Match Report: Stansted 0 – 0 Hullbridge Sports (Sat 30 Mar) [ESL 31.3.19]

Essex Senior League

2018-19 Season: Match 63

Saturday 23rd March 2019 – 3pm KO

Venue: Hargrave Park

Attendance: 183

Stansted: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Shorts

Hullbridge: Yellow Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks

The teams before KO [Image: Scott W]

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.

Turner makes great recovery save [St v Hul ESL 30.3.19].jpg
Stansted ‘keeper Turner stays alert to prevent an opener for ‘Bridge [Image: Neil H]
Homans drives forward (St v Hul ESL 30.3.19)
Bridge right-back Courtney Homans sought to push forward whenever possible here [Image: Neil H]
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.

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.

Ibe in action (St v Hul ESL 30.3.19)
Callum Ibe was the hosts’ chief threat, here battling Homans for the ball [Image: Neil H]
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

Turner punches out from danger (St v Hul ESL 30.3.19)
Turner punches clear with Allen closest to it for ‘Bridge [Image: Neil H]
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

Ref: Eugene Robinson


Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 2 – 0 Saffron Walden Town (Tues 26 Mar) [ESL 27.3.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Lower Road

Tuesday 26th March 2019 – 7.45pm KO

Attendance: 167

2018-19 Season: Match 62

Hullbridge: Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Saffron Walden: Red & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shirts, Black Socks

Both sides before KO in front of a hefty crowd at Lower Rd [Image: Scott W]

Hullbridge grab all-important three points over Walden at Lower Road

Report & Photo by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] with additional photos by Neil H [Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16]

The latest Essex Senior League midweek match took me to this match at Lower Road as top-three sides Hullbridge and Saffron Walden faced off. Hullbridge had boss Darren Manning back in the dugout though also had to contend with a number of players out, with Adebola Sotoyinbo banned, Luke Hornsley unavailable and Greg Frederick and Michael Salako injured. Lewis Greene got the nod between the sticks with a forward three of Adetokunbo Sotoyinbo, Joe Wright and Yemi Adelani. Nathan Scarborough and Tim Monsheju were on the bench. For Walden, they were well-backed by their fans as they have been quite often this term and named Spike Bell and Jack Mead as full-backs with Ryan Fleming skippering the side and a front two of Charlie Portway and Lewis Francis. Oliver Emsden was among the options on the substitutes’ bench.

It was the visitors who started strongly as the ‘Bridge boys had no choice but to be alert from the get-go. Even then, in the first minute, full-back Jack Mead surged forward and his low drive was well-turned wide by home goalkeeper Lewis Greene. Three minutes later, home defender Jamal Allen, playing in a mask due to a broken nose, headed away though the fall fell to Bloods forward Lewis Francis blazed his effort over the woodwork. Walden did have the better of a predictably tight contest, in terms of possession and half-chances as we got into the middle of the first half. Sports had the odd telling foray in attack, as a good ball in found Joe Wright who moved quickly to find himself almost in on goal, though a excellent recovery challenge by visiting defender Ryan Fleming denied him the chance of a one-on-one with custodian Neil O’Sullivan.

What followed just before the half-hour was two great chances for Walden. First, Mead’s stinging effort was again well-saved by Greene before Francis’ header cannoned off the crossbar following up.

Francis’ header cannons off the bar  [Image: Neil H]
A mere minute later, a peach of a cross by full-back Spike Bell found goal-hungry forward Charlie Portway though he powered a header wide of the far post. Perhaps sensing they were fortunate to still be level, ‘Bridge pushed forward again and only a brilliant save by O’Sullivan denied home forward Yemi Adelani good strike when one-on-one with the ‘keeper.  Portway miscued another effort wide when perhaps off-balance a minute before the interval. Although it was the visitors who had more of the chances, on the score-sheet they had precious little to show for it.

Half-Time: Hullbridge  0 – 0  Saffron Walden

Life after the interval was quite a bit different. ‘Bridge did break the deadlock seven minutes in as a powerful run by the ever-consistent full-back Courtney Homans ended as he let fly from the edge of the area which beat O’Sullivan before it went low into the net. Two minutes later, Adelani broke free of the attentions of the Walden backline though O’Sullivan saved well once again. The central defensive partnership of Fleming, Frew and Pethers were characteristically firm with a combination of recovery interceptions, powerful clearances and the like. That mindset of ‘shutting up shop’ was on display again as anchor midfielder Dan Okah’s shot was well-blocked for a corner. The hosts’ concern was raised in the latter stages as after having used all three substitutions, combative defender Perry Dunn had to be assisted off the pitch after aggravating a groin knock. To be fair to the travelling support, fans of both sides applauded him off after another gutsy display.

Walden sensed they had to take advantage of the hosts’ defensive re-jig as Okah went back into defence. To their credit, the visitors piled forward and created pressure as Messrs Portway and Francis sought to pounce though chances were thin on the ground at this point. As we entered added-time, substitute Tim Monsheju had an effort blocked for a corner but that ended up being a prelude to a moment of quality. Monsheju powered forward on the counter-attack down the left channel and played in Adelani who powered a sweet strike past O’Sullivan and into the top corner to seal the points for Darren Manning’s side.

Adelani’s strike finds the top corner in added-time [Image: Neil H]
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports  2 – 0  Saffron Walden Town

Without over-using cliches, the hosts roared back into the contest after being second-best, particularly in terms of chances in the first half. To their credit, Walden contributed a lot to the match and quite how Portway or Francis didn’t register on the score-sheet here is beyond me but that is how it can go. We’ve seen how much of an offensive threat Walden are and they showed what they will be going forward into next season as well if they keep this squad together.

In terms of performances, there were a number of players on both sides that shone in what was a tough battle. For the hosts, goalkeeper Greene, defenders Homans and Dunn and forwards Wright and Adelani all did well. For Walden, full-backs Bell and Mead showed a lot of purpose, energy and quality, with skipper Fleming showing his defensive nous and forward Francis didn’t stop running either.

Thanks to Hullbridge for their hospitality and it was great to see many familiar faces tonight, including a few Essex Senior League managers among them. It is a Non-League family after all and I’ll do well to remember that from this encounter. Thanks also to Malcolm for assistance with the stats tonight.


Hullbridge Sports  | Manager: Darren Manning

Lewis Greene (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn (Forced off injured 79′), Daniel Okah, Emmanuel Okunja, Matt Baxter (Joe Skeels 63′), Adetokunbo Sotoyinbo (Nathan Scarborough 59′), Joe Wright (Tim Monsheju 68′), Yemi Adelani

Goal-scorers: Courtney Homans [52′], Yemi Adelani [90′ +5]

Booked: Okah, Baxter, Scarborough, Homans   | Subs Not Used: Marsh (GK), Dicks

Saffron Walden Town   | Manager: Jason Maher

Neil O’Sullivan (GK), Spike Bell, Jack Mead, Ryan Fleming (Capt), Matt Frew (Tom Lakin 73′), Scott Pethers, Craig Calver (Joe Maybanks 84′), Ashley Skeggs (Oliver Emsden 68′), Greg Strong, Charlie Portway, Lewis Francis

Booked: Strong    | Subs Not Used: Ledwith, Riley

Referee: Steven Marr

Round-up: Essex Senior League (Sat 23 Mar) [ESL 24.3.19]

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League round-up with one match on Friday night and a Saturday of surprises in some quarters. Thanks for reading.

Fri 22 Mar

Woodford Town  0 – 2   Hullbridge Sports  | Harlow Arena | Att: 125

The action got underway with Hullbridge recorded a very respectable win at Woodford. Goals from recent signings Yemi Adelani [41’] and substitute Tim Monsheju five minutes from time saw off some nervy moments for interim boss James Wakeling though it’s all about those treasured three points to stay second. Woodford’s first loss in four saw them stay sixth.


Sat 23 Mar

Barkingside   2 – 3   Saffron Walden Town    |  Cricklefield  | Att:  48

‘Side managed to give Walden a tough afternoon before eventually suffering a morale-draining loss at Cricklefield. All the goal action happened after the break, with ex-‘Side forward Charlie Portway breaking the deadlock on 58 minutes. Another former ‘Side star in Lewis Francis made it two for Walden on the hour mark. The script was torn up though minutes later as Dan Jones got a quick-fire double, firstly from the penalty spot on 64 minutes and then again merely two minutes afterward. Portway has a stirring knack of getting important goals and he broke the hosts’ hearts with the winner with twenty minutes remaining.

This Result leaves ‘Side mired in trouble while Walden move to within five points of leaders Stansted and their promotion hopes a little renewed.

Enfield       1 – 0     Stansted     | Harlow Arena  | Att: 90

The twists & turns of the title race continued to beat as Enfield battled hard to claim a surprise win over in-form Stansted. Ex-Hullbridge forward Jimmy Cox did his old club a favour here by getting the only goal here on 49 minutes and gave his current side a much-needed win to send them up to 11th in the standings. Stansted’s first defeat in five saw their lead cut to a single point.

Southend Manor   2 – 0  Sawbridgeworth Town  | Southchurch Park | Att: 65

Manor continued their decent recent form by handing Sawbo another defeat at Southchurch Park. Michael Ogboin kept up his recent goal-scoring run with the opening goal with 57 minutes on the watch. Harry Rogers sealed the points with 12 minutes remaining as Manor got their third win in their last four to pass Tower Hamlets and rise to 17th. Sawbridgeworth’s struggles go on and they are one place and three points better off now than their opponents here.

St Margaretsbury   0 – 1   Hoddesdon Town   | The Rec  | Att: 79

A new era began at St Margs in this local derby with Hoddesdon. The Lilywhites got the win thanks to a Joss Lillis goal midway through the second half, which kept Simon Riddle’s side in 9th place. ’Bury saw a number of players depart this week, following Messrs Mitchell and Faulkner to Hertford Town, including skipper Charncey Dash and winger Connor Scully so a period of transition may follow.

Stanway Rovers    1 – 0    Leyton Athletic   | Hawthorns  | Att: 51

Stanway got a narrow though nonetheless important win over Leyton at the Hawthorns. Scott Kemp gave Terry Spillane’s side a great start with the only goal after ten minutes. Rovers held on to claim their first league win in five matches to rise to 14th. Leyton may see this as an opportunity missed and remain second-bottom, only a point clear of Barkingside in the relegation dogfight.

Takeley  2 – 0  Tower Hamlets    | Station Road  | Att: 72

Takeley all but secured fifth spot with this win over Hamlets at Station Road. Michael La Ronda opened the scoring on the quarter-hour and that lead persisted until half-time. Hamlets are a stronger side defensively these days and it took a Nicky Barrett spot-kick seven minutes after the restart to eventually claim the points and their 20th win this season. Hamlets’ campaign is rather stagnating with one win in their last six games now, falling to third-bottom though with healthy cushion of 12 points on Leyton.

Walthamstow     1 – 0    Clapton     | Wadham Lodge  | Att: 88

‘Stow keep churning out the wins of late and they did so again here with this important, if uninspiring win over the Tons. New signing Kieran Bishop ingratiated himself to the ‘Waltham Rabble’ with the only goal on 22 minutes. Ryan Maxwell’s side retained their recent defensive prowess to a sixth straight win and stay 4th, seven points adrift of the leaders with a game in hand.  Clapton’s second loss in their last five sees them drop to 12th though have at least one match in hand on their rivals in a congested mid-table.

West Essex    2 – 0     Redbridge     | Mayesbrook Park  | Att: 43

I attended this match as West defeated Redbridge. My report is here:


Also, in the Peter Butcher Trophy, Barkingside Reserves defeated Ilford 3 – 1 on penalties (after it finished 1 – 1 after 90 minutes) to advance to the semi-finals. Well done to them.

Match Report: Hullbridge 1 – 0 Hoddesdon (Sat 9 Mar) [ESL 10.3.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Lower Road

Attendance: 72

2018-19 Season: Match 57

Saturday 9th March 2019 – 3pm KO

Hullbridge: Blue &White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Hoddesdon: White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Players before KO (Image by SW)
Players before KO (Image by Scott W)

Hard work sees Hullbridge to another win over gutsy Hoddy

Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with photos by Neil Hunwicks [Twitter: @AbridgeTooFar16]

This weekend’s Essex Senior League match took me back to Lower Road for an intriguing battle between promotion-chasing Hullbridge and the sturdy mid-table outfit that is Hoddesdon. The plot thickened a bit before kick-off as news emerged that Sports boss Darren Manning started a three-match stadium ban here so the team would be lead by assistant boss James Wakeling and their coaching team. ‘Bridge had won their last three matches so would there be any change to their form? They named a front three of Adebola Sotoyinbo, Luke Hornsley & Nathan Scarborough with Jamal Allen once again being partnered by Perry Dunn in central defence, plus recent signings Wright, Fuadianitu and Tbo Sotoyinbo on the bench.

Hoddesdon have shown themselves to be formidable opposition on their day this season in the ESL and prior to this one had only lost one of their last five outings, as they looked to add further foundations here to ensure a top-ten finish. Simon Riddle’s team had Aaron Bull in goal with Cyrus Babaie and Connor Bolton supporting Joss Lillis in their front-line. The elements had certainly tried their best to cause trouble as pitch conditions were slippery at best, with added swirling wind coursing through regularly as well.

It didn’t take long for Hoddy to ‘set their stall out’ to be hard-working and strong in the challenge as well. The aforementioned conditions did cause a fair bit of nervousness in the home defence in the early moments of the match, as goalkeeper George Marsh’s errant clearance fell to visiting forward Blue Gallagher though Marsh redeemed himself by denying Gallagher’s chance on goal.

The visitors were looking to be a threat from set-pieces as well and soon after the quarter-hour, Gallagher’s pass was just out of the reach of forward Joss Lillis when the latter was well-placed to strike. The nerves in the home stands was steadily rising as although the ‘engine room’ of Frederick and Skeels in midfield was matching their opposition, the final fall to the forwards was not coming on a surface that wasn’t particularly helpful, it has to be said.

Sotoyinbo's header sees ball in net (Image by Neil H)
Sotoyinbo’s header finds the net (Image: Neil H)

Regardless, it was Hullbridge who broke the stalemate on 28 minutes as a super cushioned ball in from the right flank by full-back Courtney Homans arrowed into the six-yard line which found creative forward Adebola Sotoyinbo who rose to beat two opposition defenders in the air and head home well past visiting stopper Aaron Bull and into the corner. The relief for the hosts was palpable though in the next phase of the match, it got increasingly niggly as tensions threatened to boil over briefly.

Two more chances presented themselves before the break as with three minutes until the break, a deep Skeels free-kick as headed wide by ‘Bridge centre-back Perry Dunnat the back post. And moments before the whistle, a ball in from Hoddy winger Connor Bolton swirled up in the wind though Marsh kept his concentration to gather before it crept in under his crossbar.

Half-Time: Hullbridge 1 – 0  Hoddesdon

Hoddy 'keeper Aaron Bull punches away another set-piece (Image by Neil H)
Solid ‘keeper Aaron Bull punches ball out of danger (Image by Neil H)

After the break, Hoddesdon came out with a new fizz to their play as the home defence took time to settle into their work. Minutes into the second-half, pacy winger Cyrus Babaie was redeployed into a more central position and his pace and trickery gave the likes of Dunn a headache, only endorsing the fact that the job was not done yet for the home side. At the other end, Hoddy centre-back Oliver Gnandi was marshalling the defence well and heading crosses out well. Chances continued to be at a premium really, as the match showed more promise than what actually cropped up. Both sides continued to work hard though and defended deep at times.

One of the stand-out moments of the game came on 76 minutes as home forward Luke Hornsley made one of his trademark strong runs into the penalty area, beating three defenders though didn’t have the finish to match as he slotted wide. It was hardly plain-sailing though for the home defence as they had to deal with more anxiety-provoking moments as Joss Lillis’ strike struck his own player with ten minutes to go and seconds later, substitute Chris Webb fired wide as well.

When the final whistle did sound, it was some comfort that the hosts had retained a clean sheet though to be fair, on another day, Hoddy could have well claimed a share of the spoils though both sides struggle to create clear-cut opportunities as both custodians in Marsh and Bull were not hugely tested.

Full-Time: Hullbridge 1 – 0 Hoddesdon

In summary, it is ‘all about the points’ now as the season run-in begins and Hullbridge keep leaders Stansted on their toes, with the deficit remaining at four points though ‘Bridge have two matches more to play. On the plus side, they have a four-point cushion on Saffron Walden in third spot. Hoddesdon remain 9th, three points clear of Ilford just behind them.


Hullbridge Sports   | Stand-in Manager: James Wakeling

George Marsh (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn, Joe Skeels (Joe Wright 71’), Greg Frederick, Emmanuel Okunja (Dan Okah 56’). Adebola Sotoyinbo, Luke Hornsley, Nathan Scarborough

Goal-scorer: Adebola Sotoyinbo [28’]

Booked: Skeels, Okunja, Hornsley, Rose, Sotoyinbo, Wright  | Subs Not Used: Taylor, Fuadianitu, T Sotoyinbo

Hoddesdon Town    | Manager: Simon Riddle

Aaron Bull (GK), Michael Elliott (Capt) (Chris Webb 78’), Aiden Critchley, Jack Riddle, Oliver Gnandi, Sam Cross (Aaron Ramthor 78’), Cyrus Babaie, Scott Hayes, Joss Lillis, Blue Gallagher (Mulik Rickman 58’), Connor Bolton

Booked: Critchley, Elliott | Subs Not Used: Farrow

Referee: Ervin Kegyes

Round-up: Essex Senior League (Sat 2 Mar) [ESL 3.3.19]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League round-up, looking at this weekend’s action on Saturday 2nd March, hopefully this piece won’t bring on any more daft jibes.

Saturday 2nd March

Clapton   3 – 1    West Essex    | Old Spotted Dog | Att: 42

The Tons produced another strong home display to overpower West Essex. Strikes by Bryan Kyungu [17’], Valentine Iheanyiogu five minutes before the break and a third from Giovanni Palmer with 15 minutes to play secured the hosts’ third win in their last five matches to send them up to 11th. West got one back through Michael Mignot though they sit in 14th spot.

Ilford  2 – 1  Barkingside  | Cricklefield ‘derby’  | Att: 38

Ilford ended up getting the victory here to rise to tenth spot though the score-line doesn’t tell the whole story as my report here will say:

Redbridge  4 – 1   Sawbridgeworth Town   | Oakside  | Att: 42

The Motormen powered to another good home success, this time over Sawbridgeworth. The damage was done before the break really as Taylor Tombides opened the scoring on 23 minutes for Micky Wetherall’s team. Connor Okus [30’] and full-back Billy Willis [43’] strikes gave the hosts a comfortable advantage. Tombides got a second just four minutes after the re-start to secure a good day for Redbridge though they couldn’t hold on to a clean sheet because Louie Kenny’s 90th minute goal gave Sawbo a little to savour on a long day for them. Redbridge’s 9th win this season takes them a point shy of Sawbo in the standings, while Town suffered fourth straight league loss here.

Southend Manor  2 – 0  Leyton Athletic  | Southchurch Park | Att: 52

Manor’s early blitz gave them a great platform to secure a big win for them as they seek to cut the bottom two adrift. Early goals from Kye Jude on four minutes and Grant Frances two minutes later set Adam’s Peek side on their way to a first win in 11 league matches. Leyton could not respond as their own winless run extends to 20 matches now and only above the bottom on goals scored.

Sporting Bengal Utd  0 – 1  Hullbridge Sports | Mile End  | Att: 40

Hullbridge will feel the result was better than their performance as a added-time Perry Dunn header granted them the win over a spirited Bengal side at Mile End. Nevertheless this extended the ‘Bridge boys unbeaten stretch to six matches as they remain 2nd, only a point behind leaders Stansted, with a match in hand. Bengal’s third straight match without a win sees them remain eighth.

Stanway Rovers   0 – 5   St Margaretsbury  | Hawthorns  | Att: 49

St Margaretsbury roared to an impressive 5 – 0 win at the Hawthorns. Loanee Lanre Balogun continued his scoring run with the opener on 14 minutes though talisman Charncey Dash doubled that advantage on 36 minutes though Ollie Sharman made it three four minutes before the interval as Max Mitchell’s side continued their recent fine form. Prince Madu [49’] and Dash’s second of the afternoon with 18 minutes remaining added more polish to St Margs’ third straight win to send them sixth. Stanway fall to 13th.


Takeley  4 – 0  Saffron Walden Town  | Station Road  | Att: 266

Takeley stunned the Bloods with arguably their performance of the season with front of a hefty crowd at Station Road. Three goals in the first half-hour saw to Marc Das’ side to a position from which Walden couldn’t recover from. First, Michael Castle struck after just five minutes before Coby Miles [15’] and Josh Sykes [25’] gave the hosts a dominant lead. Freddie Burrell struck on the hour to seal a memorable day for the hosts and send them back above Walden to third spot. The Bloods’ second defeat in their last eight sees them six points off top spot.

Walthamstow  1 – 0  Tower Hamlets   | Wadham Lodge Stadium | Att: 42

Hamlets gave one of the front-runners a tough afternoon for the second weekend running as ‘Stow battled to a narrow win at Wadham Lodge. Dwade James was the man to be counted again as his 86th-minute penalty separated the sides. Walthamstow remain fifth after their fourth win in their last five matches. Hamlets remain 17th though they are five points behind Redbridge immediately above them.

Woodford Town  3 – 3  Enfield   | Harlow Arena ‘derby’ | Att: 57

Woodford were denied another victory by as Enfield retained their recent spirit in an entertaining draw in the Harlow Arena ‘derby’. Josh Steele, Jordan Sanderson and Asher Modeste all found the net for Dee Safer’s side though Jimmy Cox’s fine hat-trick continued both his goal-scoring run and Enfield’s recent unbeaten stretch. Woodford drop to seventh while the E’s rise to 12th.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.

Round-up: Essex Senior League (Fri 22/Sat 23 Feb) [ESL 24.2.19]

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and another of my round-up pieces looking at this weekend’s matches in the Essex Senior League as big tussles happened that both ends of the standings. Thanks for reading.

Friday 22nd February

Woodford Town  0 – 1   Hoddesdon Town    |  Venue: Harlow Arena  | Att: 170

This contest was only settled right at the death after Hoddy had earlier missed a spot-kick. Oliver Gnandi’s stoppage-time goal secured all three points for Simon Riddle’s side, only their second win in their last seven matches. After the weekend’s action, Woodford remain 6th though have Sporting Bengal and St Margaretsbury right behind them in the table. Hoddesdon remain 9th.
Saturday 23rd Feb

Clapton   2 – 1    Barkingside    | Venue: Old Spotted Dog  | Att: 35

The Tons handed ‘Side a damaging defeat in this local derby at the Old Spotted Dog. Dan Jones struck from the penalty spot for the visitors though strikes by the in-form Giovanni Palmer and ex-‘Side player Andy Greenslade saw Jon Fowell’s side to the win which sees them rise one place to 14th. Alex Goldstone’s side drop back to the foot of the table after their third straight league defeat.

Hullbridge Sports   3 – 1     Takeley   | Venue: Lower Road  | Att: 204

I attended this big top-four clash as Hullbridge defeated Takeley on ‘Sponsor’s Day’, in front of Hullbridge’s largest crowd for some time. My report is here:

Ilford   2 – 3    St Margaretsbury   | Venue: Cricklefield   | Att: 45

In-form St Margs resisted a late comeback from the gutsy Foxes to claim their fifth win in their last eight league matches. They made a blistering start as Dagenham & Redbridge loanee Lanre Balogun opened the scoring on seven minutes. Debutant Wilson Ferreira doubled that lead for ‘Bury eight minutes before half-time. Ilford regrouped at the break before halving their arrears thanks to Musa Manneh’s 47th-minute goal. Daniel Ungudi restored the two-goal cushion for Max Mitchell’s side on 62 minutes though Ilf had the last say as Lauric Diakiesse struck two minutes from time.

Ilford are in 12th spot, one of a clutch of teams in a congested mid-table while St Margs stay 8th, though are only a point off the top six.

Leyton Athletic    0 – 0    Enfield   | Wadham Lodge Stadium   | Att: 20

Leyton battled to claim a very rare clean sheet against Enfield at Wadham Lodge. This might be an important point come April’s end in Ath’s relegation battle as they go back above Barkingside to second-bottom by virtue of slightly better goal difference as Enfield also extended their unbeaten run to five matches. The E’s stay 11th.

Redbridge   4 – 1    Southend Manor   | Oakside  | Att: 52

The Motormen powered an important victory over struggling Manor at Oakside. Taylor Tombides opened the scoring 12 minutes in and they went into the break two goals ahead as Daniel Gilchrist scored five minutes before the interval. Manor got back into the contest two minutes after the break through Dylan Jones’ strike. Two goals in eight minutes did the damage though for the home side as Tombides [70’] and Gilchrist [78’] both got their braces to push Micky Wetherall’s side 15 points clear of the bottom two. Manor’s sixth loss in their last nine sees them remain 18th, seven points clear of the bottom two.

Sawbridgeworth Town   0 – 2   Walthamstow  | Crofters  | Att: 50

‘Stow safely navigated this test at Crofters. Dwade James struck from the spot to continue his fine goal-scoring season and thanks to an unfortunate own goal, they extend their unbeaten stretch to four matches and can leapfrog Takeley in 4th if they win their match in hand. Sawbo’s season is rather petering out with only one win in their last seven matches now, dropping to 15th.

Stanway Rovers  2 – 2  Sporting Bengal Utd  | Hawthorns  | Att: 51

An entertaining match saw these two top-half sides cancel each other out at the Hawthorns. The visitors were the brighter side in the early stages and went two goals up in the opening quarter-hour. Firstly, they broke the deadlock thanks to Reside Coxi-Sebastiao’s penalty on four minutes for his fifth goal in his last three matches. Jason Ngandu made it two on that 15 minute mark. However, Terry Sillane’s side are made of strong stuff these days and halved that deficit eight minutes later through Scott Kemp’s goal. Rovers also have a knack of scoring late goals and that showed itself again as Tyler Kemp [78’] struck to ensure the spoils were shared. Stanway remain 10th on goals scored. Sporting retain 7th spot on goal difference, ahead of in-form St Margaretsbury.

Tower Hamlets    0 – 1   Saffron Walden Town  | Mile End Stadium  | Att: 25

Walden ground out the three points as they secured their sixth win in their last seven league matches over ten-man Hamlets. Lewis Francis got the only goal on 23 minutes though Hamlets showed their recent spirit in abundance, even if their discipline deserted them as Tola Odedoyin was dismissed. AJ Ashinike’s side saw their three-match unbeaten run end here as they remain fourth-bottom. Walden sit 3rd and Hamlets remain 17th.

West Essex     0 – 1   Stansted   | Mayesbrook Park   | Att: 32

The Airportmen were stifled by the plucky Stags until a super substitution brought about the only goal of the game. Jack Mitchell was that substitute, and his strike on 61 minutes was ultimately enough to accrue another three points for Paul Pittuck & Marc Benterman’s side to keep their lead over rivals Hullbridge at four points, having played two more games. West drop to 13th as their struggles at Mayesbrook continue this term.

That’s all for this week, don’t forget to tune in this Thursday when Peter & Scott take the reins on the Grassroots Football Show on ELR.

Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 3 – 1 Takeley (Sat 23 Feb) [ESL 23.2.19]

Essex Senior League

2018-19 Season: Match 53

Saturday 23rd February 2019 – 3pm KO

Venue: Lower Road

Attendance: 204

Hullbridge: Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Takeley: Red Shirts,  Red Shorts, Red Socks




Second-half comeback secures important win for ‘Bridge over stubborn Takeley at Lower Road

Report by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] with photos by Neil Hunwicks [@AbridgeTooFar16] & Scott W


This weekend’s ESL game took me to Lower Road for this big clash between two of the current top-four sides as Hullbridge took on Takeley. The hosts enjoyed a big crowd for their ‘Sponsor’s Day’ and named a strong squad. New signings Greg Frederick and Joe Wright made their league debuts with the latter joining Luke Hornsley and Adebola Sotoyinbo in a quick front-line. Sam Taylor, Nathan Scarborough and ‘keeper George Marsh were on the bench. For Marc Das’ side, they named stalwart Ronnie Yates in goal with some back four of Bryn Thorpe, Andre Humphrey, skipper Matt Hurley and George Powell, with Freddie Burrell and Coby Miles supporting Mitchell Das in the central striker’s role.

It was the visitors who made the better start as once again the home side were ‘slow starters’. Right on ten minutes, lively winger Coby Miles attempted a curling chip from 25 yards though home custodian Lewis Greene gathered confidently. Moments after support forward Freddie Burrell struck a lob from a similar distance just over the woodwork, Takeley took the lead. A sweet in-swinging corner from Mitchell Das found centre-back George Powell at the back post who made no error from close range. Darren Manning’s side responded a minute later as energetic centre-back Jamal Allen headed just wide.

Powell (far left) heads home opener for Takeley [Image: Neil H]
Takeley were characteristically powerful in the air with their tough defence heading crosses out of danger more often than not in the first half. They could have gone further ahead though as full-back Andre Humphrey’s blasted drive went through a crowded penalty box though Greene, possibly unsighted, made a good block to parry it away. The ‘Bridge boys were getting quite frustrated as we passed the midway point of the half as the match got niggly with tough challenges aplenty and fouls conceded. On 34 minutes, a super through ball by forward Luke Hornsley found strike partner Adebola Sotoyinbo though whilst one-on-one with Yates, the commanding goalie made a good save at his near post. Moments afterward, centre-back Perry Dunn had a header cleared off the line.

Although at times, the home side’s front-line were somewhat isolated, it needed another good save by Yates to deny midfielder Joe Skeels’ curling strike which was heading into the corner.

Half-Time:  Hullbridge  0 – 1  Takeley

This entertaining affair continued after the break, though the visitors will wonder what might have been as Miles found himself in on goal a minute into the second period, though his low strike was skewed wide of Greene’s far post. As we careered nearer to the hour mark, Sotoyinbo was getting some joy down the lleft flank with his pace and trickery. However, what ‘turned the tide’ was a reckless five minutes for the visitors. First, on the hour home midfielder Greg Frederick was bundled over in the box off-the-ball by midfielder Jason Todd, who promptly recieved his second yellow card by referee Eugene Robinson. Sotoyinbo converted the resulting spot-kick, in off the inside of the post.

What followed was even more surprising. Only three minutes later, the enterprising Frederick was hauled down again in the box and you guessed it..another penalty was awarded. Sotoyinbo converted once again, although his spot-kick squirmed under Yates who can count himself slightly unfortunate. Having said that, the Takeley goalkeeper more than redeemed himself in the latter stages as after a mazy run by Hornsley, past two opposition defenders, his point-blank effort was well-saved for a corner. Substitute Nathan Scarborough also unleashed a pile-driver which cannoned off the angle of post and crossbar as Hullbridge really asserted themselves with their opponents tiring.

Takeley ‘keeper Yates sprawls across to deny Wright (far right) [Image: Neil H]
At the other end, a swift counter-attack saw Das play in midfielder Matt Gill whose goal-bound forced a fine save from Greene. The hosts sealed the points in added-time as a strong run from forward Joe Wright down the left saw him having only Yates to beat, he unselfishly squared the ball from the six-yard line to substitute Dan Okah to help himself to a tap-in to an unguarded net.

Full-Time:  Hullbridge  3 – 1   Takeley

Hullbridge certainly had more joy keeping the ball ‘on the deck’ after the break as Takeley defended stoutly in the first period. However, that five-minute spell of ill-discipline around the hour mark will irk the Takeley management team somewhat and ultimately they didn’t have enough ‘in the locker’ to get back into the game after they went behind. Takeley showed exactly why they are a stubborn opposition though ‘Bridge also showed two areas where they have improved this season, in defence and also scoring goals.

As far as stand-out performances go, Jamal Allen was strong in defence for the hosts today, along with ‘keeper Lewis Greene and midfield engine Greg Frederick. For Takeley, ‘stopper Yates reduced the deficit with another strong display, with centre-back George Powell and winger Coby Miles also having good games in my view.  I’d also like to thank Hullbridge for their consideration on their busy ‘Sponsor’s Day’ – that press box may be unfinished though it isn’t half bad.

Hullbridge’s Greg Frederick in action today [Image: Neil H]


Hullbridge Sports   |    Manager: Darren Manning

Lewis Greene (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn, Joe Skeels, Greg Frederick, Emmanuel Okunja (Nathan Scarborough 70′), Adebola Sotoyinbo (Dan Okah 83′), Luke Hornsley, Joe Wright

Goal-scorers: Adebola Sotoyinbo [pen 60′ & pen 63′], Dan Okah [90’+3]

Booked: Okunja   |   Subs Not Used: Taylor, Marsh (GK), Fuadiantu

Takeley    |   Manager: Marc Das

Ronnie Yates (GK), Bryn Thorpe (George Pullen 51′), Andre Humphrey, Matt Hurley (Capt), George Powell, Jason Todd, Michael La Ronda (Joe Pullen 62′), Matt Gill, Mitchell Das, Freddie Burrell (Ryan Lynch 67′), Coby Miles

Goal-scorer: George Powell [14′]

Booked: Gill, Thorpe, Burrell | Sent Off: Todd (Two Bookings) |  Sub Not Used: Martin

Match Report: Barkingside 1 – 3 Hullbridge Sports (Mon 21 Jan) [ESL 22.1.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Cricklefield

Attendance: 120

2018-19 Season – Match 43

Monday 21st January 2019  – 7.45pm KO

Barkingside: Purple Shirts, Purple Shorts, Purple Socks

Hullbridge: Yellow & Black Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks

Hullbridge hold off ‘Side to record a good win at Cricklefield 

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

A rare midweek jaunt took me to Cricklefield to see a revived Barkingside outfit take on Hullbridge, who were looking for their second away win in four days. The hosts were looking to preserve their unbeaten run and named a front three of David Hornsby, Isaac Marfo and recent signing Mario Gjini, who until recently was at ‘Side’s relegation rivals Leyton Athletic. Hullbridge retained James Pellin in goal with a front three of skipper Jimmy Cox, Luke Hornsley and top-scorer Nathan Scarborough.

We had a rather slow start to this one as both sides sought to o find their rhythm going forward. The visitors could well have been ahead in the opening 20 minutes as first, with 14 on the watch, ‘Bridge forward Luke Hornsley picked out strike partner Nathan Scarborough though his weak effort when one-on-one with home ‘stopper Ryan Karrer was blocked by the ‘keeper’s legs. Hornsley then had a header chalked off for off-side minutes later.

‘Side forward David Hornsby looked to passes to run onto, on the shoulder of the visiting back-line though found little service given by his team-mates. Nine minutes before the interval, Hornsby did find space and played in winger Joe Oates though he blasted his strike just over the woodwork. A minute later, Hornsby’s effort lacked the power to test visiting custodian James Pellin. The visitors were then awarded a spot-kick seven minutes before half-time as midfielder Emmanuel Okunja was felled in the area, with Adebola Sotoyinbo stepping up to convert the resulting spot-kick. Hullbridge had a goal-bound header cleared off the line moments later before ‘Side forward Mario Gjini squandered a decent opening, gliding his shot wide after doing in well in getting past two defenders.

Half-Time: Barkingside 0 – 1 Hullbridge

Hullbridge certainly looked to put the game to bed in the early stages of the second-half. Scarborough miscued another good chance with only Karrer to beat merely a minute in, before they did double their advantage as full-back Matt Rose’s beautiful cross found forward Jimmy Cox at the back stick to power home a header from close range. To be honest, the next passage of the game saw fairly little in the way of goal-mouth action as the visitors sought to protect their lead and the hosts unable to seriously put pressure on the home defence, despite Gjini’s occasional surging run and the presence of fellow forward Isaac Marfo, who tried to unsettle the centre-back duo of Jamal Allen and Perry Dunn. Sotoyinbo had another effort cleared off the line just after the hour as Hullbridge looked to erase any doubt as to where the points were heading. Scarborough did his goal in the end as with ten minutes remaining, his strike from close range secured the win.

Barkingside did respond four minutes from time, as moments after coming on, substitute Shaiquan Maisara slotted home well in with just Pellin to beat. Unfortunately though for the hosts, they didn’t quite show enough in attack to test a Hullbridge side looking to keep their confidence on a firm foundation to keep tabs on leaders Stansted. ‘Side remain two points adrift of rivals Leyton Ath, having played one game more.

Full-Time: Barkingside  1 – 3  Hullbridge

Darren Manning’s side deserved their win in a scrappy battle though they will be more than happy with the points and move on to their trip to Tower Hamlets at the weekend. ‘Side’s four-match unbeaten run ends here. Finally, it was good to see the match in the conpany of ground-hoppers Richard and Andrew plus GFS’ own Adam R, ESL Publicity Officer Scott Lanza and not forgotting the ‘rock at the back (well…ish!)’ of Hainault Athletic, Damian Clark. Thanks also to all at Barkingside for their hospitality.

Barkingside  | Manager: Alex Goldstone

Ryan Karrer (GK), Frederico Hernandez, Akwasi Marfo, Dan Jones, Edward Lang (Harry Matthews 66′), Derek Ohalem, Joe Oates, David Ottley (Capt), Mario Gjini, David Hornsby (George Woodward 60′), Isaac Marfo (Shaiqain Maisara 83′)

Goal-scorer: Shaiqain Maisara [86′]

Booked: Lang, Ottley, Matthews   | Subs Not Used: Buchanan

Hullbridge Sports      | Manager: Darren Manning

James Pellin (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose, Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn, Joe Skeels, Emmanuel Okunja (Joe Pattison 69′), Adebola Sotoyinbo, Jimmy Cox (Capt) (Dan Okah 52′ (Jonas Fuadianitu 76′)), Luke Hornsley, Nathan Scarborough

Goal-scorers: Adebola Sotoyinbo [pen 38′], Jimmy Cox [49′], Nathan Scarborough [80′]

Booked: Pellin, Okunja, Okah, Pattison, Homans | Subs Not Used: T Sotoyinbo, McLeavy

Round-up: Essex Senior League  (Sat 18 Jan) [ESL 21.1.18]


Written by Scott W

Hello & welcome to my round-up of Essex Senior League action this weekend as ten matches took place, two of which took place on Friday night.


Friday 18th January 2019


Leyton Athletic   0 – 4    Hullbridge Sports   | Wadham Lodge Stadium |Att: 43

The action started on Friday night with Hullbridge overwhelming Leyton in the second half in a 4 – 0 victory. Ath player-boss Eli Benoit put through his own net on 49 minutes to open the opposition’s account. ‘Bridge quickly seized on that opening as talisman Luke Hornsley got in on the action with his first on 55 minutes. Emmanuel Okunja made it three [70’] before Hornsley struck again five minutes later to seal a vital win for Darren Manning’s side and stay third. Leyton long hunt for a win goes on as they stay second-bottom.

Woodford Town  2 – 2    West Essex  | the Harlow Arena | Att: 67

Woodford left it late though managed to grab a point against a spirited West Essex at the Harlow Arena. Andrea Montavani put the hosts ahead on 24 minutes though the Stags are known for playing good attacking football and could have levelled before half-time. They soon corrected that, as two minutes after the interval, Hakim Medfai continued his streak of scoring with the equaliser. Kwame Kwateng’s side went ahead on 62 minutes through Michael Mignot’s strike and it looked as if they would get the points. Not to be. Jayden Thompson-Brissett’s injury-time leveller saved the hosts’ blushes a tad as they stayed 5th, despite a fifth game on-the-bounce without a win. West have also drawn their last three and sit 14th after the weekend’s action.


Saturday 19th January


Clapton   1 – 1   Southend Manor  | Old Spotted Dog |Att: 40

The Tons had to settle for a point against Manor at ‘the Dog’. Ryan Reed’s penalty had put the hosts ahead though midway through the second period, Jayke Welch levelled for Adam Peek’s side. Manor are four games without a win now and stay fourth-bottom, nine points clear of basement side Barkingside.

Enfield   0 – 4   Walthamstow   | the Harlow Arena | Att: 59

‘Stow put the E’s to the sword after their frustrating defeat last weekend. Loan signing Correy Davidson put them ahead on 12 minutes. That lead held until half-time before a brace from Gebrai Samrai [47’ & 48’] sealed the win. Dwade James added a late fourth and in doing so went joint-top of the ESL Top Goalscorers list though his side stay 6th, eight points off the top four.

Hoddesdon Town  2 – 0  Sporting Bengal Utd   | Lowfield | Att: 81

Hoddy won this one late on at Lowfield. Jack Riddle struck with only three minutes remaining before Cyrus Babaie’s stoppage-time spot-kick ensured the hosts’ third win in their last seven to pull four points clear in ninth spot. Bengal are winless in three and stay 7th on goal difference.

Ilford   2 – 3    Redbridge   | Cricklefield |Att: 47

The Motormen got the better of the Foxes in a pulsating start to this derby at Cricklefield. Loanee Deji Adeniran broke the deadlock a mere two minutes in, though Dan Gilchrist endorsed his reputation as the new ‘go to’ man for goals for his side with the equaliser on 19 minutes. Fellow new recruit Jay Knight struck twice [45’] and in first-half stoppage-time to swing the pendulum the way of the visitors. Adeniran got his third goal in two ESL matches for the Foxes on 68 minutes but Micky Wetherall’s side held on to extend their mini-revival to three matches and opened up a five point lead in 16th over Manor in 17th. Ilford’s  sixth defeat in their last eight sees them fall to 13th.


St Margaretsbury   0 – 4   Saffron Walden Town  | The Recreation Ground | Att: 54

Walden got another priceless three points at the Rec to keep the heat on the top three. Charlie Portway put the Bloods after ten minutes and after the prolific Lewis Francis converted a spot-kick two minutes after the break, the visitors were in a commanding position. Two more goals rounded out the scoring with Anthony Da Silva notching on 72 minutes, before Francis got his second four minutes later. Walden got their third straight win while St Margs’ four-match winning run is over.

Stansted   2 – 2   Barkingside   | Hargrave Park  | Att: 56

‘Side so nearly broke the metranomic run of the Airportmen though the hosts got a late, late equaliser. Joe Oates got another important goal for his side on the half-hour, and after David Hornsby doubled that advantage with 12 minutes left, the visitors were dreaming of victory. Fortune didn’t go their way though as first Ollie Bell struck with four minutes of normal time to play. And then deep into stoppage-time, the Blue Brazil rescued a point from a far from outstanding display as Paul Clayton netted [90’ +7] to leave the ‘Side bench fuming. ‘Side are unbeaten in four matches now, two points shy of Leyton above them. Stansted remain top and extend their unbeaten run to eight games.

Takeley   1 – 1    Sawbridgeworth Town   | Station Road | Att: 104

Takeley were denied a win by rivals Sawbo late on at Station  Road. Joe Pullen broke the stalemate with 15 minutes left though improving Sawbo restored parity as Julien Lloyd got the leveller four minutes from time to give Sawbo a point.

Tower Hamlets  2 – 3     Stanway Rovers    | Mile End | Att: 18

Finally, Hamlets lost again at Mile End and saw player-boss AJ Ashinike taken off with injury.  Ezekiel Kamara and Luke With hit the goals for the home side though strikes by Tyler Kemp, Dion O’Reilly and an injury-time winner by Scott Kemp saw Rovers to an important and much-welcomed away win.

Hamlets suffered their fourth straight loss as they are mired in the relegation scrap you feel.


Thank you for reading, we’ll be back next week.

Match Report: Hullbridge Sports 6 – 1 Sawbridgeworth Town (Sat 5 Jan) [ESL 5.1.19]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Lower Road

Attendance: 59

2018-19 Season – Match 40

Saturday 5th January 2019  – 3pm KO

Hullbridge Sports: Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Sawbridgeworth: Red and Black Hooped Shirts,  Black Shorts, Red Socks


Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with Photos by Neil Hunwicks (Twitter: @ABridgeTooFar16) & Scott

Players pre-match in the fading light (Image: Scott W)

2019 and the second half of the ESL season began in earnest for Hullbridge and Sawbridgeworth with what turned out to be a cracker at Lower Road. You’ve heard the phrase ‘Game of two halves’ a lot, this match was almost two matches in one. Hullbridge, looking to reduce the gap to leaders Stansted, had to make a late change as gooalkeeper Lorcan Morrissey (himself due to replace stand-out stopper George Marsh due to injury) suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up so in came Alfie Cross between the sticks. The ‘usual suspects’ of Luke Hornsley, Adebola Sotoyinbo and Nathan Scarborough made up a formidable front three for the hosts, with Matt Rose skippering the side and recent signing Courtney Homans at right-back.

Sawbridgeworth named promising goalkeeper James Askew in their starting XI, with Joe Wright and Ollie Fortune leading the line and Lewis Deamer captaining the side. Julien Lloyd was among those unavailable due to being banned. What interested me is would an improving Sawbo side pose Hullbridge problems after their Errington Cup exit last weekend to Hoddesdon. We soon got an answer…..

To be fair, the pitch was rather soft in places with added sand in both goal-mouths. Anyway, we had an enterprising start to this match as in the first minute, ‘Bridge midfield dynamo Emmanuel Okunja rifled an effort past James Askew’s left-side post.  Mere minutes later, forward Nathan Scarborough unleashed a powerful drive which Askew had to parry away while skipper Matt Rose also scuffed a shot wide. Fellow forward Luke Hornsley was also ‘in the mood’ as after bypassing two Town defenders, he also fired wide.

The hosts could have been ahead though Sawbo also looked a threat on the counter-attack with winger Daryl Doolan and the front two of Wright and Fortune looking to stretch the home back-line. Indeed, the visitors struck first in this game as on 12 minutes, Doolan powered down the left flank and whipped in a peach of a cross which found forward Joe Wright and he fired home confidently.

John Watters’ side arguably had their best patch of the half just after the goal as just past the 20-minute mark, captain Lewis Deamer struck wide from a corner before minutes later, attempting to catch stand-in ‘keeper Alfie Cross off his goal-line, Wright sent a 40-yard lob wide of the ‘onion bag’. The tackles were starting to getting slightly crunchy as well at times, though Sawbridgeworth’s defence were frustrating the hosts to some degree and ‘keeper Askew also was commanding his area well and made decent saves as well.

On the half-hour, the hosts sensed they needed to find another gear and forward Adebola Sotoyinbo powered in an effort which Askew superbly tipped onto the woodwork. Two minutes later, Doolan had another half-chance, fizzing an effort over the bar.

On the cusp of half-time, the hosts got their leveller as from Rose’s cross, Sotoyinbo reacted first to grab a tap-in. It was the sort of game that could’ve been 2 – 2 at the break, it was that open though on chances alone, the hosts should have been level, even if the timing of the leveller felt like a ‘sucker-punch’ for the visitors.

Half-Time:  Hullbridge 1 – 1 Sawbridgeworth


After the break, club stalwart Sam Taylor entered the action for the hosts, coming in at centre-back while Jamal Allen filled in the anchor midfield slot. Taylor immediately had an impact as he denied Wright a clear sight at goal for the visitors. With 54 minutes on the watch, Okunja composed himself in the area going round his marker though was again well-denied by the impressive Askew. The hosts were finding their rhythm by this stage as Sotoyinbo had a low shot cleared off the goal-line before Hornsley fired wide after being well-found by Scarborough.

What followed that was a devastating spell of five goals in 14 minutes, to which Sawbo simply had no answer. First, from Sam Taylor’s sweet corner, substitute Michael Salako’s neat header found the far corner of the net on 69 minutes. Only five minutes later, the hosts were two goals ahead as Scarborough was in the right place to poke home after Hornsley had been denied. Unfortunately for the tiring visitors, it didn’t end there as the hosts were right in the ascendancy.


With 14 minutes remaining, Hornsley was fouled in the area and Sotoyinbo stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and duly converted. The quick and tricky forward then got the goal of the game three minutes later with a superb 25-yard chip which sailed into the corner past a helpless Askew to also complete a fine hat-trick. Sawbo had a half-chance at the other end as after a lung-busting run, full-back Louis Monk blasted over the woodwork with nine minutes left. Soon after, the scoring was rounded off as from Scarborough’s cross, Salako powered home another header to secure a big win for Darren Manning’s side and quite a comeback.

Full-Time: Hullbridge 6 – 1 Sawbridgeworth


You had to feel somewhat sorry for the visitors as they didn’t deserve a hammering today, especially after their contribution to the game in the first-half. That being said, they faded quite heavily after the break – which boss Watters will be disappointed about. For Hullbridge though, their goal-power showed again and with that, they did no harm to their goal difference either. It’s not often you see goals pouring as they did here in the second-half and that ruthlessness will undoubtedly leave boss Manning and his coaching staff happy, as well as the home fans.

As ever, thank you to Hullbridge for their hospitality and also best wishes to Sawbo for the rest of their season.

Hullbridge Sports   | Manager: Darren Manning

Alfie Cross (GK), Courtney Homans, Matt Rose (Capt), Jamal Allen, Perry Dunn, Joe Skeels (Sam Taylor 46′), Joe Pattison (Michael Salako 65′), Emmanuel Okunja, Adebola Sotoyinbo, Luke Hornsley (Jonus Fuadianitu 79′), Nathan Scarborough

Goal-scorers: Adebola Sotoyinbo [45′, 76′ & 79′], Michael Salako [69′ & 82′], Nathan Scarborough [74′]

Booked: Skeels     | Subs Not Used: Tapley


Sawbridgeworth Town  | Manager: John Watters

James Askew (GK), John Clarke, Louis Monk, Lewis Deamer (Capt), Jo Cunning, Tom Jelliman, Daryl Doolan (Taylor Williamson 84′),James Baughurst, Joe Wright, Ollie Fortune (Isaac Amoah 68′), Danny Palmer (George Froosham 77′)

Goal-scorer: Joe Wright [12′]

Booked: Wright, Fortune    | Subs Not Used: Garrett