Essex Senior League – Premier Division
Venue: Burroughs Park
2021-22 Season: Match 56
Saturday 12th February 2022 – 3pm KO
Ensign: Red & Navy Blue Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
St Mags: Yellow Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks
Ensign comeback secures narrow win over St Mags
White Ensign 2 – 1 St Margaretsbury
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
This weekend’s foray into Non-League was a local trip to Burroughs Park to see top ten side White Ensign take on St Margaretsbury, who are one of a clutch of teams looking to avoid the bottom three in the Essex Senior come the end of April.
Ensign had Louis Hawes in goal, with a defensive unit of full-backs Thando Moyo & Charlie Adams alongside centre-backs Patrick Campbell & skipper Jake McWee. Injuries have affected the Ensign squad of late, but Connor Barnby led the line here, with support from the dual-signed Valter Cachicote Da Rocha and Shemarie Perkins-Palmer, Options on the bench included forwards Luke Woodward & Jason Reynolds-Blanche, plus midfielder Ben Austin and co-bosses Carl Conway & Jack Maleary. St Mags could only bring a squad of thirteen players with them here, with Alfie Todd in goal, a back four of Euan Tungamirai-Hove, Andrew Greenslade, Jake Hayden-Eley and Harry Mason. Robbie Allen and Joe Abe led the forward line alongside Tom Mulqueen, with prospects Stefanos Georgiou and Charlie Hill in midfield. Their options from the sidelines were Steven Wade and assistant boss Richard Dagger.
In the early going, it was the visitors who had more impetus on the ball and looked purposeful to really add to the nerves of their hosts, who were getting audibly frustrated with their lack of tempo going through the thirds of the pitch. Both sides shared early glimpses of goal, in the first minute St Mags forward Robbie Allen lofted a strike wide of goal after being found well by winger Joe Abe. While at the other end, midfielder Kris Newby’s pass found Valter Cachicote Da Rocha but his effort on goal drifted wide of Alfie Todd’s right-sided post.
Paul Holding’s side did back up their early promise as they took the lead on eleven minutes. Ensign conceded a set-piece just shy of the eighteen-yard box and Allen duly stepped up to unleash a fine curling strike into the top left corner, despite home stopper Louis Hawes getting a glove on it. It could’ve been worse for Jack Maleary & Carl Conway’s side as Hawes did well to deny Allen’s low strike at the near post eight minutes later. The lead threat for Ensign was the returning Connor Barnby who made some good runs into forward positions, only to be thwarted by the assistant’s flag and determined defending. Da Rocha also stretched the visiting backline with his trickery and energy down the flanks.
Much to his credit, Barnby was having that bit more influence on the game as we entered the last third of the half, with a fine strike from the Ensign forward after a good turn got past his marker and also being found well by Da Rocha. Even so, St Mags were having too much room in midfield to build counter-attacks as the good pace of Stefanos Georgiou and Charlie Hill making lung-busting runs meant that the Ensign defence were under pressure.
Half-Time: White Ensign 0 – 1 St Margaretsbury
After the interval, White Ensign did have more ball time amd were slowly turning the scale of pressure on St Margaretsbury. From a set-piece, half-time substitute Carl Conway’s initial flick-on was nodded narrowly wide of the left-sided post by fellow centre-back Patrick Campbell, much to the visiting defence’s relief. However, the pacy St Mags forward line showed their threat again moments later as a defensive error allowed Georgiou to nip in at the edge of 18-yard area and after making a decent turn, his effort was denied by Hawes.
As the hour approached, Ensign again made a decent move with Newby’s ball sent into to the box in the second phase of an attack, though Barnby’s effort was gathered by Todd. That was a let-off for St Mags but it did not last long. On the hour, with Da Rocha and club stalwart Luke Skinner involved in the build-up, forward Shemarie Perkins-Palmer fired home a fine strike from twenty yards out, finding the right corner and giving Todd litle chance. Ensign had levelled the game, and unsurprisingly that fired them up to finish the job. The St Mags had already expended a fair amount of energy by this point, and centre-back Harry Mason had to be replaced by Steven Wade just after the goal.
Moments after the leveller, Ensign replacement Luke Woodward had a sight at goal, but it lacked the power to bypass Todd after being fed by Barnby, they did get that crucial second goal. With Barnby well primed to shoot from merely six yards out, he was felled in the area, with Newby stepping up and blasting the ball home, high into the net from the resulting penalty.
This entertaining match continued as St Mags were understandly very keen to prise back a goal to take something from the game, though their amount of chances lessened in the last 15 minutes. Charlie Hill did make an excellent run in through the middle of the pitch and evaded the home defence, unfortunately his resulting strike at goal didn’t have the force to bypass Hawes, who gathered. Ensign were also still looking for another goal, though in the end, they would settle for a hard-earned three points here.
I think that that Ensign management will be a tad concerned that the performance did render themselves a bit vulnerable to having conceded more goals than they did, especially in the first half but the style of football that they are known for certainly helped them get back into the game.
Full-Time: White Ensign 2 – 1 St Margaretsbury
To summarise this entertaining but gritty battle, St Mags started well in the first half but after they conceded the equaliser, they really were up against it. Ensign were not at their most fluent by any means but they did enough to claim the points which keeps them in the running for a top ten finish in their first season at Step Five. The visitors will be disappointed but also have to remember that it is very tight tussle to avoid finishing in the bottom three, and other results were fairly good for them on this matchday.
As ever, there were a number of good performances to mention. Firstly for Ensign, Forwards Connor Barnby and Shemarie Perkins-Palmer both had a real influnece on the game, with Barnby putting in a very good shift, with pace and good movement while Perkins-Palmer scored a fine goal and also made good runs down the right channel. Charlie Adams also had a very good game at left-back, making several good interceptions and also made good passes and got in good areas going forward too, with Valter Cachicote Da Rocha also playing his part to give his side added potency going forward with his trickery, pace and passing.
For St Mags, forward Robbie Allen had a really good game, scoring a fine goal and his pace also made the home defence a little nervy at times. Midfielders Stefanos Georgiou and Charlie Hill also made some excellent runs and stifled the Ensign midfield as well. Right-back Euan Tungamirai-Hove also deserves a mention for stout defending and good awareness for most of the game.
I’d also like to wish both sides a good remainder of the campaign.
White Ensign | Joint-Managers: Jack Maleary & Carl Conway | Assistant: Steve Thomson
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Louis Hawes (GK), 2 Thando Moyo, 6 Jake McWee (Capt) (14 Carl Conway 46′), 16 Patrick Campbell, 12 Charlie Adams, 5 Luke Skinner, 4 Kris Newby, 7 Shemarie Perkins-Palmer, 10 Jake Chaplin (19 Luke Woodward 65′), 9 Connor Barnby, 18 Valter Cachicote Da Rocha (11 Jason Reynolds-Blanche 88′ )
Booked: Chaplin, Perkins-Palmer | Sub Not Used: Austin, Maleary
St Margaretsbury | Manager: Paul Holding | Assistant: Richard Dagger
Starting XI: 1 Alfie Todd (GK), 5 Euan Tungamirai-Hove, 6 Harry Mason (14 Steven Wade 61′), 3 Jake Hayden-Eley, 2 Andrew Greenslade, 4 Sami Moutawafiq (Capt), 7 Stefanos Georgiou, 8 Charlie Hill, 9 Tom Mulqueen (17 Richard Dagger 82′), 16 Robbie Allen, 11 Joe Abe
Booked: Georgiou, Allen | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: George Younger
Assistants: Ray Parmenter & Glenn Michaels