Hello and welcome the sixth and penultimate article in this current series of ‘Club In-Focus’ blogs where figures in the Grassroots & Non-League game fill us in on their season so far and also recite some chosen moments from recent seasons too.
In this article, I caught up with Southend Manor boss Craig Waters who took the post about a year ago. Manor had a tough season last time out but are holding steady in mid-table at time of writing.
SW: 1. Hello Craig, firstly can I thank you for your time. We’ll begin with marking the first anniversary of your appointment at Southend Manor, along with your assistant Garry Pond. How has the journey been so far in that time?
CW: The journey so far has been tough but also enjoyable, I have really enjoyed my time at Southend Manor so far and have also enjoyed working with Garry [Pond] and all my management team as well as all the players.
SW: 2. How has the first two months of the season been as a management team, under the shadow of Covid-19 rules?
CW: Coaching under the Covid rules has been very different and challenging at times but everyone at the club have been fantastic and we are getting through it. the same as every other club.
SW: 3. At the season break, Manor are in ninth place on sixteen points, just four points away from the top three. Which sides have stood out for you in Essex Senior in the first two months of this campaign?
CW: “For me, Walthamstow have stood out so far this season, they play some nice football at times and with the attacking players they have, they won’t have any problems scoring goals, they will surely be in the top two come the end of the season I feel”.
SW: 4. For those that aren’t that familiar with your squad, forward Luca Frankis and midfielder Ben Allen have both amassed three league goals so far this season. Who are the players in the side that really make the team drive on?
CW: To be honest there’s not one stand-out player who drives the team on, all the lads play their part and the togetherness and team spirit is fantastic which has shown with some of the results we have had so far this season.
SW: 5. Away from Football, what are your sporting interests?
CW: Football and family that’s all I do these days, I don’t have time for anything else but I wouldn’t change anything.
SW: 6. And finally, How competitive do you feel the Essex Senior League is as a division this season?
CW: I think this season is very competitive, with the results so far this season it shows anyone is capable of beating anyone which is great to see. We will definitely be trying to get as many points as possible and hopefully cause a few more upsets along the way.
I’d like to thank Craig for his thoughts in this article and I wish him and Manor well for a good season. Thank you for reading.
Hello and welcome to an article looking back at the Essex Senior League 2020-21 season so far, as part of my content during this enforced break of November 2020.
In this article, we look at the Essex Senior table in general and experiences of watching the division in the opening two months or so pre-break. Also in a new feature, I’ll be joined by an expert reporting panel of fellow Non-League writers to pass on our views on the ESL. They are Matt North [MN] (@MattNorth_) and Aaron Moore [AM] (@aaron_moore25). My thanks to them both for their time & contributions in this article.
First up, we have the full table at the time the enforced break came in (on November 5th) which will be followed by our panel looking at how their tips pre-season are doing so far and respective experiences of the Essex Senior as well.
Panel insight regarding Season 2020-21 So Far:
Key: Scott = SW, Matt = MN & Aaron = AM
Which clubs did you tip to be in each of the following areas of the table in August & have those clubs started the campaign in the vein you felt they would and why? (a) Top Six (b) Mid-table (c) Bottom Six
AM: (a) Top Six – “I think we are all in agreement of who will be the winner as Hashtag seem to find a way to win regardless of how they play. The other five will be a fight and tough to predict. Stansted because of the start they’ve made and they look very good. Saffron Walden have built a strong team, Hadley have games in hand and are one of the toughest teams to beat as are Walthamstow as I think bringing players back has boosted them!
(b) Mid-table – I think ‘Fosters, Hoddesdon and West Essex will be at the top of the mid table sides based on their starts and the teams they are beating. Takeley had a poor start so will struggle, I don’t think Manor can keep up with their form throughout the season and Redbridge and Sawbo win some but also lose important games.
(c) Bottom Six – I think the bottom six will pretty much stay the same to what is it now. Woodford have made it hard for themselves already and will find it tough to recover, Clapton & St Margaretsbury find it hard to get wins and I think too many draws will cost them, Ilford and Enfield have decent teams but again they are so inconsistent and I think they will struggle after their start and Sporting Bengal will get limited wins again and I think they will be in the bottom six.”
SW: (a – Top Six) “Before the season began, I thought the likes of Walthamstow, Hashtag Utd and Saffron Walden Town would be up there given all three sides’ keenness to progress up the Non-League ladder and their consistency last season, which the FA might have voided officially but for writers and fans etc, it is anything but meaningless. The way that the Tags have started tells you they mean business but their levels of experience, their management team led by Jay Devereux and their togetherness are all good reasons why they could be the team to beat. Saffron Walden have started to find their rhythm after a tricky start sitting in fourth spot while Walthamstow have made strides to further improve their squad, enticing back two-time winner of the Essex Senior ‘Golden Boot’ Dwade James after a brief spell at Hendon. Their management team led by player-boss Max Mitchell and Terry Spillane also have nous & vast experience.
(b – Mid-table) Going back to last season and the way they play, I would not have ruled out Hadley, Cockfosters, Stansted, Hoddesdon, Takeley and West Essex from being mid-table sides this term, if not better given how they all can ‘trouble the scorers’. Stansted and Cockfosters have started well and are again tough sides to beat with ‘Fosters goalkeeper Brad Robinson among the best custodians in the division.
With regards to the bottom of the table, I was intrigued how the likes of Sawbridgeworth, Enfield and Southend Manor would improve on last season’s tough respective campaigns. Manor in particular have shown grit and form at Southchurch Park in patches this term but they also have shelled a few in some damaging defeats thus far too.”
MN: (a – Top Six) “Before the season even started, I knew that Hashtag United were going to be competing at the top and are certainly clear favourites for the title. I expected it to be the same four sides as last season in the title race in Hashtag, Saffron Walden, Walthamstow and Hadley purely because of how strong those sides are. Although the majority aren’t right up there at the moment, I can still see those four being up there when the season resumes. I did think Stansted would be around the top six positions and have been in a much better position than I thought. From watching them a lot this season, I feel as though Stansted will be another side to challenge for the title. As for 6th place, I thought that position would be very open in my eyes with the likes of Takeley and Hoddesdon being around there. Hoddesdon are currently sitting 5th so I may be spot on with that whilst Takeley are 8th so I them being around that area of the table as well.
In the mid-table places (7th-12th), I expected sides such as Cockfosters, West Essex and Redbridge to be occupying those positions. However, Cockfosters have had a much better start, sitting 2nd and look like challenging towards the top. However, Redbridge and West Essex are in a similar position to what I expected whilst I would have backed Woodford to be in mid-table but they sit bottom with just one win out of 11 games. Finally, St Margaretsbury was a side I thought would be sitting towards the bottom part of mid-table but are in 16th having made a poor start.
The sides I thought would be sitting around the bottom six are currently occupying those positions. Sawbridgeworth, Enfield, Ilford and Clapton were the four sides I thought would be near the bottom considering how those four got on last season. Sawbridgeworth had a very poor season last time out but this campaign they are in a much better position this time round and look unlikely to be right at the bottom. The other two sides I expect to be near the bottom but aren’t there this season are Southend Manor and Sporting Bengal, who both sit comfortably in mid-table territory. Manor are in 9th and doing much better than I thought whilst Bengal are 12th so they could still slip into the bottom six. Apart from that, I have been near enough spot on with my predictions for the bottom six at this early stage.”
2. Which clubs have surprised you with their start to the season and why?
SW: As I mentioned earlier, Cockfosters have to be mentioned given the strides they’ve made to improve their defence as well as their attacking options. Saffron Walden and Hoddesdon have been buoyed by their recent form too and cannot be underestimated. Finally, Southend Manor and Redbridge have had an upturn to their form in general, with the latter really finding their feet since the appointment of George Christou in terms of wins.
In the bottom half of the standings, Sawbridgeworth Town already have four more points than they got by the end of the shortened season in March. That being said, their goal difference is the second worst in the division at this point so that may count against them as the season goes on. Finally, Woodford Town are bottom of the standings, having played the vast majority of their games thus far away from home, as they have had to wait for their new home at Ashton’s to be ready. I’ve seen them a couple of times at the start of the campaign and I wouldn’t be that surprised if they get a few wins to evade the bottom three by February, but again they do leak a few goals.
MN: Cockfosters have surprised me with their brilliant start to the season, which I think many others would have said as well. Considering they were around mid-table last season, Ryan Wade’s side have really stepped up this season and have become serious title challengers this early on in the season. However, time will tell to see if they can continue to keep up this form but for now, they are looking good. Stansted have slightly surprised me too as I didn’t expect them to be as high as they are now in 2nd but I feel as though have put themselves in a very good position. Meanwhile, Southend Manor have made a good start to their campaign and sit comfortably in 9th and picked up some great results whereas other people have tipped them to be near the bottom. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Saffron Walden and Walthamstow have both had difficult starts to the season and many would have seen them to be competing with Hashtag at this early stage. However, with that being said, we are only around 1/4 of the way through the season so there is still plenty of time for those two sides to get a good run of form going.
AM: I think Cockfosters surprised everyone with their start to the season. It was superb from them and put them in a good position for the rest of the season. Southend Manor was another surprise with the win over Stow and drawing with Hashtag. Woodford Town, Saffron Walden Town and Enfield are probably the other end of the scale. No one expected the Woods to be bottom nor did they expect Walden to have only won five out of their thirteen games this season and Enfield brought in a better calibre of players but are still struggling.
All things being good, if the season resumes in December, which sides do you believe are well-placed to go further up the standings and why?
AM: Walthamstow and Hadley will certainly rise up the table with the games in hand they have on the top five.
MN: I believe that Hadley can easily go further up the standings considering all their games in hand on other sides around them. The Bricks have won six out of their seven games this term but sit 6th so if they keep that run going, I see them competing with Hashtag United at the top. Meanwhile, at the bottom, I feel as though Enfield are well placed to get further up the table judging by their form since Jamie Cureton became player-manager. The E’s are only five or so points off the top half so the ball is very much in their court. Finally, another side who look likely to rise up the table is Redbridge. Before the start of the second lockdown, the Motormen had won four on the bounce and with games in hand on sides around them; I wouldn’t put it past them to push towards the top 6 places.
SW: I have to make it “three from three” and say Hadley will be in and around the top three. If they can make Brickfield Lane a fortress again this season and get a few wins on the road, they may still have a say in who gets the title. Takeley may also move up a few places if they can keep their impressive goal-scoring (currently on 34 goals from their eleven games) going.
What have been your favourite matches to watch live this term and why?
MN: One of my favourite matches to watch this season has to be Stansted’s 2 – 1 derby win over Saffron Walden. A huge crowd, an entertaining match along with a last minute winner for the Airportmen which sent the supporters going wild! Other noticeable matches were Hashtag United defeating Sawbridgeworth 4 – 2 and Takeley 3 – 1. However, the majority of matches I have visited so far this season have been entertaining.
AM: I really enjoyed watching the 6 – 0 win for West Essex over Southend Manor as they attacking play was superb. It was great from a neutrals point of view but also the Hashtag vs Sawbo game as it could have gone either way.
SW: I enjoyed the dramatic midweek match in early October where Southend Manor roared back from behind to pinch a 3 – 2 over Ilford. Both sides had the energy and had some class finishing to go with it. Also, on the opening day in September, Hadley started the season as they did a year previous with a strong 4 – 0 win over Woodford Town. That was a long-awaited return to the beautiful Non-League game competitively after six months out.
As a neutral, what grounds do you like visiting as a fan?
SW: I have to nominate Cockfosters’ Chalk Lane first for this. Yes, the ground is comparatively small but it has its own character and the committee also give you a really good, kind welcome. Also, St Margaretsbury’s Recreation Ground is a bit of a ‘hidden gem’ as well. Same goes for Hadley’s Brickfield Lane, though the club have catered well for visiting fans with their seated stand & a covered terrace on the other side.
AM: I’d say Lowfield (Hoddesdon Town). It is a very nice ground which some superb hospitality.
MN: Personally, when it comes to the quality of the ground, I really enjoy visiting Catons Lane, home of Saffron Walden. It’s a very welcoming club with some excellent facilities and the overall visit is an enjoyable one. I also like going to Hargrave Park which is generally down to the friendly committee and supporters and a club I am quite close to.
How different has it been watching Essex Senior matches so far this season, with all the COVID-enforced restrictions? Has it altered the atmosphere on match day at all?
AM: I don’t think it had hampered atmosphere because it’s what the fans make it. That being said, it’s still strange having to follow the procedures, especially if you forget a mask. It’s hard knowing whether you’ll get into a game with the limited attendance (Usually 300 at this level)
MN: I have seen a difference this season but only in a positive way. Due to the COVID restrictions, no one can visit elite level matches such as the Premier League so opt to visit games in leagues further down the Non-League ladder such as the Essex Senior instead. A lot more supporters have been attracted to games this campaign in comparison to last season which I find brilliant! Of course you have a limit to the amount of supporters allowed in but I feel there is a much better atmosphere to the games now. For example, my brother started going to a few Stansted games and now he has been going on a more regular basis. I feel as though clubs have done very well to follow the COVID guidelines in place.
SW: I think the biggest difference is all the Distancing regulations, it does feel a bit eerie. That being said, it is brilliant to see fans of professional clubs visit their local Non-League sides during the stadia closure in the Premier League & the EFL. If anything, I also believe the fans that have stuck with Non-League for years have savoured matches a little more this year and the fact that it is reflected in attendances for many Essex Senior clubs is a good thing and long may that continue.
My thanks to Aaron & Matt for their valued contributions to this article and here’s a few snippets of info on them.
Aaron Moore is also a Non-League writer, mainly for Walthamstow FC in the Essex Senior League and also is part of the media team of Harlow Town Ladies. He can be found on Twitter – @aaron_moore25 and his blog is at http://footballreview.net/
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer
Hello and welcome back to another of my occasional round-up articles looking at the Essex Senior League for the Season 2020-21. This article tracks all the action from Saturday 24 October. Thanks for reading.
My thanks to Matt North [@MattNorth_] for the photo
Essex Senior – Saturday 24 October
Clapton 1 – 5 Enfield | Terry Mac |
The E’s moved out of the bottom three with a big win over nine-man Clapton at the Terry Mac. Olly Miles struck twice for Jamie Cureton’s side here, with Lewis Francis, Joseph Boachie and a spot-kick from Joe Thomas crowned off an important away win for Enfield and consign the Tons to their sixth loss in ten matches thus far, they remain second-bottom.
In front of another large crowd at the Len Salmon, Hashtag came from behind to secure a point against fellow in-form side Manor. Luca Frankis had put Craig Waters & Garry Pond’s side ahead though Jay Devereux’s side piled on the pressure after the break and got some reward for it as Albert Keith’s levelled things on 52 minutes. Despite dropping points at home for the first time this term, the Tags remain five points clear at the summit, whereas Manor’s unbeaten run sits at three matches now and they reside in sixth place, four points adrift of the top three.
Ilford ended their five-match winless run with a comfortable win over Woodford at Cricklefield. Two goals in seven minutes saw Adam Peek’s side on their way with Dimitri Christou’s strike [16’] and Yemi Adelani netting his sixth league goal this season seven minutes later. A wonder strike from defender Steve Sylvester in the last few moments ended a good day’s work for the Foxes and sees them up to 14th while the Town remain winless in nine matches this season.
Saffron Walden Town 0 – 1 Walthamstow | Catons Lane | Att: 296
Walthamstow emerged from another battle with rivals Saffron Walden with the three points, thanks to Dwade James’ spot-kick late on. Player-manager Max Mitchell’s side got their fifth win in their last six matches which sees them in fourth spot currently. Walden’s luckless run goes on as they fell to eighth place.
Sawbridgeworth Town 0 – 2 Hoddesdon Town | Crofters | Att: 54
Hoddesdon got their third win in their last five games with a hard-fought win at Sawbridgeworth. Harry Andic broke the stalemate right on the half-hour to put the Lilywhites ahead, before substitute Harrison Rookard sealed the points with three minutes remaining. Simon Riddle’s side rise up to fifth place while Sawbo drop to 13th, five points clear of the bottom three.
Stansted came out of a tough encounter with fellow top-three side Cockfosters with a point at Hargrave Park. After a goalless first period, Connor Hammond’s free-kick gave the hosts the lead on 65 minutes. But that lead scarcely lasted three minutes before Ned Clarke levelled following good work by former Stansted player Carl Mullings. With neither side able to force a winner, both sides go on to twenty points, with the ‘Fosters in second on goal difference.
Sporting Bengal Utd 1 – 0 West Essex | Mile End | BCD
Bengal got a third win in their last five matches by edging this contest with the Stags at Mile End. Rachid Qist’s spot-kick was the only goal but the visitors had a goal chalked off which mystified them somewhat. Imrul Gazi’s side go up to twelfth place, level on points with West who drop to tenth but both sides are among five sides who are on 13 points.
Takeley 5 – 0 St Margaretsbury | Station Road | Att: 94
Takeley continued their decent home form as they outclassed St Margaretsbury at Station Road. Elliott Long doubled his goal tally for the season with four goals in this contest to effectively seal the contest, before Ryan Lynch added a late fifth to make it twenty-four goals scored in seven home matches this season – an average of 3.42 per game! The hosts are up to ninth but St Mags’ winless run extends to three matches and are winless away from the Rec – they drop to third-bottom.
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer
Hello and welcome back to another of my occasional round-up articles looking at the Essex Senior League for the Season 2020-21. This article tracks all the action from the midweek action from Monday 12 October to Wednesday 14 October. Thanks for reading.
My thanks to Matt North [@MattNorth_] for the photo
Monday 12 October
Hashtag Utd 2 – 0 Woodford Town | Len Salmon Stadium [3G] | Att: 138
The midweek action started on Monday night as Hashtag got another valuable three points to go level on points with leaders Cockfosters, prior to their match on Wednesday night. An early strike by Samraj Gill gave Jay Devereux’s side the lead, before George Smith got his fifth league goal already this term to confirm a decent win over winless Woodford, who remain four points adrift at the bottom.
Tuesday 13 October
Hoddesdon Town 4 – 2 Walthamstow | Lowfield |
Hoddesdon fought back from behind to claim a fine win over Walthamstow. It was the visitors who took the lead through a fine header from Jason Beck though the Lilywhites did get back on terms through Frazer John’s close-range finish. Simon Riddle’s side led at the interval thanks to Kardan Campbell’s effort from a set-piece. After the break, Hoddy extended their lead thanks to Ben Quarrington-Carter and Cyrus Babaie to make the points pretty much safe, despite a late goal from Connor Scully for ‘Stow who fell to their third loss in seven games, as they drop to sixth. Hoddesdon go above their opponents into fourth, five points away from the leaders.
Saffron Walden Town 1 – 1 Enfield | Catons Lane |
This gritty encounter ended in a draw at Catons Lane. Walden conceded a spot-kick midway into the half but Enfield’s Olly Miles’ spot-kick was well-denied by commanding goalkeeper James Bransgrove. Eight minutes before the break, centre-back Luke Wilson’s effort was ruled out for a foul on an Enfield player in the build-up. The deadlock was broken eight minutes after the resumption, with Miles successful in striking past Bransgrove to give the E’s the lead. That lead only lasted five minutes though before Gavin Cockman equalised. With no further goals forthcoming, Walden inch up to eighth spot, and Enfield rise to 15th before Wednesday’s action.
Sawbridgeworth Town 1 – 4 Redbridge | Crofters |
Redbridge continued their upward curve with a fine win at Sawbridgeworth. Darnell Bromfield netted four minutes before the break for his new side to give the Motormen the lead. Ayub Kadiri [67’] and James Barlow [73’] goals put George Christou’s side in command. Sawbo responded five minutes later but Redbridge secured the points late on through replacement Terry Amoafo as the visitors went into the top half. Sawbo fall below their opponents here into 11th.
Sporting Bengal recovered from their FA Vase exit on Sunday in some style with a fine comeback win at Stansted. Ryan Ramsay opened the scoring on 24 minutes after a spot-kick was saved by Bengal ‘keeper Luciano Junior. Imrul Gazi’s team responded strongly after the break as a goal from Mahdi Khan and a late brace from substitute Joel Ramos (who has now scored six goals in the league this term) secured a swift turnaround to give Bengal their second league win this term and move up to 13th. The Airportmen fell to only their second loss this term and drop to fifth.
St Margaretsbury P – P Southend Manor | The Rec | Match OFF due to Waterlogged pitch
Takeley 5 – 1 Clapton | Station Road | Att: 49
Takeley added to the Tons’ pain defensively with a big win at Station Road. A goal-blitz in the first-half through braces from Lewis Deamer [16’ & 29’] and two goals in four minutes for Coby Miles on 37 and 40 minutes all but sealed the game before the half-time team-talks. Matthew Bentley struck again for Clapton three minutes after the break but the hosts held firm after that and replacement Ryan Lynch netted in the final moments to secure the win for Marc Das’ team, who go up to 12th. The Tons remain second-bottom.
West Essex 0 – 2 Hadley | Mayesbrook Park [3G] |
Hadley weathered tricky conditions and a tough trip to Barking with a decent win. Shaz Anwar and substitute Jordan Edwards got the goals to see the Bricks to another three points to keep pace with the leaders as they go up to third spot. The Stags drop to tenth but will be in action again at home on Friday night against Enfield.
Wednesday 14 October
Ilford 1 – 1 Cockfosters | Cricklefield |
In the solitary match on Wednesday, Adam Peek’s Ilford side held Cockfosters to a creditable 1 – 1 draw. Right on the quarter-hour mark, it was the Foxes who took the lead through the skilful forward Mo Kargbo, though Ryan Wade maintained his fine goal-scoring run to level for the ‘Fosters on the half-hour. Despite a good performance, the hosts couldn’t break through and had to settle for a point. The result keeps Cockfosters at the summit ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Hashtag this weekend, while Ilford go above Enfield into 15th spot.
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer
Hello and welcome back to another of my occasional round-up articles looking at the Essex Senior League this term.. This article tracks all the action from the midweek action from Monday 5 October to Wednesday 7 October. Thanks for reading.
Monday 5 October
Hashtag Utd 4 – 1 St Margaretsbury | Len Salmon Stadium [3G] | Att: 110
The action starts at the Len Salmon Stadium as Hashtag got their fifth league win of the season, comfortably defeating St Mags. George Smith’s first-half double [13’ & 33’] either side of a Harry Honesty effort put the Tags in a commanding position at the interval. Visiting forward Kyle Roberts notched his fifth league goal this term eight minutes after the interval, taking advantage of sloppy defending but the result was more than confirmed by substitute Albie Keith’s strike five minutes before the end which leaves Jay Devereux’s side in second spot.
The Bricks had to fight off a spirited come back by Bengal before completing another important win on the road at Mile End. Shaz Anwar’s powerful strike gave Anthony Clark’s side the lead, before Sam Edwards’ spot-kick doubled that advantage. The tension only intensified though as a brace from Chaka Barnett levelled the game. However, Bradley Marriott’s header secured another good three points to send Hadley up to third spot, six points adrift of leaders Cockfosters.
The Tons were held by the Lilywhites at Terry Mac. After a goal-less first half, Matthew Bentley got his second goal in the last three Clapton matches to put them ahead three minutes after the interval. Jack Gibbs levelled the match from the penalty spot before the hour mark and with no further breakthroughs, the Tons drew their fourth league match in six thus far. Hoddy had their first stalemate this term and remain in mid-table.
Cockfosters 4 – 2 Takeley | Chalk Lane |
An inspired comeback from the ‘Fosters maintained their three-point lead at the summit and their 100% winning start at Chalk Lane. Takeley started the stronger side with Lewis Deamer putting them ahead in the early stages before Ned Clarke swiftly levelled the match. The ever-reliable Jason Todd gave the visitors the lead once again just before the break but that lead only lasted about eight minutes before Reuben Campbell once again brought Ryan Wade’s side level. Clarke showed signs of last season’s goal-scoring form as he completed his hat-trick with strikes just after the hour and with minutes remaining. The win continues Cockfosters’ fine form in all competitions as they head back to FA Vase action this coming weekend. Takeley remain 13th.
Redbridge P – P West Essex | Oakside | Match OFF due to Waterlogged pitch
Southend Manor 3 – 2 Ilford | Southchurch Park |
A dramatic encounter saw Manor edge over the line in the latter stages. The Foxes started the match well and Dion Lewis-Kirwan slotted home confidently on eleven minutes to break the deadlock. Liam Jarrett’s fine strike levelled things 11 minutes before the interval but there was more drama to come. First up, Ilford regained the lead through Yemi Adelani’s surging run and finish barely a minute after the resumption. After missing a penalty, substitute Matthew Keiller let fly with a superb 35-yard thunder-bolt to level the game nine minutes before the end. And with Ilford’s nerves growing, Ben Allen was felled in the area moments later before getting up to take the spot-kick himself, which he duly converted to give Craig Waters’ side their third win in their last five matches.
Walthamstow rose to fourth spot after a comfortable win over out-of-form Woodford at Wadham Lodge. Jon Clements gave Max Mitchell’s side the lead before a Michael Toner special from forty yards doubled that advantage. Callum Ibe then pretty much sealed the match with his opportunist goal before half-time. Substitute Ezequiel Franchi got a consolation for Town in the latter stages as they continue to seek their first league win this term.
Wednesday 7 October
Enfield 4 – 0 Sawbridgeworth Town | Woodside |
And in the only game on Wednesday night, The E’s notched their first of the league campaign with a fine win over Sawbridgeworth at Woodside. James Baker opened the scoring on 13 minutes for player-boss Jamie Cureton’s side. Cureton himself notched the second with a header with eighteen minutes remaining. Sawbo’s night was to get worse as substitute Olly Miles secured a brace [84’ & 87’] to make it four games without a win for Lee Mackman’s team. Enfield rise up to 15th place.
S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Ilford: Red & White Hooped Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
Manor battle back late on to seal dramatic win over Ilford
Southend Manor 3 – 2 Ilford
Match Report & Photos by Scott W ([Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The first midweek in October saw me return to Southchurch Park to see an enticing Essex Senior contest between Southend Manor and Ilford. Both sides had suffered heavy defeats last time out. Manor fielded Klinton Makayabo between the sticks, with Liam Jarrett skippering the side in place of Reece Latimer, with Joe Elliott and Alex Jenkins in central defence. On the flanks were Jordan Thomas and Ben Allen, with Harry Rogers and Josh Devlin leading the line. With a number of players unavailable including the Frankis brothers, Jordan Russell, Ronnie Edwards and Deividas Sertveitis, the depleted bench included midfielder Matthew Keiller and forward Luke Jackson.
Ex-Manor boss Adam Peek’s Ilford side were also missing a few players here, including right-back Tyson Tala Nya, midfielder Dimitri Christou and former Manor pair Larry Akanbi and Jordan Fisher. They named teenager Josh Blackburn in goal, with Ope Mosuro and Omar Djotzi at the centre of their defence and an impressive front three of Yemi Adelani, Mo Kargbo and Dion Lewis-Kirwan. Among their options from the bench were centre-back Steve Sylvester and forwards Jerold Cobblah and Fred Agyemang.
The match itself began promptly with the hosts looking to grab the momentum early. Manor forward Harry Rogers challenged visiting goalkeeper Josh Blackburn for the ball with the ‘keeper punching the ball away, only for winger Ben Allen to have his follow-up header cleared. On six minutes, home winger Jordan Thomas fired narrowly wide of the right-side post. Ilford were also gathering their stride in attack, with rapid forward Dion Lewis-Kirwan narrowly being caught off-side which only served as a pre-cursor to them taking the lead which they did on eleven minutes.
A swift break forward by the Foxes saw number 10 Mo Kargbo coolly thread the ball in to Lewis-Kirwan on the left side on the 18-yard box before advancing on goal and slotting home past Manor custodian Klinton Makayabo confidently into the far corner for a fine opening goal. Makayabo had to be alert five minutes afterwards as from a set-piece, an attempted clearing header by skipper Liam Jarrett forced Makayabo to parry the ball away from danger from his own defender to prevent an unfortunate own goal. For the next phase of the match, it was a bit of ‘the calm before the storm’ with a good free-kick by Alex Jenkins being clawed away well by Blackburn on the half-hour.
Manor did level things up on 34 minutes as a great curling strike by Jarrett was out of reach of the despairing Blackburn before finding the back of the net. The Ilford ‘keeper had to deny a fierce drive by centre-back Joe Elliott moments later but the hosts had a let-off just before the break as Kargbo again sent a great through pass in to the path of forward Yemi Adelani but he couldn’t get it under control which allowed Makayabo to gather.
Half-Time: Southend Manor 1 – 1 Ilford
So, the chances were there for both sides but it was even-stevens at the interval. It hardly stayed that way for long though as a minute after the resumption, Adelani’s rapid run down the middle caught out the Manor backline and made them pay and his calm low finish bypassed Makayabo into the net to give the visitors the lead for the second time. With the hour mark approaching, home winger Ben Allen was working hard to pressure the visiting backline, forcing a couple of set-pieces. From one of those corners, Allen himself fired off-target.
Kargbo ran through on goal soon afterwards as Ilford countered, but Makayabo was grateful to gather. On 63 minutes, Allen again was in the action as another well-hit strike was heading into the top-corner forced a very good save by the over-worked Ilf goalie Blackburn. Ilford were having to deal with considerable pressure at this point, as Elliott also headed just wide from a free-kick midway into the half.
Manor were awarded a spot-kick on 73 minutes but just moments after entering the field of play, replacement Matt Keiller sent his strike wide of the left-corner. The Manor faithful could be forgiven for thinking ‘Oh, it’s going to be another one of those nights’ but with nine minutes left, Keiller more than made up for his missed penalty as he let fly from 35 yards and a absolute thunder-bolt flew past the unfortunate Blackburn into the net to level the match once again. Cracking goal it was. It got better for Craig Waters & Garry Pond’s side two minutes later as the impressive Allen was felled in the area. The Manor winger stepped up himself to take his side’s second spot-kick of the night and Allen struck home into the right corner, much to the delight of the home side.
Ilford were shattered by the sudden turnaround and kept going, much to their credit but were unable to force a third goal here and therefore suffered an agonising defeat. They more than played their part in a dramatic match that was great for the neutral.
Full-Time: Southend Manor 3 – 2 Ilford
In summary, Manor took advantage of a bad spell late on for the visitors to win the match, although the sheer work rate of the hosts was also admirable. Ilford showed enough to suggest why they have been scoring goals so far this term but they will know they have to see out matches better than they did here.
There were a number of good performances from both sides in this match. Firstly for Manor, winger Ben Allen was a driving force in his side’s attacks and kept going all match with his pace and crossing. Centre-back Joe Elliott also had a very good impact, being stern as part of the home defence that dealt with a powerful opposition forward line. Skipper for the evening Liam Jarrett also played his part, being his side’s best attacking outlet at times, scoring one good goal and could have had another while replacement Matthew Keiller has to be noted too for his stunning second equalising goal.
For the Foxes, Mo Kargbo impressed on his return to his old club, showing good vision and great passing. Forward pair Yemi Adelani and Dion Lewis-Kirwan gave the Manor backline a tricky evening as well with their pace and movement while goalkeeper Josh Blackburn also pulled off a few good saves to deny the hosts, particularly in the second half. I’ll close here by noting that this was a really good contest and it is arguable that neither side deserved to lose. Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the season.
1 Klinton Makayabo (GK), 2 Barry Findleton, 3 Billy Harrison, 4 Liam Jarrett (Capt), 5 Joe Elliott, 6 Alex Jenkins, 7 Jordan Thomas (14 Ethan Evison 75’), 8 Jack Frost (12 Matthew Keiller 71’), 9 Harry Rogers (15 Luke Jackson 61’), 10 Josh Devlin, 11 Ben Allen
Goal-scorers: Liam Jarrett [34’], Matt Keiller [81’], Ben Allen [pen 83’]
Booked: B Harrison | Subs Not Used: J Harrison (GK)
Ilford | Manager: Adam Peek | Assistant: Darren Gosnell
1 Joshua Blackburn (GK), 2 Sean Ekila, 3 Bailey Pryce, 4 Ope Mosuro (17 Charlie Hannam 68’), 5 Omar Djotzi, 6 Hassan Bangura, 7 Juan Cordona (15 Jerold Cobblah 80’), 8 Jamal Djotzi, 9 Yemi Adelani, 10 Mo Kargbo, 11 Dion Lewis-Kirwan (16 Fred Agyemang 76’)
Goal-scorers: Dion Lewis-Kirwan [11’], Yemi Adelani [46’]
Booked: Adelani, Mosuro | Subs Not Used: Sylvester, Hossack
Hello and welcome to this week’s fixture list, looking at the fixtures in the Essex Senior & FA Cup 2RQ involving ESL sides, Eastern Senior League South, Essex Olympian League & Cups, Essex Alliance League & Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier divisions this weekend – Friday – Sunday 2nd – 4th October.
The FA Cup – 2nd Qualifying Round (Essex Senior sides)
Saturday 3rd October
Hashtag Utd v Braintree Town | Len Salmon Stadium [3G]
Peterborough Sports v Stansted | Lincoln Road
Walthamstow v Hornchurch | Wadham Lodge
Essex Senior League
Friday 2nd October
West Essex v Southend Manor | Mayesbrook Park [3G]
Saturday 3rd October
Clapton v Woodford Town | Terry Mac
Hoddesdon Town v Hadley | Lowfield
Sawbridgeworth Town v Saffron Walden Town | Crofters
St Margaretsbury v Cockfosters | The Rec
Sun 4th Oct – Enfield v Ilford | Woodside
Eastern Senior League SouthFixtures
Friday 2nd October– Barkingside v May & Baker | Cricklefield
Saturday 3rd October
Burnham Ramblers v Athletic Newham | Leslie Field
Coggeshall Utdv Benfleet | West Street
Halstead Town v White Ensign | Millbank Stadium
Harwich & Parkeston v Newbury Forest | Royal Oak
Holland v Wormley Rovers | Dulwich Road
Little Oakley v Hackney Wick | Memorial Stadium
Wivenhoe Town v Frenford | MEC Stadium
Essex Olympian League Fixtures
Saturday 3rd October (2.30pm KO unless stated)
EOFL Premier Division
Catholic Utd v Leigh Ramblers | Len Forge Centre [3G]
EOFL Senior League Cup (2.15pm KOs unless stated)
ACD Utd v Sungate | Westlands Playing Fields
Beacon Hill Rovers v Wakebury | Wickham Bishops Sports Grd
Bishop’s Stortford Swifts v Old Southendian | Silver Leys
Buckhurst Hill v Leigh Town | Roding Lane
Collier Row v Roydon | Forest Row Centre (Pitch 1)
Epping Town v Old Chelmsfordians | Epping UC Rugby Club
Galleywood v Basildon Town | Clarkes Field
Harold Wood Athletic v Kelvedon Hatch | Harold Wood Park (Pitch 1)
Herongate Athletic v Runwell Sports | St Clere’s Sch [3G] (3pm KO)
Hutton v Springfield | Polo Fields
Lakeside Utd v Rayleigh Town | Lakeside Sports Ground [3G] (2.30pm KO)
Manford Way v Shenfield AFC | London Marathon Sports Ground
EOFL Reserve League Cup (2.15pm KOs)
Chingford Athletic Res v Manford Way Res | Town Mead [3G]
Old Southendian Res v Wakering Sports Dev | Garon Park [3G]
Rayleigh Town Res v Runwell Sports Res | London Road
Springfield Res v Shoebury Town Res | Arun Close
Sungate Res v Collier Row Res | Ilford Wanderers RFC
Essex Junior Cup – Hullbridge Sports ‘A’ v Wakering Sports Res | Lower Road (2pm KO)
EOFL Division One
Shoebury Town v Chingford Athletic | Cupid’s CC (Pitch 2)
Snaresbrook v Ramsden Scotia | Nutters Field
Toby v Ongar Town | Ford’s Sports Club (Newbury Park)
EOFL Division Two
Corinthians v AS Rawreth | Stambridge Memorial Ground
Laindon Orient v Ryan | Markhams Chase
Wakering Sports v Rochford Town | Cupid’s CC (Pitch 1)
EOFL Division Three
Basildon Town Res v Toby Res | Basildon Sports Club
Buckhurst Hill Res v Corinthians Res | Roding Lane (Pitch 2)
Leigh Town Res v Hutton Res | John Burrows Rec Ground
EOFL Division Four
Hashtag Utd Dev. v Galleywood Res
Old Chelmsfordians Res v Catholic Utd Res
Ongar Town Res v Leytonstone Utd
Shenfield AFC Res v Laindon Orient Res
EOFL Division Five
AS Rawreth Res v Herongate Athletic Res
Leigh Ramblers Res v Epping Town Res
Old Barkabbeyans v Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res
Essex & Suffolk Border League Fixtures
(Saturday 3 Oct) (3pm KOs unless stated)
ESBL Premier Division
Barnston v Felixstowe & Walton Utd Res | High Easter Road
Colne Athletic v Earls Colne | Strangers Corner Sports Complex
Dedham Old Boys v Alresford Colne Rangers | Duchy Field
Flitch Utd v Little Oakley Res | Alcott Playing Field
Hatfield Peverel v Lawford Lads | Keith Bigden Memorial Ground
Stanway Pegasus v Great Bentley | Stanway Sch (3.30pm KO)
Tiptree Heath v Gas Recreation | Tollesbury Road
West Bergholt v White Notley | Lorkin Daniell Field
Essex Alliance League Fixtures (Sat October 3rd) – 2pm KOs unless stated
CSM London v Blue Marlin | West Ham Community Ground [3G], Beckton
DT FC v FC Petrocub | the Harlow Arena [3G]
FC Baresi v Chigwell Town | Britannia Sports Ground, Walthamstow
Jolof Sports v All Prospects | Flanders Playing Fields, East Ham
London Cranes v Tower Utd | West Ham Memorial Park
West Essex Res v Lymore Gardens | Fairlop Oak Playing Fields
Chadwell Heath Spartans v North East Lions | Mayfield Leisure Centre, Goodmayes
Francis Luke v Kit Out London | Hackney Marshes
Kwanzas London Sport v Eastside | Beckton District Park (South), Stansfield Rd
Leyton Royal v London Park City | Salisbury Hall
Woodford East v Frenford ‘A’ | Debden Park Sch
Rest of the Fixtures are on website at essexallianceleague.com
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer
Hello and welcome back to another of my of round-up’s looking at the Essex Senior League for the Season 2020-21, which will appear here on a semi-regular basis. This piece also includes the results from the Eastern Senior League South action this weekend. Thanks to Matt North (@MattNorth_) for the Image & Thanks to you for reading.
Essex Senior League
Friday 25 September
West Essex 2 – 3 Walthamstow | Mayesbrook Park [3G] | Att: 88
Walthamstow fought back to claim a good three points at Mayesbrook Park, in a match which simply exploded into life in the early-goings. West wasted no time in breaking the deadlock as Cameron Gray’s goal gave them the lead after just two minutes. ‘Stow fell further behind as Michael Mignot extended the hosts’ lead four minutes later. However, before the match had passed the quarter-hour mark, the match was levelled as first Callum Ibe [9’] and then Connor Scully strikes had Kwame Kwateng’s side’s lead disappear almost as soon as it had been created.
Jon Clements finished off a pulsating half to give Max Mitchell’s side the lead for the first time ten minutes from the interval and the Stags were unable to level things again so it was ‘Stow who took their second league win this campaign.
Woodford Town 0 – 2 Redbridge | The Harlow Arena [3G] | Att: 56
The new era at Redbridge gathered momentum as they won 2 – 0 at Woodford Town. Goals from Craig Hall and Terry Amoufo did the business for George Christou’s new side and in doing so they got their first league win this term.
Saturday 26th September
Hadley 1 – 0 Takeley | Brickfield Lane | Att: 141
Hadley edged a contest with another strong side in Takeley, with Luke Alfano getting the only goal on 28 minutes as Anthony Clark’s team got their second win of the league season. The Bricks are trying to lay the foundations for another season of superb form at home, while Takeley are yet to win this season.
Hoddesdon surged to an important 5 – 3 win over Enfield at Lowfield. The action didn’t take long to get started as the Lilywhites broke the stalemate thanks to Craig Tulley’s goal on ten minutes. The E’s, under the tutelage of interim player-boss Jamie Cureton, levelled the game ten minutes afterwards through Sammy Leonard-Mould’s goal. The sides couldn’t be separated at the interval as Liam Mulligan had given the hosts the advantage again with 35 minutes played. Cureton himself netted five minutes later to make it 2 – 2 at half-time.
However, Hoddesdon made the most of the strong second-half with three goals in thirteen minutes. Mulligan got his second of the match on 63 minutes, before Blue Gallagher [70’] and Aiden Critchley [75’] adding to the visitors’ pain to make it 5 – 2. Alex Warman struck in the last few minutes to lessen the damage but Enfield’s tough start to the campaign continued.
Ilford held Walden to a draw at Cricklefield. Dimitri Christou gave the Foxes the lead four minutes before the break, and held on until well into the second period but the Bloods managed to grab a point as centre-back Luke Wilson struck twelve minutes from time. Adam Peek’s side are showing promise with four points from their opening three matches, while Walden have five points from their first four matches.
Hashtag had to put their exploits in the Cup competitions to one side as they staged another fine comeback to overwhelm Sawbridgeworth at Crofters. Sawbo opened the scoring after just six minutes through Horace Ormsby’s strike though the Tags responded five minutes later through Joe Gregory. Tom Anderson put the visitors ahead on the half hour though the evident fighting spirit of Lee Mackman’s side in recent weeks showed itself again as Conor Clarke netted from the penalty spot just before the hour to make it 2 – 2.
But, Hashtag are known for finishing games strongly and that showed itself again here as Gregory got his brace with 17 minutes left to give Jay Devereux’s side the lead for the second time and then Harry Honesty sealed the match with five minutes remaining to give the visitors’ their fourth consecutive league win.
Cockfosters retained their 100% winning start to the league season with a decent win over Bengal at Mile End. Carl Mullings got both goals [2’ & 21’] in the first half and held on to that advantage to their fourth win this season. There was no comeback this time for Imrul Gazi’s side as they fell to their first loss in the league since the opening day.
St Margaretsbury 3 – 3 Clapton | The Rec | Att: 35
St Mags clawed themselves back into this contest to claim a point against visitors Clapton at the Rec. The Tons started superbly and were three goals ahead at the break, thanks to goals from Ridwan Hussein, an OG and one from Matthew Bentley right on the stroke of half-time. Ray Bartlett’s side responded with some vigour after the break though, as a brace from Kyle Roberts, first on 65 minutes and then from twelve yards with 78 minutes on the watch, got them back into the match. The Tons were unable to hold on as Jake Hayden-Eley struck eight minutes from time to complete a sterling comeback. Both sides have now drawn three of their opening four league matches so they will need wins soon.
The Airportmen continued their unbeaten league start as they won decisively against Manor at Hargrave Park. First-half goals from Greg Moore [4’] and Michael Salako seven minutes before the break had given Paul Pittuck & John Watters’ side the impetus at the interval. Billy Coyne made it three on the hour and Craig Waters’ side simply had no answer to get back into the contest. The ‘Blue Brazil’ turned on the style with late goals by Moore, who got his second of the afternoon with 85 minutes gone and Ryan Ramsay rounded out the scoring two minutes later.
Hello and welcome to run-down of the mid-week action from the Essex Senior, which saw some thirty-seven goals scored in the following matches, which included some surprise results too. Thanks for reading.
Essex Senior Results – Tuesday 15th September
Cockfosters 8 – 1 Clapton | Moved to Chalk Lane
Moving directly onto the midweek action now and in the Essex Senior, Cockfosters thumped the Tons as they emerged with an 8 – 1 win. The hosts were 5-1 up at the break through a treble from player-boss Ryan Wade and one each for Marcus Crowther [15’] and Reece Mosanya six minutes after that goal. Daniel Emovon netted for Clapton but the momentum continued for Wade’s side as Kaidyn Michael made it six 20 minutes from time and Ned Clarke also netted a late brace in this huge win.
Hoddesdon Town 1 – 3 West Essex | Lowfield
West Essex continued their strong league start with a 3 – 1 win at Hoddesdon. Michael MIgnot, skippering the Stags side here, put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time, before Callum Bloss’ free-kick made it two six minutes after the restart. Town pulled one back from 12 yards thanks to Jack Gibbs with about 20 minutes left but a unfortunate OG compounded the frustrations for Simon Riddle’s side late on as West got a fine win.
Redbridge 2 – 3 Sporting Bengal Utd | Oakside
Sporting Bengal got a late, late victory over managerless Redbridge at Oakside. James Barlow and substitute Terry Amoafo’s goals put Redbridge in command but Joel Ramos’ first of the evening gave Imrul Gazi’s side hope. The Motormen utterly stalled in added time though as Ramos got through to add another double to complete his treble and also grab the three points for Bengal, their first win this term.
Saffron Walden Town 5 – 0 St Margaretsbury | Catons Lane
No such drama at Catons Lane as Walden comprehensively defeated St Mags 5 – 0. Craig Calver opened his account after just two minutes and went on to grab a hat-trick with further goals on 17 and 49 minutes. The Bloods added further gloss to the score-sheet and secured their first win of the league season through goals from Alfie Hilton and Dimitri Hatzimouratis in the dying moments of the match.
Sawbridgeworth Town 3 – 2 Woodford Town | Crofters
Sawbridgeworth pulled off another good result, winning 3 – 2 again Woodford at Crofters. Cabham Clarke put Sawbo ahead after just six minutes, but Woodford levelled ten minutes later through Jeremiah Luwero. Kieran Amos’ speculative shot put the hosts back in front moments later. Conor Clarke’s spot-kick made it three for Sawbo six minutes before the break. Marcus Painter reduced the deficit to one with a calm finish on 52 minutes but Town finished the match with nine men as Sawbo held on to claim the win.
Takeley 1 – 3 Hashtag Utd | Station Road
Hashtag secured their third straight league win after a hard-fought 3 – 1 triumph at Station Road. Tom Jelliman gave the hosts a good start with the opening goal just before the half-hour. The Tags responded strongly after the break though as Joshua Osude was brought down in the area and the resulting spot-kick was taken by George Smith and he made no mistake on 64 minutes to level it up at 1 – 1. Osude capped a terrific solo performance to add a brace [89’ & 90’+4] to seal another important three points for Jay Devereux’s team.
Tuesday’s action left us with one more surprise as Manor emerged with a fine 3 – 2 victory over Walthamstow at Wadham Lodge. A see-saw encounter ended up with Darnell Bromfield getting the winner for Manor from the penalty spot midway through the second-half. Jon Clements and James Hammond got the goals for ‘Stow.
Wednesday – Enfield 0 – 1 Stansted | Woodside
In the only Wednesday match this week, Stansted won 1 – 0 at Enfield, courtesy of a Ryan Ramsay goal on 23 minutes, being in the right place at the right time to slot home after a goalkeeping error. The Airportmen remain unbeaten in three league matches, while the E’s have yet to pick up a win.
S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Woodford : Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Manor grab crucial win late on with an Allen stunner
Southend Manor 2 – 1 Woodford Town
MatchReport & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The second match of the Essex Senior season saw me return to Southchurch Park to see Woodford Town’s visit to Southend Manor. Dee Safer’s side were beaten at Hadley on the opening day and their line-up here had the forthcoming FA Cup Prelim Round tie at Waltham Abbey in mind as there was only four survivors from that Hadley game in the starting line-up, James Scammell retained his place in goal, Conor Boon came in to skipper the side at centre-back, with Marcus Painter on the right flank. Zain Moreea was the support to centre forward Rigert Rama. The likes of Andrea Montovani and Jerry Luwero were options from the bench.
Manor also had a tough day as they lost at home to Sawbridgeworth and they named French goalkeeper Klinton Makayabo, with a back four of Joe Elliott, Billy Harrison, Jack Frost and skipper Reece Latimer. The front two were Ronnie Edwards and ex-Hullbridge forward Luca Frankis with Billy Rungay, Darnel Bromfield and Ben Allen on the substitute’s bench.
Onto the match itself, and Woodford were marginally the stronger side, with forwards Rigert Rama and Zain Moreea both having early looks at goal, the latter of which kept home stopper Klinton Makayabo alert. As we entered the midway point of the half, Manor gradually wrestled more of the ball and tentatively went forward, with winger Gianni Frankis sending in a fine centre from the hosts’ right flank to which left-sided winger Deividas Sertivietis’s shot at goal but was blocked by stern Town defender Rob Banfield. Fellow forward Ronnie Edwards also sent a looping header narrowly wide for Manor moments afterward.
Woodford responded as their characteristic pacey breaks down the flanks were aided by crisp long passes forward. Zain Moreea broke past the home backline and crossed in but it took a deflection which allowed Makayabo to gather. This ended up being a warning which Manor did not heed as on the half-hour, Moreea again sped past the Manor midfield and his right-sided run ended with a fine cross which Rama took a touch and fired home from close range. Manor did finish the half quite well as with six minutes left until the break, Gianni Frankis’ header when well-placed was collected by Woodford custodian James Scammell.
Then, three minutes before the interval, Manor did level the match as midfielder Matthew Keiller’s smart, looping header was well guided past Scammell and into the far corner, much to the delight of his team-mates.
Half-Time: Southend Manor 1 – 1 Woodford Town
Into the second half, Woodford once again started to build their passing game as they sought to regain the momentum and the lead, as ever noisily backed by the Towners’ faithful who once again sang throughout. Barely a minute after the half began, the impressive Moreea again showed his pace and trickery down the right channel, but his strike didn’t seriously trouble Makayabo in the Manor goal.
From this point, the visiting defence steadily became more and more active as Craig Waters’ team searched for the advantage. Town centre-back Conor Boon did well in marshalling his defence to clear crosses into the 18-yard box. Manor forward Luca Frankis had a header from close range saved by Scammell and brother Gianni Frankis also struck wide of the left-side post either side of the hour mark.
As we entered the latter stages of the game, the tension rose as it appeared both sides just wouldn’t be able to create the moment of magic to win the game. Home skipper Reece Latimer did drive his side forward and with five minutes left, they got their reward. Substitute Ben Allen had found his way into the right-sided channel outside the penalty area before lashing home and unstoppable strike which Scammell was powerless to stop going into the top-left corner. The hosts still had to hold on in the last few minutes as Rama sent a drive from about 15 yards but Makayabo was equal to it. After a few nervy minutes of added time, the final whistle blew and the Southend side got their first points of the season.
Full-Time: Southend Manor 2 – 1 Woodford Town
In my view, this was a tight match which both sides could have won. Manor maybe just edging it because of their second-half display here. But you also have to note how Woodford did well despite a number of changes in this game, which in turn highlights the philosophy of how they play, a big credit to manager Dee Safer and his coaching team. In terms of stand-out performers, Manor were indebted to right winger Gianni Frankis who showed himself to be a willing runner and had pace and crossing ability. Skipper Reece Latimer, midfielder Matthew Keiller and forward Ronnie Edwards also deserve a mention for being part of the spine of the side that showed urgency to get the win.
Woodford also had a number of players that stood out, with tricky forward Zain Moreea growing in confidence with his pace and crossing, forward Rigert Rama also was a quick threat throughout. Mentions also go to winger Marcus Painter who played his part in the Town attacking moves, along with centre-back Conor Boon and full-back David Ola who also sent in a few telling long balls forward during the match. As ever, I wish both sides well for this long season.
1 Klinton Makayabo (GK), 2 Joe Elliott, 3 Billy Harrison, 4 Jack Frost, 5 Liam Jarrett (13 Billy Rungay 69’), 6 Reece Latimer (Capt), 7 Gianni Frankis (15 Ben Allen 74’), 9 Ronnie Edwards, 10 Luca Frankis (14 Darnel Bromfield 67’), 11 Deividas Sertvietis
Goal-scorers: Matthew Keiller [42’], Ben Allen [85’]
Booked: Bromfield | Subs Not Used: Rogers, Acquah (GK)
Woodford Town | Manager: Dee Safer | Assistant: Wayne St Louis
1 James Scammell (GK), 2 Joseph St-Luce Moynihan, 3 David Ola, 4 Aaron Matomisa (15 Dimi Kapsokostas 77’), 5 Conor Boon (Capt), 6 Rob Banfield, 7 Marcus Painter, 8 Harry Markatis, 9 Rigert Rama, 13 Zain Moreea (17 Alex Awobimpe 77’), 11 Cameron St Louis (14 Jerry Luwero 12’)
Goal-scorer: Rigert Rama [30’]
Booked: Rama, Luwero | Subs Not Used: Empochonstif, Montovani
Referee: Kirk Edwards
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Horne & Robert Collins