Match Report: White Ensign 1 – 2 Lopes Tavares (Sat 7 March) [EaSL Sth 19/20 7.3.20]

Eastern Senior League South

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: TBC

2019 – 20 Season: Match 61

Saturday 7th March 2020 – 3pm KO

W Ensign: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Lopes T: & Yellow & Green Shirts, Green Shorts, Green Socks

 

Lopes end Ensign’s record run with fine display at Burroughs Park

White Ensign  1 – 2  Lopes Tavares

Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

The weekend’s Non-League match saw a change in the ‘billing’ as after a match elsewhere was shelved, it was a return trip to Burroughs Park to see this Eastern Senior League South top-of the-table clash between White Ensign and Lopes Tavares. The scene was set, a win for the hosts would make it 12 straight league triumphs whereas Lopes needed the points to reduce the gap to the leaders and stay in the promotion hunt. Ensign did have a stronger squad available here as centre-back Andy George returned to join skipper Jake McWee at the back. Cannor Barnby also came back into the side to partner Brett Munyard in attack, with Jason Reynolds-Blanche and Dominic Locke providing the support from the flanks. Dave Limber, Rhys Fatt and John Hilliard were among the options on the bench.

Lopes Tavares fielded a number of familiar names who previously played for Hackney Wick, with Simpson Mpalampa captaining the side, Alvaro Guerrero their technical playmaker and Simon Bamidele & Jeff Idemudia on the flanks. The line was led by experienced forward Tony Cookey and Joel Appiah, with Akin Akinola and tricky forward Richard Kone were among the replacements.

This encounter started slowly in the early minutes, though Lopes did start off the stronger with winger Simon Bamidele’s dangerous cross from the left evading everyone in the six-yard area after getting past Ensign right-back Charlie Buffin. The Navy Boys couldn’t quite find their passing game in the first throngs of the contest as both sides perhaps realised the importance of the three points. There wasn’t a huge amount of goal-mouth action in the first part of the half though as we approached the half-hour mark, a good through ball by home player-boss Brett Munyard found rapid winger Dominic Locke though the angle wasn’t favourable and he struck wide of visiting custodian Wilkinson Boateng’s far post. Moments later, Munyard was denied a one-on-one chance with the ‘keeper himself as Lopes defender Carlos Indjai closed out the chance as quickly as it had arisen.

Lopes powered forward on the counter-attack, and after winger Jeff Idemudia’s drive was deflected out for a corner, the delivery found forward Joel Appiah whose well-directed header was cleared away by the well-positioned Buffin on the goal-line. Right on the half-hour, Tony Cookey added to the chance count for the visitors as he powered a drive just over the goal frame. Minutes later, Ensign responded as from a Bradley Gates free-kick, centre-back Andy George’s header flew just wide of the ‘onion bag’. Connor Barnby also fired over the bar from another set-piece as the minutes ebbed away.

It was Lopes who got the crucial breakthrough three minutes before the break as a fine cross from the left by Bamidele found Cookey who superbly guided a header past Ensign ‘keeper Nick Wilson. On the balance of play, it was a lead Chris Davis’ side did deserve though you also felt there was more to come.

Half-Time: White Ensign 0 – 1  Lopes Tavares

After the break, it was the visitors who had the better opportunities in the first phase of the second half. Idemudia fired over the target after a surging run through the middle, before Appiah had a shot well-saved by Ensign stopper Wilson’s foot. On the hour, an initial error by Lopes goalkeeper Boateng gave a half-chance to George though his header was well tipped over by the recovering Lopes custodian. From that corner, substitute Dave Limber had a header saved before Munyard headed over seconds later. As we entered the final twenty minutes here, energetic winger Jason Reynolds-Blanche had a firm header well-clawed away by Boateng and Locke couldn’t make the most of a rare chance with only Boateng to bypass. The frustration from the home dug-out was audible and you couldn’t really blame them.

Lopes doubled their lead with thirteen minutes remaining as Ensign pushed forward, substitute Richard Kone powered forward on the counter and bypassed the covering McWee and slotted low past the exposed Wilson with aplomb into the far corner. Moments afterward, Kone danced his way past the tiring home backline again though this time Wilson did well to deny him a quick-fire second. Lopes Tavares sensed the chance was there to close the game out and Appiah sent a good centre in which the ever-watchful Wilson did well to palm away from the top corner though thanks to his efforts, Ensign did have a sniff of a point at the end.

Four minutes before the end of the ninety, Locke was felled in the penalty area and Luke Skinner blasted the resulting spot-kick in. That said, a slack throw-in from the hosts allowed Kone another chance at goal though again, custodian Wilson did well to deny him with his feet. What ensued after was a fraca after a bad tackle by Skinner saw him dismissed by referee Ryan Smith, once the situation had been calmed down. However, Idemudia and Indjai were also sent to the dressing rooms for Lopes for respective second bookings for their part in the resulting arguments. Ensign nearly had an unlikely hero deep into added time as from substitute John Hilliard’s deep free-kick, Wilson, up from the back headed towards goal  though his opposite number Boateng was equal to it and gathered. Lopes held on after a tough end to the game but you have to applaud their forward play which involved invention, pace and power.

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Full-Time : White Ensign  1 – 2  Lopes Tavares

It was the right result, although in fairness Lopes Tavares did have more of the chances and showed once again why they are right in amongst the challengers for promotion from this division come of the next month though at time of writing, they still have thirteen matches yet to play. Ensign were not at their peak, by their own admission though are still well-placed to secure an elevation to Step 5 whatever happens.

In terms of stand-out performances, for the hosts centre-back Andy George had to be on good form to repel some of the Lopes attacks, while goalkeeper Nick Wilson pulled off at least four good saves to keep his side in the contest. Jason Reynolds-Blanche & Connor Barnby arguably had the better of the forward line displays today though they could not bypass the visitors’ backline often enough. For Lopes, Joel Appiah was a big threat all match with his pace, unselfish passing and movement. Strike partner Tony Cookey took his goal very well and Simon Bamidele was another constant presence on the left flank and his crossing was really good at times.

Finally, I’d like to wish both teams the best for the rest of the campaign. Also, a thank you to Ensign for their welcome today.

 

Teams

White Ensign    | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Assistant: Mark Healy

1 Nick Wilson (GK), 12 Charlie Buffin (14 John Hilliard 72’), 3 Thando Moyo (13 Dave Limber 52’), 5 Andy George, 8 Jake McWee (Capt), 6 Bradley Gates, 10 Luke Skinner, 7 Connor Barnby, 9 Jason Reynolds-Blanche (15 Rhys Fatt 82’), 20 Brett Munyard , 11 Dominic Locke

Goal-scorers: Luke Skinner [pen 86’]

Booked: Barnby | Sent Off: Skinner [90’ +2] | Subs Not Used: Maleary, Austin, Martin (GK)

 

Lopes Tavares |  Manager: Chris Davis

1 Wilkinson Boateng (GK), 2 Carlos Indjai, 3 Louis Hiobi, 20 Khalifa Jabbie, 5 Simpson Mpalampa (Capt), 19 Simon Bamidele, 8 Alvaro Guerrero (14 Akin Akinola 88’), 11 Babs Sonupe (16 James Purdon 64’), 7 Jeff Idemudia, 9 Tony Cookey (17 Richard Kone 71’), 10 Joel Appiah

Goal-scorers: Tony Cookey [42’], Richard Kone [77’]

Booked: Mpalampa, Guerrero, Jabbie | Sent Off: Idemudia [two bookings], Indjai  [two bookings] |

Subs Not Used: Jimali, Asaro

 

Referee: Ryan Smith

Assistant Referees: Martin Green & Daniel Keeble

Match Report: White Ensign 1 – 0 Halstead Town (Sat 22 Feb) [EaSL Sth 19/20 23.2.20]

Eastern Senior League South

Venue: Burroughs Park

Attendance: TBC

2019 – 20 Season: Match 59

Saturday 22nd February 2020 – 3pm KO

W Ensign: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

Halstead: & Black & White Squared Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

 

 

Ensign narrowly overcome spirited Halstead to reach 11 straight League wins

White Ensign  1 – 0 Halstead Town

Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

The weekend’s Non-League match saw me return to Burroughs Park to see the Eastern Senior League South encounter between leaders White Ensign and promotion rivals Halstead Town. Although I’d seen the Navy Boys at home in the FA Vase this term, this was the first League match I’ve attended this season, as well as the first time seeing Halstead, who I’d heard good things about. Ensign looked to extend their ten-match league winning run whilst Town looked to gain ground on their opponents. The hosts were depleted, without the suspended Connor Barnby and influential forward Luke Skinner. They did name former Woodford Town & Holland stopper Nick Wilson in goal, with Dave Limber and skipper Jake McWee at the centre of the backline, with front two Jason Reynolds-Blanche and Brett Munyard supported by Dominic Locke and John Hilliard. Recent signing Rhys Fatt and defender Jack Maleary were among the options from the bench. Halstead fielded Jack Cherry between the posts with centre-backs Garry Burdett, Matt Caley and Jack Schelvis in front of him, and a attack of top scorer Chris Harris and Ricky Gardner. Hassan Ayten, Conor Scurlock and Nick Miller were all on the bench.

This highly-anticipated match started in a tense way, as both sides looked to get a minor advantage. The first chance of note came after just two minutes for the hosts as from a John Hilliard corner, centre-back Dave Limber powerfully headed wide of the far post. Town were looking good going forward though as moments later a neat through ball by Kane Munday found the run of forward Ricky Gardner though the home defence retreated to clear their lines. I feel it would be fair to say Ensign started the match in a nervy way, particularly in defence, much to the ire of vastly experienced custodian Nick Wilson. As the increasing breeze made conditions tough, Ensign winger Dominic Locke was once again a big outlet on the right flank with his surging runs and passing. It was Locke himself who played in forward Jason Reynolds-Blanche though the ball’s path decreased his angle on goal as he fired wide of the opposite post past the committed Humbugs ‘keeper Jack Cherry.

In truth, Halstead were growing in stature as their neat build-up play tested the hard-working Ensign midfield. Moments after Town midfielder Charlie Pleace had fired wide, a searching cross by Munday from the left got caught up in the wind, and Wilson did well to prevent it landing in the far corner by clawing it away with an outstretched hand, though Jamie Baker’s follow-up shot was comfortably gathered by the well-positioned Wilson. Ensign needed a telling blow at this point of the match and they duly found it on 33 minutes. A fine ball in from the left by Hilliard was flicked on by Reynolds-Blanche to the onrushing Locke who bypassed the visiting defence to power home from about five yards out as Brett Munyard & Mark Healy’s side took the lead.

Halstead did well to keep their focus as eight minutes before half-time, as Ensign forward Reynolds-Blanche did well to get past the defence though his well-hit drive was tipped over by Cherry. From the ensuing corner, Hilliard found Locke at the near post but Cherry again foiled him, getting down low to claw it away. The pace was building in this dramatic match as Halstead responded at the other end as an errant clearance by the hosts found Gardner just outside the 18-yard box though he couldn;t find the target. Baker also fired wide before Halstead had a penalty appeal turned down as Ensign were getting ‘hot under the collar’ in clearing their lines.

 

Half-Time: White Ensign 1 – 0 Halstead Town

After the break, Ensign forced a number of set-pieces and had a penalty shout of their own as Reynolds-Blanche went down in the area. Referee Fabio Roque refused to budge, just as with the earlier appeal at the other end before the interval. Early in the half, Ensign were having more joy in attack, as Hilliard’s clever passing and the pace of Locke overloaded the visitors’ backline. On the hour, a fine centre by Locke found Reynolds-Blanche though his header lacked the power to trouble Cherry. Meanwhile, Humbugs full-back Munday was engaged in a entertaining duel with home full-back Charlie Buffin down the Halstead left flank, in what was a battle of wills.

The match got more fraught in the latter stages, as the tension rose. Town full-back Liam Whitehead did well to deny player-boss & top scorer Brett Munyard a one-on-one chance with Cherry though the final ball wasn’t quite there for the hosts. With 13 minutes to play, a neat ball by Hilliard found Reynolds-Blanche whose attempted pass was just gathered by Cherry ahead of substitute Rhys Fatt. Locke had another decent chance after another searing run moments later, though his drive cannoned back off the post.

At the other end, Halstead substitute Hassan Ayten and Harris  were giving the home defence a problem or two trying to get in behind though full-back Thando Moyo stuck to his task well. On the cusp of the ninety, Fatt’s header was gathered by the impressive Cherry though Ensign had to endure a nervous added few moments before the final whistle blew.

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Teams shake-hands at Final Whistle

Full-Time : White Ensign  1 – 0 Halstead Town

The score-line doesn’t really tell the story of a tense, gripping encounter which both sides could have won and on another day the Humbugs could well have grabbed a point. Ensign will take some stopping at present though as they made it eleven straight league wins and remain seven points clear at the summit, with Little Oakley remaining their closest rivals after they smashed Benfleet 9 – 1 this weekend. Halstead certainly showed why they are a strong side in a division that some in Non-League arguably still underestimate. Mark McLean’s side are strong going forward and have a committed defence as well, you wouldn’t be surprised if they finish in the top four this season.

In terms of stand-out performances, Ensign winger Dominic Locke had another strong match, aided by the technical ability of John Hilliard sizing up incisive passes while centre-back Dave Limber was a strong presence in the air, assisted by skipper Jake McWee who also shut out the enterprising play of the Halstead forward line well. For Town, centre-back Matt Caley was superb, making quality interceptions all game and showing great awareness to boot. Centre forward Chris Harris was a threat all match too, supported by strike partner Ricky Gardner and energetic full-back Kane Munday who sent in good crosses for most of the match. Goalkeeper Jack Cherry also had a certain presence about him as the last line of the defence.

Finally, I’d like to wish both teams the best for the rest of the campaign. It’s good to see Ensign on such a strong run on-the-pitch and if Halstead do join them in getting promoted this term, they will both strengthen whichever Step 5 division they get placed in.

 

Teams

White Ensign    | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Assistant: Mark Healy

1 Nick Wilson (GK), 12 Charlie Buffin, 3 Thando Moyo, 13 Dave Limber, 8 Jake McWee (Capt), 6 Bradley Gates, 16 Ben Austin, 15 John Hilliard (2 Jack Maleary 85’), 9 Jason Reynolds-Blanche, 20 Brett Munyard (14 Rhys Fatt 72’), 11 Dominic Locke

Goal-scorers: Dominic Locke [33’]

Booked: Reynolds-Blanche, Locke, Hilliard | Subs Not Used: Martin (GK), George

 

Halstead Town |  Manager: Mark McLean

1 Jack Cherry (GK), 2 Liam Whitehead, 3 Matt Caley, 4 Garry Burdett, 5 Jack Schelvis, 6 Jake Brown (Capt) (15 Conor Scurlock 76’), 7 Jamie Baker, 8 Charlie Pleace (12 Hassan Ayten 59’), 9 Chris Harris, 10 Ricky Gardner, 11 Kane Munday

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Dunlop, Miller

Referee: Fabio Roque

Assistant Referees: Nicholas Hodges & Daniel Keeble