S22-23 Round-ups: Essex Senior Lge (Sat 12 Nov) [ESL 13.11.22]

ESL crest

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

Hello & welcome to the latest of my occasional series, looking at the three Essex Senior League matches that took place on the weekend of Saturday 12 November. We saw nine goals in the top-tier, while we also have sections on the FA Vase Round Two, the one Reserve D2 match & the Len Cordell Trophy action, with the latter featuring the Reserve sides.

Essex Senior Lge –  Saturday 12 November

The weekend’s action behigs with Ilford returning to winning ways with a 4 – 2 victory at White Ensign. Ilford were indebted to Joshua Boxall who grabbed a fine treble to give the Foxes a big advantage. Joe Lilly got the other goal for Richard Ponsford’s team. Ensign replied through goals from skipper Mitchell Stuart-Evans and new recruit Kian Bradshaw. The win takes Ilford above their opppnents here & into 13th spot. West Essex had to battle for a 1 – 0 success over Clapton at Wadham Lodge. Oliseh Okuguni was again the hero for Kwame Kwateng’s side with the winning goal midway through the second half, after good initial work by substitute David Bell. The Stags have gone four points clear in fifth.

Lastly, Halstead Town got a hugely important triumph as they won 2 – 0 at Southchurch Park. Tom White and Joel Older got the goals for Mark McLean’s side. This win takes them above Sawbridgeworth into fourth-bottom on goal difference. The majority of sides didn’t play this weekend because of the FA Vase action this weekend, but at present Enfield sit top, two points clear of FC Clacton in second, with Redbridge in third and Little Oakley in fourth spot.


Meanwhile, in the FA Vase Round Two, Athletic Newham booked their spot in Round Three with a 4 – 0 success at home to Kennington. Daniel Izekor added to his growing reputation with a fine treble here for Chris Davis’ team. Richard Kone added the other goal early in the second half as Newham took their place in the Last 64. Romford put a difficult week behind them and also progressed with a 2 – 0 triumph over divisional rivals Little Oakley, with Camilo Restrepo scoring a brace for Steve Butterworth’s side. In other results, Dunstable Town edged Enfield 1 – 0 at Creasey Park on Friday night. Lakenheath responded superbly after an early setback to defeat Buckhurst Hilll 3 – 2. Sam Hawley, a penalty from Luke Young and Thomas Thulborn’s late goal sealed te Eastern Counties Premier side’s progression. Suleyman Zuhdu had given Buckhurst the lead after 13 minutes and Nathan Sollosi added a late consolation.

Elsewhere, Norwich Utd scored two late goals to defeat Stansted 2 – 0 at Plantation Park. Haydn Davis & Thomas Hunter got those goals to break the Airportmen’s hearts. Leighton Town won 2 – 0 at Saffron Walden Town as the Bloods played their first match after the departure of long-serving boss Jason Maher this week. Finally in the Vase, Woodford Town exited on the lottery of penalties after a 2 – 2 draw with Fakenham Town at Ashton’s. Alejandro Machado got both goals for Shane Baptiste’s team but a double from Jack Robinson for the Ghosts forced a shoot-out, with Fakenham won 4 – 3.


In the the Len Cordell Trophy, Barking U23 grabbed a fine 4 – 0 triumph at Frenford Res, with Argest Nela scoring twice, with Abdul Charfi & George Fairhead also scoring. Billericay Town Ressies also won away from home, coming away with a 4 – 2 win at May & Baker Res. Joshua Brown led the way with a double, added to by strikes from Rhian Fowler and substitute Jes Oshitola. Other results in the Cordell Cup were Barkingside Res’ 2 – 2 draw with Grays Athletic Res on Friday night and Romford’s second side drawing 3 – 3 with Redridge Res at Westlands on Saturday.

We close this article with the one Reserve Division Two match that took place on Friday night, which saw Takeley Res win 2 – 1 at Southend Manor U23. Bryn Thorpe notching both goals there for Takeley’s second side, which took them level on points with leaders Barking U23.

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S22-23 Match Report: Halstead Town 1 – 2 FC Clacton (Sat 8 Oct) [ESL 22-23 9.10.22]

ESL crest

Essex Senior League – Premier Division

Venue: Rosemary Lane

Attendance: 243

2022-23 Season: Match 21

Saturday 8 October 2022 – 3pm KO

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

Clacton: Yellow Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks


FC Clacton edge their way to good win at Halstead

Halstead Town 1 – 2  FC Clacton

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

The match this weekend was a welcome first visit to Rosemary Lane for the Essex Senior League match featuring Halstead Town and visitors FC Clacton. The reverse fixture only took place only seven days previously, and Clacton were looking for their second win in as many weeks here. Halstead named stalwart Jack Cherry as skipper & goalkeeper, with a defence of Joe Vogler, Matt Travell, Jack Schelvis and Matt Coppen. The midfield included Louis O’Sullivan, Ben Morris and Jordan Palmer with a forward line comprised of Adam Hampson, Jordan Pavett and Ryan Carter. Calvin Poku & Nick Miller were among the options from the bench. Clacton had Luke Avenell in goal, with a defensive four made up of centre-backs Chris Ribchester & Michael Okafor and full-backs Jenson Mulqueen and Jake Gould. Their attack-minded midfield included Jack Marshall, Charlie Thompson and Jake Clowsley. Their attack was led by Mekhi McKenzie, skipper Billy Wales and Rueben Cowler. Teddy Collis, Jordan Lartey & Jettluke Hogan were all on the bench for Tommy Austin’s team.

Both teams were getting themselves into gear in the early stages, whilst trying to get some early momentum. Ryan Carter’s header was the only chance of note for the hosts early on, as an organised visiting defence made it tough for the Halstead midfield to get the ball in behind them to the forwards. At the other end, forward Mekhi McKenzie was getting in good positions, making good runs down the flanks to isolate the two home central defenders, and was supported by Rueben Cowler and Jake Clowsley down the flanks well.

As the half went on, Clacton were starting to retain possession more & having more glimpses at goal. A crisp strike from central midfielder Jack Marshall was gathered by commanding stopper Jack Cherry, while Clowsley’s well-struck effort sailed wide of Cherry’s goal, which was a marker for how much Mark McLean’s side needed to keep the ball and make the Seasiders work for it.

Clacton’s Jake Gould [#3] looking to push on [Image by Scott W]

As we passed the half-hour mark though, Halstead did start to have more forays forward, enterprising full-back Joe Vogler had been pushed further forward and his good ball in was agonizingly close for the home fans to seeing a close range tap-in. However, from a fast counter-attack, Halstead did take the lead on 36 minutes. Adam Hampson’s searing run had got down the left channel, getting past his marker before unselfishly playing in midfielder Ben Morris who calmly slotted home past Clacton stopper Luke Avenell.

That narrow lead for Halstead persisted at the break, though Clacton will have felt hard done by to be behind as they were carrying that bit of extra zip going forward.


Half-Time:  Halstead  1 – 0  Clacton

Into the second half now, and Halstead were finding it harder to clear their defensive line after centre-back Matt Coppen had to be replaced due to shoulder injury and had a let-off six minutes after the resumption. Clacton skipper Billy Wales had earlier had a couple of strikes off-target but his low strike this time with only Cherry to bypass, saw the Humbugs custodian make a fine save low down on the ground to deny him. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was a sign of things to follow as two minutes later, Charlie Thompson’s good curling strike found the top left corner and levelled things up for Clacton.

That goal did give Clacton more added impetus and with their full-backs Jake Gould & Jenson Mulqueen also venturing forward on the over-load – it was a stiff test for Town to not concede again.

Clacton winger Rueben Cowler [#11] looking to break down the left channel

They held their line fairly well, until the 68th minute where they conceded a spot-kick. Referee Jide Ogunba pointed to the spot after some consideration after Clowsley’s shot had struck a Halstead defender on the hand. Clowsley himself stepped up and powered the ball high into the corner, giving Cherry little chance.

Substitutions did come in as ever for the last 20 minutes but Halstead had to do a fair bit more defending in those latter stages. Full-back Mulqueen’s effort was also well denied by home stopper Cherry, and replacement Teddy Collis did get into some good positions to send in dangerous crosses too. Halstead’s best chance late on came from substitute Harry Pinkney, whose effort did force a good save from Clacton stopper Luke Avenell, who for the most part had been protected well by a resolute Clacton backline.


Full-Time: Halstead Town 1 – 2   FC Clacton

In summary, Halstead showed good energy levels & application but were lacking that cutting edge to test a resolute Clacton side, who showed why they have been winning more than they have lost so far this term under Tommy Austin’s tutelage. The Seasiders also had a forward line which put in a fine display, which stretched the Halstead backline and kept the ball quite well.

There were a number of great performances in this match. For winners Clacton, although he didn’t have a lot of fortune, credit has to go to centre forward Mekhi McKenzie who kept running all game and stretched the Halstead defence well with his pace & strength. Winger Rueben Cowler also had a fine match, getting down the left channel often and putting in teasing crosses too. Attacking midfielder Jake Clowsley took his goal well and also added to the headache that the home backline faced, with his dribbling and good running. Finally, defender Chris Ribchester typified his side’s defensive efforts but making a number of important clearances.

For Halstead, goalkeeper Jack Cherry made several good saves to keep his side in it & was his usual commanding presence. Forward Adam Hampson was the chief threat to the visiting backline and put in a high-energy display, while right-sided Joe Vogler did well with his pace & defensive awareness on his first league start of the season. Midfielder Louis O’Sullivan also put in a good shift to ward off the enterprising Clacton forwards.

Finally, it has to be noted that Halstead really do have a good set-up, a lovely ground to visit and were welcoming to ESL President Rob Errington & myself. Thanks to all at the Humbugs for that. I’d like to wish both teams a good remainder of the season.


Teams:

Halstead Town   |  Manager: Mark McLean   | Assistant: Adam Munn

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Joe Vogler, 3 Matt Travell, 4 Jack Schelvis, 5 Matt Coppen (12 Calvin Poku 47′), 18 Louis O’Sullivan (15 Tom White 69′), 8 Ben Morris, 9 Adam Hampson (14 Nick Miller 69′), 10 Jordan Palmer (17 Joe Jones 85′), 11 Jordan Pavett (16 Harry Pinkney 78′)

Goal-scorers: Ben Morris [36′]

 | Subs Not Used: None


FC Clacton  | Manager: Tommy Austin   | Assistant: Ryan Salter

Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luke Avenell (GK), 2 Jenson Mulqueen, 3 Jake Gould, 5 Chris Ribchester, 6 Michael Okafor, 4 Jack Marshall, 7 Charlie Thompson (12 Jack Johnson 66′), 8 Jake Clowsley (14 Jordan Lartey 87′), 10 Billy Wales (Capt) (16 Jettluke Hogan 71′), 9 Mekhi McKenzie, 11 Rueben Cowler (13 Teddy Collis 69′)

Goal-scorers: Charlie Thompson [53′], Jake Clowsley [pen 68′]

 | Sub Not Used: K Wales


Referee: Jide Ogunba
Assistants: Liam Dawson & Craig Wood

S22-23 Round-ups: Essex Senior Lge (Fri 2/Sat 3 Sept) [ESL 22/23 4.9.22]

Archive image – FA Vase tie: West Essex v Harwich & P

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

Hello & welcome to the latest of an occasional blog series this term looking at the action in the Essex Senior League this weekend, with results from the FA Cup First Qualifying Round. This weekend saw six League matches take place.

Essex Senior –  Friday 2 & Saturday 3 September

We begin with Friday night’s game, which saw Takeley grab a 2 – 1 victory at Woodford Town. Goals from George Powell [68′] and a late second by substitute Alekos Lambrou saw Marc Das’ team to the win. Andre Anderson had given Town the lead just shy of half-time, to give the 200 or so spectators something to shout about at Ashton’s.

On Saturday, Halstead Town got arguably the result of their season thus far with a 4 – 0 win over Ilford at Rosemary Lane. Ben Heath opened the scoring on 21 minutes for Mark McLean’s side, with Alfie Cleal making it two five minutes later. Heath notched his second a minute before half-time, and before Ilford could respond after the resumption, Cleal struck his second goal five minutes into the second half to complete the win. After traffic problems had affected the visitors journey, Little Oakley were made to wait before completing a 2 – 0 success over Stansted at the Memorial Stadium. The reliable goal-scoring duo of Danny Garrad and Harry Mann netted again for Matt Carmichael’s team there.

Sawbridgeworth Town continued their fine start to the season as they defeated Clapton 2 – 1 at Crofters. Khyreece Smith-Reid had given the Tons an early lead on five minutes but very late goals by Zachary Davidson and Wale Adedeji gave Kieran Amos & Ben Taylor’s side the points. Athletic Newham were held 2 – 2 by a determined Stanway Rovers team at the Terry Mac. Richard Kone had given Chris Davis’ team a 20th minute lead, only for Sean Bartlett to level with ten minutes remaining. Kone notched again on 85 minutes but Rovers were not to be denied a point as Ernest Okoh’s 90th minute equaliser ensured they got a creditable draw.

Finally, West Essex had to weather a first-half storm to get a 3 – 2 victory at Saffron Walden Town, watched by about 280 fans at Catons Lane. Walden grabbed a two-goal lead thanks to Joe Pullen’s opener on 16 minutes and an unfortunate McNally OG on 29 minutes. The Stags did get a crucial goal back before the break thanks to Callum Bloss [33′]. Two late goals from Mo Kaudeer and David Bell meant West went up to fourth spot after their third win from three league games. Walden are in eighth.


Emirates FA Cup – First Qualifying Round (Sat)

Romford 3 – 2 Hashtag Utd

St Ives Town 4 – 0 Barking

Waltham Abbey 7 – 2 Buckhurst Hill

And on Sunday: Enfield 2 – 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

S22-23 Round-ups: Essex Senior League (Sat 13 Aug) [ESL 22/23 14.8.22]

Archive Image from Ensign v Little Oakley on 30 July [Image by Scott W]

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

Hello & welcome to the first of an occasional blog series this term looking at the action in the Essex Senior League this season. This weekend was the second round of matches for all clubs , with some important victories for clubs at either end of the very early standings.

Essex Senior League –  Saturday 13 August

We begin this week with a superb result for West Essex as they impressively defeated Buckhurst Hill 6 – 1 at Wadham Lodge. A crowd of nearly 100 saw braces for Cameron Gray and Callum Bloss for the Stags, with David Bell and replacement Marlon Ortiz also adding to Buckhurst’s pain here. Max Nicholson got their only goal here but it perhaps is a reminder that Buckhurst are going to have ‘bad days’ this term. Enfield maintained their new season form, scoring another three goals in a 3 – 1 triumph at Clapton. Louie Johnson’s treble took his League goal tally to five already this term, while Kyreece Smith-Reid got a consolation for Ross Weare’s side.

Meanwhile, White Ensign got their first League win in some style with a nerve-jangling 5 – 4 victory at Ilford. Charlie Portway’s double plus strikes by Billy Bonham-Dare, Ethan Evison and Callum Morris’ late, late winner secured a precious three points for Aaron Bloxham’s side. Joe Lilly’s early penalty put the Foxes back into the game but even goals from Mitchell Mccabe, Harry Rawlins and Caleb Adomoko-Mensah could got give Richard Ponsford’s side a point. Stanway Rovers also got a good 2 – 0 win over Saffron Walden Town at the Hawthorns. Jordan Barnett and Ashley Colcough got the goals for Danny Slatter’s team, in front of eighty-five spectators.

Also on the winning trail this weekend was Redbridge as they edged to a 3 – 2 success at Romford. Tayo Olukolu and Solomon Ogunwomoju got the first goals for George Christou’s team, with George Cox and OG levelling things up. Miles Peterkin’s late goal sealed the points to make it two wins from two in the League. Woodford Town got a good 2 – 1 win at Takeley, with Ridwan Hussein and Georges Kebi both netting for Shane Baptiste’s side. George Wappett had levelled for Marc Das’ team prior to Kebi’s winner.

There were a few narrow wins also, as FC Clacton edged to a 1 – 0 win over visitors Stansted, with Mekhi McKenzie grabbing the decisive goal there. Also, Halstead Town had a spot-kick to thank for a 1 – 0 victory over Athletic Newham and mark their first win back at Step 5. Sawbridgeworth Town got a important 1 – 0 win at Southend Manor, while Little Oakley held Barking to a goal-less draw at the Memorial Stadium.

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

Eastern Senior League – Division South Play-Off Final

Venue: Roding Lane

Attendance: TBC

2021-22 Season: Match 78

Saturday 30th April 2022 – 3pm KO

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

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


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

Buckhurst Hill 1 – 2 Halstead Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Half-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2  Halstead Town


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

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


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

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

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

Full-Time: Buckhurst Hill  1 – 2   Halstead Town

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

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

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

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


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

Teams

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

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

Goal-scorer: Suleyman Zuhdu [22’]

Booked: Griggs  | Subs Not Used: Nicholson


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

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

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

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


Referee: Dario Matthewson

Assistants: Michael Jarvis & Daren Bigg

Fourth Official: Ashley Tyne

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

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

Venue: Park Lane

Attendance: 162

2021-22 Season: Match 75

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – 3pm KO

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

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

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

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

Benfleet  1 – 2 Halstead Town (AET)

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

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

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

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

Benfleet looking to get test Halstead keeper Jack Cherry

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

HT: Benfleet 0 – 1 Halstead

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

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

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

Jordan Blackwell (right) launches a forward move for Halstead

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


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

FT (90 mins): Benfleet 1 – 1 Halstead 

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

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


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

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

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

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

Victors Halstead applaud their travelling supporters post-match

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


Teams

Benfleet    |  Manager: Robert Polkinghorn  | Assistant: Robert Rook

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

Goal-scorer: Cameron Harris [90’+2]

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


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

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

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

Booked: Miller | Subs Not Used: None


Referee: Chris Darling
Assistants: Sam Jones & Iain George

Fourth Official: Ian Pascu

Match Report: White Ensign 1 – 0 Halstead Town (Sat 22 Feb) [EaSL Sth 19/20 23.2.20]

Eastern Senior League South

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: TBC

2019 – 20 Season: Match 59

Saturday 22nd February 2020 – 3pm KO

W Ensign: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

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

 

 

Ensign narrowly overcome spirited Halstead to reach 11 straight League wins

White Ensign  1 – 0 Halstead Town

Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

The weekend’s Non-League match saw me return to Burroughs Park to see the Eastern Senior League South encounter between leaders White Ensign and promotion rivals Halstead Town. Although I’d seen the Navy Boys at home in the FA Vase this term, this was the first League match I’ve attended this season, as well as the first time seeing Halstead, who I’d heard good things about. Ensign looked to extend their ten-match league winning run whilst Town looked to gain ground on their opponents. The hosts were depleted, without the suspended Connor Barnby and influential forward Luke Skinner. They did name former Woodford Town & Holland stopper Nick Wilson in goal, with Dave Limber and skipper Jake McWee at the centre of the backline, with front two Jason Reynolds-Blanche and Brett Munyard supported by Dominic Locke and John Hilliard. Recent signing Rhys Fatt and defender Jack Maleary were among the options from the bench. Halstead fielded Jack Cherry between the posts with centre-backs Garry Burdett, Matt Caley and Jack Schelvis in front of him, and a attack of top scorer Chris Harris and Ricky Gardner. Hassan Ayten, Conor Scurlock and Nick Miller were all on the bench.

This highly-anticipated match started in a tense way, as both sides looked to get a minor advantage. The first chance of note came after just two minutes for the hosts as from a John Hilliard corner, centre-back Dave Limber powerfully headed wide of the far post. Town were looking good going forward though as moments later a neat through ball by Kane Munday found the run of forward Ricky Gardner though the home defence retreated to clear their lines. I feel it would be fair to say Ensign started the match in a nervy way, particularly in defence, much to the ire of vastly experienced custodian Nick Wilson. As the increasing breeze made conditions tough, Ensign winger Dominic Locke was once again a big outlet on the right flank with his surging runs and passing. It was Locke himself who played in forward Jason Reynolds-Blanche though the ball’s path decreased his angle on goal as he fired wide of the opposite post past the committed Humbugs ‘keeper Jack Cherry.

In truth, Halstead were growing in stature as their neat build-up play tested the hard-working Ensign midfield. Moments after Town midfielder Charlie Pleace had fired wide, a searching cross by Munday from the left got caught up in the wind, and Wilson did well to prevent it landing in the far corner by clawing it away with an outstretched hand, though Jamie Baker’s follow-up shot was comfortably gathered by the well-positioned Wilson. Ensign needed a telling blow at this point of the match and they duly found it on 33 minutes. A fine ball in from the left by Hilliard was flicked on by Reynolds-Blanche to the onrushing Locke who bypassed the visiting defence to power home from about five yards out as Brett Munyard & Mark Healy’s side took the lead.

Halstead did well to keep their focus as eight minutes before half-time, as Ensign forward Reynolds-Blanche did well to get past the defence though his well-hit drive was tipped over by Cherry. From the ensuing corner, Hilliard found Locke at the near post but Cherry again foiled him, getting down low to claw it away. The pace was building in this dramatic match as Halstead responded at the other end as an errant clearance by the hosts found Gardner just outside the 18-yard box though he couldn;t find the target. Baker also fired wide before Halstead had a penalty appeal turned down as Ensign were getting ‘hot under the collar’ in clearing their lines.

 

Half-Time: White Ensign 1 – 0 Halstead Town

After the break, Ensign forced a number of set-pieces and had a penalty shout of their own as Reynolds-Blanche went down in the area. Referee Fabio Roque refused to budge, just as with the earlier appeal at the other end before the interval. Early in the half, Ensign were having more joy in attack, as Hilliard’s clever passing and the pace of Locke overloaded the visitors’ backline. On the hour, a fine centre by Locke found Reynolds-Blanche though his header lacked the power to trouble Cherry. Meanwhile, Humbugs full-back Munday was engaged in a entertaining duel with home full-back Charlie Buffin down the Halstead left flank, in what was a battle of wills.

The match got more fraught in the latter stages, as the tension rose. Town full-back Liam Whitehead did well to deny player-boss & top scorer Brett Munyard a one-on-one chance with Cherry though the final ball wasn’t quite there for the hosts. With 13 minutes to play, a neat ball by Hilliard found Reynolds-Blanche whose attempted pass was just gathered by Cherry ahead of substitute Rhys Fatt. Locke had another decent chance after another searing run moments later, though his drive cannoned back off the post.

At the other end, Halstead substitute Hassan Ayten and Harris  were giving the home defence a problem or two trying to get in behind though full-back Thando Moyo stuck to his task well. On the cusp of the ninety, Fatt’s header was gathered by the impressive Cherry though Ensign had to endure a nervous added few moments before the final whistle blew.

20200222_165603
Teams shake-hands at Final Whistle

Full-Time : White Ensign  1 – 0 Halstead Town

The score-line doesn’t really tell the story of a tense, gripping encounter which both sides could have won and on another day the Humbugs could well have grabbed a point. Ensign will take some stopping at present though as they made it eleven straight league wins and remain seven points clear at the summit, with Little Oakley remaining their closest rivals after they smashed Benfleet 9 – 1 this weekend. Halstead certainly showed why they are a strong side in a division that some in Non-League arguably still underestimate. Mark McLean’s side are strong going forward and have a committed defence as well, you wouldn’t be surprised if they finish in the top four this season.

In terms of stand-out performances, Ensign winger Dominic Locke had another strong match, aided by the technical ability of John Hilliard sizing up incisive passes while centre-back Dave Limber was a strong presence in the air, assisted by skipper Jake McWee who also shut out the enterprising play of the Halstead forward line well. For Town, centre-back Matt Caley was superb, making quality interceptions all game and showing great awareness to boot. Centre forward Chris Harris was a threat all match too, supported by strike partner Ricky Gardner and energetic full-back Kane Munday who sent in good crosses for most of the match. Goalkeeper Jack Cherry also had a certain presence about him as the last line of the defence.

Finally, I’d like to wish both teams the best for the rest of the campaign. It’s good to see Ensign on such a strong run on-the-pitch and if Halstead do join them in getting promoted this term, they will both strengthen whichever Step 5 division they get placed in.

 

Teams

White Ensign    | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Assistant: Mark Healy

1 Nick Wilson (GK), 12 Charlie Buffin, 3 Thando Moyo, 13 Dave Limber, 8 Jake McWee (Capt), 6 Bradley Gates, 16 Ben Austin, 15 John Hilliard (2 Jack Maleary 85’), 9 Jason Reynolds-Blanche, 20 Brett Munyard (14 Rhys Fatt 72’), 11 Dominic Locke

Goal-scorers: Dominic Locke [33’]

Booked: Reynolds-Blanche, Locke, Hilliard | Subs Not Used: Martin (GK), George

 

Halstead Town |  Manager: Mark McLean

1 Jack Cherry (GK), 2 Liam Whitehead, 3 Matt Caley, 4 Garry Burdett, 5 Jack Schelvis, 6 Jake Brown (Capt) (15 Conor Scurlock 76’), 7 Jamie Baker, 8 Charlie Pleace (12 Hassan Ayten 59’), 9 Chris Harris, 10 Ricky Gardner, 11 Kane Munday

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Dunlop, Miller

Referee: Fabio Roque

Assistant Referees: Nicholas Hodges & Daniel Keeble

Results Round-up: Eastern Senior League South (Sat 27 Oct) [EaSL 27.10.18]

Written by Scott W

Here is my results round-up from the action in the Eastern Senior League South this weekend, reduced due to Cup action.

Eastern Senior League South 

Brightlingsea Rgent Res  1 – 3  White Ensign

Ensign made it six wins on-the-trot as a brace from Luke Skinner and one from Gates saw them to victory

 

Burnham Ramblers 3 – 2 Holland

Ramblers produced a fine comeback to defeat Holland at Leslie Field. Goals from Grant Webb, Karl Swanborough and Sam Whinney saw them to a much-needed victory.

 

Frenford  7 – 0  Little Oakley

Frenford piled on the misery for Oakley as four goals from Julian Edwards plus strikes by Charlie Fairhead, Luke Woodward and skipper Lewis Bartrip helped Dave Forbes’ side to a big win.

 

Halstead Town  4 – 1  Braintree Town Res

Newbury Forest 2 – 3  Wivenhoe Town

 

Wormley Rovers  0 – 3  May & Baker E.C

Micky Wetherall’s side got the points thanks to goals by Dean Hall, Dan Gilchrist and Hoxhaj. Certainly is good impetus going into next weekend’s FA Vase Round Two tie.

R’s Round-up: Eastern Snr Lge Sth & Thurlow Nunn Premier (Sat 13.10.18) [EaSL & TNP 13.10.18]

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to another round-up of the results in the Eastern Senior League Sth & Thurlow Nunn Premier Division this weekend (13th Oct – Non-League Day), how did your side do?

 

Eastern Senior League South 

Braintree Town Res  1 – 3   Coggeshall Utd

Fire Utd  2 – 3   Holland

Frenford  2 – 1  Burnham Ramblers

Harwich & Parkeston  2 – 3  Halstead Town

Hashtag Utd  3 – 1   Benfleet

Wivenhoe Town  0 – 1  Hackney Wick

Wormley Rovers  2 – 3  White Ensign

 

Thurlow Nunn Premier 

 

Framlingham Town 2 – 3  Long Melford

Gorleston 2 – 0 Haverhill Rovers

Hadleigh Utd  2 – 0   Ely City

Walsham-le-Willows  3 – 0  Brantham Athletic

Whitton Utd  3 – 2  Norwich Utd

Results Round-up: Eastern Senior Lge Sth & Thurlow Nunn Premier (Fri 21st/Sat 22d Sept) [EaSL & TNP 22.9.18]

Written by Scott W  (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello again and welcome to my results round-up of the action in the Eastern Senior League South and the Thurlow Nunn Premier division. Thanks for reading.

Eastern Senior League South (EaSL)

Saturday 22nd September

Brightlingsea Regent Res  1 – 3  May & Baker

Burnham Ramblers  1 – 5  Halstead Town

Frenford  0 – 3  Hashtag Utd

Hackney Wick  3 – 0  Holland

Lopes Tavares  1 – 2  Benfleet

Newbury Forest  2 – 2  Fire Utd

White Ensign  2 – 4  Coggeshall Utd

Wivenhoe Town  3 – 3  Little Oakley

Wormley Rovers  1 – 2  Braintree Town Res

 

 

Thurlow Nunn Premier

Friday 21st September

Ely City 1 – 2  Thetford Town

Kirkley & Pakefield  1 – 2  Great Yarmouth Town

Saturday 22nd September

Framlingham Town  2 – 2  Gorleston

Hadleigh Utd  2 – 4  Godmanchester Rovers

Histon  2 – 0  Whitton Utd

Newmarket Town  4 – 3  FC Clacton

Stowmarket Town  5 – 0  Long Melford

Walsham-le-Willows  1 – 1  Norwich Utd

Wroxham  0 – 1  Woodbridge Town

 

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.