Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello and welcome to this week’s extended round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League this week, including the midweek action on Tuesday 19 April and the action on Saturday 23 April. The focus this week is on the League action in the top three divisions. Thank you for reading.
Essex Olympian League – Tuesday 19 April
The midweek action was centred on the Premier Division with two big games. First, Basildon Town got a crucial win as they edged to a 3 – 2 victory over Galleywood at Basildon Sports Club. Graham Harrison, Rhys Willson and Benkjamin Smith all scored to send Marcus Bowers’ side to the top of the table ahead of the weekend’s action. ‘Wood responded through strikes by Luke Seaton and Jack Lakin but they still had several matches left to gain points. Also, Sungate comfortably defeated Harold Wood Athletic 4 – 0 to push Ath ever closer to being relegated. Arif Mustapha, James Smith, Jake Willis and replacement Kyran Chiedozie all struck to send the ‘Gate up to sixth, with aspirations still of a top-four finish.
Essex Olympian League – Saturday 23 April
Remaining with the top-tier onto Saturday’s action now, and Basildon Town were held to a 1 – 1 draw by spirited Canning Town at Gardiners Lane. Graham Harrison netted his 18th league goal of the campaign but Canning levelled to keep themselves in contention to avoid the bottom two. This result also thwarted Bas as Ongar Town got a home walkover win over injury-hit Kelvedon Hatch, which sent Ongar back to the summit on goal difference. Both teams now have two matches and Basildon need two big wins to overhaul that goal deficit.
Galleywood hauled themselves to within a point of their nearest rivals after a 2 – 1 success at home to Harold Wood Athletic. Sam Donn & an OG outdid Billy Reed’s goal for Ath in a result which means Harold Wood are unable to mathematically avoid a bottom-two finish. The hosts here have four matches to gain at least two points to make sure of finish above the top three. Elsewhere, Hutton were held 1 – 1 by a Sungate side dealing well with a hectic run of fixtures. Brad Freeman netted for Matt Singh’s side here but realistically a third-place finish is their objective now. ‘Gate have six games left to gain nine points to confirm at least a fifth-placed finish.
Rounding out the action in Step 7 was Old Southendian’s 3 – 3 draw with Bishop’s Stortford Swifts at Garon Park 3G. Harry Bovington scored twice for the visitors, allied with substitute Edward Pinch’s goal which sees Swifts inch towards a top-ten finish. OS remain eighth. Also, Springfield drew 1 – 1 with Shenfield AFC at Arun Park, with Tristan Ofori-Sampong scored for Francesco Zabotti’s side. AFC have now reached 30 points this term.
In Division One, there was only one match played but also we heard of a big alteration to the final table. Wakering Sports got a 4 – 3 win over Old Chelmsfordians at Lawford Lane, with Aaron Clark, Ben Burrows, Joseph Burton and substitute Alfie Fossett all scored for Sports but while the result was enough to see them secure third spot, events elsewhere meant it was not significant. Epping were adjudged to have fielded an ineligible player in their win over Toby two weeks ago, which meant Toby awarded the points which in turn lifted them above Runwell Sports and claim the title by a point. Both sides will compete in the Premier Division next term as Toby also announced their future plans for a ground move to Barleylands in 15 months’ time. Congratulations to Toby & Runwell Sports on their promotion.
EOFL Divisions Two, Three & Four
Into Division Two now and what was a hugely significant day for ACD Utd as they won their title decider with Harold Hill 1 – 0 at Westlands. Michael Wade’s 26th league goal of the season was enough to secure yet another title for Greg Knock’s side and they will be in the second-tier next season. Congratulations to all at ACD Utd. Hill need one point from their last match at Hutton Res next month to join them in Division One. That is because Manford Way lost 2 – 1 at Rayleigh Town Res. Sam Barker and Byron Down got the goals as Rayleigh came from behind to end their season on a high. Manford have to win their last game to finish third as Wakebury edged a super match, winning 5 – 4 over Rochford Town at Nursery Sports Ground. Jerry Nkoy notched a treble here for Matt Cardy’s team, with Daniel Buglione also netting his 10th league goal this term and Jake Farthing also scoring here. Rochford will finish bottom and after a good run in Division Two in the last few seasons, it looks very likely they will drop down to Division Three.
In the other game in this division, Harold Wood Athletic Res secured their place in the division next season with a 2 – 1 success over AS Rawreth at Harold Wood Park. Josh Portway and Oliver Portway both netted to give Wood’s second-side an important win. For Rawreth, they will need at least one win to overhaul closest rivals Hutton Res and stay out of the bottom two.
In Division Three, Wakering Sports Res got a priceless 4 – 2 victory at Corinthians Res to put themselves in the best position for the Division Three title & promotion. Eben Rowledge got two goals for the visitors, with Connor Fardyga’s 25th league goal this term and Scott Clark’s 15th goal of the campaign securing victory. Sports are a point clear of Hashtag Utd Dev who were held 1 – 1 by promotion rivals Catholic Utd Res at Barleylands. Shaun Warren netted for the hosts, but Franklin Craik’s 20th league goal this term for Ressie side was enough to claim a point an ensure the race for promotion goes into the last day next weekend. Hashtag travel to Wakering in what is sure to be a big game at Cupid’s.
Lastly, Hullbridge Sports Res got a fine 4 – 1 triumph at Buckhurst Hill U23 in the early game. Joe Ives netted twice for Sports here, with Harry Ives and George Mole also on target to render Jacob Richards’ goal as mere consolation. Both teams are likely to finish in lower mid-table.
Lastly for the main part of this week’s round-up, in Division Four Galleywood Res got a 2 – 0 win over Springfield Res in the late game. Clarke Green and substitute Craig Skipper both netted to give them a big win and dent the visitors’ chances in the promotion race. Also, Wakering Sports A defeated Sungate Dev 4 – 1 in North East London, meaning they will finish at least eighth.
Div Five – Snaresbrook Res H – W Pitsea Athletic Res