Hoddesdon ended their season with a good win over ‘Side at Cricklefield. Blue Gallagher put his side ahead on 14 minutes and that lead persisted until the interval. Connor Bolton [62’] & Joss Lillis [65’] strikes gave Simon Riddle’s side a cushion as they cruised to victory which took them past 50 points and kept 9th spot for them. Barkingside also announced yesterday that Alex Goldstone will be standing down from his role as manager, due to work commitments.
Clapton 7 – 1 Sporting Bengal Utd | Old Spotted Dog | Att: 62
Jon Fowell’s final match in charge saw the Tons grab a big win over a depleted Bengal side at the Old Spotted Dog. Seven different players got the goals for the hosts – Bryan Kyungu, Lanre Vigo, Kirk McPherson, Ryan Reed, Giovanni Palmer, Greg Potts and Andy Greenslade all were on the scorers’ list. Yasir Rashid got the goal for Bengal though they were well-beaten here. Clapton finish in 11th spot, outside the top ten on goal difference. Bengal finish 8th, 11 points adrift of the top six but this is a second record-breaking season on the trot in terms of points for them.
I attended this huge match for Hullbridge as they did the job with a win over gritty Stanway at Lower Road, in front of a huge crowd of over 400. Adebola Sotoyinbo’s brace did the job for his side, and though Stanway got a stoppage-time goal through substitute Jordan Blackman, it was Darren Manning’s team that toasted a brilliant season with promotion to the Bostik League for very first time. Many congrats to all at the club.
Bottom side Leyton undoubtedly got the result of the day with a surprise win over Stansted at Wadham Lodge. Ike Izuchukwu got the only goal on the hour mark, after the visitors had missed a penalty. Ath held for only their fourth win of the season and arguably their best day of the campaign. Stansted suffered only their second loss in their last eight and finish in the runners-up spot though they could still win a Cup double if they capture the Errington Cup next Monday.
Saffron Walden Town 1 – 2 Woodford Town | Catons Lane | Att: 353
Woodford ended a fruitful season with a fine win at Walden. Andrea Montovani’s free-kick and Mohammad Al-Dani goals turned things their way, with Jamie Riley netting for the hosts in front of a crowd of more than 300. It;s been a good season for the Bloods, having the highest crowds in the league though the odd poor result and occasionally leaky defence cost them the chance to get promoted this season, they finish fourth. Woodford finish a spirited campaign in 6th spot and have four wins in their last six. They hope to move in to Ashton’s in time for next season.
Sawbridgeworth ended a difficult season with this draw with Enfield. Daryl Doolan struck for the hosts while Tyler Fowles netted for the E’s. Both sides will look for better fortunes next term, as Sawbo finish 18th and also will be looking for a new gaffer in the summer as current incumbent John Watters announced yesterday he is stepping down after three years in the role. Enfield will leave the Harlow Arena and play at Bishop’s Stortford next term, they end this term in 14th spot.
‘Stow saw out the season how they’ve played this calendar year to grab a big win at Manor. Kieran Bishop got the ball rolling with the opener on 20 minutes, before Dwade James doubled that lead two minutes later. James completed yet another hat-trick [22’ & 45’] to vanquish any doubt he will end the season as the Essex Senior League top goal-scorer. Kye Jude did get one back two minutes before James’ third of the afternoon on 43 minutes though Manor were up against it. Reece Conway made it five before Mohamed Kargbo got a second for the hosts midway through the second-half. Manor finish 17th, 14 points clear of the bottom two. Ryan Maxwell’s side end the campaign third, with the second best defence in the league.
The Motormen ended their season with a massive win at ‘Bury. The home side couldn’t handle the visiting forwards as Daniel Gilchrist struck five here to get to 16 league goals this season for Redbridge. Taylor Tombides also grabbed a hat-trick, with Marcus Carter and Connor Okus also on the score-sheet in a win that sent Micky Wetherall’s team to a 12th place finish. St Margs still finished seventh despite this result in what’s been a season of change at the Rec. They are one of a few clubs looking for new management (& direction perhaps) next season.
Takeley 3 – 2 Ilford | Station Road | Att: 62
Takeley edged to a late win over in-form Ilford at Station Road. The hosts took a two-goal lead into the break as Andre Humphreys struck on the half-hour, followed by Josh Sykes two minutes before the interval. The Foxes are a tough side though and two goals in 12 minutes saw them draw level. First, Andre Embalo netted on 58 minutes before Billy Golledge equalised with 20 minutes left. The drama didn’t end there as Nick Barrett struck a 92nd-minute penalty to end his side’s campaign with three wins in their last four and finish fourth, two points shy of Walden. Ilford finish tenth in what’s been a very solid campaign for them.
West Essex 1 – 1 Tower Hamlets | Mayesbrook Park | Att: 28
Finally, the Stags warmed up for their Errington Cup Final date with Stansted next Monday with a hard-earned draw with resilent Hamlets at Mayesbrook Park. Tyreece Morris put the visitors ahead though West continued their good run as Michael Mignot got the leveller. Only one loss in their last seven means West finish 13th, three points off the top half. Hamlets have also finished well, unbeaten in their last four as they finish 16th, above Manor by a point.
That’s all for this week, and this ESL season. Many thanks to the regular readers of this column.
Hullbridge: Blue &White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Stanway: Amber Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Hullbridge grab the win to secure their first ESL Title!!
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with added photos by Neil Hunwicks [Twitter: @AbridgeTooFar16] & Hullbridge FC (@HullbridgeFC)
So this was it. The final day of the 2018-19 Essex Senior League campaign saw me return to Lower Road as part of a hefty crowd to see Hullbridge’s crunch match with Stanway Rovers, who have had an indifferent season. The equation was simple for Darren Manning’s team – win this match and Hullbridge’s first ESL title in nearly 30 years of being a member would be secure and with it, promotion to Bostik League North.
The anticipation for this one has risen in the last couple of weeks and the hosts fielded George Marsh between the sticks with George Whitby joining near ever-present Jamal Allen in central defence. The front three were Adebola Sotoyinbo, Joe Wright and Yemi Adelani with the likes of Nathan Scarborough and Luke Hornsley on an attack-minded substitutes’ bench. Stanway’s backline was comprised of full-backs Finn O’Reilly and skipper Tyler Kemp with Milo Grimes and Columbus Iyayi as centre-backs. Their forward line was led by target-man Mike Turner and the lively Amar Lewis.
To be fair to Rovers, they started the match well as they had an early sighter of goal though home custodian George Marsh was thankful to see sail wide. Forward Amar Lewis also presented a threat for Stanway, cutting inside from the left flank, reminding ‘Bridge that they needed to ‘stay on the front foot’ here. For the hosts, playmaker Matt Baxter certainly looked to set his team’s attacks going from deep, and on the quarter-hour, his ball fed full-back Courtney Homans whose telling cross was cut out well by Stanway skipper Tyler Kemp. Rovers ‘stopper Daniel Beeson was called into action moments later as after midfield engine Emmanuel Okunja scuffed his strike, forward Yemi Adelani struck the re-bound but to no avail.
The hosts were gradually asserting themselves on-the-ball though Rovers made it difficult for them to pierce through their defence. Forward Joe Wright was giving Rovers a bit of a headache with his pace and trickery, peeling off the left though efforts from him and Baxter couldn’t bypass Beeson. With half-time approaching and the nerves steadily rising along with it, tricky forward Adebola Sotoyinbo made a surging run down the middle though his effort on goal lacked power as Beeson denied him and following-up, Adelani somehow struck over though his blushes were spared by the assistant’s raised flag. The lack of a final ball was affecting Hullbridge though after Rovers had scrambled the ball clear from not one but two goal-mouth scrambles, Okunja’s neat flick on the edge of the area found Adelani though he fizzed the ball wide of the far post.
Half-Time: Hullbridge 0 – 0 Stanway
As the second-half got underway, the home crowd thought they had cause to celebrate though centre-back George Whitby’s lashed strike was chalked off for off-side barely a minute after the re-start. Rovers were still in this contest as forward Mike Turner twice struck wide and only an important goal-line clearance by captain Matt Rose denied Stanway a goal that really would have added pressure on their hosts. Soon after that, news filtered though that rivals Stansted had fallen behind at Leyton Athletic so that added to the home crowd’s excitement. The Rovers side were starting to tire, though full-back Finn O’Reilly made a couple of lung-busting runs down the right channel, the second of which was well-marshalled by Sports centre-back Jamal Allen.
The deadlock was finally broken with 20 minutes remaining, much to the relief of the home fans. Sotoyinbo broke through the Rovers backline and coolly slotted low into the corner past Beeson whilst one-on-one, much to his side’s obvious delight. Beeson did well to deny Homans minutes later though he could do nothing about the hosts’ second goal. Substitute Luke Hornsley strike from a narrow angle was kept out by Beeson though on the edge of the box, Sotoyinbo’s crisp strike flew into the net to cue rapturous celebrations, both in the stands and on the field.
Stanway did half the arrears in added-time as from Scott Kemp’s good centre from the right, slack marking allowed substitute Jordan Blackman to nip in and slot home from close range. But in the grander scheme of things, with mere moments left before full-time, it was too little, too late.
Full-Time: Hullbridge 2 – 1 Stanway
Hullbridge WIN Essex Senior League Title & promotion to Bostik North.
As far as the match goes, it probably wasn’t Hullbridge’s stand-out performance this season, though these types of matches are seldom easy. It was a team showing today, though the front three of Sotoyinbo, Wright and Adelani all did well, even if the latter could have had two goals himself on other day. Centre-back Jamal Allen and playmaker Matt Baxter also had strong games, along with the influence of substitute Hornsley. For Stanway, their back four stood up well at times, with centre-back Columbus Iyayi making a number of important interceptions. Winger Scott Kemp and Amar Lewis also stood out in my view today.
Players recieving their momentos from Messrs Errington & Prentice [Image: Scott W[
Players getting their momentos (2) [Image: Scott W]
So, the match was done and the celebrations could begin, first with the trophy presentation. Both of which you could say the players, management and off-field team really savoured. To be fair, why wouldn’t you? It’s been a hard season, which shows the depth and quality of the league at times, four teams got more than 75 points so that says a bit.
Assistant James Wakeling & players celebrate [Image: Neil H]
Hullbridge Chairman Trevor Lammas & boss Darren Manning with the Trophy [Image: Neil H]
Goalkeeper George Marsh & forward Nathan Scarborough with the ESL Trophy [Image: Scott W]
To close this report, I am happy to see Hullbridge progress into a new chapter into their history and you have to recall the turnaround that’s happened after the tough season last time out. Manager Darren Manning has driven this club to those said new heights in his first full season in management so he & his management team deserve plaudits for that.
In a way, it is sad that they leave the ESL as they are a credit to themselves, the league and Non-League football in general. I sincerely wish them well next season, and it’s been good to partly cover their journey over the last three years in the ESL & beyond.
Squad celebrate with ‘Bridge photographer Neil H [Image: Scott W]
Who’s won the trophy? Squad smile in celebration [Image: Scott W]
Hullbridge Sports | Manager: Darren Manning
George Marsh (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, George Whitby, Dan Okah, Emmanuel Okunja (Dan Okah 56’), Matt Baxter (Joe Skeels 86’), Adebola Sotoyinbo, Joe Wright (Nathan Scarborough 65’), Yemi Adelani (Luke Hornsley 57’)
Goal-scorers: Adebola Sotoyinbo [70’ & 87’]
Booked: Whitby | Subs Not Used: Morrisey (GK), Monsheju
Stanway Rovers | Manager: Danny Slatter
Daniel Beeson (GK), Finn O’Reilly, Tyler Kemp (Capt), Milo Grimes, Columbus Iyayi, Jett Hogan, Scott Kemp, Ruben Kennedy, Jack Puzey (Jordan Blackman 85’), Mike Turner (Niah Beecher 71’), Amar Lewis (Frank Tiffney 85’)
Hello and a warm welcome to the final preview piece this season, looking at the ten ties that take place on the last day of the Essex Senior League campaign. There are still a few issues to be ironed out, chiefly this – who will be crowned Champions?
Thank you to all the regular readers of this column this season. Enjoy.
Sat 27 April
Barkingside v Hoddesdon Town | Cricklefield
‘Side entertain Hoddesdon at Cricklefield, just two weeks after their reserve side sent the Lilywhites out of the Peter Butcher Trophy. Alex Goldstone’s side have averted finishing bottom of the league after three wins in their last seven matches though lost out last time out at West Essex ten days ago. Hoddy were held by Tower Hamlets last weekend in the only ESL match then. This may be a ‘dead rubber’ though both sides will want to end the campaign well, I’ll go for a narrow home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Clapton v Sporting Bengal Utd | Old Spotted Dog |
Sporting Bengal travel to the Old Spotted Dog to face Clapton in what is Jonny Fowell’s final match in charge of the Tons. They won late at Takeley ten days ago to give them only their second win in their last seven matches. Sporting return to league action here after a break, with their last league outing being a loss at Southend Manor three weeks ago. A top-eight finish is assured for them already though they could go 7th with a win. I feel the hosts will want to give their manager a good send-off though and therefore am going for a home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 2 – 1
Hullbridge Sports v Stanway Rovers | Lower Road |
For Hullbridge… this is it. They entertain Stanway at Lower Road knowing that only a win would absolutely guarantee their first ESL championship and elevation to Bostik League Division North. Only one loss in their last eight shows they are up there form-wise though this may be a different type of ‘pressure’ they face here. Rovers are on the face of it limping their way toward the end of the campaign in terms of results with four losses in their last seven though did confirm Danny Slatter at their permanent boss last week.
You know what they say about ‘Football isn’t played on paper’ and the understandable nerves will persist right until kick-off you suspect for the hosts. Stanway did hold West Essex last weekend at home and do have some talent in their side though if I’m being candid, I’d be pretty surprised if ‘Bridge did not ‘finish the job’ here and crown off a stellar season.
I’ll be at this game and it could well be an emotional one.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
Leyton Athletic v Stansted |Wadham Lodge Stadium |
Stansted travel to Wadham Lodge to face bottom side Leyton Athletic. The Airportmen know they have to win to have any chance of usurping Hullbridge and taking the title. Leyton have lost their last five league matches so it would seem they are good opposition to face here. Stansted will be buoyed by their GBT success though and five wins in their last seven league games shows their consistent streak, which they have maintained all season.
This could go one or two ways, if Messrs Pittuck & Benterman’s team start strongly then it could be a goal-fest though they could also be frustrated by their hosts. That said, you have to go away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 0 – 3
Saffron Walden Town v Woodford Town | Catons Lane
Walden’s first season back in the Essex Senior concludes with this interesting battle with another attack-minded side in Woodford at Catons Lane. Five wins in their last seven for Jason Maher’s team gives them a shot at a top-three finish, if other results go in their favour. They held off a late comeback by Manor two weeks ago to win then and have amassed 105 league goals this season, comfortably the highest-scorers in the division. Woodford are the third-highest scorers themselves so this could be an entertaining affair. Have to go with a home win here though.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 2
Sawbridgeworth Town v Enfield | Crofters |
Sawbridgeworth end their campaign with this home match with Enfield at Crofters. John Watters’ side have had a very tough campaign are winless in their last 12 matches. They got a creditable draw at St Margaretsbury two weeks ago in their last match. Incredibly, eight of their ten wins this season have come at home though and need to win to try to avoid finishing in the bottom three. Enfield defeated Clapton in their last match two weeks ago. Matt Hanning’s team have won two of their last three matches and could still finish as high as 11th with a win here, subject to other results going their way. Going to plump for a narrow away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Southend Manor v Walthamstow | Southchurch Park |
Manor entertain Walthamstow in their final match. Adam Peek’s side are on an upturn with five wins in their last seven though narrowly lost out at Saffron Walden two weeks ago. They will look to leap out of the bottom five with a win though ‘Stow are also in super nick with nine wins in their last ten matches and they know a win would cement a hard-earned third-place finish. ‘Stow deafeat St Margaretsbury in their last match three weeks ago though would still reckon they will ‘do the job here’.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 3
St Margaretsbury v Redbridge | The Rec |
‘Bury welcome Redbridge to the Rec after a spirited display in their loss to Stansted in the Gordon Brasted Trophy Final on Easter Monday. A win here would secure seventh place in what has still been a good campaign for them. The Motormen have struggled to claim wins recently having also been somewhat depleted and lost out at home to Stansted last time out. Will the hosts’ young side be able to snuff out the guile of finishers like Dan Gilchrist? That’s what interests me. Gut instinct says narrow away win.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 2
Takeley v Ilford | Station Road |
Takeley see out their campaign at home to the Foxes at Station Road.Marc Das’ side lost out late on to Clapton ten days back though are still strong with ‘home comforts’ Their overall form has been mixed of late and their opponents here are stronger away from Cricklefield as well. Martin Haywood’s side have won four of their last six and know that another three points will secure a top-ten finish. Getting past the miserly Takeley defence is seldom an easy task though and I feel compelled to head for a home win.
Scott’s Prediction: 3 – 1
West Essex v Tower Hamlets | Mayesbrook Park |
The Stags play their last league match at Mayesbrook before it joins the ‘3G revolution’ next term as they face Tower Hamlets. West defeated Barkingside last time out and a win here could see them sneak inside the top ten. They may have the Errington Cup Final on their minds but they will seek to continue a good run of only one loss in their last six matches. Hamlets held Hoddesdon last week and are also in good touch with two losses in their last six outings. Draw for me.
Scott’s Prediction: 1 – 1
That’s all from the Preview pieces this term. Look out for the Round-up on Sunday/Monday. Cheers for reading.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League round-up. With the season rapidly concluding, the last of these pieces for this season will be in two weeks’ time. This day was still quite big for two clubs at the bottom of the table.
Sat 13 April
Enfield 4 – 2 Clapton | Harlow Arena | Att: 67
The E’s came from behind to overcome the Tons at the Harlow Arena. In-form Giovanni Palmer put the visitors ahead on 18 minutes. Either side of the break, young Leyton Orient loanee Ernold Haxhiu struck, first levelling on 32 minutes before putting his side in front with 63 minutes on the watch. Luke Thomas netted nine minutes later to increase the home side’s lead before Palmer added to his growing reputation as a marksman by making it 3 – 2 wiith 12 minutes left. Joe Pattison made the points safe for Matt Hanning’s side two minutes from time, who now rise to 11th.
Hullbridge soured to a very decent win over Ilford at Cricklefield. Midfield dynamo Emmanuel Okunka opened the scoring only three minutes in. The Foxes were a man down after Steve Sylvester accrued two bookings and they were made to pay as first, Nathan Scarborough struck six minutes into the second-half before in added-time, Luke Hornsley grabbed a third for his side. Darren manning’s side know they have to win at home to Stanway on the final day to secure a much-desired ESL title and play in Botik league Division North for the first time next term.
Takeley secured a good three points at Wadham Lodge, which also ensured Ath will finish bottom of the Essex Senior League this term. Nick Barrett [19′] got the opener for Marc Das’ side, before Bryn Thorpe got his fifth goal in two matches ten minutes before half-time. Barrett got his second of the game three minutes before the break which rounded out the scoring here. Ath’s inability to win games has seriously impinged their quest to remain in Step 5, with only three wins all campaign. It looks very likely they will be relegated to the Eastern Senior League South next term, with the question now being is any other side going to join them, which will ultimately be decided by the FA.
Redbridge 0 – 4 Stansted | Oakside | Att: 70
Stansted showed their desire and superior finishing to win well at a decent Redbridge side. Goals from Jack Mitchell [9′], Jack West [41′ & 90’+1] and Paul Clayton [83′] saw off their hosts, who had to play the last half-hour with ten men following Daniel Smith’s dismissal. The Airportmen must win at Leyton to have any chance of winning the title in two weeks’ time. I attended this match and my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/match-report-redbridge-0-4-stansted-sat-13-apr-esl/
Saffron Walden Town 3 – 2 Southend Manor | Catons Lane | Att: 203
Walden rode out a late comeback from Manor to grab all three points. Walden struck on 11 eleven minutes through full-back Spike Bell. Seven minutes after the break, Bell got his second of the afternoon before Matt Frew made it three on 59 minutes. Manor did fight back well in the latter stages as arguably their stand-out player this term Mo Kargbo netted a late brace [85′ & 89′] to make it a nervy end for Jason Maher’s team. Walden stay fourth and will finish third if they better Walthamstow’s result on the last day which would still constitute a good campaign. Manor’s first loss in five games means they stay fifth-bottom.
St Margaretsbury 0 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town | The Rec | Att: 44
These two out-of-form sides scrapped to a stalemate at the Rec. St Margs did end a four-match losing streak here though are could still be regarded as ‘under-dogs’ for the upcoming Gordon Brasted Final on Easter Monday. Sawbridgeworth ended a five-match losing run here with this point though they remain in the bottom three.
These two bottom-half sides battled in a goal-less stalemate in what the visitors described as a ‘end-of-seaon affair’ at the Hawthorns. Stanway are somewhat limping their way towards the end of their campaign with only two wins in their last 11 games while West are finishing in a decent run with four wins in their last nine matches though it is likely the Stags will finish just outside the top-ten.
Peter Butcher Trophy: Semi-Final
Hoddesdon Town 1 – 2 Barkingside Res | Lowfield | Att: 127
Barkingside Reserves continued their fine campaign as they defeated another Essex Senior League side to reach the PBT final. Reserve Division top-scorer Carl Patten broke the deadlock on 56 minutes though that lead only lasted seven minutes before Lilywhites winger Connor Bolton levelled. Late drama followed though as Darren Seymour got the winner for the visitors wth six minutes left.
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] | Thanks to @Wilkins_media for photo
Hello and welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League round-up, here on my blog. More important points were won throughout the division, how did your side get on? Thanks for reading. The last league round-up of the season will be on Sunday/Monday April 28/29.
Sat 6 April
Clapton 1 – 1 Hoddesdon Town | Old Spotted Dog | Att:
The Tons battled to another home draw, this time against stubborn Hoddesdon. In-form Giovanni Palmer struck for Jon Fowell’s team while Connor Bolton netted for the Lilywhites, who drop one to tenth after this result. Clapton drop to 12th. Both sides haven’t won in their last three league matches now.
The Foxes came from behind to beat inconsistent Stanway at Cricklefield. A peach of a strike from Tyler Kemp on 14 minutes put Rovers ahead, though Alejandro Seoane-Barber restored parity for Martin Haywood’s side three minutes later. Lamarr Douglas put the home side ahead from the spot on 67 before Callum Maltese’s free-kick eight minutes later sealed a third straight win for Ilf which takes them up to 9th. Stanway stay 15th.
The Motormen got the points after this tense win over strugglers Leyton at Oakside. Daniel McCullock got the only goal 19 minutes from time to end a three-match losing run and rise to the heady heights of 11th in the table, four points off the top-ten. Ath’s fourth straight loss keeps them two points off Barkingside though Morgan Le Force’s side have two home matches left, they are against Takeley and Stansted respectively. They’ll need to win at least one of those to avert finishing bottom.
These two bottom-four sides faced off for the fifth time this season and once again, Hamlets prevailed. A brace from Ijhal Currie-Wilson and one from Georgio Exakoidis were enough to give Hamlets their 11th win this term and move above Sawbo in the standings.
Manor defeated Bengal in a match that will go down as one for the Non-League statisticians out there. Manager Imrul Gazi had to be drafted in as an emergency centre-back, playing alongside his son Raul at full-back in what is a rare occurrence in the Non-League game. Three goals in a devastating 15-minute spell did the damage for Manor, as William Purdy opened his side’s account on the hour. Harry Rogers [73’] and recent talisman Michael Ogboin [75’] also struck to confirm the points. Ashaan Siddik got a superb consolation for Sporting, though their focus now turns to their Peter Butcher Trophy Semi-Final at Aveley Reserves in midweek. Manor remain 16th as their fine form continues.
Stansted 2 – 1 Woodford Town | Hargrave Park | Att: 88 | ‘Kick It Out’ Match
Stansted recovered from an early setback to keep the title race alive in this designated ‘Kick It Out’ match at Hargrave Park. Asher Modeste gave a depleted Town the lead twenty minutes in, though Sam West levelled ten minutes later for the hosts. Rob Norris’ pile-driver midway through the second half secured the win , Stansted’s 25th of the campaign. They remain two points shy of Hullbridge in 2nd. Woodford will finish in 6th spot in what’s been a fine season for the Towners.
Takeley really ‘turned on the style’ as they demolished ‘Side 8 – 1 at Station Road. Playing in a more forward role, Bryn Thorpe started proceedings with his first of the afternoon after only four minutes. Andre Humphrey made it two twenty minutes in though David Ottley struck four minutes later for the visitors so at the break, Alex Goldstone’s side may have thought they had a shot at a result. That hope was utterly extinguished after the break as Thorpe got his second three minutes after the re-start, swiftly followed a minute later by substitute Dan Hawkes to make it 4 – 1 to the hosts. ‘Side had Ricardo Bailey dismissed and succumbed in the latter stages to a damaging defeat with Thorpe bagging his hat-trick with 15 minutes left. Fellow substitute Ryan Lynch bagged a late brace [85’ & 90’] either side of Thorpe’s fourth of the afternoon to claim a huge win for Marc Das’ side which secured 5th place for them this term.
‘Side’s goal difference took a hammering here, and it is now only two goals better than Leyton, though they remain two points above their rivals.
‘Stow ended their season at Wadham Lodge with another good performance in a strong win over ‘Bury. Dwade James put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time before Kieran Bishop’s goal [67’] and a Nick Symons’ thunder-bolt seven minutes later sealed the win. Tage Kennedy put further gloss on the result though despite the win, results elsewhere dictated that Ryan Maxwell’s team are out of the title reckoning. A great season nonetheless for the ‘Waltham Rabble’ to savour this term and a win in their last match will secure third spot. St Margs are probably focusing their energy on the GBT Final in two weeks’ time and stay 8th after a fourth straight loss.
West Essex 0 – 2 Hullbridge Sports | Mayesbrook Park | Att: 53
Hullbridge had to overcome a feisty battle with the improving Stags at Mayesbrook to grab another hugely important three points. After an own goal had put them ahead on 27 minutes, Yemi Adelani underlined the importance of having goal-scorers in your side with the second on 66 minutes. Only one loss in their last ten puts ‘Bridge in the ‘box seat’ for promotion and if they better rivals Stansted’s result next weekend that could be enough to ‘seal the deal’ with regards to the title. West’s first loss in four league matches sees them drop to 13th, six points away from a top-ten spot.
Points are shared in this bruising top-two encounter at Hargrave Park
Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] with Photos by Neil Hunwicks [Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16] and Scott
This weekend’s Essex Senior League jaunt took me back to Hargrave Park for an eagerly-anticipated clash between the top-two sides in the division as Stansted took on leaders Hullbridge. The hosts have been grinding a few wins out of late though knew that a win here could be crucial to their hopes of the title. Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman’s team named a strong side with Charlie Turner retained between the sticks, with a back four of the returning Papa Asamoah, skipper Billy Coyne plus centre-backs Sam West and Joe Clark. Paul Clayton was just ahead of them with a front three of Callum Ibe, Jack Mitchell and the wily James Peagram. Ollie Bell, Carl Mullings and Jack West were all options on the bench.
Hullbridge tinkered with their starting XI with Daniel Okah replacing the injured Perry Dunn at centre-back, while Greg Frederick returned into their energetic midfield alongside Joe Skeels and Emmanuel Okunja with Yemi Adelani as their focal point in attack. Joe Wright and Adebola Sotoyinbo were on the bench, the latter having completed his recent suspension.
The match began in a slightly nervous way for the visitors as barely a minute in, Dan Okah’s challenge on home forward James Peagram was inches away from conceding a spot-kick. Skipper Billy Coyne stepped up to strike it though the ‘Bridge defence set the tone with a stubborn block. Bridge did respond and minutes later, pressed forward with a good run by right-back Courtney Homans ending with a good cross in though forward Nathan Scarborough’s header lacked the power to beat home ‘keeper Charlie Turner. This was a prelude to a good spell of pressure for the visiting side, as ten minutes in, a corner was floated in, and Turner did well to punch clear, he took a whack for his trouble.
At the other end, another Coyne set-piece was well-punched away by Sports custodian Lewis Greene. From the resulting corner, a super ball in from midfielder Charlie Barlow needed the intervention of centre-back Jamal Allen, still playing in a face mask to shield a broken nose. Even by the quarter-hour mark, the ‘Big match’ feel increased with an enlarged crowd only adding to the atmosphere around the ground. There was no shortage of tough, bullish challenges being made by both teams as they knew the importance of this match. Dead on the half-hour mark, Joe Skeels’ free-kick ended up falling to Allen in the area and his fizzing drive went through a crowed six-yard box and needed Turner to be alert to gather at the second attempt before the ball trickled over the line.
Darren Manning’s side were showing the more energy and industry in midfield by this point. Timo Monsheju dashed down the right flank though Coyne did well tracking-back to deny him a good crack at a telling cross into the six-yard area. As the first half came into its final few minutes, Greene rushed out to punch the ball away from home forward Callum Ibe though in doing so, momentarily lost his bearings and was adjudged to have handled outside the area. After consulting his assistant, the referee decided to give the unfortunate Greene his marching orders, much to his frustration. Coyne had another free-kick much akin to the one in the opening minute, and again, the visiting backline did a firm job of denying the home skipper. Fortunately for the visitors, they could bring on substitute ‘keeper George Marsh who replaced Monsheju.
Image: Scott W
Image: Scott W
Half-Time: Hullbridge 0 – 0 Stansted
At half-time, I reflected on this battle as being a side with experience and craft in Stansted against the energy and pace of Hullbridge. It was the visitors who started the second period well, though half-chances at best for Scarborough and fellow forward Yemi Adelani couldn’t seriously test Turner. Both defences continued to enjoy good afternoons, as there were a number good clearances to repel decent crosses into the respective penalty areas. For the hosts, Callum Ibe was his usual threatening self with his pace and energy, even though at times he was fairly isolated because of the Sports midfield cutting off his supply line as they won the majority of the battles in the middle of the park.
Stansted were also reduced to ten men just after the hour as full-back Papa Asamoah’s clumsy tackle led to a melee and ultimately an added reaction to an opposition player in that confrontation saw Asamoah dismissed for his actions. As we verged on the last 20 minutes of the game, home forward James Peagram’s well-hit strike from the edge of the area drew a good tip over the crossbar by Marsh. Hullbridge pressed again for a decisive goal from a set-piece that found willing runner Nathan Scarborough down the left channel, he in turn found substitute Joe Wright who lifted his effort just over the woodwork in the last few minutes.
Full-Time: Hullbridge 0 – 0 Stansted
Ultimately both sides drew ablank though the scoreline doesn’t entirely tell the story of a bruising encounter that contained more work-rate than chances for either side. The visitors will perhaps feel they got a ‘moral victory’ given they did perhaps edge this match. In terms of stand-out performances, for the hosts, Callum Ibe was a lively striker as ever, with bullish anchor midfielder Paul Clayton and full-back Billy Coyne also having good games today. For Hullbridge, centre-back Jamal Allen had another very good game, barely missing a header all match while Yemi Adelani was a threat as well with selfless running and stretching the home defence at times. Mainly there were two good teams on display here who were unwilling to ‘give an inch’ and thus, the ESL title race will continue into April.
My thanks to Stansted for their kind welcome as ever, and to the Webb family.
Stansted | Joint-Managers: Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman
Charlie Turner (GK), Papa Asamoah, Billy Coyne (Capt), Sam West, Joe Clark (Carl Mullings 87′), Paul Clayton, Rob Norris, Charlie Barlow (James Turvey 84′) Callum Ibe, James Peagram, Jack Mitchell (Ollie Bell 69′)
Subs Not Used: Bennett, J West | Booked: Clark, Norris | Sent Off: Asamoah
Hullbridge Sports | Manager: Darren Manning
Lewis Greene (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Daniel Okah, Joe Skeels, Emmanuel Okunja, Greg Frederick (Adebola Sotoyinbo 76′), Timo Monsheju (George Marsh (GK) 45′), Yemi Adelani (Joe Wright 79′), Nathan Scarborough
Subs Not Used: Baxter, McLeavy |
Booked: Okah, Monsheju, Scarborough, Adelani | Sent Off: Greene