Saturday, 23 September 2017

Tower Hamlets 10 Little Oakley 1

Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 23rd September 2017

My Buildbase FA Vase campaign continued with another trip to Mile End to see Essex Senior League side Tower Hamlets host Thurlow Nunn One side Little Oakley in a Second Qualifying Round tie.

The hosts were flying having won their last six games whilst the visitors had shocked Thurlow Nunn Premier side Haverhill Rovers in a league cup tie in midweek so both would of come into this one full of confidence and I was expecting a home win although I also thought the visitors were not to be underestimated.
Well just seconds into the contest the hosts set the tone for the afternoon by taking the lead when Curtis Pond tapped home a Hasan Mustafa cross to the back post and then in the fourth minute it was two when Pond got in down the right and fired into the far corner for an incredible opening to this game.
Oakley almost responded in the seventh minute when they saw a decent effort brilliantly tipped over by Hamlets keeper Lee McKnight and on ten minutes Pond pounced on poor visiting defending to get in but saw his poke at goal go straight at visitors keeper Luke Tylan.
But only a minute later Hamlets had a third when an appalling header back towards goal by the visitors saw Luke With in on goal and he slotted home and Hamlets lead was increased further still.
Oakley attacked in the 17th minute but after getting into a decent position were wasteful as their effort was skied over the bar, but just before half time they pulled a goal back when a poor defensive header from the hosts allowed Stephen Colley to nip in and drive home and give the visitors hope.
And moments later they almost found a second when they saw a whipped effort go just wide of the far post and Hamlets knew they needed to raise their performance again otherwise they could let their opponents back into the contest.
Well with ten minutes to go in the first half Hamlets did just that and restored their three goal cushion when With laid in Pond who strolled in and slotted into the far corner for a first half hat-trick and five minutes later Hamlets grabbed a fifth as a With header smacked against the bar, hit keeper Tylan on the back of the head, and went into the net, kind of summing up the visitors day so far.
Oakley fired over the hosts crossbar two minutes before the break but Hamlets managed to find a sixth before the break when more atrocious defending saw Pond allowed in to grab his fourth of the half and see the hosts with an emphatic 6-1 half time lead.
Oakley’s task was now to not be totally embarrassed and they had the first effort of the second period when eight minutes into it saw a Colley volley fly a foot over the hosts bar in a rather quiet period in the game.
But twenty minutes into the second half Hamlets found a seventh goal when Danny Childs saw his effort from outside the box go through the grasp of Tylan and into the far corner of the net and five minutes later it was eight as substitute James Ross pounced on a loose ball to fire home with his right foot.
It was too easy for the hosts now as they soon made it nine when Ross grabbed his second of the game, firing across keeper Tylan into the far corner, and two minutes later it was ten with Mustafa burst through on the right and struck an effort beyond Tylan into the far corner.  It was the first time I’d seen any senior side hit double figures in my 27 years of watching football!!!
And with twelve minutes left Pond should of had his fifth and Hamlets eleventh but saw his poke drift inches wide of the far post.
Oakley tried to find a second and almost found it with eight minutes left when they struck a free kick just wide and then three minutes later saw a glancing header juggled by McKnight before he managed to gather the ball.
Moments later a long range strike from the hosts saw Tylan push away, before the visitors saw an effort fly across Hamlets goal in the final minute.
Soon after the final whistle went to put Oakley out of their misery and end a ruthless afternoon from the hosts.  That’s seven wins in a row now for Hamlets and they go through to the first round proper of the competition. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Takeley 4 Hackney Wick 1

Essex Senior League, Saturday 16th September 2017

My second game of three this weekend saw me over in the leafy surroundings of Station Road for Takeley Vs Hackney Wick in an Essex Senior League contest.

The hosts had started the season in perfect fashion having won all five of their league games so far whilst Wick were still trying to adapt to Senior Football but did grab their second win of the season in midweek at bottom side Wadham Lodge, however Takeley would certainly provide a much tougher test.

The visitors cause wasn't helped when striker Tobi Adesina was injured in the warm up and had to be replaced by Joel Massamba and they nearly fell behind in the opening minute when a glancing header from Jason Todd was cleared off the line by the defence.

In the seventh minute Stuart Zanone sent a header over the visitors bar but in the 14th minute he went one better when a ball in by full back Mike Castle saw Zanone rise and beat keeper Davide Trindade to the ball and head home to give the hosts an early lead.

Midway through the half Todd thought he had doubled the hosts lead when heading home a corner but the referee gave a foul against him so the goal was ruled out and just before the half hour mark a nasty coming together between Wick keeper Trindade and Takeley centre half Matt Gill left both men requiring treatment.

It was a clash that the keeper didnt ultimately recover from as ten minutes before half time Trindade had to leave the field after making a decent near post stop from Nick Barrett after a terrific ball in by George Wappett.  It meant one of the outfield players had to don the gloves for the remaining 55 minutes of the contest.

And the hosts did manage to double their lead four minutes before half time when after a scramble inside Wicks six yard box, Todd managed to get his boot to the ball and fire into the bottom corner of the net.

The hosts should of added a third before half time but saw one off the line before Zanone managed to scuff a cross wide soon after and finally in first half stoppage time Zanone saw a keepers punch go straight to him but he somehow put his effort wide, however the hosts still went into the break with a comfortable two goal lead.

Early in the second half Wick headed a decent effort wide before the hosts increased their lead further still when a brilliant ball in from Mitchell Das saw Todd side foot home first time from close range for his second of the afternoon.

Two minutes after this Wick went close again when a ball across the box found striker Allan Bastel but he could only lift his effort over the bar, but in the 52nd minute Will Green was brought down by the keeper for a Takeley penalty, but Zanone saw his spot kick strike the post.

Just before the hour mark Das got in behind the visitors defence but saw a lazy finish allow the keeper to save and then a few minutes later a Todd cross saw Das stretch for it but could only divert the ball over the visitors bar.

The following few minutes saw the game become rather scrappy but the hosts went close again in the 79th minute when substitute Reece Barrett saw a decent effort brilliantly saved, but a minute later the visitors managed to pull a goal back when a cross to the back post saw substitute Saico Djop apply the finish and reduce the arrears.

And moments later Takeley keeper Ronnie Yates had to make a smart close range stop to deny a second for the visitors, a second there would have made the final few minutes interesting indeed.

With a minute left Takeley full back Bryn Thorpe got in behind the Wick defence but saw his effort saved, before moments later Das got in but dragged his effort horribly wide.

However Das was to get his goal in stoppage time when slotting calmly beyond the keeper into the far corner and complete a fairly routine win for the hosts against a plucky Hackney Wick side.  It also saw Takeley go top of the league on goal difference so not a bad afternoon the the Station Road outfit.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Barkingside 1 Redbridge 2

Essex Senior League, Friday 15th September 2017

The first of three games this weekend for myself started with an Essex Senior League derby at Cricklefield between Barkingside and Redbridge on Friday evening.

This is always an interesting fixture given the sides used to share Oakside until Barkingside left under a cloud a few years ago so the rivalry between the sides is well known.

Both sides are looking to finish the the upper echelons of the division and both were in decent form of late so a decent competitive contest was expected here.

The opening exchanges were lively as both teams had half chances but the first clear cut chance arrived on the quarter hour mark as a one two between Michael Ogboin and Jason Fontaine saw the former in for the hosts however Redbridge keeper Lewis Greene managed to save the effort.

Five minutes later Redbridge almost gifted the hosts the lead when a pass out of defence saw the ball go straight to Matheus Santos but he could not get the ball under control and saw it go to Ogboin who was offside and his effort was wide of the mark in any case.  It was a let off for the visitors though.

The next ten minutes saw plenty of attacking intent from both sides but neither keeper was tested in the period though but no doubt the hosts would of been the happier thus far.

However they almost fell behind in the 33rd minute when Redbridge forward Brian Moses shrugged off a defender to give himself a sight of goal but saw his effort hit the bar and go over and then six minutes later Redbridge went close again when Calvin Poku volleyed wide after a corner came out to him on the edge of the box.

However this competitive derby remained goalless at the break despite plenty of attacking intent from both sides they were lacking an end product thus far. 

Three minutes into the second half Redbridge saw a deflected Moses effort tipped wide by Will Hunt but from the resulting corner the visitors took the lead when after Hunt had made a terrific save, Shaun Harris managed to bundle the ball home from close range and gave this game the goal it needed.

Redbridge probably should of doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Moses burst through into the box but saw his effort saved by Hunt and then midway through the half the hosts found an equaliser from nowhere when a mishit shot across goal found Ogboin who slotted home from close range.

Side were now looking dangerous and so nearly took the lead in the 73rd minute when substitute Tony Cookey was denied from inside the box by a cracking save from Greene, and with seven minutes remaining it was Redbridge's turn to spurn a decent opportunity when a ball across found substitute Courtney Homans in space but his effort flew over the bar.

However this game was to be decided a minute later in fortuitous circumstances when a Barkingside defensive clearance from inside their own six yard box thumped against Poku's leg and ended up in the hosts net.   The former Side forward knew nothing about it but didnt care one jot as him and his teammates ran off to celebrate and it proved enough for the visitors to take the points here.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Tower Hamlets 2 Hackney Wick 1

Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round, Friday 8th September 2017

So my Buildbase FA Vase journey for 2017/18 began in the shadow of docklands at the Mile End Stadium for Tower Hamlets Vs Hackney Wick in an all Essex Senior League East London derby.

Hamlets came into this one full of confidence after winning their last two games, scoring eight in the process, whilst Wick were looking to win for the first time since their opening day success at Burnham Ramblers.
And no doubt both would of fancied a decent run in the competition too, this was the visitors first entry into the competition and didn’t want to exit at the first hurdle.
The opening fifteen minutes saw little action and the first meaningful event came when Hamlets forward Frankie Sinclair and Wick full back Thomas Rebeschini came together and received lengthy treatment, and ended with the visiting full back limping off. (Sinclair carried on but was subbed at half time).
The first chance of a goal came in the 20th minute and Wick should really of gone ahead as a defensive error allowed Jeffrey Idemudia in on goal but host keeper Lee McKnight made a great save to deny him.
And just two minutes later the hosts took the lead when Curtis Pond drove forward before unleashing a terrific effort which rocketed into the top corner and give his side a one goal lead.
Hamlets quickly threatened a second goal and two minutes after going ahead saw a good double save from Manuel Gill deny the home side before Luke With glanced a header onto the top of the Wick crossbar moments later.
The next ten or so minutes saw both sides have sights of goal but as the half drew nearer to its conclusion the visitors looked more and more dangerous.
With two minutes of the half remaining the visitors saw a cutback sliced wide before Hamlets had to head an effort from visiting skipper Simpson Mpalampa off the line, but right on half time Wick did find a leveller when Ibraham Camara hit a dipping effort over keeper McKnight, and the visitors went into the half time break level.
Wick began the second half like the first and three minutes into it almost took the lead as a ball swung into the dangerzone was flicked at goal but keeper McKnight got down well to make a decent save.
Five minutes into the half Hamlets almost got in through Pond but the defender did well to get back and recover before down the other end Wick saw an effort beaten away by McKnight.
Hamlets saw a couple of decent efforts fail to result in a goal just before the hour mark, firstly when after a great crossfield ball was brilliantly controlled, the eventual effort was tipped wide by visitors keeper Gill, and secondly saw a decent corner headed wide from six yards out.
However in the 62nd minute the hosts were to get their noses in front once again when Pond grabbed his second by hitting a left footed effort beyond Gill into the bottom corner of the net.
And Pond should of completed his hat-trick moments later but saw his close range effort thump against the crossbar as the hosts missed the opportunity to put daylight between themselves and their opponents.
With fifteen minutes to go Wick saw skipper Mpalampa send a long range effort a foot wide as they searched for an equaliser in this very competitive derby.
Moments later Hamlets fired an effort over the bar which took a deflection on route, with the corner coming to nothing, and then with just over ten minutes remaining Wick forward Idemudia seemed to nudge Hamlets defender Kayode Tobun into a metal object behind the goal after the hosts player shielded the ball out for a goal kick.
This made Hamlets assistant AJ very cross and he was eventually sent to the stands although he was eventually told to leave the arena by the referee. Idemudia was booked for his part in it and Tobun was ok to continue, which was good to see.
Hamlets attacked thereafter and saw an effort snuffed out as they tried to find a clinching third goal that would finally seal the deal.
They nearly did just that deep into stoppage time but saw keeper Gill save but it proved the final act as not long afterwards the referee brought this tie to an end and it’s Hamlets who will host Thurlow Nunn One side Little Oakley in the Second Qualifying Round.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hadley 2 FC Romania 3

Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 2nd September 2017

Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round day saw me at Brickfield Lane as Spartan South Midlands Premier Hadley hosted Essex Senior League FC Romania in what promised to be a decent battle between two good sides.
Hadley had smashed in thirteen goals in their previous two rounds including a 9-1 away success at Langford in the previous round. FC Romania had had a much tougher passage, needing a replay to see off fellow ESL side Waltham Forest before battling past Thurlow Nunn Premier Long Melford in the last round.
Both teams know where the goal is though, and the game was not even a minute old when we saw our first one in this contest as the hosts got a dream start when the visitors allowed Jermeel Jno-Baptiste to run unchallenged to the edge of the box and unleash an effort that deflected in off the post.
But the visitors didn’t have to wait long to respond as in the fifth minute they struck a free kick that took a deflection off a defenders outstretched leg and over the keeper into the net. It had been a breathless start.
It didn’t let up either as the visitors carved out a great chance in the tenth minute as a ball across goal was somehow cleared off the line but, just a minute or so later FCR did take the lead when Florin Pop crossed for an unmarked Toby Cleaver to send a downward header into the net and the ESL side had the lead.
The hosts saw a downward header well fielded by the visitors keeper in the 18th minute and then midway through the half Hadley curled a free kick a foot over the bar as they looked to respond to going behind.
And just before the half-hour mark a Hadley cross to the back post was headed way over however the hosts were looking dangerous and giving the visitors plenty to think about.
However on the half hour mark the visitors should of increased their lead as Cleaver managed to get in on goal, compose himself, but slip at the vital moment and see his effort go wide of the near post.
With four mins of the half remaining FCR broke from a Hadley free kick and saw an effort from Pop deflect inches wide of the far post before another FCR effort after some good skill from Pop went straight at the hosts keeper as the visitors ended the half strongly.
It was a half that ended with the visitors ahead in what had been a very entertaining first half at Brickfield Lane.
The early exchanges of the second period saw the hosts drill a shot wide of the near post whilst the visitors curled an effort just wide down the other end and then nine minutes into the second half a long throw caught out the hosts back line and saw Pop in but his effort was blocked by a defender, although the visitors wanted a penalty as they claimed handball, but it was not given.
Midway through the half the visitors saw a couple more openings come their way when after a Cleaver header was caught by the keeper, his throw out went straight to Sergiu Pitaru whose effort went just wide, saving the keepers blushes.
With twenty minutes remaining FCR got in again but saw the keeper beat away their effort at the near post. Cleaver was free in the middle for the visitors too and had the ball been laid across to him he surely would of tapped home. Moments later down the other end the hosts suddenly found themselves in down the right however a rush of blood saw them blaze well over.
But with ten minutes to go the visitors gifted the hosts an equaliser when they allowed a long ball to bounce, encouraging pressure from Kerkstun Macpherson, and this pressure saw a poor header back to the keeper who miscontrolled the ball, and left Macpherson the simple job of rolling the ball into the empty net and set up a grandstand finale to this epic cup tie.
You felt that after that equaliser the hosts may go onto win it and with six minutes left the home side played a terrific ball across goal but no one gambled and the chance had gone.
And then a minute or so later the visitors went oh so close to a potential winner as a curling effort from outside of the box struck the outside of the post with the keeper well and truly beaten.
With three minutes remaining FCR curled a free kick just wide, it really was anyone’s game this but could anyone find a winner?
Well a minute into stoppage time we had that winner as this superb contest was settled by an absolute peach of a strike as after Hadley have given the ball away in midfield, the visitors sent a long range effort over the keeper who was off his line into the net and see the visitors go wild.
It was a superb late winner and fit to win any game of football, let alone this one. It had been a terrific battle and both teams should take credit for that. However it is FC Romania who take their place in the hat for Monday’s Second Qualifying Round draw so congratulations to them for that.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Dulwich Hamlet 2 Tooting & Mitcham United 1

Bostick Premier,Monday 28th August 2017

On a rather warm bank holiday Monday (yes they do exist from time to time) I visited Champion Hill, East Dulwich, for Dulwich Hamlet Vs Tooting & Mitcham United in a Bostick Premier local derby.
And most of the 1,866 crowd in attendance were anticipating a home win as on paper the hosts were certainly the stronger of the two sides. But derby games often throw up some surprises and this one began no differently.
This is because on five minutes the visitors burst into the box and we’re thwarted by what looked like a good tackle to deny them, however the referee thought otherwise and pointed to the spot. Billy Dunn stepped up to dispatch the spot kick and the visitors had an early lead in the contest.
The closest the visitors came to a goal in the first quarter of the game came in the 20th minute when they curled a free kick a foot over the visitors goal but midway through the half missed a terrific chance when after a break out of defence saw an effort sail inches over the bar.
The visitors began to ramp up the tempo thereafter and five minutes before half time saw a corner hacked clear from inside the six yard box as Tooting held firm before another corner three minutes later was headed towards Tooting’s goal but was cleared away from the goal line.
The visitors did see a rare effort blocked right on half time but the hosts had dominated the majority of the opening half but found themselves a goal behind still as the whistle went for the half time break.
And the early exchanges of the second half continued to see the hosts dominated and saw them go close twice as it looked like it would be one of those days in front of goal.
And in the 57th minute it almost got worse for Hamlet when a rare Tooting attack saw the ball flashed across the six yard box with no one coming in at the back post otherwise it would of been two for the visitors.
But just before the hour mark Dulwich finally found the breakthrough as skipper Kenny Beaney drilled home a low free kick from twenty yards and give the hosts the least they deserved.
And moments after the goal Hamlet so nearly edged in front but saw an effort hit the inside of the post and they continued to dominate and with eleven minutes remaining struck the inside of the other post unbelievably with most of the crowd convinced it had gone in, it really was that close.
But the home crowd didn’t have to wait long for their side to find a second and take the lead when with ten minutes remaining Beaney netted his second of the contest, drilling home first time after the ball had been laid into his path, and send the large home support into raptures.
And moments after the goal Hamlet poked inches wide in pursuit of what would be a clinching third and with two minutes left saw a glancing header hit the frame of the goal, the third time the hosts had hit it today, meaning the lead was still only one goal.
It proved enough though and meant Dulwich took the honours in South London’s very own ‘El Classico’. A good entertaining game and a deserved win for the home side played in a decent atmosphere.