Bostik Division North Matchday #1 Preview

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello and welcome to the new Isthmian Division North season, now known as the Bostik League Division North after twenty years of it being known as the Ryman League. It’s been mentioned that only one club will be relegated come season’s end and two will be promoted. Below is a list of the fixtures on Matchday #1.

Saturday 12th August  (3pm KO’s)

AFC Hornchurch v Soham Town Rangers      Venue: Bridge Avenue

Jimmy McFarlane’s Urchins welcome Soham to Bridge Avenue. Hornchurch have recruited a number of good players during the summer, including the likes of forwards Bradley Warner and Theo Fairweather-Johnson. Soham’s late revival of form at the latter stages of the season certainly assisted them in averting relegation last term and will look for a positive start here.

AFC Sudbury v Canvey Island           Venue: Wardale Williams Stadium

This encounter sees two sides that were both relegated last term clash as Canvey travel to Sudbury on the Suffolk/Essex border. Both sides will also be looking for a favourable campaign and may well be in the play-off hunt come season’s end. Former Bowers & Pitsea forward David Knight are among the signings Danny Heale has made in the close-season.

Aveley v Bowers & Pitsea               Venue: Parkside

Aveley welcome Bowers & Pitsea in what is their first league match at their brand-new Parkside home, which they will continue to share (as they did with Mill Field) with tenants Grays Athletic for the next two seasons. In what could be an even more highly-contested division than last term, both sides may be angling for another run at the play-offs this term.

Barking v Waltham Abbey        Venue: Mayesbrook Park

Essex Senior League champions Barking welcome Waltham Abbey to Mayesbrook Park in their first match back at Step 4. The hosts have a much-changed squad and a new co-manager in Justin Gardner this term, joining Glen Golby in the dug-out. The Abbotts will be looking to avoid the nerves of a relegation dogfight this season, as they had at times last campaign. Will Barking see previous ESL champions Bowers & Pitsea’s ‘yardstick’ of a top-six finish last season as encouragement for them? Perhaps, though I suspect they’d be content with a mid-table finish in April.

Brentwood Town v Hertford Town       Venue: The Brentwood Arena

Brentwood welcome Bostik North newcomers Hertford Town to the Brentwood Arena. Craig Shipman starts his first full season in charge with a squad largely the same as last term, though forward Lamar Reynolds clinched a big move to EFL Two side Newport County during the summer. Hertford might be thankful for the temporary reduction in relegation this season, though it’ll be an adventure for Gavin Kelsey’s men this term.

Bury Town v Romford          Venue: Ram Meadow

Romford travel to Ram Meadow in their season’s opener. Both these sides achieved creditable mid-table finishes last term. Paul Martin’s side has stayed in the division for around a decade and will look to continue to progress this term.

Dereham Town v Cheshunt       Venue: Aldiss Park

Dereham welcome Cheshunt to Aldiss Park. The Magpies appointed Neal Simmons in the summer as their new manager, as they look to improve on their 18th place finish last term. Cheshunt, who for a while last season looked to be contenders for a play-off spot, eventually finished a very creditable 10th. Jonny Ashman is among their summer signings as they perhaps quietly seek another tilt at the play-offs this term under manager Paul Wickenden.

Heybridge Swifts v Mildenhall Town              Venue: Scraley Road

Jody Brown’s side have made a number of intriguing signings in the summer as they look to avert another scramble with the drop, after their final-day heroics last season. They welcome newcomers Mildenhall to Scraley Road. I saw Heybridge in pre-season at Southend Manor in which they played very well, they might fancy a tilt at a top ten-finish, under the radar.

Norwich Utd v Haringey Borough         Venue: Plantation Park

The Planters take on ‘Borough in their league opener. Both sides perhaps performed above expectations last term as they achieved top-ten finishes.

Tilbury  v  Grays Athletic                 Venue: Chadfields

Tilbury welcome Grays to Chadfields. Tilbury finished 12th last season, as Grays finished bottom of Isthmian Premier last term. Grays though have overseen somewhat of a squad re-construction which has seen old faces such as Lamar Johnson and Jamie Slabber return to the club. Under Jamie Stuart’s tenure, they will be going for an immediate return to Bostik Premier.

Ware  v   Maldon & Tiptree           Venue: Wodson Park

Ware, who were reprieved from the drop in the summer, welcome last season’s play-off finalists Maldon & Tiptree to Wodson Park. Maldon’s top-scorer last term Liam Nash grabbed a huge transfer to League One side Gillingham in the summer though Kevin Horlock’s Jammers will again look to be in the promotion reckoning this season.

Witham Town v Potters Bar Town      Venue: Spa Road

Finally, Witham welcome newcomers Potters Bar to Spa Road. Ex-Stansted forward Sam Ashford is among the additions to Adam Flint’s side this term. It could be an ‘open book’ as to how these two get on this season.

Check back at the weekend for the the first Bostik League Division North results round-up of the new season.

Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 3 Grays Athletic (PSF)

Pre-Season Friendly

Venue: Lower Road

2017/18 Season – Match 4

Date: Tuesday 18th July 2017 7.45pm KO

Hullbridge Sports : Yellow & Blue Striped Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks

Grays Athletic : Sky Blue Shirts, Sky Blue Shorts & White Socks

Scott W reporting (Follow me on Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

With a chill in the air on a summer’s evening at Lower Road, Rob Hodgson’s Hullbridge Sports took on Isthmian North side Grays Athletic in another pre-season encounter.

Grays started the match the brighter of the two sides, having multiple chances to go in-front with a mixture of slightly wayward finishing and stubborn Hullbridge defending contributing to that. The home goal did live a bit of a ‘charmed life’ in the first twenty minutes or so though after that the hosts did get back into the match and it was more ‘even Stevens’ though the visitors certainly did have enough opportunities to have the lead at the break. What’s heartening for Sports is that they dug in and made it difficult for Jamie Stuart’s side, who couldn’t quite find the final ball to convert the better of their attacking play.

Half-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 0 Grays Athletic

The second half began as both sides made multiple substitutions, including player-manager Jamie Stuart who came on for the visitors, playing in front of the back four. It took a little while for the second half to spring into life as Grays continued to be the better side on-the-ball at this point though creating clear-cut chances was stifling them a bit.

However, on the hour Grays broke the deadlock from the spot as Ade Cole converted the spot-kick after a team-mate was felled in the area, it was a bit of a soft penalty to concede. Hullbridge did not retreat though after the goal, to their credit. They pushed on and certainly tested the opposition’s backline for a period and had two penalty shouts turned down.

It wasn’t until the last ten minutes that the Blues made the match safe as new signing Kiernan Hughes-Mason grabbed a quick-fire double in six minutes, the first Hughes-Mason shimmied the defender before slotting past the ‘keeper. For the second, he found space and curled an effort into the top-left corner.

Grays will be happy with the win & the stout performance in their first pre-season match though Hullbridge can definitely take something from this encounter with a stronger performance, particularly in defence with the beginning of the ESL season around ten days away.

Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 3 Grays Athletic

Cole (pen) 60’

Hughes-Mason 82’, 88’

Check back later this week for more pre-season action before the ESL season officially kicks off on July 29th.

Ryman League Division North Round-up – Saturday April 1st 2017

Scott W reporting (Follow me on Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello & welcome to another round-up of action that took place in the Ryman League Division North today (Sat April 1st) & one result from Friday night. After the results, check out the latest table to see where your side is, going into the final weeks of the season.

Friday Night (31.3) Result

Aveley      2  –  2     VCD Athletic                                    Attendance: 123

Aveley’s fading play-off aspirations were halted by this draw in the final Friday night match at Mill Field. Hussein Jaffa put the home side ahead just before the break. Jaffa struck again eight minutes after the re-start to double the lead for Terry Spillane’s side. Though, Richard Butler pulled one back for VCD after 64 minutes from the spot, before denying Aveley the win with another penalty on 89 minutes. Aveley are now unbeaten in their last five league matches, although three of those are draws, they sit 10th after Saturday’s results. Whilst VCD have drawn four of their last six league matches and sit in 17th place.

Saturday’s Results

Bowers & Pitsea   4  –  0   Dereham Town                   Attendance: 96

Bowers powered to a comfortable win at the Len Salmon Stadium. After just five minutes, Lewis Manor gave the hosts the lead. Fifteen minutes later, fellow forward David Knight doubled the advantage. Second-half goals from Brad Warner on the hour and a late fourth from defender Martyn Stokes secured a vital win in Bowers’ play-off chase. Dereham are now winless in four league matches, and are in 15th place – needing two points to be mathematically safe from the drop.

 Brentwood Town   0   –   1     Soham Town Rangers            Attendance:  141               

Soham continued their recent revival with a narrow win against fellow strugglers Brentwood at the Brentwood Arena. Adrian Cambridge got the only goal for the visitors eight minutes before the break. Brentwood had to play 28 minutes with ten men after Nick Hilder was sent off for two bookable offences. This result leaves Brentwood hovering over the relegation line in 21st, just two points clear of the final relegation position, held by Ware. Soham’s third league win in-a-row helps them rise back above today’s opponents into 20th, three points clear of Ware.

 Brightlingsea Regent   2  – 1    AFC Hornchurch               Attendance: 330

Leaders Brightlingsea kept up the charge to the title with a good win at North Road. Billy Hunt put Regent ahead on the quarter-hour mark, before Phil Kelly doubled the lead on the hour. Hornchurch got a late consolation through Elliott Styles as the final whistle approached. Regent’s 4th league win on-the-trot maintains their 9-point lead over Maldon at the summit. Hornchurch remain in 3rd spot though will be looking for momentum ahead of a probable play-off berth.

Bury Town      2  –  0      Thamesmead Town              Attendance: 465

Bury Town completed a good win over fellow mid-table side Thamesmead in front of a bumper crowd at Ram Meadow. Leon Ottley-Gooch put the hosts’ ahead midway through the first half, before Ollie Hughes doubled the lead three minutes before the break. This win is Bury’s first win in four league matches and they remain 11th. Thamesmead inconsistent form continues, they remain 16th though are eight points clear of the bottom three.

Maldon & Tiptree    3  – 0      Wroxham                        Attendance: 121

Maldon secured a comfortable win against relegated Wroxham at Park Drive. Hot-shot Liam Nash put the home side ahead after 19 minutes, before Adam Mills struck two minutes from the break. A late goal from Sam Newson secured the points and Wroxham’s 30th defeat of a miserable season. Maldon stay 2nd, and look set for the play-offs. Wroxham remain bottom.

Norwich Utd     2  –  2       Cheshunt              Attendance: 112

Both these play-off chasing sides had to settle for a point each at Plantation Park. Hot-shot Jason Hallett gave Cheshunt the lead midway through the first half, though Lee Mason levelled for the home side eight minutes later. Five minutes after the re-start, Christy Finch put Norwich Utd ahead. Though Cheshunt would grab a point late-on through substitute Luke Marshall’s goal. Norwich Utd are now winless in three league matches and are in 9th spot, 8 points off the top five. Cheshunt sit 8th, five points off the top five.

Phoenix Sports     3  –  2       Great Wakering Rovers       Attendance: 76

Phoenix staved off a late comeback from Wakering to grab a important win at the Phoenix Sports Ground. Hot-shot Theo Fairweather-Johnson struck after just two minutes to give Steve O’Boyle’s side the lead. Three minutes after the break, Fairweather-Johnson struck again before completing his hat-trick just before the hour mark. Relegated Wakering showed their spirit once again though as substitute Billy Johnson grabbed a brace after 65 minutes and on the 90 mark respectively. Phoenix Sports’ 5th win in-a-row sees them remain 5th, three points clear of Haringey Borough. Wakering’s long winless run continues, they stay 23rd.

Thurrock    1  –  1    Haringey Borough            Attendance: 123

Thurrock battled back to grab a point at Ship Lane against fellow play-off chasing side Haringey. Haringey hot-shot Ralston Gabriel put the visitors ahead just shy of the half-hour mark. After the break, Mark Onyemah grabbed a point for Mark Stimson’s men. Thurrock remain 4th in the table, whilst Haringey stay 6th, three points off the final play-off spot.

Tilbury    2  –  1   Romford                            Attendance: 93

Tilbury snatched a late winner at Chadfields. Emiel Aiken gave the Dockers the lead just six minutes in, before Greg Akpele levelled for Paul Martin’s side. With only minutes left, Michael Salako’s goal grabbed Tilbury’s first win in four league matches.  Tilbury sit 13th in the table. Romford drop below today’s opponents to 14th after their 1st loss in 6 league matches.

Waltham Abbey  1   –  0    Heybridge Swifts            Attendance: 92

Waltham Abbey battled to a narrow win at Capershotts. A solitary goal from Darelle Russell enabled the hosts to take all three points. Waltham rise above today’s opponents to 18th, while Heybridge drop to 19th, five points clear of the drop zone.

Ware  2   –  1    Witham Town                   Attendance: 102

Ware fought hard to grab a first win in their last ten league matches at Wodson Park. Lee White gave the home side the lead six minutes after the break. Witham levelled through Ryan Charles’ goal only four minutes later. Ware were not to be denied though as substitute Evandro Delgado got the winner, 15 minutes from time. Ware, who had the returning Kem Kemal back in the dug-out for the first time after replacing Anwar Uddin, remain 22nd though are only two points adrift of safety. Witham remain in 12th place, after their first defeat in six league matches.

Here’s a look at the updated Ryman North table…

Position Team P W D L GD (+/-) Points
1 Brightlingsea Regent 42 29 6 7 +47 93
2 Maldon & Tiptree 42 27 3 12 +52 84
3 AFC Hornchurch 42 22 13 7 +36 79
4 Thurrock 42 23 8 11 +37 77
5 Phoenix Sports 42 22 9 11 +6 75
6 Haringey Borough 42 22 6 14 +32 72
7 Bowers & Pitsea 41 21 8 12 +32 71
8 Cheshunt 42 20 10 12 +18 70
9 Norwich Utd 42 22 4 16 +5 67
10 Aveley 42 18 12 12 +6 66
11 Bury Town 42 18 7 17 +4 61
12 Witham Town 42 15 11 16 +4 56
13 Tilbury 42 15 11 16 -10 56
14 Romford 42 15 10 17 -22 55
15 Dereham Town 42 15 8 19 -14 53
16 Thamesmead Town 42 15 5 22 -8 50
17 VCD Athletic 41 13 10 18 -20 49
18 Waltham Abbey 42 13 9 20 -13 48
19 Heybridge Swifts 42 12 11 19 -14 47
20 Soham Town Rangers 42 12 9 21 -18 45
21 Brentwood Town 42 13 5 24 -20 44
22 Ware 42 12 6 24 -21 42
R Great Wakering Rovers 42 6 7 29 -63 25
R Wroxham 42 6 6 30 -56 24