Sunday, 6 June 2021

Buckhurst Hill 0 Ongar Town 2


(Josh Charles holding the Charles Charity Cup flanked by Ongar players Eamon Payne and Aaron Blair, many thanks to Reiss Rasmussen (@Reiss_Raz) for this superb photo)

Charles Charity Cup, Friday June 4

Friday night saw me over at what I now think will be my last game until preseason in July (I think!!!) for a match between two Essex Olympian League sides, Premier Division champions Buckhurst Hill and Division One Champions Ongar Town.

This was a much-anticipated contest between what many feels are the two best sides currently in the whole of the Olympian, so this was in some ways a match to see who would take the honours and call themselves the best across the whole league, but as I said that is what some were saying, not me!!!

The two sides were playing for the Charles Charity Cup, this game had been set up to raise money for a young guy called Josh Charles, who sadly has been diagnosed with Bone Cancer in his lower leg, meaning it will have to me amputated, so Ongar decided to set up this match against Buckhurst Hill to raise money for Josh and the Bone Cancer Research Trust, so a very good cause indeed.

This was a cause close to my heart because I myself lost my father to this disease in August 2008 after a four year battle with it, so I was more than happy to support the cause and also help the Charity and Josh himself as he continues to battle this illness, and there was a super turnout at Aveley’s Parkside venue, I would say several hundred were there, and with everyone giving at least a fiver on the gate, that’s a lot of money raised so that is fantastic!!!

Onto the actual game and Ongar began quite well in the first fifteen minutes or so and had a wonderful chance to take the lead after a mistake at the back from Buckhurst Hill, Aaron Blair, scorer of 100 goals in three seasons for the club, raced clear but saw his effort saved before one of his teammates curled the loose ball just wide of the far post.

The rest of half though belonged to Buckhurst as they began to take control and settle, and had it not been for Ongar keeper Tim Pitman, formally of Hashtag United no less, Ongar would have found themselves two or three goals down at the break, after he pulled off three wonderful stops, one of them was out of this world quite frankly, and Ongar were disappointed with their first half showing and no doubt were told this at half time.

Ongar, roared on by the majority of the large crowd inside the stadium, began the second half well but unlike the first half managed to find the net ten minutes after the break, and what a goal it was too, as after Buckhurst had lost the ball in midfield, skipper Mitchell McCabe picked the ball up and let fly from outside the box and found the corner of the net superbly and cue mass celebrations in the stands and on the field, but they knew Buckhurst would come back at them so needed to try and keep a lid on it.

And they so nearly levelled Buckhurst moments later when a cross to the back stick was thumped against the post, had that gone in who knows what would have happened, but it did not, and it was another chance that they had seen go begging.

Ongar though were playing much better in the second period and were playing the football that had won them the Division One title and promotion to the Premier Division, and with Buckhurst pushing forward for a leveller they left gaps at the back which Ongar tried to expose, and four minutes from time they sealed the contest when a lovely move ended with Joshua Boxhall curling a delightful finish into the far corner, cuing more celebrations.

Maybe it was fitting that Ongar did win this for Josh in the end, and they certainly celebrated the victory with gusto, this meant so much to the Ongar boys and they had given probably the best Olympian side for some time a defeat, showing they will be one of the favourites for the Premier title next season no doubt.

Full Time Buckhurst Hill 0 Ongar Town 2

 

A great night then and lots of money raised for a lovely gentleman and a good cause too in Bone Cancer, hopefully the money raised will make some difference and I wish Josh all the best going forward, keep fighting fella!!!

It had been a high-quality contest too between two sides who did the Olympian proud, I wish Buckhurst Hill all the best in their new venture in Senior Football and the Thurlow Nunn South Division, and good luck to Ongar in the Premier Division of the Olympian, two ambitious sides but two lovely clubs as well, so very pleased for both.

And lastly a big thank you to Ongar centre half Eamon Payne, who picked me up from work and took me back to Upminster afterwards, a can’t thank you enough for that gesture, but would also like to thank May & Baker boss Jordan Harris and Aveley volunteer Stevie B for also offering to give me a lift to and from Parkside, it doesn’t go unnoticed and I am blessed to know such wonderful people, this is the non-league family at it’s best, so proud to be part of it. Have a good summer and see you on the other side…

Here are some snaps of the game I took…











 

 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Southend Manor 6 Herongate Athletic 1

Friendly Match, Thursday May 27

I had said to myself no more football until at least the 2021/22 season as I needed a break from it after the last few weeks, but when I saw my local side Southend Manor had a friendly over the other side of the park against Herongate Athletic I thought why not seeing as it was such a lovely evening and was much better than sitting at home instead!!!

The Essex Senior League hosts, who were also playing in blue and white stripes and not their normal yellow and black attire (which was confusing as Herongate were wearing yellow and it took a few minutes to get used to this fact), were having one last run out before the summer break, whilst the visitors, who play in the Essex Olympian Division One, were trying some players out but only had a bare eleven for this contest.

And Manor showed their class early on and found themselves three goals up in seventeen minutes, taking the lead after nine minutes when a cross to the back post was completely missed by the forward, but the loose ball fell to another hosts attacker who swept home from close range, and then just before the quarter hour mark a cross from the left saw a finish on the stretch creep in off the inside of the post.

And on seventeen minutes it was three when a cross hung up to the back post was brilliantly headed home at the back stick after a salmon like leap from the forward, and you feared a bit for the visitors as this stage, although Herongate did immediately pull a goal back when they got in behind, rounded the keeper, and although a defender on the line tried his best to block the goal bound effort, he could only help it on its way into the net.

To be fair to the visitors they did pose an attacking threat to the hosts in the first period and forced some decent stops from the Manor keeper, but they had to keep the hosts at bay down the other end on more than one occasion too as the half ended with Manor holding a 3-1 lead.

The second half was only four minutes old when Manor added a fourth though after a dinked cross into the six-yard box saw four visiting defenders fail to pick up the one attacker inside the box and he ghosted in to power home a close-range header, and thereafter the hosts totally dominated the contest but had to wait until the 79th minute for number five when a cross was chested home at the near post.

And a sixth goal soon came for Manor barely two minutes later when the full back cut inside onto his left foot and fired a left-footed effort beyond the keeper and into the net, a good run out for both sides then and in the end a rather unsurprising comfortable win for the Essex Senior League outfit.

Full time Southend Manor 6 Herongate Athletic 1









Saturday, 15 May 2021

Stansted 0 Clapton 1

Essex Senior League - Len Cordell Memorial Cup Quarter Final, Saturday May 15

Saturday saw me over at Mayesbrook Park for an Essex Senior Len Cordell Memorial Cup Quarter Final which saw an early goal from Eleftherios Metso enough to send ten-man Tons into the Semi Finals , setting up a contest against Redbridge after they saw off Athletic Newham on penalties.

Stansted were actually the hosts for this one despite the location, and they had looked down and out in the tournament after losing their opening two group games against FC Clacton and Holland, and when they trailed Billericay Town U23s 2-0 in their final group encounter, all looked lost, but they turned that one around to win 3-2 and qualify as best fourth placed side, and after a win against West Essex they set up this Last Eight tie.

The Tons themselves had been solid during this tournament and had not conceded a goal since their opening group game against Redbridge when they fell to a narrow and unlucky 1-0 loss, so they were certainly a tough nut to crack and would be no pushovers that was for sure.

Both teams set off at a decent tempo, but it was Clapton who edged in front just past the quarter hour mark when a lovely ball in from the left by Daniel Emovan, one of those balls into the six-yard box that are a nightmare for defenders, found Metso who applied a decent finish past the helpless Jarvis Monk into the top corner from close range.

Stansted tried to respond and almost found a leveller when skipper Billy Coyne’s free kick was glanced just wide of the far post by Joe Wright, but then came a moment of madness from the Tons skipper that could have cost them the game.

Hussain Jaffa, who got into a confrontation with the hosts after an aerial challenge with Nick Reynolds, seemed to lose his head thereafter and after a few more choice words with opposing players and the referee, saw his luck finally run out on the half hour mark when he was first given a yellow card for dissent and then literally given another one seconds later after he continued his verbal assault on the official.

It was a mindless thing to do, yes, he may not have agreed with the decisions, but his teammates tried to calm him down on more than one occasion, but he did not listen and paid the price, and as the skipper it can simply not happen, but it meant his side would now have to play out the remaining hour with ten man, so their task was now made even tougher.

Despite this though Clapton continued to hold their opponents at bay whilst playing on the counter, and the longer the game went on the more frustrated the hosts became, and a resolute Tons backline, led now by the superb Josh Coulson who was man of the match in my eyes, thwarted any attack the hosts could muster.

It was the perfect game for Coulson who relished the challenge at the heart of the Tons backline, and for all of Stansted’s pressure, they could only force Ton’s keeper Carlos Simeon into one save from a free kick in the 87th minute, which was a testament to his defence in front of him.

And so, after a fourth straight clean sheet it was Clapton who prevailed in this one and a very well earned one, especially after they played almost 70 minutes with ten men after the referee added on nine minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game, a superb win and proof that they can certainly dig in and prevent a very good side from testing their keeper.

Yes, they will now be missing their skipper for the semi-final, but they showed in the time without him they can certainly cope without him, even if he is one of their key players in their side, they certainly dug him out of a hole today after his moment of madness earlier in the contest.

Full time Stansted 0 Clapton 1









 

As said above Clapton will now take on Redbridge in the Semi Finals after The Motormen knocked out Athletic Newham on penalties at Oakside, here is a brief summary of that game…

Redbridge 1 Athletic Newham 1 (Redbridge won 5-4 on penalties)

The hosts grabbed the lead just before the midway point of the first period when Josh Sykes converted from the spot after a handball from the visitors, but eleven minutes after the break Newham levelled after a Richard Kone shot was blocked, Jeff Idemudia pounced to tap home and take the tie to spot-kicks, and the hosts prevailed in the shoot-out to set up a second clash with Clapton in this competition after the sides met on Match Day One in the group stages. For a more detailed look back at today's tie at Oakside, check out Scott W's blog https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/05/15/s-20-21-match-report-redbridge-1-1-athletic-newham-sat-15-may/   

Here is an updated look at the semi-final line up…

Clapton v Redbridge

Barking/Holland v FC Clacton

The Barking v Holland Quarter Final takes place on Tuesday 18th May with a 7.45pm kick off at Mayesbrook Park, winners as seen above hosts FC Clacton for a place in the final at Oakside at the end of May. 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Cockfosters 1 Barking 1 (Barking won 7-6 on penalties)

Essex Senior League - Len Cordell Memorial Cup Last Sixteen, Tuesday April 4

Tuesday evening saw me at another Essex Senior Len Cordell Memorial Cup Last Sixteen clash, and this week I was over at Chalk Lane to see Barking edge out their opponents Cockfosters on penalties after the sides could not be separated after ninety minutes.

Fosters qualified as runners up in Group A, after they grabbed a last gasp leveller to draw at DTFC, they were then denied a win by a last gasp leveller at home to St Margaretsbury, but a win in their final game against Hoddesdon Town made sure they took their place in the Last 16 where they faced Barking.

The Blues qualified as unbeaten winners of Group D, a draw against Frenford was followed by wins against Hackney Wick and then West Essex in the group decider at Mayesbrook Park, the visitors have been playing mainly their U23s in this competition as manager Justin Gardiner looks to try out his younger players in the first team to give them an opportunity and to show him what they can do.

So far, they had done well, and in the opening half hour they were the better side here too and had chances to go in front, skipper Sam Owusu thought he had headed Barking ahead from close range early on but the flag went up, whilst Isaac Westendorf also struck wide, and then Westendorf and Jonny Ashton forced good saves from hosts keeper Brad Robinson.

Cockfosters then managed to just about bundle another Barking effort wide of their goal, but just past the half hour mark a defensive splitting pass saw Kieran Jones time his run perfectly to run through and slot beyond Robinson and had Barking a well-deserved lead.

The hosts only real chance up until this point had been a Prince Madu volley at the far post after he was left all alone, but this went straight at keeper Oli Pain, but after the visitor’s goal Cockfosters started to get on top and Pain had to make a very smart save to keep the hosts out as they went close on two or three occasions before the half was out.

The second half saw Fosters continue to have the better of the game and had they been more clinical in front of goal they could have easily won the game in the end, but they did manage to find a deserved leveller with twenty minutes to go when Charlie Morgan rose to head home a corner from inside the box, and it meant another penalty shoot out in the Last 16 of this competition.

The first for penalties were saved by both keepers, but then the next twelve were all scored, meaning it was 6-6 going into both sides ninth spot-kicks, Fosters saw their one saved by Pain, and then Pain himself then took the ninth one for the visitors and converted to see his side edge through and set up a home Quarter Final against either Holland or Hackney Wick. Barking have already met Wick in the group stage and battled to a 3-2 home win in that one.

Full time Cockfosters 1 Barking 1 (Barking won 7-6 on penalties)








 

There are still two Last Sixteen ties to take place, these are below…

Holland v Hackney Wick (Dulwich Road, Wednesday May 5, 7.45pm)

DTFC v Redbridge (Oakside, Friday May 7, 7,45pm)

Four of the six Last Sixteen ties played so far have gone to penalties, will either of these two go the distance as well?

 

There are two scheduled Quarter Final ties this weekend, which are below…

FC Clacton v White Ensign (Austin Arena, Saturday May 8, 3pm)

Stansted v Clapton (Hargrave Park, Saturday May 8, 3pm)

The winners of the Holland v Hackney Wick encounter on Wednesday will face Barking away in the Quarters, this game is likely to be arranged for this weekend, whilst the winners of DTFC v Redbridge will host Athletic Newham most likely next week sometimes, but news of that will be forthcoming in due course. 

Monday, 3 May 2021

Brimsdown 0 Clapton 0 (Clapton won 7-6 on penalties)

Essex Senior League - Len Cordell Memorial Cup Last Sixteen, Monday May 3

Bank Holiday Monday saw me over at The New River Stadium for an Essex Senior Len Cordell Memorial Cup Last Sixteen tie between Brimsdown and Clapton, and it was Tons who prevailed on penalties to reach the Quarter Finals in wet and very windy conditions in North London.

The hosts were yet to win in the competition so far, they had drawn with both Athletic Newham and Great Wakering Rovers before they were soundly beaten by White Ensign in their final group match, but still managed to qualify in third in Group E with two points after Wakering finished bottom with just the point.

Clapton in the other hand managed to win two of their three games on Group B, as after losing their opening group match at Redbridge they went onto record 2-0 wins against both Woodford Town and Barkingside and end the group in the runners up spot and a place in the final sixteen.

Goals were not expected here though, Brimsdown had managed just one in their three group matches whilst The Tons had managed just four, and with the visitors having only conceded one goal in their three games too it was fair to say that it was going to be a tight and competitive fixture played in very windy conditions from the off.

The first half saw Clapton with the better chances that came along, they saw two corners just about scrambled clear, but their best chance of the half saw Kerry Ogbeifun played clean in on goal and he controlled well before sending an effort which struck the post rather than creep inside it, but unsurprisingly the game reached the half goalless.

Idries Turay was one to pick out for the visitors as he played some lovely balls into his strikers, so the hosts needed to get onto him to stop any danger coming from the middle, and also Reece Capleton for the hosts made some decent runs through the middle of the park too so Clapton needed to watch out for him as well.

Brimsdown did start the second half well and their best opening was a free kick right on the edge of the box, but the effort from Bertug Seyhan was dragged wide of the post resulting in a rather anti-climactic moment, and a good chance for the hosts wasted too, whilst Clapton corners were causing some issues for the hosts defence too, and as the game got closer to the end, The Tons were piling on the pressure.

Young keeper Ali Dogan was doing very well to deal with some very difficult balls into the box with the wind and rain howling towards him, and under immense pressure did well to keep them out, but Clapton should have made one of these crosses count as a lovely ball to the back post saw substitute Josh Coulson somehow head over the bar from point blank range, he had to score, but he didn’t and the game ended up going into a penalty shoot-out.

This would be taken into a hurricane along with sideways rain, so not entirely pleasant for the penalty takers, just keeping the ball on the spot was difficult enough, let alone having to take a pressurised spot kick too, but there were some very decent penalties scored and after five kicks each it was tied up at 4-4.

Both sides netted their next two meaning 6-6, and then Brimsdown saw their next one saved by Tons keeper Carlos Simeon, meaning if they netted their next one, they would win, and Simeon himself stepped up to convert the winning penalty and send his side into the Quarter Finals of the Len Cordell Memorial Cup, a largely forgettable game played in very tough conditions and to be honest both sides did pretty well considering this, so well played all.

Full Time Brimsdown 0 Clapton 0 (Clapton won 7-6 on penalties)








 

There are still three Last Sixteen ties to come, these are below…

Cockfosters v Barking (Chalk Lane, Tuesday May 4, 7.45pm)

Holland v Hackney Wick (Dulwich Road, Wednesday May 5, 7.45pm)

DTFC v Redbridge (Harlow Arena, Friday May 7, 7.45pm)

 

Also, the draw for the Quarter Finals were made on Saturday evening, and here are those games…

Stansted v Clapton

Cockfosters/Barking v Holland/Hackney Wick

FC Clacton v White Ensign

DTFC/Redbridge v Athletic Newham

 

Dates/Venues are yet to be announced but will be in due course, details of the Semi Finals were also announced…

Stansted/Clapton v DTFC/Redbridge/Athletic Newham

Cockfosters/Barking/Holland/Hackney Wick v FC Clacton/White Ensign

 

Details of the finals weekend at Oakside were also announced after the draw, here are those details for you…

Saturday May 29

12pm – Woodford Town v Hoddesdon Town (Senior Plate Final)

4pm – Memorial Cup Final

 

Sunday May 30

12pm – Sawbridgeworth Town Reserves v Walthamstow Reserves (Reserve Plate Final)

4pm – Memorial Trophy Final

 

Tuesday night I will be at Cockfosters v Barking so will have a blog and photos of that to come probably on Wednesday as will be home rather late on Tuesday!!!   

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Billericay Town U23s 0 Athletic Newham 1

Essex Senior League - Len Cordell Memorial Cup Last Sixteen, Saturday May 1

Saturday saw me over at New Lodge for another Last Sixteen tie in the Essex Senior Len Cordell Memorial Cup as Billericay Town U23s hosted Athletic Newham, and a Joel Appiah goal just past the midway point of the first half was enough for the visitors to join FC Clacton, Stansted and White Ensign in the Quarter Finals.

Billericay’s youngsters had impressed so far in this tournament, they play in the Essex Senior Reserves Division, so this was a step up for them and no doubt vital experience for the players involved, and they had qualified out of Group C of the competition after a comfortable win over Holland, a draw with FC Clacton and then a defeat against Stansted to end up runners up.

Athletic Newham had also finished runners up too, they competed in Group E, and they ended in this position after a draw against Brimsdown, defeat against White Ensign before netting six against Great Wakering Rovers in their final group game to come into this Last 16 tie in good form and qualify in style.

And with the hosts having netted seven goals in their three games and Athletic Newham nine, you would have expected a fast flowing attacking contest with plenty of goals perhaps?

It was the hosts who had the better of any attacking play that materialised in the opening twenty minutes, firing one effort just over the bar and then firing wide with another, but in the 24th minute the visitors struck when after good play down the right from Jeff Idemudia saw him cross into the box, and although Luis Shamshoum saved the initial shot, the ball fell to Appiah at the back post who managed to find the net from an acute angle.

The hosts though should have levelled in first half stoppage time though when Marko Protic was played in on goal on the edge of the box but visiting keeper Wilkinson Boateng made a decent stop to keep his side ahead as they went into the half time break, so although Athletic Newham lead, they knew they had been in a game and the young hosts had impressed so far again.

The second period though saw the visitors take the initiative and created three decent chances in the opening exchanges of the half, Richard Kone, who was a standout player for the visitors once again, went clean through but saw his effort saved by Shamshoun, and then Kone laid in Appiah who could only slice well wide of the target.

 And then a cross to the far post found Louis Itiobi whose powerful effort thumped off the post or was cleared off the post and then the player thumped into it, it was hard to tell as it was struck so powerfully and happened so quickly, but it had been another good chance for the visitors to make life a bit more comfortable.

The hosts attacks were less frequent in this half, but they did see a Portic effort smartly stopped by Boateng, but it was the visitors who looked more likely to add a second and seal the tie rather than the young hosts finding a leveller.

But with three minutes remaining of the ninety came Billericay’s chance to force a shoot-out, as a Crossfield ball found full back Marlon Stratford free over on the left side of the box, and his effort was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Boateng before it came back into his grateful arms, it was a huge let off for the visitors and they were almost punished for not finishing this tie off.

But after eight minutes of stoppage time, which no one was really sure why it was so much, the referee brought proceedings to a close and Athletic Newham had made the Final Eight of the tournament. Well done to the hosts though who again pushed another very good side all the way in this competition.

Full time Billericay Town U23s 0 Athletic Newham 1









So, Athletic Newham join the three winners from Friday evenings Last 16 ties, Stansted, Ensign and FC Clacton, in the Quarter Finals, the remaining Last 16 ties take place over the next few days, these are listed below…

Brimsdown v Clapton (New River Stadium, Monday May 3, 4,30pm)

Cockfosters v Barking (Chalk Lane, Tuesday May 4, 7.45pm)

Holland v Hackney Wick (Dulwich Road, Wednesday May 5, 7.45pm)

DTFC v Redbridge (Harlow Arena, Saturday May 8, 3pm)

 

Finally, the Plate final will be contested between Hoddesdon Town and Woodford Town after Woodford smashed Great Wakering Rovers 10-0 at Aveley’s Parkside Stadium on Saturday afternoon, a truly remarkable result for the visitors today and they have the chance to win that Plate final at Oakside at the end of May.

 

The Quarter Final draw will be made Saturday evening, news of this will be in my Brimsdown v Clapton blog on Monday…