Written By Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Hello and welcome to the third piece of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.
In this piece, I look back at a very competitive Essex Olympian League Division Two campaign, rounded out with an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goal-scorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I managed to watch a few Division Two matches this term so they may be mentioned here.
EOFL Division Two (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)
As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. Leigh Town were deservedly top of the standings at the cut-off point, as they garnered an impressive 43 points from 15 matches, in which they were not beaten. Unsurprisingly, they had a good defence, the second-best in the division (conceded on average less than a goal a game) whilst also being pretty handy in attack, scoring 44 goals (as an average of 2.93 goals per game or GpG). Jack Pearman’s side were also a good Cup side as I saw them defeat fellow Div Two side Corinthians in the Essex Premier Cup at John Burrows Recreation Ground at the start of February. It’s a credit to both teams that you wouldn’t have thought you were watching two third-tier Olympian sides, such was the passion, energy & physicality on display.
Back to the League, and in second spot was Beacon Hill Rovers, having racked up 36 points from their 15 matches. Rovers had the second-best record at home this term with six wins from their seven matches there, along with having the third-best defensive record, being breached seventeen times. Their two top-goalscorers in Adebolu Adeyemi and Stephen Bennett both hit ten goals as well so credit goes where it’s due. Both clubs will be aiming for another successful campaign next term and if they can keep their squads together, you wouldn’t bet against them doing it either. The next two sides are quite local to me. In third place are Old Southendian Reserves, under the management of Ben Manley. Ten wins in 17 matches isn’t bad going for a second-side that won the Division Three title the previous campaign. Factor in a very decent end to the season with six wins in their last eight matches and having the fourth-best defence this season and it is certainly one to look back on with some fondness. I also have to note the fine performance they put in to win at Corinthians, back in December. To call it ‘determined’ would be an understatement.
Just behind OS Ressies in fourth were Corinthians, who were promoted two divisions, having won Division Four in 2018/19. Chris Stoneham’s youthful, attack-minded side are a delight to watch when they are on-song, no two ways about that. They had ten wins from their fourteen matches to make it to 31 points in all, though could have got in the top three had the season continued. There are two stats that can’t be taken off them though, firstly that they were the divisional top-scorers with 54 goals (a GpG of 3.71 – some going in any league). Secondly, Nathan Dewberry ended up the division’s top goal-getter with 16 goals though to many in the local Non-League scene that won’t come as a surprise, given his pedigree. Even so, respect to you Nathan and to your team-mates on a good season.
Into mid-table now, and May & Baker Reserves ended up being in fifth place. Jimmy Donald’s side had a fine end to the campaign which pushed them up the mid-table places somewhat, and acquired 28 points from 17 matches (though they benefitted from getting three points as an opposition side had fielded an ineligible player in late August). The side certainly has its place in the club pathway, with the first team now competing in Step 6 (Eastern Senior League South) and they struck the net 48 times in all, the second-best in the division. They were also not a dull side to watch as they also conceded fourty-four times and the main downer on their season you have to say is that pourous defence. That being said, the main thing for this team is development you feel and they will look for another strong campaign in 2020/21 I believe.
Laindon Orient were two points behind them in sixth, despite only playing twelve matches due to being hindered by the incessant rain (remember that?) before the season’s premature end. Neil Blackburn’s side still won eight of their matches and can be proud of their defensive record, only letting in eleven goals all league season. They may be another side to watch out for next season. Epping Town finished in seventh spot after having a difficult end to the campaign. That has been well-publicised elsewhere and with a new set-up, they ensured they saw out the campaign with 20 points from their 16 matches. Even though in the early stages of the campaign they were in the top four and looking menacing, you also can’t help but feel that the best thing right now is that they have a new management team under ex-Bishop Stortford Swifts’ boss Stuart Hoskins and they exist to go again next term.
Wakering Sports are in eighth, a point behind on 19 points from their sixteen matches. Overall, Mitchell Gleeson’s side had a solid if unspectacular season though they can build on the record on scoring 37 goals this term (a GpG of 2.31) which was the sixth-best this term. They finished well-clear of the bottom four as Harold Wood Athletic Reserves were eight points adrift on 11 points in ninth spot, after navigating a tough campaign. Defensively-speaking, they were decent though their issues were at the offensive end, striking the net only 18 times, the divisions’ worst this term. It must be said that had the campaign continued, they may have gone up a place or two but they will look for a better campaign next time out.
In tenth place, Rochford Town had another campaign of strife, getting nine points from their 18 matches. Goal-scoring was an issue for John Smith & James Cooper’s side, making the net bulge 21 times though having seen them in February, they struck me as a hard-working, committed side under the captaincy of Freddie Pettitt. As was the case in recent seasons though, their defence is their undoing to an extent, with sixty goals conceded, a record only the two sides below them were worse at. Promoted AS Rawreth also struggled, finishing 11th (second-bottom) by virtue of an inferior goal difference, also on nine points from 16 games. They had the joint-weakest goal=scoring record with 20 goals, and hotshot Louis Hill got nine of those goals himself so plaudits to him. They will hope for a better campaign at the back, as they shelled 63 goals (average per game of 3.94) which arguably knackered their season right there. And finally, recent strugglers Ryan also had another very tough season, finishing bottom on one point from 18 matches. It’s worth noting that they lost five points during the season for fielding an ineligible player & being unable to play a fixture but even so, it’s been a sobering season for the East London side. They conceded sixty-five goals this term and they will hope the talent from their promising junior sides will one day play for the first-team.
EOFL Division Two – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season
|Club/s||League Goals||League Starts|
|=2||Adebolu Adeyemi||Beacon Hill Rovers||10||10|
|Stephen Bennett||Beacon Hill Rovers||10||12|
|=4||Ashley Blackburn||Laindon Orient||9||10|
|Max Jones||Leigh Town||9||10|
|Louis Hill||AS Rawreth||9||13|
|=8||Alex Paraskeva||Epping Town||7||8|
|Shane Cooper||Leigh Town||7||10|
|Mohammed Sesay||Wakering Sports||7||11|
|=11||Gabriel Odili||May & Baker Res||6||2|
|Ben Franklin||Old Southendian Res||6||8|
|Greg Molford||Old Southendian Res||6||12|
|Glen Warwick||Epping Town||6||12|
|Oliver Taton-Bennett||Old Southendian Res||6||13|
|Ben Rowe||Wakering Sports||6||16|
Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division Two (focus on League Starts)
|=1||Jacob Hubble||Rochford Town||16||0||16|
|Freddie Pettitt||Rochford Town||16||0||16|
|Ben Rowe||Wakering Sports||16||0||16|
|=4||Danny Pallett||Wakering Sports||15||1||16|
|Luke Stillwell||Old Southendian Res||15||0||15|
|=6||Harry Ford||Rochford Town||14||1||15|
|Ethan Bird||AS Rawreth||14||0||14|
|Callum Burns-Green||Wakering Sports||14||0||14|
|George Dugdale||Old Southendian Res||14||0||14|
|Jack Power||Rochford Town||14||0||14|
|Lewis Sherwood||Beacon Hill Rovers||14||0||14|
|Adam Smith||Leigh Town||14||0||14|
|=13||Mitchell Gleeson||Wakering Sports||13||2||15|
|Matt Welsh||Rochford Town||13||1||14|