Written by Scott W [@ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello & welcome to the latest edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up. This week, we look at the action in all divisions & Cups from Saturday 18 February, as the weekend’s action in all six divisions was scattered a bit as the divisions below the top-tier start to reach their conclusion.
EOFL Premier Division
In the Premier, leaders Hutton retained their unbeaten run this term but were held 0 – 0 by in-form hosts Old Southendian at Garon Park 3G. The chasing pack did take full advantage and second-placed Catholic Utd stayed there after a 4 – 0 success against Bishop’s Stortford Swifts at the Len Forge 3G. Aaron Baldwin, Liam Oliver, Tom Elliott & Louie Hay all scored for Simon Thomas’ team, and they are now 11 points adrift of the leaders. Rayleigh Town are a point further back in third after an entertaining 5 – 1 triumph over Canning Town at Thames Road, in the match I attended this weekend. George Vile’s treble & goals for Jack Long and Harry Talbot confirmed an important win. Stephen Ikumelo’s spot-kick had levelling things for Canning early on but they remain sixth. If you’d like more of this game, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2023/02/19/s22-23-match-report-rayleigh-town-5-1-canning-town-sat-18-feb-eofl/
Elsewhere, Runwell Sports got a big 2 – 1 success at fellow mid-table side Shenfield AFC. Strikes by James Dalton & Damian Siemienczuk secured the points which took them up to seventh & AFC drop to ninth. Leigh Ramblers are still enjoying a fine season, after a 2 – 0 win at strugglers Galleywood sent them up to fourth. Ryan Lowe & substitute Owen Reynolds got the goals for Mark Hunter’s side at Slades Lane. Springfield also got the first win of manager Matt Cardy’s reign as they battled to a hard-fought 3 – 2 victory at home to Kelvedon Hatch. Teenager Finlay Dorrell’s treble was enough to claim the win and go level on points with Kelvedon. Wayne Semanshia & replacement Charlie Bott got goals for Darren Hunt’s team but they & Bishop’s Stortford Swifts have been dragged back into the relegation scrap. Toby gave themselves a three point cushion from the bottom four after they won 3 – 0 at Sungate.
EOFL Divisions One & Two
In the second-tier this week, the key result was achieved by Old Chelmsfordians as they won 3 – 1 at ACD Utd. Goals from Shane Pritchard, substitute Liam Landers & an OG outdid Ollie Williams’ reply for ACD and launch themselves up to second spot, two points clear of Epping Town in third. Manford Way are up to fourth spot after a tough 2 – 1 win at home to Beacon Hill Rovers. David Alele & Richard Kadima got the goals which keeps them in the race for a top-four finish. Herongate Athletic are up to sixth after a 1 – 0 victory at Wakering Sports, with George Godfrey netting the decisive goal. The result means that Wakering will finish bottom of the 10 active sides in the division (Leigh Town First’s folded earlier in the season).
Into Division Two this week, Hutton Ressies are up to seventh spot after a hard-fought 3 – 2 victory at Harold Wood Athletic Res. Matthew Harris & replacement Josh Portway netted for Ath, but strikes by Rodney Wilson, Chris Skingley and Hector Beta all sent the points the Reds way. Hashtag Utd Development took full advantage of Ath’s slip-up & leapt above them into third with a 3 – 0 triumph over Old Southendian Res at Barleylands. Samuel Pratt was back on the score-sheet with a brace for Denis Simpson’s team, and Tommy Green’s goal secured the points. Finally in Division Two, Shoebury Town extended their lead at the summit to seven points following a comfortable 4 – 0 victory over Rayleigh Town Res at the Ekco Sports Club. Mechack-Kisoka Asuka returned with some style, bagging a treble and Aaron Marshall got the other goal for Garry Johnson & John Galley’s team. Rayleigh’s Ressie side are in a four-team tussle to avoid finishing second-bottom.
EOFL Divisions Three, Four & Five
In Division Three, we start with Pitsea Athletic who are still in with a chance of catching the leaders after a 5 – 0 win at Corinthians Res, a result which will likely relegate the later side. Ath had Jason Stanhope, Joshua Oteng, Joseph Berry, Iku Adjarho & substitute Sean Devlin all scored a goal each for them, as they reduced Basildon Town Res’ lead at the summit to eight points as Bas were held to a goalless draw by fourth-placed Leigh Town Res. Springfield Res got an important 4 – 0 victory at rivals Old Chelmsfordians Res, with Liam England’s two penalties were added to by Joshua Hubble & Billy Headland goals. Also, Hullbridge Sports Res drew 4 – 4 with Chingford Athletic Res, in a result which sees Hullbridge in third & Chingford remain sixth.
In Division Four, Herongate Athletic Res were the big movers as they went up to third after a 4 – 2 victory over Collier Row at Billericay Road. The ensemble cast of Habeeb Apatira, Paul Hine, Billy Markham & substitute Kai Redmond’s penalty all netted to send them only four points behind Row, with Ath also having three matches in hand on their opponents here. Roydon maintained their unbeaten season but were still held 1 – 1 at Leytonstone Utd, with Connor Presland on target for the visitors & James Medlock scoring for Leytonstone. Utd do inch closer to their relegation rivals, and Roydon can still be caught by Leigh Ramblers Res, who have three additional matches to play compared to the leaders. Pitsea Athletic Res drew 2 – 2 with Wakering Sports A at Basildon Sporting Village. Aidan Lewis scored twice for Sports’ third-team here, with Sean Chiimba & replacement Ben Austin netting for Athletic. Both sides are not entirely safe from relegation just yet. Lastly, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res have confirmed a top-five finish after they defeated Shenfield AFC Res 4 – 1 at Silver Leys. Matthew Allen netted twice here, with Ewan Rockell & substitute Chris Gibbs also netting.
In Division Five, Runwell Sports Res elevated themselves to second spot after a 3 – 0 success at Shoebury Town Res. Harry Ford, Max Harrington & substitute Jimmy Cox all scored to send Ryan Stoker’s team to the win. Wakebury Res are up to fourth spot, following a 2 – 1 victory over Canning Town Res at Shoebury Park. Luke Abbott & Alec Monk both scored for Joe Creak’s team. Basildon Town A are also in with a glimmer of a chance of a top-two finish after a 2 – 2 draw at Collier Row Res. Donnel Kujinga & Benjamin Farrant both scored for the Town side there, who are fifth but crucially have at least two games in hand on the teams above them.
There was one Reserve Cup tie this week, which saw Catholic Utd Res progress onwards with a 5 – 1 victory at Leigh Ramblers Res. Adam Sargent netted twice for Utd to lead the way, with Daniel Williams, Dominic O’Kane & substitute Matthew Oni also scoring as the Super Hoops team progressed.