Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Burroughs Park
2022-23 Season: Match 39
Saturday 4th February 2023 – 2pm KO
Ensign: Red & Blue Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
Halstead: Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
Ensign held to hard-fought draw by Halstead
White Ensign 1 – 1 Halstead Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The main match this weekend saw a return trip to Burroughs Park as White Ensign welcomed Halstead Town, with both sides looking to steer further clear of the bottom three. Ensign were looking to get back on track following a loss at Stanway Rovers in midweek. Luis Shamshoum continued in goal, with a threeman central defence of Montel Shonubi, skipper Mitchell Stuart-Evans & Callum Ferris, with Daniel Monk & Ben Sargent pushing forward from full-back. Ethan Evison & Kyle McAlindon were in central midfield, with central forward Jack Mead supported by Billy Bonham-Dare & Harry Kateley. Halstead are looking to mathematically secure their Essex Senior place for next term & fielded stalwart Jack Cherry as their goalkeeper & captain. Ryan Carter & Matt Travell were their full-backs, with Robbie Bennett and Edwin Plackett in the centre of defence. Jack Schelvis & Jake Brown were the central midfield pair, with Joel Older & Jordan Blackwell the wingers. Centre forward Jordan Palmer was further supported by Alfie Cleal.
The early stages of this match were undeniably cagey, as both sides looked to wrestle the impetus. Forward Jack Mead was keen to turn his marker and was well found by skipper Mitchell Stuart-Evans after a decent advancing run towards the 18-yard box, but Mead’s drive was comfortably gathered by Humbugs’ stopper Jack Cherry. The visitors responded strongly, as moments after having an initial chance snuffed out by Ensign goalie Luis Shamshoum, Halstead winger Joel Older made a fine run down the left flank, came inside and showed good link-up play with forward Jordan Palmer before Older lofted the ball over the woodwork. Ensign were also having their moments going forward as they got first to the second ball in midfield. Harry Kateley’s effort drifted wide of Cherry’s near post.
The match was ever more tense as we drifted towards the interval, as both sides were feeling a little frustrated. Halstead should really have taken the lead two minutes before the break as fter a decent ball in by Older, an errant backpass allowed winger Jordan Blackwell to have a strike at goal with only Shamshoum to beat, but his effort was skewed wide of the right-side post.
HT: Ensign 0 – 0 Halstead
This game did need a goal, and the restart certainly provided that. Barely a minute after coming off the bench, forward Mechack-Kisoka Asuka made the most of a little space just inside the 18-yard box and curled in a fine lob, right into the right corner of the net, beyond the despairing drive from Cherry. It was certainly a moment of quality this match required, and it also served to motivate the Humbugs to respond.
As it turned out, the match swung only five minutes later as Halstead levelled from Blackwell’s set-piece, which bobbled around in a congested penalty area, but full-back Matt Travell did well to lob in a fine finish into the top right corner. Ensign’s afternoon got ever harder as hard-working midfielder Kyle McAlindon was dismissed for a second booking, with 35 minutes still to play.
Ensign were rather up against it with their numerical disadvantage, but were still going forward on the counter, with the influential Ethan Evison twice habvng shots that were not far off-target. The Humbugs were stoic in defence, particularly centre-back Edwin Plackett & full-back Matt Travell. At the other end, Halstead were gradually getting forward on a more recurring basis, with Alfie Cleal’s decent effort well denied. Substitute Mechack-Kisoka Asuka’s pace was continuing to pose problems and he was well denied by a good challenge by Plackett in the latter stages.
In the end though, Halstead were not able to make the most of their chances and had to settle for a point. Ensign can be relatively pleased with the result, and showed again how much of a hard-working side they continue to be under Aaron Bloxham.
Full-Time: White Ensign 1 – 1 Halstead Town
This match was a cagey, scrappy game in the main, but both teams had their moments to score a few more goals, but credit has to be given for their endeavour & willingness to keep the match tight.
Ensign had some good performances here, led by skipper Mitchell Stuart-Evans who continued to show his importance in aerial battles for his team, making several good clearances and helped organise his defence. Full-back Daniel Monk had another good match as well, breaking forward well as well as making good tackles in defence. Forward Jack Mead had a good game, posing problems with his pace & movement, as well as bringing others into play well. Lastly, substitute Mechack-Kisoka Asuka made an immediate impact with his pace & took his goal with aplomb, and also tested the visiting backline to good effect after the break.
For Halstead, the stand-out performers were led by the enterprising Joel Older who made a few really good breaks down the left flank, utilising his pace and passing to good effect. He was unfortunate not to score in this game, and that feeling could be shared by winger Jordan Blackwell who also had a good game overall. Blackwell made several pacy right-wing runs, got past defenders well and his set-pieces forced the home defence into action. Centre-back Edwin Plackett led the defensive line and made a few crucial interceptions to keep his team in the game, while finally a word for full-back Matt Travell who also scored a good goal & overall played his part in assisting his team’s defending as Ensign’s forwards were looking to get down the channels, particularly in the first half.
I’d like to thank Ensign for their welcome & also wish both teams a good remainder of the season.
White Ensign | Manager: Aaron Bloxham | Assistant: Nick Wilbrow
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Luis Shamshoum (GK), 2 Ben Sargent, 3 Daniel Monk, 5 Montel Shonubi, 4 Mitchell Stuart-Evans (Capt), 14 Callum Ferris (15 Mechack-Kisoka Asuka 46′), 8 Ethan Evison, 12 Kyle McAlindon, 9 Billy Bonham-Dare (6 Charlie Sullivan 57′), 19 Jack Mead (7 Emmanuel Abudiore 82′), 11 Harry Kateley (33 Max Drury 57′)
Goal-scorer: Mechack-Kisoka Asuka [46′]
Booked: Bonham-Dare | Sent Off: McAlindon [two bookings] | Subs Not Used: Bradshaw
Halstead Town | Manager: Mark McLean | Stand-in Assistant: Carl Pearse
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Jack Cherry (GK & Capt), 2 Ryan Carter (16 Josh Demetriou 60′), 3 Matt Travell, 4 Robbie Bennett, 5 Edwin Plackett, 6 Jack Schelvis (17 Ben Morris 78′), 8 Jake Brown (15 Joe Vogler 80′), 7 Jordan Blackwell (14 Oliver Lonton 84′), 10 Alfie Cleal, 9 Jordan Palmer (12 Joe Jones 72′), 11 Joel Older
Goal-scorer: Matt Travell [51′]
Booked: Schelvis, Plackett | Sub Not Used: None
Referee: Gavin Bailey
Assistants: Connor Cornell & Andrew Owen