Sunday, 22 April 2018

ESL Kick It Out Day at Oakside

Saturday 21st April 2018
I spent my day in the sunshine at Oakside, Redbridge FC and Newbury Forest FC, as it was ‘Kick It Out’ day in the Essex Senior League.   I was there for Sporting Bengal United Vs Redbridge although this was at Oakside after they switched from Mile End as that ground is now being used for athletics. 

This was one of three ESL games (the other two were FC Romania Vs Tower Hamlets at Theobalds Lane, Cheshunt and West Essex Vs Wadham Lodge at Mayesbrook Park, Barking) that were running the Kick It Out initiative.  Here is a brief explanation of what the day is about:-

The Essex Senior League will be recognising the work of Kick It Out on Saturday 21 April by hosting three games that will show support to the key messages of equality and inclusion.

The Step 5 division will be following up its activity from last season by wearing the famous Kick It Out t-shirts alongside a number of activities that will be displaying the clubs’ commitment to promoting an inclusive environment in the league.

The Essex Senior League was formed in 1971 with nine member clubs and has grown in 47 years to currently host 21 member clubs, providing a platform for promotion into the Bostik League Division One North.

The three games recognising Kick It Out are as follows:

Sporting Bengal United v Redbridge

West Essex v Wadham Lodge

FC Romania v Tower Hamlets

Speaking about the dedicated fixtures this weekend, Imrul Gazi, Grassroots Advisor for the organisation, said: “I am really pleased Kick It Out are supporting the Essex Senior League for the second year with this brilliant initiative. The league officials, Michelle and Rob, have been very forthcoming with what they feel is a very important message that they wish to portray.

“As the league has teams from across East London and Essex it’s vital that they work to highlight the importance of creating a fully-inclusive environment for all.

“As the Grassroots Advisor for London I was excited at the opportunity for Kick It Out to be involved and really pleased that our Grassroots Activity Fund is helping events such as this to raise awareness of the work we’re doing across communities to encourage inclusion, diversity & battle racism at Kick it Out.”

The day also gets kids in the local community involved, and before the game the Sporting coaches warmed up three kids, two brothers and a sister, before they joined some local Redbridge youngsters in walking out with the teams prior to kick off as well as a big group photo before the game got underway.  Here are some photos:-

Then it was down to business and the important issue of the match in hand, the midday kick off between Sporting Bengal United and Redbridge, here is what happened:-

Sporting Bengal United 2 Redbridge 1

Skipper Freddy Tandon struck with just over fifteen minutes to go to see Sporting Bengal United grab victory over promotion chasing Redbridge at a sunny Oakside and in doing so break their record points total for a season.

The Motormen started on the front foot and saw Browne-Bampoe almost flick an effort over the keeper, before down the other end Redwood saw a shot deflect wide, before Carvell saw an effort blocked by a Redbridge defender.

Redbridge then had a huge shout for handball after a cross hit the outstretched arm of a Sporting defender, but in the 17th minute it was disaster for Redbridge as keeper Green thumped a clearance straight into Redwood who was trying to block it, and it came off the Sporting striker and into the net to give the hosts for the day the lead.

Carvell then saw a long range effort dip just over, before Parkinson fired just wide from the edge of the box as Sporting threatened a second, and then Cameron saw a header go off target as the Mile End club continued to threaten.

However Redbridge should really have levelled when Duggan broke down the left but struck well over, and then down the other end Carvell somehow missed from close range, before Cameron headed wide of the Motormen goal.

Parkinson then tried another shot from the edge of Redbridge’s box, but his low effort was saved by Green, but Redbridge should have levelled after that when Duggan squared to Go-Go who blazed over the bar from twelve yards out, it was a poor miss, and soon after Worrell curled a free kick wide of the Sporting post.

Sporting then spurned another chance when Cameron’s cross was blazed over at the back post by Redmond, and it looked like they would pay for these missed chances when Redbridge netted an equaliser four minutes before the break when Worrell’s pin point free kick found Moses who glanced home a header and The Motormen were level.

Turner then fired a good curling effort at the Sporting goal, but it was straight at the keeper, before a Redbridge corner was headed wide by Mbamaran, meaning the sides went into the break all square in what was a decent contest.

Half Time Sporting Bengal United 1 Redbridge 1

Redbridge had a positive start to the second half as a Turner knock down for Moses saw the latter fire wide, however Sporting saw a low shot go wide soon after.  Worrell then volleyed just past the Sporting post as both sides looked to regain the upper hand in this one.

Then after a drinks break in the 68th minute due to the hot weather, Sporting passed up another glorious chance when a terrific through ball by Carvell released Redwood, however the striker could only put his effort wide after beating the onrushing Green to the ball.

But in the 74th minute the hosts for the day managed to go back in front when good work on the left by Carvell saw his cross find its way through to Tandon, and the centre half fired an effort into the roof of the net and Redbridge had just over fifteen minutes to find their way back into this one again.

Then a moment which caused a lot of talking from both sides when Sporting broke upfield and Carvell set up substitute Vaughan who went past Green and went to ground, however the referee booked Vaughan for diving, which lets just say the Sporting bench didn’t agree with.

Redbridge then went close to an equaliser when a long throw found Moses and along with Worrell saw the ball go just wide, before Sporting almost sealed the deal but saw a last ditch tackle thwart them, and then Vaughan fired an effort just past the post.

Redbridge then did have the ball in the net, but it was offside, and then Sporting missed another chance to seal it when Vaughan set up Redwood, who saw a fine save from Green deny him.  However it mattered not as Sporting held on for a terrific victory and strike a major blow to Redbridge’s promotion hopes.

Full Time Sporting Bengal United 2 Redbridge 1

Here are some photos from the game:-

Anyway after all that I had the bonus of having another game at Oakside as Newbury Forest were hosting Old Chelmsfordians in a huge six pointer at the bottom of the Essex Olympian Senior One at 3.30pm.  Here is how that game went:-

Newbury Forest 2 Old Chemsfordians 2

A late equaliser saw hosts Newbury Forest grab a draw at home to Old Chelmsfordians at Oakside in their big bottom of the table clash in the Olympian Senior One.

The sides went into this one second bottom and third bottom respectively and tied on 17 points each, and the opening few minutes saw the hosts lob over and then see an effort fly across goal, before the visitors then whistled one over and then saw the hosts strike another effort over the bar.

And then in the 17th minute the visitors found the net when a left footed effort from the edge of the box found it’s way into the net despite the keeper getting a hand to it, and no doubt the keeper would of felt he could have done better.

The visitors then nearly got in down the right but saw a great tackle thwart them, then down the other end the hosts fired an effort straight at the keeper and then tried to lob the keeper with their next attack but the OC stopper was equal to it.

On the half hour mark a good run from the visitors ended with an effort going past the post, and then moments later an OC cross was tipped onto the bar by the hosts keeper, who duly punched the corner clear of danger. 

But in the 33rd minute Forest levelled as a ball over the top of the OC defence saw Jason Reynolds-Blanche run onto it, take aim and fire emphatically into the far corner, meaning the sides went into the break all square.

Half Time Newbury Forest 1 Old Chelmsfordians 1

Both sides had a half chance each early in the half, before the visitors forced the keeper into a decent stop, however six minutes into the half OC regained the lead as the hosts allowed a free kick to go to the back post where it was fired into the top corner on the stretch to give the visitors the advantage once again.

Forest almost made an instant response, but glanced a header wide, and then just past the hour mark OC forced the hosts keeper into another save, as the hosts were working hard however getting frustrated with how the contest was going.

The visitors saw another effort beaten away, whilst up the other end the OC defence were remaining solid against any Forest threat.  With around twenty minutes to go the visiting keeper had to be smart to keep out two long range efforts though, and then from a corner the hosts somehow headed against the post from point blank range, and OC had kept their lead in tact, just.

With eleven minutes left the visitors almost netted a spectacular lob from range after seeing the keeper off his line, but the ball went over, but it looked like the visitors may hold out for an important win.

But in the 89th minute the hosts managed to find a leveller when a ball deflected across goal went straight into the path of Adam Hunt who slid home the equaliser.

And in stoppage time Forest should of won it, as saw two efforts brilliantly saved, meaning the game did end all square and a point a piece for both sides.  Both are now just a point above the drop zone on 18 points each.

Full Time Newbury Forest 2 Old Chelmsfordians 2

Here are some photos from the game:-

And thus ended my day in the sun, a very enjoyable day indeed, and two decent games of football, lovely stuff.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Southend Manor 1 Basildon United 2

Essex Senior League Premier Division, Wednesday 18th April 2018

A stoppage time winner from Jack Renew gave Basildon United a huge three points, taking them into second spot on goal difference, after they defeated a battling Southend Manor at Southchurch Park.

The hosts had the perfect start though, netting inside twenty seconds, as from the kick off they attacked down the left and saw Evison cross to Cottrill whose header found the net, and the Bees were immediately on the back foot.

The visitors tried to respond immediately and saw a long throw into the hosts box cause some issues, however the visitors then almost conceded again when Fatt got down the right and crossed and initially it looked as though Wheatley in the Basildon goal had dealt with it, but it then almost squirmed from his grasp but he managed to recover the situation before Cottrill could pounce.

Fatt then sent a volley straight at Wheatley, before the Bees thought they had leveled when a cross to the near post saw Cumming head millimeters over, but midway through the half the Bees did find the net when Bowers picked up the ball, cut inside before driving a shot across goal and into the far corner.

This saw Basildon raise the tempo slightly for a time thereafter and Putt saw a header drop just the wrong side of the post, before Manor then caused a few worries from a free kick as they tried to wrestle the initiative back.

Bowers then almost got onto a through ball for the Bees but Manor keeper Makayago managed to come out and clear the danger, before Skeels struck a decent effort from range just past the Manor goal.

And then the hosts created a couple of openings, firstly another Evison cross found Fatt who could only head wide, and then a ball through to Kargbo looked like it had sent him clear, however Wheatley closed the angle and the ball ran away from the attacker.

The Bees then went close just before the break when a Phillips volley was well blocked by Makayabo, before down the other end a decent cross from Webb flew away for a goal kick.  It meant this highly competitive derby was all square at the break.

Half Time Southend Manor 1 Basildon United 1

Manor so nearly grabbed the lead back after the break when Delf saw his header cleared off the line as they looked to restore the lead in this one, before the same man volleyed over from a good position however chances in this half were pretty rare as the game became a rather scrappy affair.

Was the three games in five days now affecting the visitors, who were struggling to create anything meaningful, although it has to be said Manor were playing well and making things more than difficult for their promotion chasing local rivals.

With three minutes remaining Delf headed over a corner for the hosts, whilst down the other end Putt hooked over at the near post from a corner of their own, and then the Bees went so close to finding what would have probably been the winner when Bowers saw a goal bound effort blocked.

Manor then saw a header deflect wide as the game entered stoppage time, but it looked as though the game would end all square and the Bees would miss out on taking second spot. 

But in the 93rd minute The Bees netted a dramatic late winner as after the ball had fallen to Putt on the edge of the area, his goal bound effort was diverted in by Renew at the back post and cued wild scenes among st the Bees players and management, it was a huge goal and it sent them above Redbridge into second spot on goal difference.

For Manor this will be a hard one to swallow, they battled gamely in this one and just could not see it out, and this defeat means they still probably need another win to be safe.  Tough on the hosts but The Bees march on and promotion is now a real possibility.

Full Time Southend Manor 1 Basildon United 2 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Hullbridge Sports 2 West Essex 5

Essex Senior League Premier Division, Tuesday 17th April 2018

A Michael Mignot hat-trick helped see West Essex to an entertaining win over Hullbridge Sports at Lower Road as their charge for the top six continued.

The hosts had the first chance of the game in the very first minute when Adebayo Sotoyinbo got in down the right hand side, but his effort was dragged across goal and wide, and the visitors first chance came in the 12th minute when Macleod almost scored but his toe poke was eventually dealt with by Bridge keeper Jamie Merrells.

And in the 27th minute West Essex went close again when a header back into the mix by Michael Mignot was headed just over the bar by a defender, whilst down the other end two minutes later the hosts went even closer when Charlie Buffin let fly from range and saw keeper Dan Russell tip onto the bar.

But in the 31st minute came the breakthrough, and it came from the visitors, as Mignot got clear down the left before producing a wonderful effort beyond Merrells and the away side had the advantage.

Three minutes later Luke Hornsley found himself in for the hosts, but saw Russell save his effort, and then moments later down the other end Mignot had an effort well saved by Merrells.

However in the 36th minute it was two for the visitors as Mignot got through again and slotted past Merrells and then four minutes before half time West Essex full back Ben Leo flashed a ball across goal but saw it fly away for a goal kick, and then moments later Mignot again was thwarted by Merrells.

But a minute before half time there was nothing Merrells could do to keep out a terrific strike from Joe Lefley, firing into the far corner, to give the visitors a commanding lead at the break.

Half Time Hullbridge Sports 0 West Essex 3

Sports knew they needed a quick goal to get back into the contest, and less than a minute after the restart won a penalty after Hornsley had been brought down inside the area, and Sotoyinbo converted the spot kick and the hosts had a lifeline.

Sotoyinbo had another chance soon after, but his effort was well blocked, but the hosts had certainly come out firing, but they then had the wind taken out of their sails as West Essex made it four when Mignot saw an effort go in off a defender to complete his hat-trick and restore the visitors three goal cushion.

Sports brought on Eamon Payne and he thought he was in the clear in the 59th minute but the ball ran away from him although the hosts claimed he had been impeded in the build up, but two minutes later they did pull a goal back when skipper Conor Mead sent a free kick into the box from halfway but saw it float over keeper Russell and into the net for a remarkable goal.

However any thoughts of a comeback were flattened with eight minutes remaining as substitute Josh French sent a downward header beyond Merrells to seal this one.

The visitors somehow failed to net a sixth three minutes later when Bradley Russell saw an effort cleared off the line by Perry Dunn, only for the ball to be returned by Russell but then see Dunn clear off the line again via the post, it was an extraordinary moment, but it was the final chance of an entertaining encounter which saw the visitors close the gap to Clapton in sixth to four points with three games in hand.

As for Hullbridge well they remain in 15th but in all honesty should be safe from relegation now as the sides in the bottom four can barely catch them now.

Full Time Hullbridge Sports 2 West Essex 5