S20-21 So Far: Club In-Focus – Catholic Utd [20-21 CIF 1.12.20]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome the seventh and last 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 edition, I caught up with Catholic Utd boss Stuart Marshall, who made a welcome return to Non-League in this area in the close season. The ‘Super Hoops’ play in the Essex Olympian League Premier.

SW:  Hello Stuart, firstly can I thank you for your time. We’ll start with your move to the “Super Hoops” in the summer. Local Non-League fans may recall your time at Essex Senior side Southend Manor a few seasons ago. What made you decide to take a new challenge at Catholic Utd?  

SM: Hello Scott thanks for the opportunity. [Re: the move to Catholic Utd] It wasn’t something I was particularly looking for if I’m honest and wasn’t looking to get back involved.  I had a conversation with [Commercial Manager] Leon to start with and he told me about the plans for the club and his plans.  I followed this up with a meeting with Pav [Chairman James Paviour] and it went from there.  In fairness when I was at Manor I got told Catholic were a local rival even though we were in different leagues.  I’ve always kept a watch on results and having played them during my time at Thurrock and coming a poor second.  Catholic seem to gain a lot of attention from other clubs which is somewhat strange but I suppose that’s a compliment.

SW: Before the season began, we heard about the ground move which saw you leave landlords Bowers & Pitsea to play at the Len Forge Centre (artificial pitch) where your Reserve Team played last term. Was this move made out of necessity?

SM: I think our deal come to an end at Bowers and they received a greater offer from Hashtag Utd [the Essex Senior side who made the move across from Tilbury’s Chadfields].  It is a shame as Bowers is a great facility but the Len Forge (Centre) is a good facility and we have to adjust.

SW: As it stands at the season break, Catholic Utd are handily-placed in third spot, seven points off Basildon Town at the summit. Which sides have stood out for you in EOFL Premier in the first two months of this campaign? 

SM: It’s a hard one as we haven’t played all the teams as yet.  I echo other comments and have said this is the past that this league is tough.  I believe many teams could compete in the leagues above.  Look at White Ensign should have won their league [Eastern Senior League South at Step 6] last year but Covid put pay to that.  This year they have started strongly again.  Buckhurst Hill are outstanding in fairness and they beat us this season by a margin.  It was a close game for an hour but silly mistakes and fitness killed us.  Basildon have started strongly so fair play to them, we are 3rd and if I’m honest we’ve not really been consistent.  Leigh Ramblers are very strong and could beat anyone on the day.

Image from Catholic Utd 3 – 1 Rayleigh Town from November 5th [Image: Scott W]

SW: For those that aren’t that familiar with your squad, forward Aaron Baldwin has already amassed three league goals in six league starts. Who are the players that really make the team drive on?

SM: It’s a hard one as we have lots of players that have played at a higher level and should still be. “Balders” (Baldwin) has done alright and should have 6 or 7 goals but that will come, getting in the right places.  Max Kent has been outstanding for us this season in every game, he has quality on the ball and wants to win.  Pat Kearney goes very unnoticed but never allows his performance to drop and has had a great start for us.  In fairness it’s a good group, Harley Kee also adds a lot to us.  Mike Summut is another one who does a great job for the team in a very unselfish way.  Louis Godwin Green is outstanding in goal and lets the players know when he isn’t happy. 

SW: Looking longer-term, what are the club’s plans for the next two to three years or so?

SM: I think the plan is to play as high as possible.  The club have long-term plans in building not just the first team but the actual club, as a whole.  They are pushing girls football and Eastern Junior Alliance [EJA] teams which I’m led to believe will be in place for next season.  We are looking at possibly adding another development team into the Senior set-up as well.  Getting out of this league is very difficult as we are seeing this season.  I would say within three years we want to be playing in a higher division. 

SW: Away from Football, what are your sporting interests?

SM: Golf, I suppose.  I enjoy watching cricket but with football and work you don’t get much spare time.

SW: You’re a big supporter of Non-League Football in the area. How would you rate the Essex Olympian League Premier as a division? And do you think it is under-rated by some observers?

SM: The Olympian League is a strong league and I agree that it is dismissed by teams and people never involved in it.  Look at the players and managers involved in this league, lots could and should be at a higher level.  I’ve mentioned them already but Buckhurst Hill would be in the top five in the Essex Senior League without doubt.  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts have Billy Cove, Allan Fenn and George Young it’s hard to get a much more senior management setup than that.  These have managed at a higher level and properly should be. 

Alex [Goldstone] at Harold Wood has been involved with Romford for years and has lots of connections in local football.  I strongly believe the top 6 in this league would hold their own in step 5.  Teams are in the [Essex] Senior League by default and I believe this should be looked at by the bodies that run football.

SW:  Finally, how do you assess the strength of Non-League Football in Essex?

I believe that Football in Essex is flying.  I’ve been involved at several clubs and believe Essex is one of the strongest (counties). Look at the FA Cup and how the teams performed, (such as) Canvey Island & Concord Rangers.  

Hashtag made it on to the BBC from Step 5!  (v Soham Town Rangers), White Ensign topped step 6, Tilbury are strong this season and Aveley got to the last 8 I believe in the FA Trophy last season.


I’d like to thank Stuart for his contribution in this article and I wish him and Catholic Utd well for a good season. That also brings to an end this series of the ‘Club In-Focus’ blogs for November 2020, I appreciate the support and thank you for reading.

S20-21 So Far: Club In-Focus – Hutton [20-21 CIF 18.11.20]

Hutton FC club crest [Credit: Hutton FC/Twitter]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to a second of the current mini-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.

I’m pleased to continue the new series by welcoming Hutton manager Matt Singh [MS]. Matt was the club’s Reserve Team Manager in EOFL Division Three last season before being promoted to the first team (who play in the EOFL Premier Division) in the summer.

Thanks also to @fitinaflash1 for the match photo.

SW: Hello Matt, firstly thank you for your time. We’ll start with this extraordinary season being your first as Manager of the Hutton First Team. How has the last three months been, dealing with all the uncertainty that Covid has presented at the same time looking to keep Hutton in a really tough division?

MS: “No worries at all Scott, It’s a pleasure considering the amount of time you spend covering our lower leagues. It has been a very difficult season to start with a new side. I know there are a number of other managers in the same position who are in our division and I am sure they will agree. Pre-season was a challenge for many with pitches being unavailable for most sides, players quarantining every time they went on holiday (largely due to Covid-enforced rules) and teams not being able to field a side, but we all got through it. We have some top people running our club and they made mine and Rob’s (Lorkins – assistant manager) job a lot easier. Greg Hall (Secretary), Darren Hall (Chairman) and John Hall (Facilities Manager) along with Kevin Lorkins (Treasurer) have been great and allowed us to focus on the football side of things rather than COVID issues.

In terms of the division – We knew it was at probably the strongest it has been in a number of years. There are some very good managers and players involved, with a lot of experience at other levels and I am sure it will be an interesting one to watch.”

SW: As it stands at the season break, your side sits in a creditable sixth place after wins in your last three games. How do you feel the season has started?

MS: “Considering the side finished in the bottom two last season, we are very happy with the current position with two games in hand. Unfortunately we got off to a slow start against a very well-organised Basildon Town side, who are surprising many this season. Since then we have had so many injuries mixed with Covid interruptions, but that aside I must give a lot of praise to our lads. They have all bought into mine and Rob’s ideas and the results are starting to show. We are now really looking forward to getting back to try and pick up where we left off.”

SW: The EOFL Premier Division is a strong division and arguably getting stronger each season. Which sides have stood out for you in EOFL Premier in the first two months of this campaign?

 MS: “As mentioned already, Basildon Town were a very strong side. I am happy Marcus [Bowers] is doing well there. We have had a few conversations since pre-season, as we were two new faces to the division, taking over two sides that were fighting relegation last season. He has pulled in some experience mixed with talent and they will be a tough side to beat. As everyone knows Buckhurst Hill are always a very strong side. I have watched them a few times over the past few seasons and they have some very talented players. The way they play considering they are in a physical division is a credit to their players and more so their manager! We are really looking forward to two tough games against them this season.”

Will Marlowe (#10) about to strike v Rayleigh Town [Credit: @fitinaflash1]

SW: For those that aren’t that familiar with your squad, forward Will Marlowe has netted three league goals so far this term. Who are the players that really make the team drive on, in your opinion?

MS: “Yes, Marlowe was starting to find some form. We all know what he is capable of, it’s just getting the best out of him. We are hopeful he will score and create many more goals for us. This season we have used all nineteen players on a regular basis. We have had numerous Man of the Match awards and have spread the goals across the whole squad. It will be a real tough call to pick the squad when we finally get everyone fit and available. We have a good mix of young teenagers to experienced Olympian League players. Our two older players – Adrian (Faherty – Goalkeeper) and Vice-Captain Kyle (Linzell) have been excellent characters for the side. Their attitude and hunger to win at training and on match days is right up there for the younger players to see. If we are to achieve our goals this season, every player in our squad will be needed to do so.”

SW: I’ve heard that plans are in progress to advance the facilities for the club’s future, could you tell us a bit more about that and on the same lines, what are the ambitions for the club in the next two-three years?

MS: “You’re correct that the club have plans for a new ground and training facility but this is based at a larger site in Shenfield. It’s a really exciting project which will hopefully include multiple pitches. We are also hoping for a 3/4G artificial pitch (commonly known as “astro turf”) to be placed next to the main grass pitches. This is a long-term plan that will hopefully be completed in the next two to three years. The hope is that the first team can maintain their Essex Olympian Premier Division status or push higher between now and then. We are also in the first season of Eastern Junior Alliance (EJA) Football at Hutton and along with others, I hope this helps to progress our youth players into our first team.

As a club, we are also looking to have a real drive on Girls’ football and Disability football. As one of the largest clubs in South East England, it’s vital we get this facility sorted, to ensure all 67 (!) teams are catered for. We have grown so big that we need somewhere to continue to provide the quality that we do. As someone who coaches the U6’s, multiple youth sides, EJA sides and the Men’s first team on a weekly basis, I get to see just how important it is for us as a club.”

SW: And finally, as you’ve previously headed the Hutton Reserve team, you’re well-placed to gauge the quality further down the EOFL divisions. How do you think the quality of the top-four Essex Olympian League divisions has progressed in the last two to three years? And do you think it is under-rated by some observers?

 MS: “Last season was my first season in management with our reserves. I am really pleased we done it as myself and Rob learnt a hell of a lot. The division was tough and had teams of different abilities. One reason I left academy football was to get a taste of needing to win three points each week. I had it briefly as assistant at Witham Town but it is different being the manager. I can safely say that division three of the Olympian was certainly the place to do that. It took a few weeks to get used to the needs at that level but we ended up in a county cup final and climbing the league before Covid kicked in. One thing that was pleasing to see was how much Reserve sides are looked after by certain clubs.

Like ourselves, reserve sides like Toby, Corinthians and Buckhurst Hill all had talent in their ranks and were well-prepared. That Toby reserve side are now playing for the First Team in Division One and holding their own. We promoted five of our reserve team players from last season and all have had an impact in the Premier . It shows just how much quality there is in the lower divisions. Above that, I was looking at some up and coming sides last season like Chingford and Ongar Town, who were smashing Division One. I know a lot of the young Ongar players and hear good things about their manager. They will make our division even stronger next season which will be exciting for all.

I would confidently say that some sides in the Premier (Division) would give many Step 5 or 6 teams a good game. You see many players switching between those levels now – which demonstrates how close the gap is. There are even players being loaned by Isthmian League teams which I think speaks volumes. Olympian Premier clubs are starting to realise they are in a strong position with the investment into facilities, coaching staff, players and physios too at many clubs.”


To close this second article I would like to say a big thank you to Matt for his thoughts here as one of the newest managers to the top division of the Essex Olympian League. Thanks also to Matt for supporting those who do watch and write about this level of the Non-League/Grassroots game.

If your club (at Essex Senior or Essex Olympian level) would be interested in contributing to this blog series then please DM me on Twitter. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the article.

S20-21 So Far: Club In-Focus – Buckhurst Hill [20-21 CIF 16.11.20]

Buckhurst Hill crest [Credit: Buckhurst Hill FC/Twitter]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to a new mini-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. I felt “Lockdown II” was a good time to bring the blog series back after doing a few of these articles after the end of the 2019-20 curtailed campaign.

I’m pleased to begin this new series by welcoming Buckhurst Hill manager Mark Williams [MW]. Mark has been the managerial anchor to the club’s consistent success in recent years and many consider the side to the best team outside of the senior Non-League game and have done for at least the last two seasons.

Thanks also to Pete Dudley (@ped1980) for the match photo.

SW: Hello Mark, firstly thank you for your time. We’ll start with developments off-the-pitch, Buckhurst Hill have been campaigning to improve the facilities at Roding Lane, including floodlights and a small seated stand – to increase the chances of being accepted into higher divisions. How far along have you gotten with that?

MW: “We have been trying to go up for the last couple of years as you know Scott but have always run into trouble in one way or another. Buckhurst Hill’s Roding Lane ground is situated on a flood plain and on green belt land so the local parish has always been reluctant for us to develop the site . We have worked very closely though in the last couple of years with the local Parish Council and Epping Forest Council who they report to, to compromise on what we needed to do to be compliant with the ground blending in with its natural surroundings. 

We want Buckhurst Hill FC to be an integral part of the local community and open up the club to everyone not just the members. Some of the councillors came down to our opening last September 2019 to see the work we had done on switching the pitch round and the new barriers and fencing and were very impressed  .We applied to go up to Step Six and senior football for the first time in the club’s history. The club also applied for a Football Foundation grant towards the cost of the flood lights and stands which was approved so we were all set.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 came about and we went into lockdown, itting 3rdin the league and with 9 games in hand over top of the table we felt confident of achieving our goal. But all football rightly so with the terrible virus that was afflicted on us was declared null and void . We then went to the council for planning permission in July and it was voted unanimously to award us permission with a few stipulations on the stand colours blending in with the natural colours”.

SW: Let’s roll back to September now and the start of the season, after circumstances in the last two seasons had prevented you from getting promoted to Step 6, what was your feeling this term – is promotion & the Essex Olympian League Premier title a must?

MW: “September 2020 the season started and we also started work on the new fencing and car park and also to lay foundations for new stands . Even though we won the first few games having lost four players to higher divisions and a season-long injury to Sam Sollosi in a pre-season game we  struggled to find our form and had to work hard to get the victories. Our normal flowing football wasn’t there. But convincing wins over Catholic United 5 – 0 and Springfield 8 – 3 put us back on track until we lost away at Canning Town. We got back to winning ways with a less than convincing win away at Harold Wood on a dog of a pitch. But that’s the way we have to treat this campaign. Work hard and adapt to every surface we play on and accept as current champions you’re there to be shot at.”

Image from B Hill 5 – 0 Catholic Utd (Credit: Pete Dudley)

SW: From what I’ve seen in my research, you’ve kept the majority of the squad from last season and it appears the team has stayed together for a while. What do you feel are the main reasons for the why the team has stayed together as long as it has?

MW:  “The boys off-the-pitch are a very close group and that helps with the way we play as they all work hard for each other. The ones that went higher were actually reactant to leave as they loved the group and the way we played .  Some of the players have also played for Buckhurst Hill at youth and senior level. They have gone off and come back which shows you that they love the club and want to be part of the future.”

SW: As it stands at the season break, it’s you and Basildon Town locked together on 21 points at the summit. Which sides have stood out for you in EOFL Premier in the first two months of this campaign?  

MW: “Even though we haven’t played Basildon Town yet I’ve been very impressed with the start they have had .Marcus Bowers has built a very good squad with a lot of players who have played at a higher level and they have shown they are the ones to beat having played 7 and won 7. We haven’t had one easy game so far.

Kelvedon Hatch are a brand new team and I know Steve and Mark from their time at Brentwood U23’s and even though they have struggled to start I was really pleased they picked up their 1st win last week. Leigh ramblers away at Belfairs Park has been our toughest away fixture …it’s a really hard place to get a result and they played really well against us especially in the 1st half , so it was great to get a win there. Rayleigh have improved from last year and we are finding teams this year much harder to break down.

We then got two decent home wins putting five past Catholic who were in the game for an hour but tired and we took advantage , then Springfield we beat 8-3 when it was the Suley [Zuhdu] show as he scored five very well-taken goals. Again, Springfield played some good stuff but we were clinical on the day . We then went to Canning Town and I felt we took them for granted . They are a very young honest team and worked very hard. We missed a lot of chances and it was poor management by myself as at 1-1 with ten to go I pushed us up too far and it left gaps and they scored a great goal to win it .

We learnt a bit about ourselves that day and it will help us cut out the complacency going forward . Having not played some other teams yet I would say out of who we had played Leigh Ramblers should be up there at the end of the season . For me Sungate are always a strong team and Basildon Town’s results speak for themselves.”

SW: For those that aren’t that familiar with your squad, forward Suleyman Zuhdu netted ten league goals last term, and has already surpassed that total this term. Who are the players that really make the team drive on?

MW:  “I always believe the spine of a side makes the real difference when it comes to the makings of a good side . For example, My goalkeeper Dan Blockley, I always admired in youth football but despite me driving his Dad mad to join me at Buckhurst Hill for over 10 years I had to wait till four years ago when I took over the First team for him to sign for me. He’s a top top keeper and were lucky to have him. When it looked like I’d lost 90% of our team to Newbury Forest at the beginning of last season he was only 1 of 5 players to commit to stay .

Loyalty means a lot to me and even though I’d never stop a player going higher to better himself he was prepared to stand by me  as he believed we would rebuild and the club could deliver on the promises made of developing the ground and moving into senior football. Henry Day, Alfie Harris, Max Nicholson and Liam Foster are all very versatile and can play anywhere across the back line. Jonah Gregory has played up in League 2 for Hereford but he’s been blighted by injuries but is a born leader and when he plays at centre-back we are a different side. He’s out again now injured and I’m hoping the extended break will give him time to come back to full fitness.

Josh Banfield and Louis Wynter are our “midfield engine room” backed up by the very experienced Ben Cooper who is also my assistant [manager]. Even though I’ve lost the very skilful Sonny Shilling to Bowers and Pitsea we have some really exciting youngsters coming through.

Zach Davidson [ex-Springfield and Sungate] is only 18, Jack Griggs has also come in from Writtle and with Brandon Hubbard who has stepped up from the reserves, they are ones to look out for the future . Tyler Dolan who was an ex-Southend Utd Academy player who also player for Buckhurst Hill at youth level has really come on this season. He was always a very skilful player but has added strength and goals to his repertoire.

Nathan and Sam Sollosi are the two attacking midfielders that no one wants to play against. Both travel so well with the ball and both footed defenders often can’t work out which side the will attack on . Sam ruptured his hamstring badly in a preseason game so has been out so far but is ahead of schedule on his rehab and hopefully back in January where it had looked like he would be out for the season . Reece Tranter is a proven goal scorer at any level and has played many games at Step Four.

And lastly, Suley Zuhdu is an enigma – he can win a game on his own and is the team Captain. A very loyal player who was one of the five that stood by myself and the club and believed the dream our Chairman Simon Cornwell put across to him about the future development of the club.”

SW: Away from Football, what are your sporting interests?

MW: “Away from football is a tough one Scott as it’s 24/7 for me. I also referee mostly on Sunday’s for the Eastern Junior Alliance. The standard is very high and it’s a pleasure to officiate in it. I’m a keen golfer when I get the time, well more of a hacker! I also like Horse Racing and go to the big meetings when they don’t coincide with football.”

SW: And finally, you are a big supporter of Intermediate or Grassroots Football. How do you think the quality of the Essex Olympian League has progressed in the last two to three years? And do you think it is under-rated by some observers?

MW: “Yes I am a big supporter of grassroots football and as much as it’s a competition I believe in helping out other clubs when needed. We are all this together and sometimes need to work together to make the league stronger.

The EOFL I feel was at its strongest about five or six years ago with the likes of Frenford, Harold Wood, Kelvedon Hatch, White Ensign and Hannakins Farm (now defunct) all being top-class teams who were more than capable at the time of playing in the Essex Senior or the like (Frenford & White Ensign are now in Eastern Senior League South at Step 6 – Ed).

I think it was diluted somewhat when they left but they all had older squads so if they had stayed they faced big competition from the likes of Catholic United and ourselves.

The year we won it (EOFL Premier) for the first time in Season 2018/19, we had a very strong squad who only lost two matches the whole league campaign . and one of those was when we had already secured the title . I’m not saying the competition wasn’t as good but we were very good on our day and our young naïve squad the season before had learnt how to handle anything thrown at them .

The following season (Season 2019/20), I felt the competition got much stronger. Sungate emerged as a top team and also the emergence of Leigh Ramblers and of course Catholic united were still in the mix. This season again I think its got stronger again with Basildon Town setting the early pace and what I like about this season is the number of clubs that have taken on young managers and given them a chance. Matt Singh at Hutton, Alex Goldstone at Harold Wood , Connor Lane at Old Southendian have all come in and done well. And other clubs who have gone for experience also.

Marcus Bowers at Basildon, Billy Cove at Bishop’s Stortford Swifts. Both were top players in their day and Marcus still plays. Stuart Marshall has come in at Catholic and tried to blend Catholic’s vastly experienced older players in with some talented youngsters. The EOFL Committee work tirelessly to improve the league and make it in my opinion the best NLS Feeder league in Essex and arguably the surrounding counties. 

The EOFL have won the Essex Premier Cup in the last few years and also through Catholic United’s success the ART Trophy that pits the best of Essex , Middlesex and Hertfordshire together in Intermediate Football.

Kevin Lorkins (League Secretary) is always in contact asking how  as a member club, how we can take the league forward . If we manage to go up this season I will have to say a massive thanks you to him and the EOFL Committee for all their help and advice.”


All that is left to say is a big thank you from me to Mark for his thoughts here and also for being one of many people at this level who consistency support likes of myself and many other colleagues in Non-League as we try to ‘do our bit’ in telling the story, it is always appreciated. It may be a different scope from the National League (Step 1) but the stories are no less enthralling at times.

If your club (at Essex Senior or Essex Olympian level) would be interested in contributing to this blog series then please DM me on Twitter. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the article.

S2020-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Wk 9 – Sat 31 Oct) [EOFL 20-21 1.11.20]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up, here on my blog, looking at the action from Saturday 31st October from the Premier Division all the way to Division Three this week, also including results from Senior Four & Five. Thanks for reading.

EOFL Crest

EOFL Premier Division

Despite the awful weather this week, most of the Olympian League programme went ahead. In the top-tier, Buckhurst Hill temporarily went back to the top of the standings after edging a titanic tussle to win 5 – 4 at Harold Wood Athletic. Harold Wood started the better of the sides with Tom Ward and Connor Hartwell goals giving them a 2 – 1 lead, with Alfie Harris initially responding for Hill. Louis Wynter levelled things up for Mark Williams’ side who then found another gear with Suleyman Zuhdu’s 14th league goal of the season and a brace from Reece Tranter putting the high-flyers 5 – 2 up. But any notion that they would canter to victory soon dissolved as Wynter was dismissed for a strong tackle and in the latter stages, Athletic ensured a nervy ending for the visitors through strikes from substitute Jack Sykes and Robert Whitnell. Hill did hold on for an important win which takes them back top on goals scored. Harold Wood fall to tenth spot.

Elsewhere, Catholic Utd are up to third spot after a hard-fought 3 – 1 win over Rayleigh Town in the match I attended this weekend. An early header from Michael Sammut and a brace from livewire Brad Rowland ensured the ‘Super Hoops’ first home win of the season. Bailey Moss got one back for Rayleigh but they drop to 11th spot. If you’d like more on this match, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2020/11/01/s20-21-match-report-catholic-utd-3-1-rayleigh-town-saturday-31st-oct-eofl/

Kelvedon Hatch finally got their first league win this term as they narrow defeated Canning Town 1 – 0 at New Hall. Lewis Young got the crucial goal to ensure his side leaps off the bottom of the table. Canning drop to eighth spot. Leigh Ramblers also got a narrow win, 1 – 0 over Bishop’s Stortford Swifts at Belfairs Park, Matt Brinklow with the crucial goal in that contest to see Ronnie Bridges’ side up to fifth. Swifts’ sixth loss this season means they drop to third-bottom. Finally in this division, Springfield got only their second win this campaign, as they defeated Shenfield AFC 2 – 1 at Arun Close. Andy Elgar and Charlie Nicholls got the strikes for Dan Williams’ side as they rise to seventh spot in a congested bottom half of the table. 

EOFL Division One

In Division One, Ongar Town are five points clear at the summit after a fine 4 – 1 win at rivals Galleywood. Frank Goodall’s hat-trick and one for Aaron Blair secured Town’s third consecutive win and reached thirty goals scored already this term. Harry Bond netted Wood’s reply but they dropped to fourth place. Runwell Sports had a Daniel Okah goal to thank for a 1 – 0 win over Shoebury Town as they went second. Shoebury drop to the bottom of the table as Rayleigh Town Res got a 2 – 2 draw at Herongate Athletic with Pat Mills and Robbie Allen goals helped Dave Gip’ side claim a point at St Clere’s. Herongate drop to ninth place.

Elsewhere, Ramsden Scotia held Chingford Athletic to a 1 – 1 draw at Town Mead, with Jamie Auvache netting for Scotia in this one. Chingford’s tricky start continues as they remain tenth, seven points adrift of the top five. Also, Old Chelmsfordians powered to a 7 – 2 win over Toby at Lawford Lane to go up to third spot, ahead of Galleywood and Snaresbrook on goal difference.

EOFL Division Two

Things are getting tight at the summit in Division Two. Beacon Hill Rovers remain top after a 3 – 2 win over Epping Town. Callum Turner and another goal-scoring cameo from substitute Dave Limber accounted for the Epping goals but Rovers scored three of their own to go two points clear at the summit. With Leigh Town’s match at Ryan postponed, Corinthians had a chance to go into a second spot, which they did after a tough 3 – 1 win at home to May & Baker ‘A’ at Stambridge Memorial Ground. Strikes by John Bolton-Smith, Ollie Brickwood and Sammy Ayres were enough to give Chris Stoneham’s side their fifth win this term.

Also, Laindon Orient are up to fourth spot after a hard-fought 1 – 0 win at Rochford Town. Ashley Blackburn got his sixth league goal this term to help his side to the win which keeps Rochford in 8th spot. Orient went above Wakering Sports as the Shoebury-based side lost 2 – 1 at home to Harold Wood Athletic Res. Del Hawtin and Tommy Harber goals sealed their first win of the league campaign and go level on points with May & Baker ‘A’ and Ryan above them. Ben Rowe netted for Sports in this one. Old Southendian Res also got a big 5 – 1 win over struggling AS Rawreth at Garon Park, which keeps them seventh, five points away from the top four.

EOFL Division Three

Finally this week in the round-up section, in Division Three this weekend the top three sides all won. The leaders are still ACD Utd after their hard-fought 4 – 3 win at Manford Way Res. David Hornsby netted another double to reach ten league goals this term for Manford’s second-side who drop to fifth, who also had an OG to thank for their other goal. But, ACD are known for scoring bundles and they made it 27 goals in just five league games thanks to Michael Wade’s double (he is now on 13 league goals this term) and strikes by Billy Wren and Paul Mangan. Wakebury remain the nearest challengers, two points adrift in second after they won 3 – 1 at Hutton Res. The cast of William Wheeler, Charlie Little and replacement Harry Kateley did the job for Matt Cardy’s side. Hutton’s Reserve side remain third-bottom.

The turnaround at Hullbridge ‘A’ this term continued as they won 3 – 2 at bottom side Leigh Town Res Joe Ives got a brace to make it three matches in a row he’s netted in, with Harry Boswell also scoring to put the Lower Road development side in third and are one of only two sides that are unbeaten in this division, alongside ACD Utd. Collier Row went up to fourth after a hard-fought 2 – 1 win at Toby Res, who remain second from bottom. Lastly, Basildon Town Res got a fine 4 – 2 win at Lakeside Utd to go up to sixth with Michael Clark getting another double here to reach five league goals this term, with Sam Marsh also notching twice here. David Alele and Harry Davison’s 5th league goal this season accounted for Lakeside’s goals, but they slide down to 8th spot.

EOFL Reserve League Cup Result

Ongar Town Res  2 – 3  Wakering Sports Res

EOFL Division Four Results

Catholic Utd Res  5 – 1  Chingford Athletic Res

Leytonstone Utd 0 – 6  Galleywood Res

Shenfield AFC Res  3 – 1  Canning Town Res

EOFL Division Five  Results

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res  6 – 4  Herongate Athletic Res

Old Barkabbeyans 0 – 0  Runwell Sports Res

S20-21 Match Report: Catholic Utd 3 – 1 Rayleigh Town (Saturday 31st Oct) [EOFL 20/21 1.11.20]

EOFL Crest

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Len Forge Centre [3G]

Season 2020- 21: Match 18

Saturday 31st October 2020 – 2.30pm KO

Catholic Utd: Green & White Hooped Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks

Rayleigh Town: Navy Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Navy Blue Socks  

Len Forge pitch prior to KO

Strong display sees Catholic Utd to victory over Rayleigh in drenched conditions

Catholic Utd  3 – 1  Rayleigh Town

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

On an afternoon where you’d be forgiven for thinking the weather clouds were giving a hint as to what was to come, I went for a return trip to the Len Forge Centre to see Catholic Utd’s encounter with another local rival in Rayleigh Town, in the Essex Olympian League Premier Division. The rain had left hthe artificial playing surface somewhat drenched but boss Stuart Marshall named stalwart & skipper Louis Godwin-Green in goal, with John Nutman and Ellis Sands in defence, Harley Kee and Max Kent among the midfield and a front two of Aaron Baldwin and Brad Rowland. Among the options on their bench were midfielders Callum Matthews and Jack Holloway and forward Rhys Fatt. The likes of Alfie Lindfield and Luke Trice were unavailable for this contest.

Rayleigh Town were looking to build on their win the previous week at home to Sungate and named Josh Hudson in goal, with Louis Baucutt and Tom Franks in their defence, with George Vile once again skippering the side. Bailey Moss and Paul Morris were their focal point in attack, with their replacement options including the likes of Ruari McIntyre, Michael Okafor and Dan Regan. 

Both sets of players about to get under-way..

As the match began, it was clear to see that Catholic Utd wanted to start by taking the early advantage on the score-sheet as only two minutes into the contest, a fine centre by attacking right-back Patrick Kearney found brother Tom Kearney but his attempted strike was blocked by covering Rayleigh defender Aaron Clark , only for the rebound to fall to home forward Aaron Baldwin whose strike drew the first save out of Town custodian Josh Hudson. Town needed to regroup but the hosts were giving them little time to so as only minutes later, an errant clearance found Tom Kearney but he could only skew his shot harmlessly wide. Baldwin then fizzed another curling strike wide of goal as Catholic Utd were exacting pressure on their opponents.

They didn’t have to wait too long to break the deadlock as on thirteen minutes, a fine cross in from the right flank by Rowland picked out the advancing Michael Sammut who powered in a header past the helpless Hudson to give the hosts a deserved lead. It sort of stated the situation when Rayleigh made their first real foray forward just after the twenty minute mark as right-back Charlie Seaden bombed forward and his cross was eventually cleared by defender Simon Thomas. Catholic Utd were certainly the aggressors in terms of possession and chances as shown moments after, with Rowland played in Tom Kearney whose placed effort drew another good save out of the acrobatic Hudson.

Rayleigh did have a good spell in the latter third of the first 45 minutes, with midfielder George Vile testing opposition stopper Louis Godwin-Green’s alertness with a strike from 25-yards which the Catholic captain did well to parry round the right-side post. At the other end, Baldwin was still full of running down the channels but a great run down the left flank ended flatly as his centre found ‘nobody home’ in the eighteen-yard box moments before the half-time whistle.

Half-Time: Catholic Utd  Catholic Utd  1 – 0  Rayleigh Town

So the hosts had a slender lead at the interval, though it could have been more and Catholic Utd set out to make the points beyond doubt in the early stages of the second half. Two minutes in, an error by the Town defence allowed Rowland to ping in another dangerous centre, which Rayleigh defender Tom Franks did well to block. Town goalkeeper Josh Hudson only added to his fine afternoon by first denying Tom Kearney’s drive and soon after, a fine speculative strike by Rowland in quick succession. A rare attacking move at this stage of the game for Rayleigh saw left-back Ollie Hanlon and forward Michael Okafor involved in a good move before ultimately being cleared by Catholic Utd defender John Nutman.

Unfortunately for the visitors, a defensive switch-off at the back allowed Rowland to ghost in beyond the backline and defeat Hudson one-on-one to finally double the home side’s lead on 55 minutes. Four minutes later, Rowland turned architect as another searching pass found Baldwin but his curling effort was again well-saved by Hudson. However, the hosts were not to be denied a third goal as a searching run by substitute Rhys Fatt down the left ended with his centre finding Rowland in the six-yard area and the creative forward made no mistake in slotting home to surely seal the win on 64 minutes.

Rayleigh ‘keeper Josh Hudson (Centre) sprawls to make another fine save

To their credit, Rayleigh responded three minutes later as substitute Ben Baxter’s pass found centre forward Bailey Moss who side-footed home past Godwin-Green to vanquish any chance of a clean-sheet to go with the home side’s performance here. As we entered the last thirteen minutes of the match, Okafor did well to play in Moss again, though this time Godwin-Green was equal to his effort. With moments remaining, the duel between Baldwin and Hudson went the way of the goalkeeper as the impressive Hudson again denied the hard-working Catholic Utd forward’s strike.

Full-Time: Catholic Utd  3 – 1 Rayleigh Town

So the ‘Super Hoops’ continued their winning trajectory after the win at Kelvedon Hatch the previous week. This performance pleased manager Stuart Marshall and it was easy to see why – his side created a real big number of opportunities throughout and it wasn’t for some superb goalkeeping by Rayleigh stopper Josh Hudson and determined defending by his compatriots, the score-line could have been much worse for them.

However, Town did have periods of the game where they were a threat and tested the home side’s experienced backline. It made for a good contest, despite the over-reaching clouds and rain that attempted to intervene before and during the match.

In terms of stand-out performances, for Catholic Utd it was a great afternoon for forward Brad Rowland who not only notched twice himself but also sent in a number of challenging crosses for the visiting defence to deal with. Strike partner Aaron Baldwin also had a really good game. Although he didn’t get on the score-sheet, his sheer tireless attitude stretched the opposition and was unfortunate not to add a goal or two. Midfielder Tom Kearney and attacking full-back Michael Samut also did well for the hosts here.

For Rayleigh, as mentioned goalkeeper Josh Hudson made at least five really good saves which kept his side in it here, with centre-back Louis Baucutt also embodying the spirit of his side’s determined defending, even though they had to do a lot of it in this game. Right-back Charlie Seaden also got forward well and replacement Michael Okafor also gave his side a different dimension in attack with his strength and movement. Finally, I’d like to wish both sides well for the rest of what looks to be a different campaign.


Catholic Utd  | Manager: Stuart Marshall

Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK & Capt), 2 Patrick Kearney, 3 Michael Sammut, 18 Ellis Sands, 4 John Nutman, 8 6 Tom Kearney, 14 Harley Kee, 8 Max Kent, 9 Aaron Baldwin, 10 Brad Rowland, 15 Simon Thomas

Goal-scorers: Michael Sammut [13’], Brad Rowland [55’ & 64’]

Subs Used: 5 Louis Robinson [42’], 7 Rhys Fatt [60’], 12 Callum Matthews [65’], 16 jack Holloway [75’] and 17 Scott Keys [79’]

Booked: Kent, Fatt   | Subs Not Used: None


Rayleigh Town    | Manager: Paul Higgins

Starting XI: 1 Josh Hudson (GK), 2 Charlie Seaden, 3 Ollie Hanlon, 4 Louis Baucutt, 5 Tom Franks, 6 Aaron Clark, 7 Harry Talbot, 8 George Vile (Capt), 9 Bailey Moss, 10 Paul Morris, 11 Cameron Glover

Goal-scorers: Bailey Moss [67’]

Subs Used: 16 Michael Okafor [32’], 12 Ruari McIntyre [60’], 15 Ben Baxter [60’] and Dan Regan [75’]

Booked: Okafor | Subs Not Used: None

Referee: Neil Irvine

S2020-21 Round-ups: Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier (Wk 8 – Sat 24 Oct) [ESBL 20-21 26.10.20]

Hello and welcome to a bonus blog, going through the action in the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division on Saturday 24th October. Thanks for reading.

Written by Scott W   [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Essex & Suffolk Border League – Saturday 24th October

ESBL Premier Division

At the top of the standings are Gas Recreation, despite being held to a 3 – 3 draw by Lawford Lads at Salary Close. Strikes by Aston Firkins, Shane Goodyear and Callum Rogers’ ninth league goal of the season wasn’t enough to grab their eighth league win of the campaign as Lawford responded through a brace from Jack Wood and one from Oliver Mann. Dean West’s side are still four points clear at the summit, whereas Lawford remain 15th after one win in their eight games thus far. Nearest challengers Colne Athletic were also held at home this weekend as they drew 2 – 2 with White Notley. Daniel Bradley and substitute Aran Yarwood both netted for Notley but replacement Gareth Evans was dismissed. Kane Dobrowolski scored his fifth league goal of the campaign for the visitors, with Regan Farley-Hearn also on the score-sheet to keep Notley in seventh.

There was no such trouble for third-placed Great Bentley who comfortably defeated Dedham Old Boys 4 – 0 at the Village Green. Joseph Hurd struck twice to take his tally to five this term already, with Archie Herbert and lead scorer Louis Olymbios notching his eighth this season to see Jack Murray’s side to the points. Dedham’s usually tight defence was outclassed here and drop to ninth spot. West Bergholt continued the theme of stalemates for the top four as they drew 2 – 2 with Hatfield Peverel with Benjamin Adams and Joshua McFaull netting for Peverel in this one.

Elsewhere, Stanway Pegasus notched their fifth win in their seven matches this term to rise to fifth spot. They won 2 – 1 at Flitch Utd with Callum Griffith grabbing his seventh league goal of the campaign and Jake Plane both scoring for the visitors. Alresford Colne Rangers drop to sixth after being held 3 – 3 by draw specialists Earls Colne at Ford Lane. Ryan Lewis got two goals for Rangers here with Jack Johnson getting the other goal but strikes by Keiran Adams, Connor Randall and Benrico Stripe made sure of a point for Earls who have drawn five of their seven games thus far.

Also, Tiptree Heath rise to eighth after a 3 – 1 triumph over Felixstowe & Walton Utd Res, thanks to goals from Charlie Green, Joe Chester and replacement Billy Coe. Declan Cameron responded for Felixstowe but Rhys Henry saw red which only made the afternoon for the strugglers, who remain 17th. In the last game this weekend in the division, Little Oakley Res defeated Sudbury Sports 3 – 0 with Robert Pratt getting two goals here, plus Jamie Eades notched his sixth league goal this term to send his side up to tenth, with Sports a place and two points behind, though they do have four more matches in hand on Oakley’s second-side.


S2020-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Wk 8 – Sat 24 Oct) [EOFL 20-21 25.10.20]

Image from Hutton 4 – 0 Bishop’s S Swifts [Credit: @fitinaflash]

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up, here on my blog, looking at the action from Saturday 24th October from the Premier Division all the way to Division Three this week, also including results from Senior Four & Five. My thanks to @fitinaflash and Pete Dudley (@ped1980) for the photos. Thanks for reading.

EOFL Premier Division

As ever, we begin in the Premier Division and we have new leaders. Basildon Town kept up their perfect record this term with a narrow 1 – 0 win over highly-rated Leigh Ramblers at Basildon Sports Club. Keith King got the only goal to give player-boss Marcus Bowers’ side a three-point lead at the summit. Buckhurst Hill are in second after a rare loss, 2 – 1 at Canning Town, with strikes by Jack Williamson and Harry Rixon meaning the latter side moving up to seventh after this fine result. Even another goal from Suleyman Zuhdu wasn’t enough for Hill to avoid defeat. Also, in-form Hutton got another win, defeating Bishop’s Stortford Swifts 4 – 0 at Polo Fields, A brace for Stephen Judge plus goals for Will Marlowe and Tony Shaw saw Matt Singh’s side up to fourth, with Swifts down to eleventh.

Elsewhere, Catholic Utd are up to fifth spot following a comfortable 3 – 0 triumph over bottom side Kelvedon Hatch at New Hall. Goals from Brad Rowland, Aaron Baldwin and Harley Kee were enough to see Stuart Marshall’s side to a decent win. Rayleigh Town also got a ‘W’ this week as they narrowly beat Sungate 1 – 0 at London Road, with Dan Regan’s early goal enough for the win for Paul Higgins’ side. The ‘Gate remain third but are still five points adrift of Hill in second. Also among the winners this week were Shenfield AFC who got a very respectable 3 – 0 win over Old Southendian at St Martins Sch [3G]. Perry Robinson, Sam Lock and Liam Snellin were the goal-scorers here at AFC went up to eighth whole OS drop to second-bottom. Finally for the top-tier, Springfield were held 2 – 2 by improving Harold Wood Athletic at Arun Close. George Rose and Jack Browne-Sykes netted for Alex Goldstone’s side who inch up to ninth spot with goals from Jake Clarke and Denzel Adebiyi giving Dan Williams’ side a point – they are in 12th spot.

EOFL Senior League Cup Result

May & Baker ‘A’  6 – 1  Newbury Forest Res

EOFL Division One

In Division One, the leaders are still unbeaten Ongar Town after they negotiated a tough test by winning 3 – 1 at Chingford Athletic. Joe Lilly, Aaron Blair and a cracker from Eamon Payne secured the win for Richard Ponsford’s side, who are now four points clear at the summit. Their nearest challengers are now Galleywood after they edged to a hard-fought 3 – 2 win over Rayleigh Town Res at Clarkes Field. Harry Bond and Lewis Rose were among the scorers for the hosts, with Harry Barham and Kalvin Armstrong responding for Dave Gipp’s side who drop to the foot of the table. That was because Shoebury Town got their first win this term with a 2 – 1 success over high-flyers Snaresbrook at Cupid’s. Ife Ogunbayo’s fourth league goal this term was not enough to prevent the East London side dropping to third on goal difference.

Also, Runwell Sports were held 1 – 1 by fellow top-five side Toby at St Luke’s Park. Joe Olley struck for the hosts, while Rhys Willson got the goal for the visitors. Both sides are well-placed for an assault on the top three at this point. Elsewhere, Ramsden Scotia got a second successive win over Herongate Athletic, winning 3 – 2 at the Nursery Sports Ground. Scotia’s goals came through a brace from Ryan McDonach and one from substitute Max Fernee. Harley Benn and Ben Warren both netted for Ath, but they drop to ninth spot. Finally, Old Chelmsfordians are seventh after a 2 – 1 win at Manford Way, despite Tyrone Scarlett netting for Trevor Grace’s side. 

EOFL Division Two

Into Division Two and Beacon Hill Rovers have taken the top spot after a 4 – 0 success at Harold Wood Athletic Res. Bradley Morgan netted twice here to climb to eight league goals this season, plus Lewis Sherwood and George Davis also struck to complete another splendid afternoon for Steve Bennett’s side. Corinthians rose to third spot after a tough 2 – 1 win at local rivals Rochford Town, with Nathan Dewberry also netting his eighth league goal this term, alongside a John Bolton-Smith goal to see Chris Stoneham’s side to the win.

Also, Leigh Town continue to fight hard for points as they held Old Southendian Res to a 0 – 0 draw at John Burrows Recreation Ground though they drop to second. It’s worth noting that Town haven’t been beaten in the league since April 2019 I believe. Some record that. Epping Town climbed into sixth place after a blistering 6 – 1 win at home to Ryan. Chris Gormley netted twice here, with Michael Moore, Joe Rudkin, Peter Paoletti and Joe Rickett also on target for Stuart Hoskins’ side. Ryan remain tenth. Finally, Laindon Orient got their biggest league win of the season, defeating AS Rawreth 5 – 1 at the Warren. Ashley Blackburn got two goals to reach five in total this season, with Jason Jones, Matthew Gibson and Carlos Dias also contributing to Neil Blackburn’s side remaining fifth, four points off the leaders.

Image from Wakebury 2 – 3 ACD Utd [Credit: Pete Dudley]

EOFL Division Three

We also have new leaders in Division Three as ACD Utd won their top-of-the-table clash, winning 3 – 2 at Wakebury. Player-manager Michael Wade grabbed another treble to make it to eleven league goals already this term for ACD, and while Billy Bonham-Dare and Chris Gore’s late spot-kick gave Matt Cardy’s side hope, it was the visitors who retain their 100% winning record and go top of the standings by two points. Non-League colleague Pete Dudley was at this game & his report is here: https://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2020/10/wakebury-2-acd-united-3.html

Elsewhere, Hutton Res got their first win in the league with a fine 4 – 2 win at fellow strugglers Toby Res in Newbury Park. The Shenfield-based side rose above their opponents into tenth spot. Justin Clarke and Junior Bammeke netted for the hosts in this one but it’s still no wins since their opening match now. Lakeside Utd leapt into mid-table after triumphing over Leigh Town Res 5 – 3 in an entertaining game at the Lakeside Sports Ground [3G]. Aaron Tyler, Christian Seymour and Callum Stone all netted for Rob Hutchings-Spiller’s side but their winless run went on thanks to Harry Davison’s four-goal haul for Lakeside, assisted by Brandon Booty’s strike. 

Hullbridge ‘A’ continued their fine season with a 4 – 2 success over Buckhurst Hill Res at Lower Road. The cast of Joe Ives, George Mole, Harry Mole and replacement Charlie Cox all netted to stay third and are only one of two unbeaten sides in the division. Manford Way Res are behind on goal difference alone in fourth after despatching Corinthians Res 4 – 1 at Stambridge. David Hornsby struck another two goals here to take him on to eight league goals this season, with Shaun Goddard and Jake Muller also on target. Sonny Woodward got the reply for Russell Saggers’ side.

Finally for this division, Collier Row are also on ten points with Hullbridge and Manford after a 3 – 2 win over Basildon Town Res at Robert Clack [3G]. Town fall to eighth.

EOFL Division Four Results

Canning Town Res  1 – 1  Leytonstone Utd

Hashtag Utd Development  4 – 3  Chingford Athletic Res

Laindon Orient Res  1 – 2 Galleywood Res

Old Chelmsfordians Res  1 – 4 Ongar Town Res

Sungate Res  1 – 6  Catholic Utd Res

Wakering Sports Res  8 – 1  Shenfield AFC Res

EOFL Division Five  Results

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res  3 – 1  Springfield Res

Collier Row Res  4 – 1  AS Rawreth Res

Herongate Athletic Res  2 – 1  Runwell Sports Res

Leigh Ramblers Res  3 – 4  Old Barkabbeyans

Roydon 3 – 0  Epping Town Res

Match OFF: Shoebury Town Res  P – P  Wakering Sports Dev (Due to Waterlogged pitch)

S2020-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League & Cups (Wk 7 – Sat 17 Oct) [EOFL 20-21 19.10.20]

Behind the goal at Rayleigh Town [Image: Scott W]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Essex Olympian League round-up, here on my blog, looking at the action from Saturday 17th October from the Premier Division all the way to Division Four this week, also including sections on the Senior & Reserve League Cup action this weekend. Thanks for reading.

EOFL Crest

EOFL Premier Division

The top two in the Premier Division both got big wins this weekend. Buckhurst Hill are now in possession of top spot after a huge 8 – 3 win over Springfield at Roding Lane. Suleyman Zuhdu only endorsed his growing reputation with five goals here to take him to twelve league goals already this season. Josh Banfield, Henry Fisher and Nathan Sollosi all also netted to give Mark Williams’ side a sixth straight win. But, Basildon Town matched their win tally with a good 4 – 1 win over Canning Town at Basildon Sports Club. Marcus Bowers’ side are continuing to surprise in a good way, with Graham Harrison, Joe Burgess, Jacob Cleaver and Jamie Simpkins all on target for the hosts here.

Meanwhile in the match myself & Non-League colleague Pete Dudley attended, Hutton won 3 – 1 at Rayleigh Town with substitute Sean O’Callaghan netting twice for Matt Singh’s side, after Will Marlowe’s opener. Paul Morris got Town’s goal from twelve yards but this surprising result seems them drop to second bottom, whereas Hutton are up to fifth. If you’d like more on this match, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2020/10/17/s20-21-match-report-rayleigh-town-1-3-hutton-saturday-17th-oct-eofl/

Elsewhere, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts comfortably defeated Kelvedon Hatch at Silver Leys 4- 1 with goals from Wale Odedoyin, Archie Gerard, Carlos Flood and Chris Lockwood the difference for Billy Cove’s side as they rise to seventh. Hatch’s goal came from substitute Lewis Young but they remain winless and bottom. Also, Harold Wood Athletic got a decent 2 – 1 win over Old Southendian at Harold Wood Park. Connor Hartwell and Robert Whitnell’s goals meant Alex Goldstone’s side got some measure of comeback after their loss at Garon Park in September. Connor Burrows got the OS goal but they drop down to third-bottom.

Essex Premier Cup Results

Barnston 2 – 2 Shoebury Town (Town won 6 – 4 on penalties)
Frenford Res 2 – 1 Snaresbrook
Saffron Walden Town Res 4 – 2 Ryan
Sungate 2 – 0 Shenfield AFC

EOFL Reserve League Cup

In the one Reserve Cup tie we had this week, Galleywood Res went through after a 3 – 2 win over Hutton Res at Clarkes Field. Luke Seaton, Craig Robertson and Zak Robinson all struck for the hosts in this successful afternoon.

EOFL Division One

Going back to League action now with Division One, and it’s as you were at the top with Ongar Town continuing their irrepressible start with a 3 – 1 win over Manford Way at Lakeside [3G]. Aaron Blair got his 13th league goal of the season, along with Joshua Boxall and replacement Rodney Wilson on the score-sheet for Town. Dexter Stuart scored for Manford but their 100% record ended here. Runwell Sports reside in fourth spot despite a 1 – 1 draw at home to improving Chingford Athletic, who remain in the bottom four. Galleywood also won, 1 – 0 at Old Chelmsfordians with the goal-scoring hero being Thomas Watling to go three points clear of their opponents in sixth.

Ramsden Scotia also notched their first league win this term in fine style, winning 3 – 2 at Herongate Athletic. Ben Warren’s brace wasn’t enough for Athletic, as goals from Max Corrigan, Alex Bessent and Richard Bishop saw Scotia up to tenth. Meanwhile, Toby are up to fourth place after a 3 – 0 win over Rayleigh Town Res. Josh Hales, Rhys Willson and Chris Rowland all netted before half-time to secure a comfortably win for the Newbury Park-based team.

EOFL Division Two

In Division Two now, Leigh Town still lead the division despite Jack Pearman’s injury-hit side being held 1 – 1 by Epping Town at John Burrows Recreation Ground. Rhys Mosedale netted for the hosts, while Peter Paoletti struck for Stuart Hoskins’ side, who remain in mid-table. Beacon Hill Rovers got a storming 9 – 1 win away at AS Rawreth, with Bradley Morgan netting four of them, Lewis Sherwood grabbing a hat-trick plus Rob Olding and Henry Ballard were also on target in this resounding win which sees Rovers up to second. Said Ahmed got a little consolation for Rawreth but they are still without a point in four league games thus far.

With Corinthians having a week off, Wakering Sports went up to third spot after a good 2 – 0 away win at Laindon Orient with Meschack Kisoka and Ben Rowe the scorers for Mitch Gleeson’s side.  Mid-table Old Southendian Res were surprisingly held 3 – 3 by Harold Wood Athletic Res  at Garon Park. Dave Stubbs, Nico Dubouchet and Lewis Bickford all scored for Oliver Tatton-Bennett’s side but strikes by Warren Taylor, Del Hawtin and Darren Wettner secured the Wood side their first point of the season. Also, Rochford Town were held 1 – 1 by May & Baker ‘A’ with Town up to eighth and M & B remaining in tenth.

EOFL Division Three

In the Division Three action this week, Wakebury remain the leaders by a point as they defeated Toby Res 5 – 0 at Shoebury Park. Charlie Little grabbed another treble here to make it seven goals in two matches – not bad going really! Shaun Lewis-Evans and William Wheeler also netted for Matt Cardy’s side. The visitors drop to ninth spot and The Berries are still unbeaten in their four league matches so far.

That said, the result of the day has to go to ACD Utd as they comprehensively dismantled Collier Row 9 – 1 at Westlands.  No less than four players got doubles here with Sam Payne, Michael Wade, George Munns and Brad Falco the four, with Shaun Farrow also notching on a terrific afternoon for Wade’s side. Row’s first league loss this term drops them back to fifth whereas ACD rise to second. Hullbridge Sports ‘A’ continued their unbeaten league start this season as they won 3 – 1 at Buckhurst Hill Res. Harry Boswell, Joe Ives and Edward Hawney all netted for the youthful ‘Bridge side who are third. Genit Abazi struck for the home side.

Also, Manford Way Res are up to fourth spot after a hard-fought 3 – 2 home win against Basildon Town Res. David Hornsby struck twice for Manford to make it to six league goals already this term, with Gideon Sengulay-Thomas getting the other goal for them. Michael Clark got both Town goals but they fell to seventh after this loss. Last up, Corinthians Res got their first win of the campaign with a 5 – 1 triumph over winless Leigh Town Res at Stambridge. Max Hall got two of the hosts’ goals, with Ashley Webb, Charlie Marden and Ben Langton all also scoring for Russell Saggers’ side, who go up to eighth spot. Miles Waddilove netted a scant consolation for Rob Hutchings-Spiller’s side here.

EOFL Division Four

In an extended look at Division Four this week, Hashtag Utd Development lead the standings by three points after a 4 – 1 win against Laindon Orient Res. Strikes by Samuel Pratt, Adam de Cruz, Tony Stevens and Harry Braysher sealed the win for the hosts, with Herman Mwanza getting the only goal in reply for Laindon’s second side. With Catholic Utd Reserves not in action this weekend, Chingford Athletic Res got their third win in four games after a 4 – 0 success over Old Chelmsfordians Res. Substitute Regan Marshall got a brace for Ath here, with Leighton Hughes-Franklin and Cane Sullivan also on the score-sheet in this win which sees Ath’s reserves go up to third on goal difference.

Elsewhere, Ongar Town Res also won 4 – 1 this weekend against Shenfield AFC Res with doubles for Frankie Goodhall and Riyan Metasha as the Ongar side go up to seventh. Finally for this division, Wakering Sports Res convincingly defeated Sungate Res 5 – 1 at Cupid’s with Connor Fardyga notching four goals himself and Charlie Smith also on target as Sports sent the ‘Gate Ressies to their first league loss this season.

EOFL Division Five  Results

Collier Row Res  1 – 3 Old Barkabbeyans

Epping Town Res  1 – 2  Leigh Ramblers Res

Newbury Forest Res  1 – 0  Runwell Sports Res

Shoebury Town Res  1 – 2  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res

Springfield Res  5 – 0  Herongate Athletic Res

Wakering Sports Dev 2 – 1  AS Rawreth Res

S20-21 Match Report: Rayleigh Town 1 – 3 Hutton (Saturday 17th Oct) [EOFL 20/21 17.10.20]

EOFL Crest

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: London Road

Season 2020- 21: Match 15

Saturday 17th October 2020 – 2.30pm KO

Rayleigh Town: Navy Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts & Socks

Hutton: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks

London Road pitch

Energised Hutton win well at mis-firing Rayleigh

Rayleigh Town  1 – 3  Hutton

Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with additional photos by @fitinaflash (with thanks)

On an afternoon which ended up being one of a double-header (the other being an Essex Premier Cup tie later in the day), I returned to London Road to see Rayleigh Town’s intriguing contest with new-look Hutton in the Essex Olympian League Premier Division. The hosts had powerful forward Bailey Moss and Paul Morris in attack, with Harry Talbot and Ollie Hanlon on the flanks. George Vile skippered the side and Mark Brown was named between the posts. On the bench were the likes of Cameron Glover, Teddy Rumsey and Mike Okafor. For Matt Singh’s Hutton side, they fielded goalkeeper Adrian Faherty with a back four of Tom Stephens, John Carroll plus centre-backs Jonathan Hilliard and Elliott Fraser, with hard-working forwards Brad Freeman and Will Marlowe in attack. Among their replacements were forward Sean O’Callaghan, plus Keelan O’Donovan and player-assistant boss Robert Lorkins.

Will Marlowe about to strike to put Hutton ahead (Credit: @fitinaflash)

The match got underway in some style as merely two minutes in, pacy winger Harry Talbot broke free of the visitors’ defence but with only custodian Adrian Faherty to bypass, a great recovery challenge by centre-back Jonathan Hilliard denied him a really good chance at goal. Moments later at the other end, decent build-up play by Hutton saw the ball find its way to winger Joshua Seal who fired low from the edge of the area but Rayleigh stopper Mark Brown got down well and made a good one-handed save. Rayleigh were cursing their finishing again on six minutes as a fine centre by forward Bailey Moss found Ollie Hanlon, but Faherty got down well to deny him with his foot from point-blank range. Hutton did break the deadlock on 17 minutes as a fine ball in from the left flank found forward Will Marlowe who guided his header superbly past Brown to find the top corner.

To be fair to the visitors, they kept up the pressure in the next part of the half as a fine free-kick from midfielder Stephen Judge twenty yards out drew another fine save from Brown in tipping it over the crossbar. From another corner by Judge on 26 minutes, Marlowe headed over the goal frame as Town were just lacking their composure and cohesion they were striving for in building attacks. Even so, Rayleigh did level the match nine minutes before the interval as Faheryty was adjudged to have pushed Moss in challenging for a high ball in the area, and strike partner Paul Morris emphatically struck home the resulting spot-kick into the left-side of the net.

Half-Time: Rayleigh Town  1 – 3  Hutton

At the start of the second-half, the visitors were a man light as Marlowe had been sin-binned after the penalty I believe. Even with that disadvantage, Matt Singh’s side were fired up and started the second half strongly. Three minutes after the break, forward Brad Freeman evaded the Town defence again but Brown denied him one-on-one. Substitute Sean O’Callaghan was also showing his pace and movement since coming on before the break and he also took advantage of slack marking to face Brown, but again the assured stopper denied him with a good save. There were plenty of warning signs for the hosts as Marlowe ghosted past the Town backline, who were uncharacteristically slack here at times and the Hutton forward brought out another good parry by the over-worked Brown. Hutton did re-take the lead on 63 minutes as Marlowe’s initial effort was thwarted on the goal-line but O’Callaghan was there to prod home a second attempt from point-blank range.

Town were unfortunate to have a goal chalked off moments later, with replacement Cameron Glover the unlucky finisher. But that said, Hutton were energised by their work rate and looked the more threatening at times. They rounded out the scoring with twelve minutes remaining, with the tireless Freeman making another imposing run and despite Town left-back Harry Higgins making a good interception, O’Callaghan was there again to follow-up and prod home his second of the afternoon. Town kept going though their morale was being drained, an substitute Mike Okafor was denied by a decent save by Faherty as the minutes ebbed away. In the end, not the hosts’ best day but Hutton will take any away wins they can get and they deserved the win.

Full-Time: Rayleigh Town  1 – 3  Hutton

Forward Brad Freeman bypasses Town defender Tom Franks (Credit: @fitinaflash)

So to sum-up this surprise result, Hutton showed a bit of guile and a lot of energy to win the match well in the end. In terms of stand-out performances, Hutton’s front two of Brad Freeman and Will Marlowe showed a great work rate and no lack of strength to give the home defence a hard afternoon. Creative midfielder Stephen Judge also made a noticeable difference with his set-pieces and passing, while centre-back Jonathan Hilliard made a number of crucial tackles, right from the early goings of this game so well done to them. For Rayleigh, the team performance probably wasn’t up to the standards that manager Paul Higgins and his staff would have wanted and in the end they couldn’t sustain the pressure on the visitors for long enough, particularly in the second half. Tricky winger Harry Talbot leads their honourable mentions as he showed no lack of pace and skill to test defenders, while centre forward Bailey Moss did hold the ball up well, looking to get the others involved. Goalkeeper Mark Brown made a number of good saves and looked assured and finally skipper George Vile put in a hard-working performance in central midfield.

Lastly, I’d like to wish both sides well for the rest of this hard-fought Olympian Premier campaign.


Rayleigh Town  | Manager: Paul Higgins

Starting XI: 1 Mark Brown (GK), 2 Charlie Seaden, 3 Harry Higgins, 4 Aaron Clark, 16 Jack Long, 6 Dan Regan, 7 Harry Talbot, 8 George Vile (Capt), 9 Bailey Moss, 10 Paul Morris, 11 Ollie Hanlon

Goal-scorers: Paul Morris [pen 36’]

Subs Used: 12 Cameron Glover [54’], 14 Teddy Rumsey [54’], 5 Tom Franks [69’], 15 Mike Okafor [69’]

Booked: Long, Regan | Subs Not Used: Larkin


Hutton    | Manager: Matt Singh

Starting XI: 1 Adrian Faherty (GK), 2 Tom Stephens, 3 John Carroll, 4 Kyle Linzell (Capt), 5 Elliott Fraser, 6 Jonathan Hilliard, 7 Stephen Judge, 8 Lewis Scott, 9 Brad Freeman, 10 Will Marlowe, 11 Joshua Seal

Goal-scorers: Will Marlowe [17’], Sean O’Callaghan [63’ & 78’]

Subs Used: 14 Sean O’Callaghan [33’], 12 Keelan O’Donovan [45’], 17 Robert Lorkins [83’]

Booked: Marlowe (Sin-binned) | Subs Not Used: None

Referee: Charles Nicholls

Assistant Referees: Martin Smith and Zara Wickert

S20-21 Round-ups: Essex & Suffolk Border League (Wk 6 – Sat 10 Oct) [ESBL 20-21 11.10.20]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the five Essex & Suffolk Border League divisions on Saturday 10th October, alongside the action in the Olympian League it is good to welcome this round-up of ESBL action, thank you Spencer. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with thanks. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Spencer Hume   [Twitter: @SpencerHume03] – ESBL Social Media Officer

Essex & Suffolk Border Lge crest (Credit: ESBL/Twitter)

Essex & Suffolk Border League – Saturday 10th October

ESBL Premier Division

Alresford Colne Rangers got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win away at Barnston AFC, goals from Rob Thompson and Josh Gray. Good win for ACR which puts them in 8th, Barno stay bottom.

Colne Athletic picked up a big 3 points with a 2-0 win at home to unbeaten West Bergholt, Luke Goldie-McSorley put Colne 1-0 up from the spot, Bergholt were reduced to 10 men then a Harry Watts goal towards the end saw Colne take all 3 points and move into 2nd! Earls Colne & Flitch United shared the points at the recreation ground, a 1-1 draw. Flitch were ahead at the break but a second half goal from Jake Horlock saw both leave with a point. Colne in 10th, Flitch in 16th.

Gas Recreation went top of the table with a 3-1 win at home to Little Oakley Reserves, 3 first half goals from Harry Hewes, Callum Rogers and Luke Taylor was enough as Gas picked up another big 3 points. Oakley in 13th. Great Bentley got back to winning ways with a 5-2 win away at Hatfield Peverel, Louis Olymbios grabbed a hat trick with Jake Vaughan and Kieron Baker netting the others. The win sees Bentley sit in 3rd place, while Hatfield sit in 12th.

We saw a 10-goal triller at Stanway School as Stanway Pegasus beat White Notley 6-4. Notley were ahead 3-2 at the break but a brilliant second half comeback saw Pegasus take another big 3 points. Rory Bone (2), Robbie Bennett and Regan Farley-Hearn on the scoresheet for Notley. Tiptree Heath got back to winning ways with a 4-0 win at home to Lawford Lads, goals from Jamie Chesney, Cameron Ward, Charlie Green and Ben Turner. The win puts Heath in 9th place while Lawford sit in 15th.

ESBL Division One

Only 1 game on in division one yesterday afternoon, Stanway Pegasus Reserves beat Coggeshall United Reserves 2-0, thanks to goals from Jack Slater and Daniel Shaikly. Good win for Pegasus which puts them in 6th place, Coggeshall in 7th.

ESBL Division Two

Cavendish picked up a big 4-1 win over top of the table Harwich & Parkeston Reserves, goals from Addy Roy (2) and Haydn Taylor (2). Big 3 points for the Dishmen who sit in 2nd, Harwich stay top. Hatfield Peverel Reserves picked up their first win of the season with a 5-1 win away at Harwich Rangers, good 3 points for Hatfield which sees them climb into 11th place, Harwich stay bottom.

Oyster & Dedham Old Boys Reserves shared the points at the Glebe, a 2-2 draw. John-Joseph Peat with a brace for Dedham. The point sees Dedham sit in 8th, Oyster in 14th.

Tollesbury picked up a 3-1 win away at St Osyth, goals from Sam Hume, Lewis Ponder and Scott Keeble. The win sees Tollesbury sit in 5th place, St Osyth sit in 13th.

Tiptree Jobserve Reserves picked up a big 3 points with a 1-0 win away at Stanway Athletic. The win sees Jobserve stay in 3rd place while Stanway Ath suffer their 3rd defeat in a row, they sit in 9th.

ESBL Division Three

Flitch United Reserves went joint top with a 4-2 win over Oyster Reserves, goals from Paul Layzell, Alex Cannon and a brace from Will Gale. Good 3 points for Flitch. Conor Garvey & Owen Stedman on target for Oyster who sit in 13th.

Barnston Reserves went top of the table with a 6-1 win away at Little Clacton, goals from James Bolandi, Jamie McLaughlin, Lee Jarvis-Brown and a hat trick from Rees Cook. Another good win for Barno who sit top on goal difference. Little Clacton in 12th.

Ramsey & Mistley grabbed their second win of the season with 4-2 win at home to Abbey Fields, goals from Chris Stratton with a brace and Ben Allington. Good win for Ramsey especially being 2-1 down, they sit in 9th, Abbey Fields in 14th.

ESBL Division Four

Cavendish Reserves got back to winning ways with a 7-1 win away at Bradfield Rovers, goals from Steven Hill (3), Michael Wilson (2), Adam Barton and Lewis King. The win sees the Dishmen move up to 6th place, while Bradfield sit in 14th.

Dovercourt Rovers came out on top in the Harwich derby, a 6-1 win over Parkeston Welfare, goals from Kieran Lammas (3), Harry Brundle, Lee Bodle and Bradley Simpson. Strong win for Dovercourt which puts them into 4th place, Parkeston bottom.

Ramsey & Mistley Reserves continued their unbeaten start with a 4-1 win over Mersea Island Reserves, goals from Gary Merchant and Tom Allen. Another good win for Ramsey which sees them sit in 2nd place, Mersea in 8th.

Wethersfield picked up a good 3 points with a 3-2 win away at Tollesbury Reserves, the win lifts Wethersfield up to 12th place while Tollesbury stay in 15th place.