Hello and welcome to the latest action from the Essex Alliance League, which continues on this blog this season under the “Guest Blog” strand. This edition looks at the action across the League divisions and action in the respective Divisional Cups on Saturday 12 March. My thanks to the EAL’s Rob Parker. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission. Thanks for reading.
Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]
With additional reporting by Scott W
Essex Alliance League Round-up- Saturday 12 March
The penultimate semi final place was up for grabs on Saturday as Division One’s RCXI made a tough looking trip to top flight Jolof Sports, the holders of the trophy. A seven-goal thriller was produced by the two sides with Jolof made to go all the way before coming out 4 – 3 victors as Abib Diop, Serigne Samb, Papa Ndiaye and Bogdan Ursica all netted to book a home semi final versus DTFC. Oluwaseun Koya scored all three RC XI goals in reply.
It was semi-finals day in the Fenton Trophy competition as the first ever finalists were confirmed following two tight games. Over in Hainault, Fairlop Rovers entertained Rainham Working Mens Club as the two sides battled to a 1 – 1 draw at full-time, Nick Tormey the Workies goalscorer. But it was Rovers who held their nerve in the shootout, winning 4 – 3 on spot-kicks to confirm their first final!
A couple of miles away in Newbury Park, there was another all-Division Two battle as Old Esthameians hosted Unitey in their own semi-final as both sides took their part in a five-goal thriller. Devontae Young and Ahmed Dousa scored for Unitey but two Neil Robinson strikes and a Nelson Goncalves goal were enough to secure a 3 – 2 win for Old E’s and through to their second cup final with the league.
DIVISION TWO CUP
In the Division Two Cup, it was quarter finals day for two clubs as an improving Loughton Lions side took to the field to face FHN Athletic. And despite Lions having an eleven league point deficit, they were comfortable winners in this tie, winning it 5 – 2 to book a home semi-final against either Redbridge Community or Rainham Working Mens Club.
DIVISION FOUR CUP
Another semi-final was completed in the Division Four Cup which saw Flyers Under 21s make the long trip to east London to take on title favourites Sporting Pillars at Ive Farm. An expectedly tight game was produced but it was fourth placed Flyers who took the accolades, with goals from Bradley Maycock and Alex Grant overcoming a goal from the experienced Chris Rowlatt to win 2 – 1.
In the Senior Division, it remains tight at the top with just a three-point gap between the leaders as DT FC ensured they remained top with another high scoring victory on Saturday against Tower United. Alex Paraskeva bagged himself a hat-trick with Robbie Farrell and Harry Watkins goals giving the hosts a 5 – 1 win. Michael Brown was the Tower scorer for their consolation effort. Second placed Chadwell Heath Spartans maintained the pressure on the leaders with a victory of their own, taking home all three points from their trip to Chigwell Town in a 2-0 scoreline. Elie Fanga and Harry Payne both got on the scoresheet to keep Spartans within three points reach and with that all important battle between the top two to come.
Woodford East are still well within reach themselves but will need to convert games in hand to victories as they continue their quest on multiple fronts. They were able to pick up another three points with a tight 2 – 1 win against Blue Marlin as Frank Glock and Billy Barr both netted to secure a tenth league win of the season. Ronaldo Lleshi got the goal for Marlin. In the big Noak Hill derby, Kit Out London were in action as the hosts, taking on their co-tenants London Cup semi-finalists FC Petrocub. Ahead of that big match next weekend, it was FC Petrocub who walked away with the points on Saturday, winning the game 3 – 1 to earn an eighth league win and keeping them comfortably placed in sixth.
At the other end of the table, a crucial battle between two sides eager to stay in the division saw Rapid Chingford in town to take on CSM London, both needing the points. An entertaining game finished 3 – 2 to Rapid as Andrei Boga’s brace and a Vlad Bucur goal were enough to overcome CSM goals from Plamedi Kinkela and Abdi Karim.
Frenford A have moved a step closer to confirming their place in the Senior Division following a solid 3 – 0 win at the weekend against fellow promotion contenders Crookz United at The Drive. Daniel Francis, Damilola Olaiya and Joel Opara all netted in a win means they are now one victory away from completing at least a top three finish and three further victories will be enough for the title outright. The closer contenders for the title appear to be Oakside presently who are catching up on games and moved to within twelve points of the top of the table with three games in hand after they picked up a terrific home win, beating Dagenham United 5 – 1 in Hainault. Charlie Fiander got on the Dagenham scoresheet but his efforts proved in vain.
Wapping remain just two points off the lead but from two games more than their rivals, having picked up their tenth league win of the season on Saturday, beating London Cranes 3 – 1 in East Ham. Muhammad Mikaeel, Jordon Mills-Smith and Shamsun Noor were the Wapping scorers as they kept their hopes alive. In the bottom half, London Park City kept their slim hopes alive of remaining in the second tier as they picked up a valuable point against North East Lions in a 1 – 1 draw. Nester Boansi struck the Lions goal but City also struck to ensure they shared the points. City will know that other results will have to go their way to avoid the drop this season.
In Division One, Belfry are now just a couple of wins away from confirming at least promotion after they racked up win number fourteen with a big 7 – 1 home victory against Something From Nothing at May & Bakers. Kieran James’ fine form continued with a hat-trick for his side with Ryan O’Connell netting two, the scoresheet completed by goals from Gabriel Ogunwomoju and Daniel Osborne. Khai Bailey struck the SFN consolation goal in reply.
The two are set to meet next weekend with Cowley Community warming up for that clash with a strong performance of their own on Saturday, defeating Renegade 3 – 0 at Hackney Marshes. Elias Tackie, Michael Taylor and Chris Wright all found the back of the net for the county cup finalists to ensure they remain in touch with their rivals at the top. Ilford Reserves have been in a good vain of form in recent weeks and are now up to third in the standings after they defeated Forest Green 4 – 0 in their home clash on Saturday. A pair of braces from Rhys Clements and Serghei Scupoi were the difference between the sides as the Foxes maintained their outside hopes of promotion with five games to go.
Fifth placed Wanstead will still have a say in that battle after they returned to winning ways over the weekend with a 5 – 3 home win against Francis Luke at the Flats. Jahvarn Steward scored twice and Kennerly Cassius once for Luke but two Edson Lami goals and efforts from Jake Nicolas, Mohamed Solaimani and Zoltan Balogh proved enough to earn their team some valuable points.
Also at the Flats, a local derby game saw Barkingside A making the short trip to face Newham Wanderers with the teams starting the game ten points apart. That was extended to thirteen as Wanderers won 4 – 0 though two goals from Mahein Zaman and singles from Robertson Morais and Michael Sarpong, leaving ‘Side still in danger of relegation.
In Division Two, Redbridge Community put a serious dent in Emerson & Upminster Reserves’ promotion push as the eighth placed side defeated their visitors in a 2 – 1 scoreline. Reece Stringer got himself on the Emerson scoresheet but his effort wasn’t enough as the hosts completed their sixth league win of the season.
It was the battle of the bottom two in the division’s other contest and what a game it was as St Francis and Newbury East both led at various stages of their game at the Flats. Eventually, the two had to settle on a point apiece in a 4 – 4 draw. Francesco Di Giovanni scored twice while Aenayat Nesari and Lewis Goulbourne scored the others to give Saints a point.
The big game of the day in Division Three came from Hainault where it was first versus second as Old Barkabbeyans Reserves strived to hold onto top spot in their game against Royal Forest Reserves. And it was the league leaders who walked away the happier of the sides as goals from Daniel Margiotta, Mitchell Day and Mehdi Ahorbi were enough to take a 3 – 0 win home with them. That result enabled FC Baresi Under 23s to move into second spot as they made the trip to Hackney to face ASA at the Marshes. A close game saw the promotion favourites secure a 2 – 1 victory, a goal apiece from Daniel Adutwum and Harrez Aliane the difference between the sides to confirm a vital three points in their quest for the title. Atif Haider got the solitary reply for ASA.
Two of the sides in mid-table, Together United and Lymore Gardens Reserves, met in Leyton with the sides starting the game level on points. And that was exactly the way it ended with the sides finishing level at 2 – 2 to share the spoils. Richie Dorcas and Warren Isoka were the scorers for the hosts while Together remain one position higher on goal difference. Buckhurst Way have moved to within four points of that mid-table cluster of clubs, albeit from two games more, after they earned win number seven on Saturday with a 3 – 1 away victory at Glendale over in Hainault. They led 1-0 at the break and extended that to three early in the second half before Matt King’s first goal for Glendale made it interesting but Way held firm to take home the points.
The game between bottom of the table Terin and Flyers Under 23s saw the latter go into the game knowing they had to secure at least a point to remain, mathematically, in the race to avoid the drop. Neither side were able to make a breakthrough in ninety minutes as the game ended in a goalless draw. Flyers must now win all of their remaining games and hope for a sizeable goal difference swing.
The sole game in Division Four came from Rainham where Newham & Havering Borough were in action with a home game against West Essex Under 23s, the latter’s final game of their debut campaign. West ended the season in fine style, winning the game 5 – 1 to record a fifth league win. George Sadler-Stephens scored twice while Aytan Cohen, Javen Cole and Joel Hart all netted too.