Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Burroughs Park
2021-22 Season: Match 46
Saturday 11th December 2021 – 3pm KO
Ensign: Red & Navy Blue Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
Sawbo: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Ensign held by determined Sawbridgeworth at a damp Burroughs Park
White Ensign 0 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend’s main match saw a return trip to Burroughs Park for an enticing encounter which saw a new-look White Ensign side face a determined Sawbridgeworth Town who are still looking to climb away from the bottom four. Ensign are still in a transition phase after the departure of previous management team Brett Munyard & Mark Healy which also saw several players follow them to new club Brightlingsea Regent. New joint-managers Jack Maleary & Carl Conway were given the reigns to aid continuity though this match would be a test against a Sawbo side that has started to concede less goals recently and got a big League win recently too.
Ensign had Louis Hawes in goal, with a defensive unit of full-backs Thando Moyo & Courtney Justin alongside centre-backs Carl Conway & skipper Jake McWee. Teddy Henderson and Jason Reynolds-Blanche were looking to support centre forward Luke Woodward, with Jake Chaplin just behind him in the formation. Sawbo had Jimmy Parker once again between the sticks, with Jake Knight and Lewis Wicker their full-backs with Ethan Barton and Joshua Bardouleau in central midfield. Teddy Hall & Morgan Arnold led the forward line with the experienced Daryl Doolan just behind them.
In the early stages of this match, Sawbridgeworth did start quite well as tricky forward Morgan Arnold struck his strike wide of Louis Hawes’ goal. Seconds later, strike partner Teddy Hall was denied at the near-post by another decent Hawes save. It was soon apparent that the damp conditions would add to a pretty open match which made it tricky for both defences. Ensign did respond on eleven minutes through Luke Woodward’s low drive which visiting stopper Jimmy Parker did well to deny with a one-handed save.
The home side did have more ball retention in the middle part of the first half, as Jason Reynolds-Blanche showed his pace and trickery down the right flank, stretching the Sawbo defence. With seventeen minutes played, full-back Courtney Justin struck a decent effort which Parker again did well to block, in a congested eighteen-yard box from a set-piece. Sawbridgeworth were also decent going forward as well and soon after they nearly broke the deadlock. Arnold once again broke down the left side, finding strike partner Hall who in turn fizzed across a centre which went all the way across the six-yard line just out if reach of Daryl Doolan at the far post and out of danger.
Both sides were continuing to trade chances in what was a really even match. Sawbo had to make an enforced change midway through the first half with Arley Barker replacing the injured Ethan Barton in central midfield. Ensign couldn’t quite build their momentum to assist the hard-working Luke Woodward who was leading the forward line. Reynolds-Blanche was involved in another decent chance just past the half-hour, which ended up with Ollie Bell firing off-target. The visitors again replied down the other end, with a good strike by Arnold again denied well by Hawes. In fairness though, both sides were struggling to find that telling final ball to create clear-cut chances, in the slippery conditions.
Half-Time: Ensign 0 – 0 Sawbo
If the first 45 minutes was frustrating viewing, things certainly lived up after the break. Sawbo brought on James Falaise to replace joint-boss Kieran Amos at centre-back, alongside skipper Cory Rider. Sawbridgeworth started the half well, with only a assistant’s flag denying Doolan a chance to defeat Hawes one-on-one. There certainly was a big moment on fifty-eight minutes as Sawbo custodian Parker came out from his area and caught Reynolds-Blanche just outside the 18-yard area. It was a bit reckless though as referee Ben Kelly dished out the red card, you had to feel for the young goalkeeper as he trudged off the field. Doolan had to step in as the stand-in goalkeeper for Sawbridgeworth for the remainder of the match.
The tense moments only continued from there on in as Sawbridgeworth at the other end were awarded a spot-kick for an apparent handball in the penalty area. Teddy Hall stood up to take it but Hawes again showed his talent at saving penalties, denying the young Sawbo forward and clawing the ball away. Of course at this point with an added player advantage, Ensign were looking to pour the pressure back on Sawbo. They had chances in the period after Parker’s dismissal with substitute Eddy Cooper firing wide and soon after, another good move involving Cooper found Woodward, whose fierce strike from close range was well saved by Doolan.
As we entered the latter stages of the contest, it was clear to see that Ensign were feeling the pressure of being ‘favourites’ to get that decisive goal to win the contest. To be fair, the Sawbo defence once again showed their organisation and work rate to clear their lines and also force passing errors from the hosts’midfield. Substitutes Bradley Gates and Cooper did make an impact, Cooper giving his side another option down the left channel and Gates characteristically fizzing passes from deep into the forwards, providing another headache for the visiting backline.
However, you could debate that Ensign didn’t have tons of chances to bypass stand-in ‘keeper Doolan, though Ollie Bell did have a decent free-kick parried away from danger as the minutes elapsed. Sawbo did slow the game down but they also had a fair amount of possession in the opposition’ half too as the hosts couldn’t retain the ball for long periods. Reynolds-Blanche fizzed in another strike in added-time which Doolan gathered before the forward’s momentum took him into the Sawbridgeworth player and after five minutes of stoppage time, Sawbo could at least be pleased with a hard-earned point.
White Ensign will be disappointed by their Team performance today though I strongly suspect they will still claim good wins this term, just maybe less often than they have so far this season. It’s hard to be too critical of this Ensign side, in the middle of a rebuilding phase – It’ still been a good campaign I feel for the promoted side to date.
Full-Time: White Ensign 0 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town
In summary, the conditions affected both sides’ ability to play good football but the visitors dealt with them marginally better. Otherwise, it was a really even, open match with both teams having several chances to claim the points. Sawbo did well to keep the stalemate after having to play with an outfield player in goal (Doolan) for 35 minutes after Parker’s dismissal.
There were a number of good performances in this match. For Ensign, I thought Luke Woodward and Jason Reynolds-Blanche had good games today, leading the line well and making good runs down the channels respectively.Both of tgem could be key players in the next few months. Ollie Bell also had a good game today, as did full-back Courtney Justin who got forward well in addition to his defensive duties.
For Sawbo, forward pair Morgan Arnold and Teddy Hall showed a lot of pace, energy and movement to test the Ensign defence and they were unforunate not to score today. Full-back Lewis Wicker put in a very good shift as well, making several good interceptions defensively as well. Finally, a word for forward & stand-in ‘keeper Daryl Doolan who made one very good saveand two more decent ones to keep the scores level.
I’d just like to wish both sides a good remainder of the campaign, thanks to Les from Ensign for his assistance today. Thank you to you all for reading.
Here’s a couple of Extra photos to round out this article:
White Ensign | Joint-Managers: Jack Maleary & Carl Conway | Assistant: Steve Thomson
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Louis Hawes (GK), 5 Courtney Justin, 6 Jake McWee (Capt), 14 Carl Conway, 3 Thando Moyo, 4 Ben Austin (8 Bradley Gates 56′), 7 Teddy Henderson (16 Eddy Cooper 56′), 10 Ollie Bell, 11 Jason Reynolds-Blanche, 9 Jake Chaplin, 19 Luke Woodward
Booked: Austin, Bell | Sub Not Used: Salako & Maleary
Sawbridgeworth Town | Joint-Managers: Alex Salmon & Kieran Amos | Assistant: Paul Gissing
Starting XI: 1 Jimmy Parker (GK), 2 Jake Knight, 3 Lewis Wicker, 5 Cory Rider (Capt), 17 Kieran Amos (18 James Falaise 46′), 4 Joshua Bardouleau, 8 Ethan Barton (14 Arley Barker 24′), 7 Grant Webb, 9 Teddy Hall (16 Jake Skeet 85′), 10 Daryl Doolan, 11 Morgan Arnold
Booked: Hall | Sent Off: Parker (GK) | Subs Not Used: Frances, Spillane
Referee: Ben Kelly
Assistants: Ray Parmenter & Joe Lannon