The match got underway with the right-sided duo of Lewis Dines and Byron Down for Rayleigh looking to use that flank to cause the opposition defence problems. Forward Ebeneezer Djan having an early shot on Oliver Johnson’s goal but it drifted wide. The home side did have more of the play in the early stages, with Dines looking to get his team going. But AS Rawreth were starting to find their rhythm with a little more purpose on the ball as on 11 minutes, centre forward Tom Binks’ lofted effort was gathered by home stopper Jayden Powell. That served as a warning though which the hosts didn’t heed as only two minutes afterward, the visitors opened the scoring. A neat move involving winger Said Ahmed and full-back  Joseph Frisby-Brown found Binks who slotted the ball into the net past Powell on the second attempt.


Town had a speculative chance just before that goal as support forward Matt Oaten attempted a lob from about 35 yards, trying to catch Johnson out off his goal-line but it was to no avail. Rayleigh couldn’t quite gather their pace and rhythm in possession to get in behind the Rawreth defence, with centre-backs Reece Samuel and Alex Swan doing a good job of clearing their lines. That being said, Town still had a number of half-chances, with a poor pass by the visitors midway through the half allowing Town winger Kempson Allen a strike on goal but he could only fire over the goal frame.

Rawreth were having to hold firm at this stage, and Djan’s curling lob  was well-denied by a sprawling save by Johnson. As we passed the half-hour though, Josh Hutchins’ side responded with Binks unfortunate to not squeeze a shot past a congested six-yard area and thus allowing Powell to gratefully claim the ball. Powell also denied AHmed’s strike, cutting inside from the left flank at his near post. Rayleigh knew they had to raise it up a gear after the interval, despite a good move seven minutes before the break which good play from winger Byron Down find Oaten whose imaginative back-heeled effortwas denied at point-blank range by Johnson.

Half-Time:  Rayleigh Town Res  0 – 1  AS Rawreth


Town skipper John Hanrahan was encouraging his players from his anchor midfield role and after a quiet-ish opening phase of the second half where his side were causing the visitors problems, the breakthrough came on the hour. Down was felled in the area and without hesitation, referee Daniel Mann pointed to the spot. Hanrahan duly stepped up and converted the resulting spot-kick low into the net and for the first time in the game, Rawreth were really up against it. The introduction of Robbie Allen from the bench just before the hour had proven a positive one for Dave Barker’s side and the visiting defence were starting to concede set-pieces more often as well. The game turned again from one said set-piece on sixty-nine minutes as Allen powered home a free-kick past the wall and Johnson’s grasp to give the hosts the advantage.

Robbie Allen strikes free-kick to give Rayleigh the lead

Both sides were scrambling for the initative as we entered the latter stages of the game, but Rawreth did end up claiming a share of the points as a close-range finish by another replacement in Danny Carr six minutes from time proved important for the visitors. There was still one good chance with moments remaining as two substitutes combined for Town, with Allen’s good ball in finding Brandon Martin who unfortunately the hosts slotted wide. All in all, it was a decent result for both sides, with perhaps Rayleigh having the better of the the second period, after Rawreth had made an encouraging first-half display.


Full-Time:   Rayleigh Town Res 2 – 2  AS Rawreth

There were a number of influential performances today by both sides. For Rayleigh Town Res, skipper John Hanrahan led his team admirably and was constant encouraging his team-mates as well as putting in a good display in anchor midfield. Right-bank Lewis Dines put in a commendable display and really stood out in the early stages, looking assured and showed good energy levels. Centre-back Jordan White also showed good positioning for the majority of the match whilst substitute Robbie Allen gave his side a lift after his introduction and his goal was a turning point in the match. For Rawreth, centre-back Reece Samuel marshalled his backline well and dealt with a lot of crosses aerially as well. Forward Tom Binks was also a threat for the home defence, looking to breakthrough and had a decent strike in him as well. Said Ahmed had a decent match on the left side too, whilst goalkeeper Oliver Johnson also deserves a mention for two or three smart saves to keep his side in the match.

I’d like to thank both teams for their assistance & wish them a good rest of the season.


Rayleigh Town Res  | Manager: Dave Barker

Starting XI: 1 Jayden Powell (GK), 2 Lewis Dines, 3 William Vile, 4 John Hanrahan (Capt), 5 Dan Webb, 6 Jordan White, 7 Kempson Allen, 8 Jordan Lewis, 9 Ebeneezer Djan, 10 Matthew Oaten, 11 Byron Down

Subs On: 12 Dean Hazleton [30′], 16 Robbie Allen [55′], 14 Jack Taylor [63′], 15 Brandon Martin [79′]

Goal-scorers: John Hanrahan [pen 60′], Robbie Allen [69′]

Booked: None  | Subs Not Used: None


AS Rawreth |  Manager: Josh Hutchins  |

Starting XI: 1 Oliver Johnson (GK), 12 Chris Batt, 3 Joseph Frisby-Brown, 4 Derek Boakye, 15 Reece Samuel (Capt), 6 Alex Swan, 7 Ryan Kenyon, 8 Harry Groves, 9 Tom Binks, 10 Mason MacCullum, 11 Said Ahmed

Goal-scorers: Tom Binks [13′], Danny Carr [84′]

Subs On: 22 Todd Bolger [46′], 14 Mahir Adbulkadir [58′], 5 James Brice [73′], 19 Danny Carr [76′]

Booked: None  | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Daniel Mann

S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 28 Aug) [EOFL 21/22 29.8.21]

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

Hello all and welcome to my round-up of the third weekend of action in the Essex Olympian League, on Saturday 28th August. This weekend saw some high-scoring matches and some surprise results as ever. As usual, the focus is on the top four divisions with results from Divisions Four & Five.

Many thanks for reading.

EOFL Premier Division 

As ever we begin in the Premier, and Old Southendian maintained their 100% record with a 3 – 2 win over Kelvedon Hatch at Garon Park. Craig Paton, Mattias Tonking and Taylor Turner all scored for Altar Ali’s side as they held on for a good victory. Sungate also shone this weekend with a 5 – 1 success at Galleywood, with Ciaran Kelly, Ben Absolon and Thomas Drayton among the scorers for the visitors there. Jack Chatterway got the solitary response for ‘Wood in that game. Elsewhere, Springfield edged to a late 2 – 1 victory over Basildon Town at Springfield Hall Park. Strikes from Jack French and Aiden Brown were enough to overturn an earlier Antony Aylett leveller for Marcus Bowers’ side and complete a surprise win. 

Meanwhile, Rayleigh Town got back to winning ways with a good 2 – 1 triumph at Bishop’s Stortford Swifts. Paul Morris and Jack Long both scored for Paul Higgins’ side, with Sam Chaney responding for Craig Glashan’s new side. Catholic Utd also got a second successive win as they defeated Harold Wood Athletic 2 – 1 at Harold Wood Park. Pablo Passenda and Max Kent got the goals for Simon Thomas’ team, while Matt Donovan replied for Gary Willis’ side.

In other action in the division, Shenfield AFC managed a comfortable 3 – 0 win over Canning Town at St Martins School 3G. Ben Carroll, Pelumi Adedokun and replacement Alex Broadbridge got the goals here in what was a much-needed win for them. Finally, Ongar Town continued their 100% record with a hard fought 2 – 0 win over Hutton at Lakeside Sports Ground, thanks to goals from Frankie Goodhall and Ayodele Awosika.


EOFL Division One 

Moving now into Division One, with Herongate Athletic sitting as early front-runners as they made it three wins from three games with a 2 – 0 victory over Runwell Sports at Billericay Road. Another brace from Robbie Farrell made it five goals already for him this term, as Billy Cove’s side sit three points clear. Toby won their top-of-the-table clash, impressively defeating Wakering Sports 3 – 1 at Cupid’s. A brace from Albert Perry and thunderbolt from Mitch Grace gave Mark Jones’ side the win as they went second. Substitute Alfie Fossett scored for Mitch Gleeson’s side here. Snaresbrook got their first win of the new campaign, winning 3 – 2 at Epping Town. Ife Ogunbayo, Daniel Tesfay and Max Catherall all netted one each to outdo strikes by Andrew Smith and Joe Rickett for Town and ultimately give Rob Caine’s side the points.

Also, Beacon Hill Rovers won 2 – 1 at home to Old Chelmsfordians and there was a hugely entertaining match for the neutral at least at Stambridge where Corinthians came from three goals down to draw 4 – 4 with Leigh Town. Bailey Moss struck twice for Chris Stoneham’s side, with Jake Hodder and Damian Siemienczuk also on target.



EOFL Division Two

In Division Two, it is newcomers Harold Hill who are at the summit on goal difference after a 4 – 0 win at home to Rayleigh Town Res. In second spot are ACD Utd after they won 5 – 2 at Hutton Res. Jacob Dingli and Jamie Alexandrou both got doubles for Greg Knock’s team, with replacement Shaun Goddard also finding the net. Jack Shaw got both of the hosts’ goals here. Also on six points are Old Southendian Res as they made two wins from two following a 2 – 1 win at Shoebury Town. Jack Cripps and Nico Dubouchet got the goals for Josh Bambury’s side, with Jason Doyle’s team responding through club stalwart Garry Johnson.

Meanwhile, AS Rawreth are the last of the four teams at the top end of the table on six points after a 1 – 0 win over Rochford Town at The Warren. Tom Binks got the all-important goal for Josh Hutchins’s team here.


EOFL Division Three

In Division Three, the early leaders are Basildon Town Res after a 2 – 0 triumph over Collier Row at Basildon Sports Club. Jamie Miller and Nathan Fisher saw Tony Bowers’ side to the points. Buckhurst Hill U23 got their maiden win this term with a 4 – 0 victory over Corinthians Res at Roding Lane. The ensemble cast of Buttrint Iecaj, Jason Gomes, Nicolas Chramiec and Flynn Toye got the goals that saw Alan Byers’ team get their season underway in earnest. A hat-trick from perennial goal-getter Joseph Darby saw Hullbridge Res to a 3 – 0 home success over Leigh Town Res at Lower Road.

Elsewhere in the division, Hashtag Utd Development got another victory as they defeated PItsea Athletic 5 – 0 at Barleylands. Samuel Pratt netted twice for Denis Simpson’s team, with Bradley Bunker, Kai Warren and Jake Smith also on the scorer’s sheet. Also, Catholic Utd Res joined them on six points after a resounding 7 – 1 success at Toby Res.


EOFL Division Four

Results

Chingford Athletic Res  5 – 2  Galleywood Res   | Town Mead [3G]

Leytonstone Utd  1 – 2  Springfield Res               | Forest Row Centre (Pitch 1)

Ongar Town Res 3 – 2  Roydon                             | Melbourne Park 3G, Chelmsford


EOFL Division Five

Results

Collier Row Res  0 – 2  Epping Town Res      | Forest Row Centre (Pitch 2)  

Old Barkabbeyans  5 – 6  Leigh Ramblers Res  | Barking Abbey Sch 3G

Pitsea Athletic Res   6 – 2  AS Rawreth Res  | Basildon Sporting Village

Runwell Sports Res   5 – 2  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res   | St Luke’s Park

Wakebury Res   0 – 2  Snaresbrook Res  | Nursery Sports Ground

S21-22 Match Report: Catholic Utd 6 – 0 Springfield (Sat 21 Aug) [EOFL 21/22 21.8.21]

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Len Forge Centre 3G

2021-22 Season: Match 13

Saturday 21st August 2021 – 3pm KO

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

Springfield: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Pre-match, both sides remembered Grassroots legend Robert Hutchings-Spiller in a moving minute’s silence


Six-goal Catholic Utd convincingly defeat Springfield at Len Forge

Catholic Utd 6 – 0 Springfield

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

With the FA Cup taking centre stage in Non-League circles this weekend, I decided it’d be a good time to begin my coverage of Essex Olympian League matches with a trip to the Len Forge Centre to see Catholic Utd welcome visitors Springfield in this Premier Division encounter. Simon Thomas’ Utd side fielded club stalwart & now assistant boss Louis Godwin-Green between the posts, with a three-man central defence of John Nutman, John Mbamarah and Lewis Payne. Centre forward Jay Nash led the line, with support from Franklin Craik and Pablo Passenda. On their substitutes’ bench were Max Kent, Daniel Dunn, Carl Read and Thomas himself. Springfield also had a number of players unavailable, with Tom Storkey in goal behind a back four of Callum Crown, Henry Lynch and centre-backs Liam Wright and skipper Ryan Batchford. Forwards Jake Clarke and Aiden Brown were supported by wingers Jack Mundy and Jordan Sargeant. Options from the sidelines included new signing Dean Wallace and forwards Andy Morgan and Rhys Williams.

The match began with a sluggish start for both sides, with Springfield winger Jordan Sargeant looking to get on the ball early to set attacking moves up, though he found the home defence in good form. Catholic were a little casual in possession, much to the dismay of their vocal goalkeeper Godwin-Green. That casualness didn’t last long though as on twelve minutes, Utd were ahead. Good forward hold-play play down the left flank by Jay Nash started the move before the ball fell to Frankin Craik who struck low to defeat stopper Tom Storkey.

The visitors were holding firm for the most part at this stage, but other than occasional ball play by wingers Sargeant and Jack Munday, they could not really conjure up telling passes to outwit an organised defence. Catholic Utd were slowly building up wave after wave of pressure going forward in the remainder of the first half. Springfield had a bit of a warning on the half hour as a good centre by energetic left-back Alfie Whiteaker found Nash who headed narrowly wide, though the assistant’s flag was up anyway.

Half-Time:  Catholic Utd 1 – 0 Springfield

So at the break, the hosts were largely frustrated by a combination of lack of a final pass and good defending by the visitors. That frustration was certainly dealt with for the hosts after the break. Just seven minutes after the break, a good move by the Super Hoops ended with them doubling their lead as tricky forward Pablo Passenda evading his marker before calmly finishing past Storkey. You got the feeling that Simon Thomas’ side were going up through the gears and they nearly went three goals ahead on 56 minutes. Another fine run by Craik ended with finding Nash but Storkey did well to get down low and deny the effort.

It turned out to be delaying the inevitable in a sense as just after the hour, the third goal came. Substitute Daniel Dunn was involved in another enterprising foray forward, before Craik again turned past the covering defender before striking low into the net. By this stage, Craik was really giving the opposition a hard afternoon, and another move involving Dunn and Craik ended with replacement Max Kent blasting an effort on goal which Storkey did well to parry away. Again though, there was no denying the hosts as with fifteen minutes remaining, a cross by Whiteaker found centre-back John Nutman at the far post and the latter powered a header home.

Springfield were feeling weary by this point and on a rare second half attack, substitute Andy Morgan sent a decent header wide of Godwin-Green’s goal but there was to be more pain before this match was complete. In the latter stages of the contest, Storkey again denied the unfortunate Nash, before another Kent thunderbolt cannoned off the woodwork. Two well-taken finishes by Franklin Craik made it six in the last few minutes, the second of those ending up being the last kick of the match, but it sealed a memorable afternoon for the Super Hoops forward and will build confidence for his side.

Full-Time:   Catholic Utd 6 – 0 Springfield

In summary, the home side here were much too strong for their Chelmsford-based visitors after the interval. Catholic Utd showed a real zest for goals today and took their chances well. That being said, Springfield did well to hold them to one goal in the first half but when Simon Thomas’ side stepped up the pressure after the break, they could not respond, having struggled to create chances all afternoon.

There were a number of strong performances today. For the hosts, four-goal star forward Franklin Craik was superb today, taking his goals very well and also making a number of piercing runs down the flanks to assist his team going forward. Tom Kearney put in a characteristic midfield display, with forward Jay Nash having a fine game showing intelligent hold-up play and deserved a goal himself as well. For Springfield, forward Jordan Sargeant was their main outlet in attack, showing good energy and movement. Centre-back Liam Wright also made a number of telling interceptions in the first half, but his departure at half-time through injury was a turning point for the visitors. Experienced fellow centre-back Ryan Batchford did well to command his area in the air in the first half.

I’d like to thank both teams for their assistance & wish them a good rest of the season.



Catholic Utd  | Player-Manager: Simon Thomas

Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 2 Patrick Kearney, 3 Alfie Whiteaker, 20 John Nutman, 9 Johnathan Mbamarah, 17 Lewis Payne, 7 Tom Kearney, 8 Mike Sammut (Capt), 11 Franklin Craik, 15 Pablo Passenda, 18 Jay Nash

Goal-scorers: Franklin Craik [12′, 62′, 86′, 90’+2], Pablo Passenda [52′], John Nutman [75′]

Sin-Bin: Craik  | Sub Not Used: Thomas



Springfield |  Manager: Dan Williams   |

Starting XI:1 Tom Storkey (GK), 2 Callum Crown, 3 Henry Lynch, 4 Andy Elgar, 5 Ryan Batchford (Capt), 6 Liam Wright, 7 Jordan Sargeant, 8 James Shadwell, 19 Jake Clarke, 10 Aiden Brown, 11 Jack Mundy

Subs On: 14 Dean Wallace [46′], 9 Andy Morgan [52′], 15 Robert Dunn [52′], 12 Rhys Williams [68′]

Booked: Sargeant, Clarke  | Sub Not Used: Miller


Referee: Nnaemeka Ukah

Assistants: Max Di-Lieto & Joe Lannon

S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 14 Aug) [EOFL 21/22 15.8.21]

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

Hello all and welcome to the first of a new season of weekly round-up articles on  Essex Olympian League divisions, The first weekend of action from Saturday 14th August saw a myriad of teams adjust to new divisions, and before the action is described I’ll put in a short listing of which sides are in each division. As ever, the focus is on the top four divisions with results from Divisions Four & Five.

Many thanks for the support and for reading.


EOFL Premier Division 

Teams (15): Basildon Town, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, Canning Town, Catholic Utd, Galleywood, Harold Wood Athletic, Hutton, Kelvedon Hatch, Leigh Ramblers, Old Southendian, Ongar Town, Rayleigh Town, Shenfield AFC, Springfield, Sungate

In the Premier Division, Basildon Town overcame a spirited performance by their visitors as they defeated Rayleigh Town 4 – 3, in their first match at landlords Basildon Utd. Player-boss Marcus Bowers led the way with a brace for the hosts, with new signing Rhys Fatt also notching twice for his new team. Rayleigh responded through goals from Paul Morris, Shaun Gittleson and Liam Oliver but ultimately they fell to defeat. Old Southendian got a win on the opening day as they defeated Canning Town 2 – 1 at Garon Park. Sam Adcock and substitute Craig Paton got the important strikes there for the hosts.

Meanwhile, Kelvedon Hatch began their new campaign with a 3 – 2 win at promoted Galleywood. Drew Klessa-Smith nabbed a terrific treble for the visitors and that outshone strikes by Matthew Buckingham and Jamie Lockwood for Galleywood to give Darren Hunt’s side the win. Hutton also got a welcome three points as a Stephen Judge strike was enough to give them a 1 – 0 success over Catholic Utd at Polo Fields. Harold Wood Athletic let a two-goal lead slip before being held 3 – 3 by a new-look Springfield side at Harold Wood Park. Strikes by Jacob Roberts, James Pottle and Harry Clifford put Gary Willis’ side ahead but a double from replacement Jordan Sargeant and one from Charlie Nichols saw Dan Williams’  team make a good comeback and left with a point.

Also, Ongar Town began their season at Step 7 with a superb 4 – 1 home win over Leigh Ramblers. Jack Gardner got the goal for Mark Hunter’s visitors but the winning feeling continued for Richard Ponsford’s side, thanks to a brace from Frankie Goodall, plus strikes by Harry Rawlins and Rodney Wilson. Finally, Sungate won 2 – 1 at Shenfield AFC with Ben Carroll scoring for the home side.


EOFL Division One 

Teams (11): Beacon Hill Rovers, Corinthians, Chingford Athletic, Epping Town, Herongate Athletic, Leigh Town, Old Chelmsfordians, Runwell Sports, Snaresbrook, Toby, Wakering Sports

Moving now into Division One, and Toby got a superb 4 – 0 triumph over Epping Town in Newbury Park. Albert Perry, Marc Porter-Brown, Louis Hill and new recruit Harry Barham all netted as Mark Jones’ team started strongly. Wakering Sports also grabbed an impressive 5 – 1 success against Old Chelmsfordians at Cupid’s, with Connor Burrows netting twice, alongside Ben Burrows, Matthew Catlin and Aaron Clark goals for Mitchell Gleeson’s side.

The new era at Herongate Athletic under Billy Cove also began with a victory as they defeated Snaresbrook 3 – 1 at Billericay Road. Robbie Farrell’s brace and one from Izaih Antoine did the job for the home side. Elsewhere, and Runwell Sports began life under boss Rob Hodgson with a creditable 1 – 1 draw with Chingford Athletic at St Luke’s Park. Dylan Hawley netted for Runwell, with Lewis Watson scoring for Ath. Also, Leigh Town began their journey as a second-tier club with a fine 3 – 1 victory at fellow promoted side Beacon Hill Rovers.


EOFL Division Two

Teams (12): ACD Utd, AS Rawreth, Harold Hill, Harold Wood Athletic Res, Hutton Res, Manford Way (fmrly Res), May & Baker A, Old Southendian Res, Rayleigh Town Res, Rochford Town, Showbury Town, Wakebury

In Division Two, ACD Utd got their first win as a third-tier club as they won 2 – 1 at new club Harold Hill. Player-boss Michael Wade got both goals for the visitors as they negotiated a tricky test well. Elsewhere, Shoebury Town started strongly in their new division as they won 4 – 1 against visitors Harold Wood Athletic Res at Cupid’s. Steven Sharpe struck twice here for Town, with Daniel Brooker and an OG accounting for the other goals. Ben Rowe responded for the Wood second-team.

In other action, AS Rawreth got their new era under Josh Hutchins started with a good 2 – 1 home win over May & Baker A. Alex Salmon and Ryan Kenyon provided the goals as they began the season well.


EOFL Division Three

Teams (12): Basildon Town Res, Buckhurst Hill U23/Res, Catholic Utd Res, Collier Row, Corinthians Res, Hashtag Utd Dev, Hullbridge Sports Res, Leigh Town Res, Pitsea Athletic, Toby Res, Wakering Sports Res 

Finally for this week, in Division Three, newcomers Pitsea Athletic began their EOFL campaign with a decent 3 – 0 win over Leigh Town Res at Basildon Sports Village. Ben Challis’ fine treble was enough to seperate the sides there. Elsewhere Basildon Town Res drew 1 – 1 with Toby Res. Matthew Keiller struck for Town, with Brandon Richmond netting for the East Londoners.

Collier Row started the new season with a 3 – 2 home win over Corinthians Res. Jay Knight and replacement Finlay Grant scored for Ben Adams’side but it wasn’t enough to claim a point. Also, Wakering Sports Res claimed a big 9 – 0 victory over Buckhurst Hill U23 and Hashtag Utd Development won 2 – 0 at home to Hullbridge Sports Res at Barleylands.


EOFL Division Four

Teams (12): Canning Town Res, Chingford Athletic Res, Galleywood Res, Leytonstone Utd, Old Chelmsfordians Res, Ongar Town Res, Roydon, Shenfield AFC Res, Southend Manor Dev., Springfield Res, Sungate Res, Wakering Sports A

Results

Ongar Town Res 7 – 1   Shenfield AFC Res   | Melbourne Park

Southend Manor Dev.  2 – 0   Roydon            | Southchurch Park


EOFL Division Five

Teams (12): AS Rawreth Res, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res, Collier Row Res, Epping Town Res, Herongate Athletic Res, Leigh Ramblers Res, Old Barkabbeyans, Pitsea Athletic Res, Runwell Sports Res, Snaresbrook Res, Wakebury Res

Results

Collier Row Res  0 – 5  Herongate Athletic Res  

Pitsea Athletic  Res  6 – 2   Wakebury Res    | Basildon Sporting Village


Thank you for reading, this column will be running throughout the season as much as I can.

Season 20 -21 Club In-Focus – Wakebury [CIF early July 2021]

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

Hello and welcome the final article of the current series looking back at 2020-21 season from the clubs’ perspectiveand their favourite moments, matches and more. First up is Essex Olympian League side Wakebury, who were battling in the promotion race in EOFL Division Three until the later stages of the season and got the nod thanks to four sides being elevated into Div Two in June.

In this piece, Club Chairman & First Team manager Matt Cardy sheds some light on how they felt the season went, and looks forward to the club having an expanded presence in the Olympian Divisions from August. My thanks to Matt for his time during a busy close season.

Wakebury compete in the EOFL {Credit: EOFL]

SW: Hello Matt, thank you for your time. It goes without saying that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?

MC: Of course it was challenging for everyone in walks of life but for us in local football it made what is already a tough job, that little bit harder. We are very well prepared and plan well advance for a season so this disruption challenged us to adapt. We’ve taking some really good learning from this season in how we work and do things so although challenging you can always find positives. And naturally being promoted to EOFL Division Two is a fantastic achievement for our club!


SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?

MC: Very easy. The very first match of the season away to Chingford Athletic in the League Cup. We had 12 players and a few regular starters missing. We were 3 – 1 ahead at half time after putting in a fantastic first half performance. The players following our tactical game plan to the letter and we were able to win a penalty shoot-out and beat a side who in my view should have been in the EOFL Premier after having such a successful 19/20 season. It was bit of a ‘giant-killing’ so to speak so it was a great day for the club.


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

MC: As mentioned, away at Chingford was a great day for us all. This season has obviously been a challenging one but we have continued to develop young players, and positive for us is seeing players such as Billy Bonham – Dare and Will Wheeler join the club and make a real impact, both players have shown great potential and are improving all the time. This excites us as we look to build for the future.

I also enjoyed our last league game of the season against Hullbridge A. I felt this performance was one of our best in terms of the control we had in possession especially in the second half but also, you could see every single player giving their maximum for the club, this gave a sense of pride ad that win probably secured our top four finish which got us promoted.


SW: Wakebury did take part in midweek matches towards the end of the campaign. As an Olympian League club, what are those like to compete in?

MC: Yes, midweek games are always nice. We like to include a couple of mid-weekers into our pre-season schedule as well. For some reason any midweek game always had ‘big game’ feel to it so its always enjoyable to play mid week games.


SW: Having now competed in EOFL Division Three for the last two seasons, how would you summarise the strength of the division?

MC: Obviously in the our first season in the EOFL to actually finish high enough to gain promotion out of the division was a great achievement, this was obviously blocked due to COVID and the league being null & void! But the league this season has improved. The addition of Manford Way Reserves and the improvement Hutton Res and Basildon Town Ressies has made the league tougher in our opinion. I expect all of the promoted sides to continue to progress into Division Two, I’d not be surprised to see a couple of them up the top come next May.


SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, you’ve mentioned in the past that you’d like to get your Reserve side into the EOFL system, will that happen in the near future?

MC: Our new reserve set-up, led by player/manager Brett Deeming will be entering the EOFL next season. This is a great step forward for our club. Having two sides in the EOFL when the club is just five years old is an outstanding achievement and is testament to all the hard work we as a club have put in. We are confident Brett will do a great job in building a competitive side that will look to develop players for our first-team set up.


SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

MC: Well in addition to our new Reserve side, we are working very hard away from the pitch to improve the entire infrastructure of the club. We are aware of what we need to take the club on as we look to climb the EOFL system. Everyone at this club is fiercely ambitious and we have plans in place that will be huge for us and our long-term future. Once everything is in place, we will of course make an announcement via the clubs social media channels. We have also been able to connect with ex Leigh Town & Basildon Town manager Gareth Cleverly, who is going work closely with myself & (First Team assistant boss) Dan Blewett over the next few months, this is a great thing for us as a management team but also the club. Gareth has a wealth of experience and an outstanding managerial CV we are looking forward to working with him [Congrats to Gareth, I wish him well in his new role – Ed]

We are excited about the new season as we enjoy new challenges, Division Two looks to be a really competitive league again, and we are going to work our hardest to ensure we are competing at the right end of the league once again.


My thanks to Matt, Chairman of Wakebury & 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

2021 Club In-Focus – Dagenham Utd [CIF June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EAL Writer

Hello and welcome to a ‘bonus’ instalment of ‘In-Focus’ blogs for Summer 2021. In this fourth article, I caught up with Essex Alliance League (EAL) side Dagenham Utd, who also competed in the group-only Essex Alliance League Cup since the resumption of Football in March this year.

The ‘Daggers’ have had a side in the EAL divisions since 2017, and although their first team are a more recent addition after coming over from the Olympian League.

In this article, I’m pleased to be joined by First Team player-boss (and Adult Section Chairman) Chris Mascall (CM) and First Team Secretary & Physio Jamie Mascall (JM) to give their thoughts on how the recent League Cup has been to compete in, the season as a whole, the inside track on the club and their thoughts on the change coming for the EAL next season. My thanks to them both for their time & Jamie for the Action images shown here.

Dagenham Utd compete in the Essex Alliance Lge (EAL)

SW: It’s fair to say that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?

CM: “It’s a pleasure Scott, thanks for taking the time to talk to us also.” 

“It has been a frustrating campaign again in terms of the stop start of lockdown etc., but we do take some positives from the last lockdown as it allowed a couple of our key players to return from substantial injuries they suffered at the start of the season which disrupted our season towards the Xmas period. 

In terms of positives on the pitch this season, we had a strong showing in our league division, pushing at the top of the table for promotion for the majority of the season and picking up some very good results along the way. The restart of the league cup groups yielded some of our best results as we introduced a new system and style of play, which lead to us winning all of our cup group games bar one, narrowly missing out on silverware” 


SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?

CM: “There have been some great matches this season but for the neutral, there’s only one that can really spring to mind. We had a home game early on in the season (on October 3rd 2020 – Ed) vs Forest Green which ended 5 – 4 to us with a winner in the 88th min, an outrageous goal from our winger Rodeny Dos Santos Varela whom cut in on the edge of the box and curled one into the opposite corner lobbing the keeper and leaving him stranded, the absolutely scenes that followed were amazing as it was pure euphoria and a goal worthy of winning any game at any level! Our Reserve team were playing at home too that week and won their game also and so the joint celebrations that took place immediately after the games were fantastic with both teams coming together to enjoy the results in what was a great show of the real family feel we have at this club.” 


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

JM: “I would say it would have to be the game Chris just mentioned , the togetherness of the teams and the pure elation they both had for each other’s results was beautiful to see. It was a lovely day weather-wise, both teams winning in spectacular fashion and really felt like it was one of those moments that makes all the hard work running and organising these teams worth it. It was a real ‘this is why we do it’ moment.” 


Action Still (Dag Utd in Blue & White Stripes) [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

SW: I vaguely remember the club’s first team being among the sides competing in Essex Olympian League (EOFL). How has it been competing in the Alliance League (EAL) since you came over at Division Two level?

CM: “Yes that’s right, our first team used to compete in the Essex Olympian league and moved across to the Alliance League last season. After transferring to Dagenham, I started my journey as First Team Captain and then moved into a management role with the Reserve team whom were entered into the Essex Alliance League in 2016/17 season I believe it was. It was a real ‘start from scratch’ project. I then moved into the First Team Managers role and the Adult Section chairman position, setting out a five-year progression plan for the men’s teams to aim towards. This was when we entered First & Reserve teams into the Alliance, comprised of a few key players from the Reserve team and a lot of new additions whom were eager to join the exciting project and we haven’t looked back since as I enter my 5th season managing within the EAL. 

In terms of abilities of the teams within the respective leagues, I genuinely don’t see much difference In quality, and the EAL have some great teams and players amongst the leagues.”


SW: You competed in Group D of the hastily-convened Essex Alliance League Cup finishing in third spot, two points behind leaders Cowley Community. How was it to return to playing after such a long lay-off?

CM: “To be fair, as I mentioned earlier, the break almost done us good in a sense that it allowed injured players to return, but of course you then loose the momentum of the team being together etc. What did really impress me however was that a large number of the first team especially took up 1-2-1 coaching with myself and really looked after themselves during the break, which was evident when we returned to action, where as I mentioned, we were unbeaten, bar one.” 

“The final Cup table makes for a slightly distorted view of the way the cup unfolded. We were joint-top along with Unitey after 3 games, both sides winning three a piece going into our encounter with them. We proceeded to draw that game which opened the door to Cowley to sneak up the mini group. We went into the final game of the season against Cowley joint top but with 3 less goal difference then Unitey, meaning we either required Unitey to draw or for us to beat Cowley by a four-goal margin at least, should Unitey win for us to lift the title.  I think this lack of clarity slightly affected us in the final fixture and we deviated from the way we had been playing so successfully since the restart, ultimately losing the final game 2-3 to Cowley, with Unitey drawing their final game a result that would have been ideal, meaning Cowley sneaked in and took the title. 

Absolutely full credit to them for clinching the title as the ‘dark horses’ when it seemed like race between two sides, they are a nice bunch of lads who were simply better on the day, but we take pride in the fact we were so close to silverware and intend to make sure we get our hands on some ourselves next time around ha!”


SW: It was announced recently that the Senior Division of the Essex Alliance League has been given Step 7 status by the FA, putting it on par with the Premier Division of the Essex Olympian League. Is reaching that division an ambition of the club & what is your reaction to the news as an EAL club?

CM: “It’s fantastic news for the league and all those whom make it tick and fully deserved for all their hard work in getting to that level. On a personal note, Barry [Fitzgerald], Rob [Parker] and Alan Spike for example have been extremely supportive towards us as a team and me personally, and this is evident in the piece you did with Rob a couple of weeks ago, where he name-checked Dagenham United as being one of the big teams that are looking likely progress up the footballing ladder, which is a great compliment to read [Pleasure to assist! – Ed). 

In terms of step 7 for us, absolutely, we’ve made no secret of hiding the fact that is very much the plan, to keep climbing up the footballing ladder and into the Non League system etc. We are delighted that we have gained promotion for the coming season to the Premier Division (next season’s EAL second-tier, below the Senior Division) from Div 2 and again feel it shows our progression as a club and our intent to wake what I feel is a sleeping giant of a club.” 


Dag Utd GK in action [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

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

CM: “I think it’s fantastic that people like yourselves are starting to shine a light on grassroots football and highlighting the hard work that goes into these teams and the quality that Is actually within these leagues that very often get missed. As you mention, coverage higher up the pyramid is strong, but at this level is few and far between, but what it does mean, is that when independent amateur media like yourself do take the time out of your days to cover and focus on teams, you have the chance to really build relationships and respect from the teams and leagues you are covering, which I think is a great thing on a personal level, as often in football, especially higher up, that personal touch element often gets missed and it becomes very business orientated.” 


SW: In my research for this article, I saw you are one of a number of clubs now who film highlights of matches & then put them on your YouTube channel. How important do you feel doing things like that are to raise the profile of the club (and perhaps the League) as a whole?

CM: “I actually believe we were one of the first to really push the filming of fixtures, investing in a Veo Camera prior to pre-season to automatically record our games and create highlights of match days and other media content. The social media aspect is huge in today’s day and age and by far one of the easiest ways to attract interest in the club as it’s a physical representation of your team and whom you are and allows you to express your identity”

JM: “We not only use the filming of games to create highlight pieces etc, but use the footage for tactical analysis of games which has been crucial throughout the season in being able to Identify any areas of improvement whilst also highlighting the positives for individuals that many players often don’t have. Even at a good semi-pro standard, until recently very few games were recorded and so lots of players don’t have the opportunities to see themselves play and identify these areas to work on.” 

CM: In terms of the league’s social media coverage, I genuinely believe they are by far one of the best at any level in terms of engagement with their teams and individuals in the divisions and are very supportive of the social media content put out by clubs. The filming of the games from the league can only be a positive and shows their desire to offer that extra ‘personal touch’ each week. 


SW: What do you believe is the main difference between Intermediate/Grassroots Football and the top four steps of the Senior Non-League game?

CM: “Finances. Pure and simple in my honest opinion. Grassroots football has come under so much pressure with lack of help for funding, with costs rising exponentially each year for facilities especially, as quite simply there will always be more teams then there are good venues, meaning most places of hire can charge what they want, with very few teams owning or having leases to their own grounds at this level, every season you see the same story, teams folding left, right and centre, majority of the time simply down to lack of finances. I genuinely believe there are a lot of clubs out there, ourselves being one of them that have real potential to climb the footballing ladder, but football costs money and many are unfortunately ‘priced out’ of progression.” 

JM: “I agree, finances play a huge part in the gap between the standards of the senior non league game and grassroots football. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of the financial strains get placed upon the managers of these teams to keep the teams afloat let alone progressing forward. 

Thankfully, I’m fully supportive of Chris’s plans for the teams and the ambition he has to keep building the project, meaning the adult section have been fortunate enough to have the financial backing from ourselves to keep progressing. We take pride in the fact we can match what a lot of senior non-league teams can in terms of kits, equipment etc but that ultimately comes down to the passion and drive to want to be able to do this as-well, as we see the teams and the players as extended family and feel that is another of the key differences between the levels.” 


SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, what are the short-term aspirations of the club?

CM: “To get some silverware under our belt and ultimately to gain promotion to the Senior Division, after a positive year this season which culminated in a promotion from Div 2 to the Premier Division. 

We would like to add some fresh faces to our current teams that believe in the project we have and can appreciate the progression we have made and to compliment the existing players we have. We have keen focus of developing young players and providing a pathway into men’s football as well, a luxury which is often not afforded. In our last game for example, we had four 17 year old players in the first team squad, with another 3 under 21’s and that is something we are committed to continue doing in the 21/22 season.”


SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

CM: “As cliché as it sounds, We’ve got some really exciting plans in the pipeline that will elevate the club to another level. We have transferred to a 4G pitch for our men’s first team to ensure we have a better standard of playing surface to compliment the attractive football we play, whilst also securing a partnership which sees us gain the use of a clubhouse and bar for post-game socials, something we had been sorely missing in the last few seasons.” 

“With our ambitions to progress into the Senior division and continue up the footballing pyramid, we are in positive talks to secure a stadium and pitch for the 2022/2023 season [Readers, Ground-grading is a factor in Step 7 divisions – Ed] and have a secure home base with the fantastic current owners whom we are building a good relationship with.” 

End

If you’d like to catch up with the others article in this ‘In-Focus’ series relating to the Essex Alliance League, you can find them here

Essex Alliance League – The Future: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/2021-in-focus-essex-alliance-league-the-future-eal/ 

Club In-Focus – Chadwell Heath Spartans: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/2021-club-in-focus-chadwell-heath-spartans/  

2021 Club In-Focus – Chadwell Heath Spartans [CIF June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EAL Writer

Hello and welcome the another of my latest series of  ‘In-Focus’ blogs for Summer 2021, marking five years for me as a Non-League writer. Second in the series is Essex Alliance League (EAL) side Chadwell Heath Spartans, who competed in the group-only Essex Alliance League Cup since the resumption of Football in March this year.

The “Spartans” are an ambitious club built from Day 1 by the Hunwicks family, soon after Neil Hunwicks decided to leave Hullbridge Sports who at that stage had just won the Essex Senior League title. But for the Hunwicks family, setting this club up was an altogether more personal venture. The Action image below is courtesy of @ABridgeTooFar16, used with thanks.

In this article, I’m pleased to welcome Chairman & photographer extraordinaire Neil Hunwicks (NH), who is joined by his sons, Spartans player-boss Aaron Hunwicks (AH) and player & Media Officer Ray Hunwicks (RH) to give their thoughts on how the recent League Cup has been to compete in, the season as a whole, the inside track on the club and their thoughts on the change coming for the EAL next season. My thanks to them all for their time.

SW: It goes without saying that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?

NH: “As a family we are all still learning, not just about the club and the team, but also about working with each other. Trying to keep ourselves motivated in these difficult times was hard enough, but trying to keep the entire club engaged and motivated was a big challenge for us.

The campaign was good while we were playing and we probably were playing the best football in our short history, but the downtime during lockdown and the thought of another season being ‘null and void’ always loomed large at the back of our minds.

As Chairman, our biggest positive off the pitch was us becoming a ‘FA Charter Standard’ club. We always try to do everything in the right way and although a lot of the standards for the award were already in place, the League and County supported us getting things over the line.

On-the-pitch it has certainly been difficult to keep players motivated and interested in football with the stop start season that the clubs have faced, but the lads on the whole have been great. The support they have given the club on and off the pitch is all that we can ask for from our players and we just hope that we can complete a full season for 2021/22 and see how we go”

SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?

NH:  “There could only be one match for me and that was away the Woodford East FC in October of 2020 I believe (Indeed it was – October 17th to be exact – Ed). Trying to take photographs and watch an unbelievable game was very difficult.

Woodford East were top of the league and unbeaten, we were third I think at the time and unbeaten. Both teams had a tight defence and had conceded few goals before the Spartans headed over to Woodford’s ground on that Saturday afternoon.

We had good support on that day as the game had been built up as a clash of the two top teams in the division and a chance of the unbeaten record of one of them going. It was the first time I had really felt nervous before a game, and I felt a bit of those same nerves around the camp. Aaron and Niru had done a good job preparing the team and leading up to the game the training sessions had been very good. The boys were all up for the clash and we had a strong squad available for selection.

Well without boring everybody with the details, it was an unbelievable game ending 6 – 5 to the Spartans and the celebrations at the end you would maybe have expected from a Cup final. It was sheer relief beating easily the best team we had played in the league and probably the strongest contenders for the title, had things got that far!

Looking back I think the Woodford East lads would agree that it was a real battle between two competitive sides and their dejection at the loss was the opposite to our elation at the victory and I’m sure if things were round the other way we would have felt their pain.”


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

NH: “We have a positive and a negative for this really and they were both off-the-pitch. Let’s get the negative out of the way first! It was when we were told for a second time that the season was off, ‘null and void’ again! We couldn’t believe it! We had been robbed of the title in our first season as we were one win away from winning EAL Division Three before things were called off, but for things to be called off again was ridiculous and when you think we all played tournaments when we came back, we could have easily finished the league, but don’t get me started on the FA, I’ll shut up now.

The positive was great for us and as I have already mentioned we achieved Charter Standard, which was great for us as a new club. We have always tried to do things the right way and getting Charter Standard was a big plus for us as a club and it was that little piece of the jigsaw that we wanted to get done in season two.”

SW: It’s been two seasons since the Spartans were formed, what has it been like starting your history competing in the Essex Alliance League in that time?

NH: “The League is good and they have always been very supportive towards us, but at the same time we have tried to support the league. Ray is our secretary as well as playing and he always tries to make sure we do everything properly and on time. If he doesn’t win Secretary of the Year for last season it will be an absolute travesty, not that we are biased!” (Of course not! – Ed)

“The league also asked clubs to support them by obtaining Charter Standard and so we went ahead and put the work in to do it. Although we attended all the meetings back in the old days when people could still meet up, we always know that we can call or message any of the league committee and they will always get back to us with a helpful answer. That is what a new team needs because although me as the Chairman and Aaron as the player / manager having quite a few years background in the game, we have always done things for others and never had our own team, so it was a big learning curve for all the family. We thought for the last two seasons (although we haven’t actually finished one yet due to Covid-19) that we were in the right place & the right league and that has been confirmed recently when it was announced that the league had finally achieved one of its big goals by achieving Step 7 status.”

SW: You competed in Group B of the hastily-convened Essex Alliance League Cup with mixed results, finishing in third spot. How was it returning to playing after such a long lay-off?

NH: “It was great to get back and see everybody again and although we had some of the team who contracted Covid-19, everybody came through the other side and we’re safe!

Aaron (AH) had his own plans for the tournament, so I’ll let him explain…”

AH: “We were extremely pleased that there was some sort of Cup football to return to, although admittedly we were disappointed that the league couldn’t continue two seasons in a row. It was a difficult period for us as a club as the lockdowns left us and I’m sure many other clubs without players returning and with injuries. This made some of our games really challenging, but we did use the cup competition to experiment with some things we wanted to test, without points or league positions on the line and this has given us loads of ideas going in to next season to take the club forwards.

SW: It was announced last week that the Senior Division of the Essex Alliance League has been given Step 7 status by the FA, putting it on par with the Premier Division of the Essex Olympian League. Is reaching that division an ambition of the club & what is your reaction to the news as an EAL club?

NH: “Well, I’ll cover the reaction first as we were so pleased for the league and especially all the committee members who we knew had worked so hard on achieving this status. The league deserves it and it’s great for all the clubs that have stuck by the Essex Alliance League and haven’t jumped ship. Some of the clubs that have left the league may now want to come back, which will only strengthen the league, but I’m sure like the Olympian (League), the clubs coming in will now have to earn their place in the top flight.

As far as our club goes, as Chairman I can only guide my committee on what my own personal thoughts are about playing at Step 7. Our committee is made up of myself as Chairman, Aaron as player / manager, Niru as player / coach and Treasurer, he’s the numbers man. We then have Ray who plays as well as being the club Secretary and also the media wizard, so he arguably has the toughest job in the family and finally we have John who is a family friend from when the lads were at school, he is sometimes the voice of reason amongst the strong-willed Hunwicks family!

I think the pressure sits firmly with Aaron as manager and Niru as coach on this one, as they have got to be confident that they can put together a team that can compete at Step 7, Aaron continues on that note…

AH: As manager, my thoughts on Step 7 are that it is a fantastic opportunity for us as a club, should we be able to meet the requirements. It’s also a great opportunity for the players to compete at this level and test themselves against the best teams in the league. We are excited to see what the new season brings us as we are always trying to better ourselves and bring in new talent to help us reach our goals.”


Image from CH Spartans v CSM London (in EAL Cup in May 2021. image by @ABridgeTooFar16)

(Above) Action Still from CH Spartans v CSM London in EAL League Cup from May 2021, image by @ABridgeTooFar16


SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, what are the short-term aspirations of the club?

NH: “Off the pitch I think we have loads of goals as we want to secure some longer-term sponsorship deals. This gives the club more stability, but it also gives us the opportunity to work with local businesses. We are big on getting the local community involved in the club, as we feel we represent them. Our history is local, and the family grew up here. We have a lot of local lads that went to Mayfield School which is where our home ground is now, so we are tied to the community, and we want the community to be tied in with us.

You will have noticed that we try very hard to get some good media out weekly. It’s not just about my photographs, but also a lot of work goes in to our videos and Ray (RH) is your man for that, so I’ll leave this bit to him…”

RH: “As the media man, striving to get better never stops for me. I’m continually challenging myself to put out better content on all platforms and as a small club I think we do very well. We sometime get criticised for missing a goal, but we make every effort to get it right and change things up as often as we can.

On the pitch, Aaron, Niru and John want the club to be playing at Step 7 status and to be able to hold our own in a very strong Premier Division. We want to bring in new blood that maybe won’t get a look in at the bigger clubs, but we are a team of opportunities, and we want competition for every position we have!”

SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

NH: “We have a few things in the pipeline, but nothing we can share at the moment as our future is in the hands of others, but we are really confident our hard work will pay off, so watch this space!”

End

That’s all from this In-Focus article, again my thanks to the Hunwicks family for their time & I wish the Spartans well next season. If you’d like to find out more about the club, they are on Twitter – @CH_SpartansFC or on Facebook at @CHSpartansFC.   Hope you enjoyed the article.

Update (June 16) – After this article was published, it was announced via EAL’s constitutions that the Spartans will compete in the Senior Division (Step 7) from August 2021. Congrats to all at the club.

If you’d like to catch up with the first article in this ‘In-Focus’ series on the Essex Alliance League’s future, you can find it here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/2021-in-focus-essex-alliance-league-the-future-eal/ 

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Cup Round-up (Wk 5 – Sat 8 May) [EAL 20-21 12.5.21]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the Essex Alliance League Cup groups on Saturday 8th May, My thanks to Rob Parker from the EAL. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

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

Essex Alliance League – Saturday 8 May

GROUP A

FC Petrocub have moved to within a point of securing the Group A title as they came out on the right side of a five-goal thriller at home against Lymore Gardens at the weekend. Karel Francis and Dylan Roberts both netted for Lymore but a brace from Valentin Siciov in reply plus a Ghenadie Moisei effort for the hosts gave them a crucial 3 – 2 win.

DTFC remain the only other side in contention and they warmed up for their showdown next Saturday with a home victory against Rapid Chingford, less than twenty four hours after their previous fixture (in the Essex Senior Len Cordell Cup Last 16). Jermaine Francis scored twice with Alex Paraskeva netting the other to help them to a 4 – 1 victory.

GROUP B

It remains very tight in Group B with two rounds of games left to go with Kit Out London sitting in pole position with a key game coming up this weekend. Darnell Kithambo scored twice for KOL with Sami Bessadi and Lewis Jacobs also on the scoresheet as they saw off Chadwell Heath Spartans, 4 – 2. Jordan Malick and Niru Hunwicks both grabbed consolation goals for the Spartans.

Woodford East will hope for results to go their way but ensured they remain in the mix following a big 9 – 2 win on Saturday against CSM London. Robleh Xasan and Plamedi Kinkela both netted for CSM but East braces from Jay Stavri and William Letchford, plus single goals from Kai Law, Matthew Stacey, Callum Maltese, Frank Glock and Jake Tibbitts were more than enough.

GROUP C

The Group C battle came to a conclusion over the weekend as we congratulate Frenford A on taking the title, securing the win they needed against London Park City to move into a winning position. Damilola Olaiya, Gouly Djikalou and Isima Iguisi netted the goals that confirmed the silverware, the Ilford side beating their local rivals 3- 0 on the day.

Kwanzas London Sport have moved into second place in a group dominated by draws and they added to their account in this respect, earning a 3 – 3 draw at home against Belfry. The in-form Antonio Semedo scored a hat-trick for Kwanzas with two Patrick Macdonald goals and a Sam Paterson effort ensuring a share of the spoils.

GROUP D

The Group D action came to an exhilarating conclusion on Saturday with the two group favourites both stalling in their efforts, allowing Cowley Community to sweep to a 3 – 2 victory at Dagenham United. Chris Wright scored twice once again with Mark Farinha netting the other to see their side put last season’s county cup knockback to the back of their minds by picking up this silverware.

That result was also made possible as Royal Forest earned a hard-fought point against Unitey to end the visitor’s own quest for the title. Nathan Lupumba scored a brace and Eddy Litambolo also netted for Unitey but their efforts weren’t quite enough as the game ended at 3 – 3.

The group’s remaining game came from Waltham Abbey where Chingord Athletic A hosted Barkingside A with both sides looking to finish their campaigns with some momentum. Chingford will be the happier of the sides in this regards after they completed a 5-2 home win with Eric Kelly scoring a hat-trick and Sam Matthew notching too.

GROUP E

Fairlop Rovers celebrated securing the Group E title last week with a hard fought win at Glendale on Saturday, racing into an early first half lead. Wesley Kangi and Mouhamed Gueye goals in the second half for the Dales kept things interesting but Rovers did enough to hold on to win 3 – 2, thanks to goals from Dylan Bruns, Harry Oliver and Logan Simmonds and pop the champagne corks at full time.

Loughton Lions ensured their runners-up spot in the group as they edged a tight contest away at Old Esthameians in Newbury Park. Lions were 2 – 1 winners on the day to end what has been another good season on a high for the Hainault-based side.

GROUP F

The race for the title in Group F went right to the wire with Royal Forest Reserves ending as champions at the weekend with a victory away at Chingford Harriers. Tom Alexander and Thomas Meggs goals were the difference as they came through 2 – 0 winners in Walthamstow to secure their first silverware as a team.

Custom House United will of course be disappointed having come through the group unbeaten but they will at least finish as runners-up, aided by a win by the odd goal in their clash away at Lymore Gardens Reserves. Lymore put up a good fight as Errol Dinnal-Treasure and Kye Austrie-Alexander both netted but the Dockers came through thanks to strikes by bobby Devlin, Jamie Wooster and Robbie Wooster to win 3-2.

Moving into a final third place finish, Emerson United Reserves ended their campaign on a high as they beat Eastern Avenue on the final day, 6 – 0. Joshua Gibbins was on fire in Loughton with a four-goal haul as Paul Brady and Harry Butler efforts completed a stunning victory for the Upminster-based side.

GROUP G

Together United’s title tilt will go down to the final fixture in the group after both of the top two sides won their clashes. Together were 4-2 victors away at Dagenham United Reserves over at Castle Green with Stanley Kweya grabbing a treble and Remel Green also notching and anything barring a very large defeat in the remaining fixture will assure them of title glory.

Collier Row A made sure of at least a second place finish with an away win at Brentwood United Reserves on Saturday. Row were on the right side of an eight-goal thriller, winning the tie 5 – 3 to move level on points with the leaders and hoping for a miraculous result in the final game. Collier had braces from Tommy Mottram and Connor Brown and one from Peter Adeleye to thank for their goals. Utd Ressies responded through a brace from Bradley Jackson and one from Joseph Cadman-Ithell but ultimately they fell to defeat in this one.

COUNTY CUP

It was London Junior Cup day for one of our clubs as North East Lions made the trip south of the river to take on Wimbledon Casuals with a place in the last sixteen at stake for the winner. In a tight game, it was a Casuals victory as they scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 result.

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Cup Round-up (Wk 4 – Sat 1 May) [EAL 20-21 4.5.21]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the Essex Alliance League Cup groups on Saturday 1st May, My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

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

Essex Alliance League – Saturday 1 May

 
GROUP A

The race for the Group A silverware remains well poised with FC Petrocub holding a two point gap at the top, helped by a big 6 – 1 win on Saturday away at Rapid Chingford. Vasilica Ilie led the visitors on with a treble here, to which Nicolai Gutu added a brace. Ghenadie Moisei also chipped in with the other goal in this big win which saw the visitors make it three wins from three and in pole position in the group going into their two huge remaining fixtures.

One of those will be against second-placed Lymore Gardens next week and Lymore warmed up for the huge showdown with a comfortable win of their own, ending West Essex Reserves’ hopes of silverware with a 3 – 1 victory. Andre Rashford, Dylan Roberts and Tyrique Peters grabbed the winning goals.

With games in hand, DT FC still have both of the leading sides to play away from home and kept up their hopes with a big home win as they beat FC Baresi 5 – 0 at the Harlow Arena. Carlos Simao notched twice here, with Jermaine Francis, Ayrton Coley and Steve Domfeh also on target to give the hosts a first win in the competition and, with three games still to go, can they chase down the leading pack?

GROUP B

Group B was thrown wide open at the weekend after a huge result in Noak Hill saw Kit Out London keep their unbeaten record in tact by beating another previously unbeaten side, Woodford East. Jay Stavri scored for East but a Erik Rusnak brace in reply added to Sami Bessadi’s goal to make it 3 – 2 to the Kit side.

Chigwell Town returned to contention at the top end of the standings after an impressive 4 – 2 victory at home against Tower United to dent the latter’s hopes. Ross Chimes scored two with Mark Howe and Modestas Dainuskas netting the others to render Tower goals from Abdi Abdikarim and Abubakar Maxamed as just consolation.

And in the group’s remaining fixture, Chadwell Heath Spartans opened their wins account in the group as they picked up a huge 5 – 1 win against higher league opposition, CSM London. Antonio Azevedo scored for CSM but a Rashid Matabaro hat-trick and goals for Rob Hodgson and Miguel Martins rounded things off for Spartans.

GROUP C

Four sides will go into the final weekend of Group C fixtures with hopes of silverware but it’s unbeaten Frenford A who hold the advantage after their beat now second-placed North East Lions 5 – 3 on Saturday to go top. Lorenc Hoxha, Romelle Pile and Chad-Troy Payne goals proved not quite enough for the Lions. Among the scorers for the Frenford developmental side were Gabriel De Souza Dias, Daniel Francis, Isima Iguisi and Joel Opara.

London Park City and Kwanzas London Sport are the other two sides with an outside chance but will require a significant goal difference swing after they could only finish level at 1-1. Antonio Semedo scored the hosts goal but City scored one themselves to send them into a showdown with the leaders next weekend.

In the battle between the fifth and sixth placed sides, Belfry earned their first points of the group after they secured victory in Dagenham against Francis Luke. Jose Nelson Da Silva scored for Luke but three Belfry goals from Gabriel Ogunwomoju, Daniel Osborne and Louis Window were enough to earn a 3 – 1 win for the hosts.

GROUP D

Two sides remain locked at the top in Group D as Unitey and Dagenham United, both sides sporting unbeaten records, met in Loughton on Saturday. With both having won all three games, it was perhaps no surprise to see this one finish level. Brandon Fulton scored twice for Unitey with Sean Kettle and Charlie Fiander goals ensuring it ended 2 – 2 to see this group go to the wire.

Third-placed Cowley Community, a point back, remain poised to sweep up if results go their way and they ensured they will remain interested on the last day as Chris Wright and Mark Farinha efforts gave them a 2 – 1 win against Chingford Athletic A. Sam Matthews scored the Chingford goal in reply.

GROUP E

In Group E, the first silverware was mathematically confirmed with Fairlop Rovers confirmed as group winners after Loughton Lions could only pick up a point on the road at Old Barkabbeyans Reserves. The Lions had two goals from William Osmond and one from Jay Lutman to thank for keeping them in the contest but two Michael Ryder goals and a Josh Robinson strike help Old Barks pick up a first point as the game ended 3 – 3.

The group’s other action came from Newbury Park where the other side with outside hopes, Glendale, saw their hopes ended despite fighting back from conceding early  against Old Esthameaians to lead through two Wesley Kanga goals. But goals from Neil Robinson and Danny Harris saw the tie finish at 2 – 2 on the day.

GROUP F

The drama in Group F will go to the final set of matches with three sides still in with a shout. Royal Forest Reserves are in pole position following a hard fought away win at Emerson United Reserves over the weekend as goals from Tom Alexander and Will Asenso carried their side to a 2 – 0 victory in Upminster.

Custom House United will hope for a Royal slip on the final day after they kept their hopes alive with a big 7 – 1 win at home against Eastern Avenue. Jamie Wooster was in fine form here with a hat-trick, with further goals arriving through Bobby Devlin, Paul Stringer, Robert Wooster and Tommy Douglas.

Chingford Harriers will require a lot of things to go their way to be putting hands on silverware but they will have a big say either way, coming through the Chingford derby contest against Lymore Gardens Reserves in a 3 – 0 scoreline. Paul Shawyer and Darnell Lamothe were on the scoresheet for the Harriers ahead of their showdown with the leaders next weekend.

GROUP G

In Group G, Collier Row A moved level on points with the top placed side in the group on the back of a big 7 – 1 Row victory against Dagenham United Reserves. Rahman Byjid scored for United but Tommy Mottram’s treble led an ensemble cast of scorers for Row which also included Joe Willson’s brace plus one each for Pete Adeleye and Jordan Reece-Peprah to leave them needing the leaders to drop points if they are to challenge.

Brentwood United Reserves have been creeping their way up the table in the last couple of weeks and could still have a big say in things, lying just two points off the leading teams. Their second win was secured as a double from Danny Walker and strikes from Alfie Wiseman and Tony Wyman assisted them to a 4 – 2 home win against Avondale Rangers on Saturday, a result which keeps them in touch.

LONDON JUNIOR CUP

Goals were the order of the day in the London Junior Cup where Jolof Sports’ chase for county cup glory continued with the visit of AFC Cubo Reserves to Dagenham on Saturday. An entertaining game saw Jolof run out 10 – 4 victors to become the third EAL club into the last sixteen where they face either West Fulham or Exeter Old Boys this month.

S20-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Fri 30 April) [EOFL 20/21 30.4.21]

EOFL logo

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

Hello everyone and welcome to an additional midweek edition of my Essex Olympian League round-ups, looking at the three matches that took place in midweek from Tuesday 27th – Thursday 29th April. (Main image is from Ryan 5 – 5 Epping Town) Thank you for reading.

Tuesday 27th April – EOFL Division Two

The midweek action started on Tuesday night in Division One as Ryan put in a determined display to hold error-strewn Epping Town 5 – 5 at Wadham Lodge’s Intermediate grass pitch. Scout Bown netted a treble for the hosts, with Aymen Mekni & an OG accounting for the hosts’ other strikes. Epping had doubles from Callum Turner and Chris Gormley to thank for keeping them in it, with substitute David Limber’s spot-kick ensuring they left with a point. In doing so, they rose to fifth but ultimately lost ground on the top two. Ryan remain eighth.

I was at this match & my in-depth report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/04/28/s-20-21-match-report-ryan-5-5-epping-town-tues-27-april/

Wednesday 28 April – EOFL Division One

On Wednesday night, Manford Way held Chingford Athletic to a 1 – 1 draw at the ‘visitors’ ground at Town Mead. Will Gleeson netted for Lee Bowers’ side, while Robbie Rees’ strike for Manford meant that they left the happier of the two sides and remain firmly in the elevation race in second spot after a highly competitive match. Chingford remain eighth but will still have their eye on a top-four finish.

Fellow Non-League writer Peter Dudley (@ped1980) was at this game & his report is here: https://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2021/04/manford-way-1-chingford-athletic-1.html

Thursday 29 April – EOFL Division Two

Finally for the midweek action, in Division Two, Corinthians had to earn a 3 – 1 win over AS Rawreth at Stambridge. Goals by Leo Clarke, Jake Lang and Jake Hodder overturned a Billy Brown goal for the visitors and claim an important victory and go up to second spot ahead of a big game with local rivals Wakering Sports on Saturday. Rawreth’s spirited performance was far better than their league position suggested.

I was also at this match & my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/04/30/s-20-21-match-report-corinthians-3-1-as-rawreth-29-april/