Written By Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Hello and welcome to the fifth piece of a mini-series of blog articles looking back at the ‘void’ Season 2019-20, as deemed by the FA.
In this edition, I look back at the EOFL Division One campaign, rounded out with an array of statistics compiled from the EOFL FA Full-Time website including top goal-scorers & top appearance makers in the League fixtures. I won’t shirk, I’ll get the apology in now that I didn’t see any EOFL Division One matches live, but I will try to treat it the same as the other divisions that I did see matches in (Premier, Div Two & Div Three) this season.
EOFL Division One (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)
As with all the EOFL divisions, the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later. At the top of the standings at this point was Chingford Athletic, who continued their terrific progress up the EOFL divisions following promotion from Division Two last term. Dave Richbell’s side won fourteen of their 17 matches to end up on an impressive 43 points. In doing so, they had the best home record, winning eight of their ten matches at Town Mead [3G] and had the second-best goal-scoring record, striking the net 48 times (at a Goals per game average (Or GpG) of 2.82). The only sides to beat them this term were Old Chelmsfordians and Lakeside and the fact they had two entrants in the top five of the goal-scoring charts (see below) means they will again look for elevation next term you feel. All in all, another good campaign that chairman Lee Bowers can reflect on with pride.
In second spot were Old Chelmsfordians, six points further back on 37 points from their seventeen matches played. All season they have been a tough side to breakdown, having the fourth-best defence conceding twenty goals and are the top-scorers in the division, having plundered 54 goals (a GpG of 3.17) and to cap it off, the Chelmsford-based side also had the second-best home record, winning seven of their nine matches at Lawford Lane. Matthew Crick also topped the goal-scoring charts with 15 league goals this term. Ongar Town were third on 31 points from only eleven matches, having been blighted by weather and being in Cup action as well, particularly the Essex Premier Cup. Even so, they won ten of their matches, scoring 36 and conceding only nine times – the best in the division. They were unbeaten at their Fyfield Village Hall home as well, winning six of their seven matches there. Had the season continued, the East London side may well have caught the leaders though they can still be more than satisfied with a fine season.
Lakeside finished in fourth place, having accrued 29 points from their fifteen matches. Not bad going at all for the promoted side. It is one of those statistical quirks that six of their nine wins this season came away from their Lakeside Sports Ground 3G home. Plus, their goal-scoring and defensive records sit in mid-table, with them having the sixth-highest scoring record with 31 (GpG of 2.06) and having shelled 22 goals, the sixth-best in Division One. Highly-rated forward Drew Klessa-Smith was again their top league goal-scorer with eight goals and they can look forward to another good campaign next term. Another side in the Chelmsford area finished fifth, in Galleywood. They got 24 points from their fifteen outings, though they won six of those and only lost three times. In an interesting stat twist, they were the lowest scorers of anyone in the top seven sides (with 23 strikes this term), whilst also having the fifth-best defensive record with 20 goals conceded. Going from that, they are a tough side to defeat and will look to maintain that going into the next campaign.
A point further back in sixth were Rayleigh Town Reserves, under the leadership initially of Lee Bunn and Dan Williams before the latter’s departure meant Bunn took sole charge in the last couple of months or so. They improved on a bottom-two finish in 2018/19, having won seven of their 13 matches to end up on 23 points. They were not a dull side to follow, having struck the net thirty-five times (at a GpG of 3.18) but also shelled 30 goals themselves and it was perhaps the latter that hindered them from achieving a top-four finish, though it’s worth noting they did have matches in hand on most of their rivals. The Town second-side also were unbeaten in their last five matches so they will be optimistic that they will have a decent season again next time around. They were six points clear of Shoebury Town in seventh, who ended a mixed season to put it mildly with seventeen points from 18 matches. They only won three matches, though they did also draw a league-high of eight matches as well. The mixed theme continues as Shoebury struck 38 times this term (a GpG of 2.11), only to concede 49 goals at the other end, the third-worst in the division. On a better note, star forward Dominic Binns again was their highest goal-getter, grabbing eleven goals this season so congratulations to him. Plaudits also go to Mitchell Odd and Matthew Smith, the other two Town players in the top goal-scorers chart this term with six goals apiece.
Next in the standings were another club affected by weather and Cup action in FC Hamlets, who got 15 points from their eleven matches, after a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player. On a happier note, Ashley King’s side had the second-best record defensively, only shelling twelve goals in their league season, as well as another fine in the London Junior Cup, which saw them make the Final once again. It is impossible to leave out a mention for the 2018-19 Division One Top goal-scorer Charlie Heatley, who added a further ten goals this term. Respect to you Charlie. I would also like to wish departing player-boss Ashley King well as social media reports indicate he will move on in the summer. Snaresbrook are two points behind their fellow East London side in ninth, having reached thirteen points from their ten matches, as the weather heavily impacted their fortunes. Their management will probably look to the point that they scored nineteen goals in their matches this term, the second-most goal-shy this term. Ramsden Scotia are a point further back in tenth spot, having been deducted two points as well. They finished fifth in the previous season though the Billiericay-based side had more problems going forward this term, scoring eighteen goals in their 15 games (GpG of 1.20) – the lowest in the division. Their top-scorer Jamie Auvache (6 goals) deserves a mention too for preventing a worse outcome there.
Into the bottom four now and Manford Way had another hard campaign following relegation from the Premier Division in 2018-19. They finished in eleventh spot with 11 points from their fifteen matches (after being deducted two points). Unfortunately, their biggest headache this term was at the back as they conceded forty-eight goals (average of 3.20 a match) which is the fourth highest this league term. Top-scorer Joe Lovell got six of the twenty-two league goals they did strike though they will look to improve next term. In twelfth place is Herongate Athletic, who gained three points as a result of an opposition error to end on eleven points from their15 matches. Goalscoring wasn’t a particular issue for them, having scored twenty-six goals (the highest number of all the bottom six clubs) though their troubles were in defence, having conceded fifty-three times which was the division’s joint-worst record this season. Two wins all campaign really lends itself to the feeling they will want to improve next term. Below them are Runwell Sports in 13th after a very hard campaign for outgoing manager Jason Emery, who will concentrate on being Chairman next season. Sports grabbed ten points from their 14 matches though in fairness, they did show glimpses of improving form both in the league and in Cups in the second part of the season. They may have got themselves higher in the standings given the big number of matches they had to play and in another anomaly, they only conceded 26 goals, the best defensive record of the bottom six sides.
Finally, Toby prop up the table in last place, having gained seven points in their 18 matches. One win all season (which was against rivals Herongate Athletic in early February) almost tells the tale sadly for the previous season’s Div Two runners-up which saw them promoted, and also conceding 53 goals did hamper their aspirations to evade the bottom two. Wish them well next campaign.
EOFL Division One – Top Goalscorers 2019-20 Season
|Club/s||League Goals||League Starts|
|1||Matthew Crick||Old Chelmsfordians||15||16|
|2||Alex Gordon||Chingford Athletic||14||15|
|=3||Aaron Blair||Ongar Town||11||11|
|Lee Lashley||Chingford Athletic||11||10|
|Dominic Binns||Shoebury Town||11 (1 pen)||12|
|6||Charlie Heatley||FC Hamlets||10||11|
|7||Rodney Wilson||Rayleigh Town Res||9||10|
|=8||Max Johnson||Old Chelmsfordians||8||14|
|10||Joshua Boxall||Ongar Town||7||8|
|=11||Martin Mixture||Old Chelmsfordians||6||4|
|Mitchell Odd||Shoebury Town||6||6|
|Joe Lovell||Manford Way||6||9|
|Joe Lilly||Ongar Town||6||9|
|Jamie Auvache||Ramsden Scotia||6||10|
|Matthew Smith||Shoebury Town||6||13|
Finally, here’s the top page of the Leading Appearance Makers in Division One (focus on League Starts)
|Matthew Crick||Old Chelmsfordians||16||1||17|
|=3||Aaron Clark||Shoebury Town||16||0||16|
|Joe Peters||Old Chelmsfordians||16||0||16|
|=5||Alex Gordon||Chingford Athletic||15||0||15|
|Max Johnson||Old Chelmsfordians||14||1||15|
|Samuel Pollard||Old Chelmsfordians||14||0||14|
|Liam Saunders||Old Chelmsfordians||14||0||14|
|=15||Charlie Adams||Runwell Sports||13||0||13|