Bostik League Division North
Venue: Burroughs Park
2018-19 Season – Match 25
Saturday 20th October 2018 – 3pm KO
Great Wakering Rovers : Green & White Striped Shirts, White Shorts, Green Socks
Witham Town: Yellow Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
Wakering put in strong display to outmatch Witham
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On a sunny autumnal day at Burroughs Park, Great Wakering welcomed Essex rivals Witham in what was for me a rare Bostik League Division North match this season. I’d last seen Rovers in their Errington Challenge Cup Final win in May and since then they’ve had a bit of a squad turnover, as well as a new gaffer in Garry Kimble. Here, they went with the front three of Billy Johnson, Marcus Bowers and Stephen Butterworth with ex-Redbridge defender John Mbamarah skippering the side.
Witham are now managed by ex-Stansted boss Mark Ashford as they seek to avert flirting with danger at the bottom end of the division this season. They fielded Luca Collins in goal, with the physical L’heureux Menga and young forward Alfie Cerulli in attack, plus ex-ESL players Sam Ashford and Johnny Ashman on the flanks.
The match didn’t take long to settle as only four minutes in, a long-throw from home forward Marcus Bowers caused chaos in the Witham back-line and a inital fine strike cannoned off the underside of the bar, fellow forward Billy Johnson reacted quickest to nod his side ahead. The hosts had the better of the forward play and with it, the chances though winger Jake Gordon and captain John Mbamarah had efforts that went wide of the ‘onion bag’. Witham goalkeeper Luca Collins was in fine form throughout, denying Mbamarah’s fine header with an equally good save on 17 minutes.
Witham had few chances in the half though skipper Danny Norton nearly took advantage of a slip-up by home custodian Coey Turipa though the ‘keeper recovered by parrying Norton’s lob wide for a corner. Wakering did go into the break with a two-goal cushion as the impressive Bowers struck a low drive past Collins from a narrow angle seven minutes before half-time.
Half-Time: Great Wakering 2 – 0 Witham Town
In the second half, it was a fair bit more even-stevens though on 52 minutes, from Johnson’s corner, forward Stephen Butterworth’s fierce drive smashed off the crossbar. Town did look a threat on occasion with wingers Johnny Ashman and Sam Ashford arguably having the biggest influence with their pace, crossing and touch. Rovers spurned chances to wrap the match up though substitute Billy Harris shot wide with his first touch, while winger Jake Gordon also saw his strike on-the-volley sail over when one-on-one with Collins.
In the latter stages, the visitors did keep going and substitute Sam Owusu’s effort fizzed wide after good play by full-back Luke Mallett. Fellow substitute Elias Siligato’s shot also pinged off the woodwork though Sam Ashford’s late penalty did give them something to go away with though they will be cursing their inability to create chances in the first half here.
Wakering forwards Marcus Bowers and Billy Johnson and centre-back John Mbamarah stood out for me today while Witham defender Jack Kemsley along with Ashman and goalkeeper Collins did well for Mark Ashford’s side.
Full-Time: Great Wakering 2 – 1 Witham
Great Wakering Rovers | Manager: Garry Kimble
Coey Turipa (GK), Jason Ring, Tom Skelton, Simon Glover, John Mbamarah (Capt), Brandy Makhendi (Billy Harris 72′), Jake Gordon, George Cox (Aaron Russell 84′), Marcus Bowers, Stephen Butterworth (Adam Vyse 81′), Billy Johnson
Goal-scorers: Billy Johnson [4′], Marcus Bowers [38′]
Booked: Cox | Subs Not Used: Folkes
Witham Town | Manager: Mark Ashford
Luca Collins (GK), Luke Mallett, Liam Whipps, Danny Norton (Capt), Patrick Ahern, Jack Kemsley, Johnny Ashman (Sam Owusu 65′), Michael Osei-Saahene (Elias Siligato 65′), L’heureux Menga, Alfie Cerulli (Antoni Paredes-Garcia 79′), Sam Ashford
Goal-scorers: Sam Ashford [pen 90’+4]
Booked: Menga | Subs Not Used: Isherwood, Fisher