Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand. This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 26 March. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.
Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]
With additional reporting by Scott W
Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 26 March
PREMIER DIVISION CUP
The last weekend of GMT brought the first of the Premier Division Cup semi-finals as an east London derby saw Wapping taking on Crookz United at Victoria Park. Jordon Mills-Smith netted off the bench for Wapping but his efforts were not quite enough as Crookz scored three of their own in the game and record a 3 – 1 triumph to see them book their maiden cup final with the league.
DIVISION THREE CUP
In the day’s only other cup tie, in the Division Three Cup competition, hosts FC Baresi Under 23s were in action with a first round tie against Terin at the Britannia. The hosts continued their excellent form to book a last eight tie with a thumping 5 – 0 win as Joshua Adu and Maamoon Khan both scored twice, along with a Marco Perkola effort.
Chadwell Heath Spartans have moved two points clear at the top of the Senior Division with four games to go as they came away with all three points from their trip to Hainault defeating Blue Marlin 4 – 0. Harry Payne was the difference between the sides, netting a hat-trick, along with an Elie Fanga goal which saw their side move top on the back of other results around them. That switch at the top came on the back of a draw between the sides placed second and third now as Lymore Gardens took a point as they drew 1 – 1 against DT FC at the County Ground. Tyrique Peters struck for Gardens with their goal but DTFC ensured they took a point which, with their game in hand still, retains their position as the favourites.
Woodford East are continuing to lurk in the background and with games in hand, could still present a huge threat for the silverware, aided by a terrific 5 – 2 victory at the Marshes against Tower United in the Hackney derby. Connor Brathwaite bagged a hat-trick for his side with Callum Maltese and Billy Barr also on the scoresheet with another crucial three point haul. Abdi Jama and Ousman Bangura replied for Tower in that game. At the other end of the table, what a fortnight it’s been for Chigwell Town who put in a huge performance at home to FC Baresi on Saturday to put the quest for safety in their own hands, moving level with eleventh placed Blue Marlin with a 2 – 1 victory. John Lye and Ellis Morgan both got on the score-sheet to keep their hopes of survival well and truly alive.
Over at Noak Hill, Rapid Chingford’s own quest for survival was all but assured at the weekend as they moved up to eighth, eight points clear of the drop zone with plenty still to play after they defeated London Cup finalists, FC Petrocub, in a 2 – 1 scoreline. Andrei Boga and Darwin Romero both scored for Rapid as they returned home with the points. The division’s remaining game was an East Ham derby fixture as Jolof Sports saw the visit of CSM London to their old stomping round of Flanders Playing Fields. A close game was settled by just the single goal and it was Jolof who took the accolades following the reappointment of Danny Brissett in the hot seat, Jolof winning 1 – 0 to maintain their hold of fifth spot.
There was an exhilarating game between two of the promotion contenders in the Premier Division where Oakside hosted leaders, Frenford A, over at Fairlop Oak with ‘Side knowing the importance of getting something from the game. The match ended in a six-goal thriller, 3 – 3, with Joel Opara netting two and Isima Iguisi once for Frenford as the teams settled for a point each. In the other game, London Cranes have moved up a place to seventh in the standings after they came away 1 – 0 victors in their home clash against London Park City. Moses Kazibwe was the man to score with that only goal of the game, netting to give his Cranes side their seventh league success of the campaign.
In Division One, Belfry made sure of at least a promotion place on Saturday with a double header success against Barkingside A over in Dagenham. A 4 – 0 victory in game one saw Kieron James net twice along with efforts from Gabriel and Solomon Ogunwomoju to net their first points. They then followed that up with a narrow 1 – 0 success in the second fixture with Gabriel Ogunwomoju once again on target with the only goal of that game. Success next weekend will see the title heading to Belfry. The goals were flying in over Newbury Park where Cowley Community’s last game before their huge county final saw them take part in a ten-goal thriller against Wanstead. An entertaining game saw Cowley goals from James Allen, George Anthony, Joel McEwan, Michael Taylor and Chris Wright account for their goals but the visitors were on form themselves with five goals to see this finish 5 – 5.
That results enabled Ilford Reserves to take their place in the top two as they came through a close game against fellow promotion hopefuls, RCXI, in their game in Hainault. Joseph Sulola scored twice for the Foxes with RCXI only able to respond with one goal of their own, going down 2 – 1 as Ilford racked up win number twelve. Forest Green have given themselves the best chance of avoiding the drop as they confirmed an important victory against bottom of the table Francis Luke. Green were 6 – 4 winners to move ninth, despite a Jahvarn Steward hat-trick and a Kennerly Cassius effort for the hosts for whom time is running out to beat the drop. The afternoon’s mid-table battle saw Kwanzas London Sport go into their game against Something From Nothing, two points behind their opponents in the race to finish in the top half. But by full-time they had leapt above SFN as they won 4 – 2 to pick up win number seven, moving to twenty-four points, a point clear of their rivals.
In Division Two, Fairlop Rovers have returned to the top of the standings after a few weeks away as they made it a six point Saturday with a double header success against FHN Athletic in the Hainault Derby, They were 2 – 1 winners in game one with Jack Kibblewhite and Logan Simmonds scoring, cancelling out an Aldo Vani strike for the visitors. In game two, another close game was edged by the odd goal with Rovers winning 3 – 2, Kibblewhite scoring twice this time and Sam Beaman once. Terron Fordjoe and Kieran McKoy grabbed the FHN goals in consolation.
Emerson & Upminster Reserves stay in the promotion hunt, sitting second, after they took home three points on Saturday with a 4 – 2 win at Hall Lane against Loughton Lions. Owen McKelvey and Will Osmond both scored for Lions but two Billy Biggs efforts plus goals from Tobi Onafeko and Reece Martin ensured it was their Emerson side taking the spoils. Owen McKelvey and William Osmond got the goals in reply for Loughton in that one. Fifth placed Old Esthameians lost ground on the promotion chase a little as they were held to a 3 – 3 away draw against Newbury East as the two Newbury Park based sides met at Oaks Park High School. Habeeb Gayle scored a hat-trick for an improving East side who took their points tally to five as they will seek further improvement next season. Neil Robinson got two goals in reply for Old E’s plus Nelson Goncalves also netted.
It was a good afternoon for Redbridge Community who took their place in the top half of the table with a double header success in both fixtures against St Francis on Saturday. Redbridge were 3 – 1 winners in the first fixture before following that up with a 5 – 2 success in game two to take their wins tally to eight for the campaign.
Old Barkabbeyans Reserves took their place once again at the top of the Division Three standings after an empathetic winning performance at home against ASA, winning 11 – 2. Jay Elliott scored four, Michael Ryder three and one each from Alex Donkor Junior, Josh Robinson, Jerome Morris and Simeon Peter completed a profitable day for them. It was also a good day for Lymore Gardens Reserves who moved up into fourth place in the table as they overtook opponents Melbourne Sports with a 3 – 1 win at Fairlop Oak. Kevin Monteiro, Warren Isoka and Omani Green were the men who found the back of the net with their efforts seeing Lymore record win number ten this season.
Tenth placed Flyers Under 23s made it three wins for the season in their penultimate game as they came from behind to take home the points with a terrific second half performance against Glendale. Josh Adeojo’s solo effort had given the Dales a 1-0 half time lead but capitulation in the second half, coupled with a vastly improved Flyers performance saw the visitors win the game 4 – 2, despite Attila Szabo also netting for the hosts.
On an adjacent pitch, promotion chasing Royal Forest Reserves saw their title hopes all but extinguished as they were held to a 1 – 1 draw against Together United. Together led through Fifi Banin’s strike but a Josh Trainor leveller in stoppage time rescued a point that, mathematically, does keep them in the race but now out of their hands.
Both of the leading sides in Division Four were in action over the weekend with Sporting Pillars travelling to Romford to face a Flyers Under 21s side who had ended their cup hopes earlier in the month. It was a league clash this time but, once again, there will be disappointment in the visitors camp as Max Wellard’s goal for Flyers meant they took a point, Rayan Allam striking the Sporting goal in a 1 – 1 draw. That result could have been terminal for their league hopes but Chingford Harriers, presently sitting top, had a battle of their own at Peter May with Emerson & Upminster A the visitors ahead of their own cup tie. Neither side was able to find the back of the net as a 0 – 0 draw was recorded at full-time, Harriers therefore maintaining a one point lead with one game to go for both of the top two sides.