Essex Alliance League – Division Two Cup Final
Venue: Victoria Road
Attendance: 280 (Est)
2021-22 Season: Match 86
Saturday 21 May 2022 – 2pm KO
RWMC: Claret Shirts, Claret Shorts & Socks
Unitey: Sky Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
Unitey earn the Division Two Cup on spot-kicks at Victoria Road
Rainham Working Men’s Club 2 – 2 Unitey (Unitey won 3 – 2 on penalty kicks)
(Short) Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The ‘Cup Finals’ fortnight continued this weekend and I made a welcome return to Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road to see an interesting Essex Alliance League Division Two Cup Final. Rainham finished 2nd in the league while Unitey were not far behind them in 3rd. I was seeing both teams for the first time here but going by the league form, it was a battle between Rainham WMC’s defence and Unitey’s forward line.
The match got underway with a flourish for Paul Tormey’s Rainham team having most of the ball time, but they also couldn’t create lots of chances to test Atu Ngoy in the Unitey goal. Charlie Perry had their best opening but his effort went wide of the left-side post. Unitey sensed they had to respond and with their first big chance, they scored. Substitute Romario Christian threaded through a superb pass through the middle, finding the run of forward Ahmed Dousa who evaded his marker, before firing home past WMC custodian Owen Ryley.
It got even better for Vincent Ndodi’s team four minutes later as Dousa was again causing problems for the Rainham backline, turning well from the far side of the penalty area, got past his marker and got his strike on target – unfortunately Ryley couldn’t keep hold of the ball and it trickled into the corner of the net, which was a real blow for Rainham after their impressive start.
As we approached the interval, Connor Kain’s setpiece was cleared off the goal-line before Rainham midfielder Cameron Shakes had a decent effort denied by Ngoy at his near post but at this point Rainham really needed to find another gear or two & get the next goal. The team-talk would have been interesting to hear, that’s for sure.
Half-Time: Rainham 0 – 2 Unitey
After the break, Rainham did find their rhythm as Unitey were pushed back. The ‘home’ side did get the next crucial goal, from a set-piece. Nathan Wilson’s firm header found the net well, past Ngoy to finally give Rainham a chance of a comeback. Unitey were stuttering in possession and they were finding it harder to clear their lines, as a defensive error gave Shakes the chance to turn and get past two defenders and strike home confidently.
Unitey had to re-focus in what was becoming an increasingly tetchy match, with several free-kicks being conceded. Both sides had the chances to get that priceless winning goal, with Rainham having two good chances in the last ten minutes. Firstly, Wilson had a header go wide at the far post from yards out. Soon after, Cameron Shakes then knocked the ball on to replacement Scott Gormer skewed his shot wide, much to Ngoy’s relief.
Unitey were decent in their passing in midfield in the latter stages but they couldn’t quite breach the high off-side line of the Rainham backline often enough, leaving Dousa and winger Mohammed Abaker frustrated as they were looking a threat for the tiring Rainham defenders. After seven minutes of added time, referee Alan Steward blew up for the end of 90 minutes, and penalties would be required to settle this absorbing match, played in front of over 275 spectators which is another boost to the Essex Alliance League.
Full-Time (After 90 mins): Rainham WMC 2 – 2 Unitey
So, the nerve-racking shoot-out was called upon to decide the destination of the EAL Division Two Cup. After several missed spot-kicks both by sides, It had to be Unitey’s goal-scoring hero Ahmed Dousa who converting the winning penalty to ensure his team took the Cup, 3 – 2 on penalties.
To sum up this fiesty and sometimes fiery match, Unitey really battled back well after Rainham had put in a fine first 15 minutes, even if they could not make the most of their build-up play. Unitey went two goals up to really punish their lack of finishing and it could’ve been more. Credit has to go to Rainham though for the manner of their comeback and it was Unitey’s turn to battle hard. Both teams tgen had chances to win in a tense finale but ultimately, the lottery of spot-kicks decided the contest.
There were some good performances from both sides here. For victors Unitey, forward Ahmed Dousa led the line well and aside from his two goals, his movement and dribbling were a threat for a hard-working Rainham defence. Centre-back Nathan Lupumba also had a really strong match in my view, really limiting the opposition forwards and made timely jnterceptions to keep his team in it early on. Winger Mohammed Abaker also had a good game, showing high work rate and good intent with his crosses from the left side. And finally, a word for substitute Romario Christian who produced a superb through ball for Dousa’s first goal and all in all, put in a good shift for his team too.
For Rainham Working Men’s Club, playmaker Connor Kain put in a hard-working performance to try & lift his side back into the contest after going behind and still put in some telling passes. Centre-back Tyrell Phillips had a really good game as well, marshalling his defence well and clearing the ball from danger with good effect. Forwards Cameron Shakes and Charlie Perry also put in good performances as well, testing the Unitey backline at times, with Shakes taking his goal well to crucially level the tie midway into the second half.
Congratulations to Unitey who played some neat football at times, and commiserations to Rainham who fought back well to give themselves a chance after their mixed first half display.
Rainham Working Men’s Club | Manager: Paul Tormey |
Starting XI: 1 Owen Ryley (GK), 2 Josh Perry, 12 Matty Humphreys, 6 Tyrell Phillips (Capt), 5 Nicky Tormey, 18 Gozie Ndukwe, 10 Nathan Wilson, 7 Cameron Shakes, 8 Connor Kain, 9 Charlie Perry, 11 Sean Tormey
Goal-scorers: Nathan Wilson [56′], Cameron Shakes [68′]
Subs ON [Time]: 28 Dillon Anderson [68′], 14 Scott Gormer [84′], 3 Joe McGivney [90’+5]
Subs Not Used: Brady, Obeney
Unitey | Manager: Vincent Ndodi |
Starting XI: 1 Atu Ngoy (GK & Capt), 2 Matthew Surry, 16 Peter Spencer, 4 Nathan Lupumba, 5 Renal Stewart, 6 Matthew Pitchford, 7 Devantae Young, 8 Ishwar Ravi, 9 Bubintende Masadi, 10 Ahmed Dousa, 11 Mohammed Abaker
Goal-scorers: Ahmed Dousa [24′ & 28′]
| Subs ON: 13 Romario Christian [13′], 14 Remy Beckford [69′], 17 David Blessing [74′], 3 Ameer Bursal [89′], 15 Eddy Litambolo [90’+1]
Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Alan Steward
Assistants: Robert Watson & Jeff Mattheou
Fourth Official: Dave Rivett