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…