ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
LITTLE OAKLEY FC “A”: 11. FC CLACTON RESERVES: 0.
Date: Friday 01st December 2017. Venue: War Memorial Ground, Little Oakley.
A Border League, Friday night, Division One match between the two bottom teams, caught my eye in advance of the ESBFL, FA Inter-League Cup, Round 2, match to be played the next day and there is nothing like getting cold whilst watching a game of football. I have to say the addition of floodlights around the War Memorial Ground has improved an already excellent facility where the pitch, as usual, looked immaculate.
Clearly, an “A” team competing in Division One is a tall order as early season results have proved but as a development team these former youth players have to quickly make the step up to adult football and here was a chance to gain some confidence. Confidence is something that a beleaguered FC Clacton Reserves seem not to have, a recent change of manager, their third this season, a surfeit of registered players but few seemingly wanting to commit to play, two players signed on the night as well, so Liam Joyce certainly has his work cut-out to stabilise his team, oddly FC Clacton First Team also played on Friday night over at run-away leaders Felixstowe & Walton United FC!
FC Clacton Reserves went behind as early as the first minute when a poor back-pass was intercepted by CHRIS JOHNSON who took the ball on, rounded the keeper to score and Little Oakley, buoyed by this early goal pushed forward again with the visitors defending only to then break forward in an open start. On five minutes the pattern of play looked set when Little Oakley scored their second, a right footed and curling corner taken by CAMERON WALLACE was helped into his own net at the far post by keeper Murray, and already I questioned whether he was a normal or stand-in keeper, OK somebody has to play there so if he volunteered then good for him. Worse followed as by the tenth minute, defender Green handled the ball twenty-five yards out, Mann took the free-kick, driven low and hard, keeper Murray spilled the ball into the path of LEROY EADE who had a simple tap-in chance. A stupid and needless challenge by Reeve on Johnson, who then reacted, led to both players being cautioned, Eade took the free-kick towards goal and only the outstretched leg of Hunt stopped another goal at the expense of a corner.
The visitors were already under a constant barrage of attacking football from the young home team spurred on from midfield by the more experienced Mann and Bunce who looked confident when on the ball. On twenty minutes Mann put the ball through a defensive hole and Eade chased forward only to clattered, by keeper Murray who, by making a genuine attempt to get the ball was only cautioned despite technically being the last man and this spot kick gave CHRIS JOHNSON to score the second of his goals. FC Clacton replaced Reeve with Simpson, the home team broke forward again through Eade with Hunt making a fine challenge whilst conceding a corner, however the goal onslaught continued when Bunce threaded the first of many passes into the visitors half and LEROY EADE strode through to score his second, aided perhaps by keeper Murray deciding not to advance and narrow the angle. Murray partially redeemed himself when making a fine save with his feet, from Eade who had the freedom of the left wing in which to play, then a corner from Hinks found Johnson whose lobbed effort was fielded by Murray just under the cross-bar.
On thirty minutes FC Clacton won a rare free-kick following a foul by Brundle on Looker, however the free-kick failed to reach the penalty area and Little Oakley cleared the ball to the right side where Mann collected it in his stride making ground before sending a low cross into the six-yard box where Simpson scooped the ball over his own cross-bar from two yards out. Another corner, conceded when a poor goal-kick from Murray was put behind allowing Allen to cross with the ball being met by an attempted overhead kick from Bunce and from the restart a fine run and dribble by Whittle (D) for the visitors saw him elude several challenges before despatching the ball high and wide of the home goal, but at least he showed some spirit when the opportunity occurred. A free-kick from Bruce was comfortably held by keeper, Pepperell, a virtual spectator so far, and on thirty-seven minutes Bunce played in GAVIN MANN who volleyed home with the help of the right hand upright and Dolphin was cautioned for foul before play continued. A long throw-in from Looker fell to Foster whose lobbed effort failed to trouble home keeper Pepperell whilst his opposite number, Murray saved a driven cross at full stretch to deny Wallace. Two minutes before half-time FC Clacton won their first corner, taken by Whittle (M) and headed home by Pearce who had clearly climbed on the back of Hinks so no joy there for the visitors. Substitute Simpson did well when chasing back to defend against Caudill to concede a throw-in from which, as play continued, Simpson clipped the heels of Caudill, inside the penalty area which allowed CHRIS JOHNSON to complete his hat-trick and complete a seven goals to nil first half lead for the home team, and I have to say that both first half penalties were obvious and not contested.
HALF-TIME: 7 – 0.
Damage limitation must be the order of the day for FC Clacton Reserves who replaced Pearce with Day immediately before the restart however the goal rush started again after only three minutes when Mann got down the left side playing the ball into the penalty area where CHRIS JOHNSON waltzed past four static defenders before slotting the ball into the net using his right foot, behind his left leg, bit of show-boating perhaps and he was immediately replaced by another experienced player, Stanford. Five minutes into the half and number nine went in when Bunce released Gueizelar who threaded the ball into LEROY EADE who completed his hat-trick as well. An over-zealous tackle by Mann on Whittle (D) led to another poorly struck free-kick for the visitors and the stoppage allowed Little Oakley to replace Eade with Sheppard and Whittle (M) managed to test Pepperell with a shot that bobbled just in front of him but other than those rare efforts it remained on-way traffic. Gueizelar was replaced by Adams on fifty-five minutes and a minute later Sheppard chased down a tiring defender to win the ball and pass to the unmarked GARY STANFORD who scored with ease.
On the hour mark a along throw-in from Whittle (M) for FC Clacton fell to Looker who found Foster who fired over but despite continuing to concede goals, it was now ten against, some heads had clearly dropped but others for the visitors had not yet thrown in the towel. Little Oakley were twice caught off-side, too keen to score perhaps whilst Looker became the fourth visiting player to be cautioned, this for dissent. A free-kick from Bruce was headed out for a corner by Brundle whilst Hinks required treatment following an injury sustained in a tackle. Murray made a fine save to deny Bunce leading to a corner from where Brundle shot straight at Murray, Looker was injured in a tackle and was forced to leave the field momentarily leaving his team down to ten players. Murray saved from a close range effort from Stanford who had an easier chance on eighty-two minutes when Murray fumbled the ball back to GARY STANFORD who slotted in number eleven. When Brundle fouled Foster, the defender was cautioned, but in sustaining an injury himself he had to leave the field as did Bruce following an earlier injury and both teams were now down to ten players, not that this was going to affect the result.
FULL TIME: 11 – 0.
Not the end result that I was expecting, both teams languished at the bottom of the table before kick-off, both had suffered heavy defeats before this match, in fact Little Oakley had been beaten by a similar score against a full strength Gas Recreation (First) team on the opening day of their season, but won the return fixture more recently so this result was only their second and deserved victory. This defeat puts FC Clacton Reserves down to the bottom of the table, new Manager Joyce, no doubt has plans on how to re-kindle their season but will need much more support from his players, some of whom on this night, in my opinion, let him down. Players cannot complain or make excuses about playing against Reserve or First team players without knowing the facts as both other Little Oakley teams played on Saturday using players who had actually played in this Friday evening fixture, in other words they stepped up to held the clubs teams when the need was required.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, clearly a Little Oakley player had to be chosen, Johnson scored four goals, two were penalties, Eade scored three, mainly easy chances, the predatory Stanford also scored two easy goals after making a late appearance as substitute so where do I look. Defensively the home team were untroubled so midfield was the engine room, Mann has a lot of experience and was influential throughout, however, alongside him Bunce caught the eye, apparently, and I was learnedly informed, he had not played much football before but this local lad should soon be getting a call-up as on his performance in this game he was calm and influential when on the ball, kept a good midfield position, defending one end and supporting his attack at the other, well done.
LITTLE OAKLEY FC “A”: Colours: Blue & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Charlie Pepperell., Jonathan Allen., Daryl Hinks., Michael Bunce., Reece Brundle (C)., Josh Caudill., Charlie Gueizelar., Gavin Mann., Chris Johnson., Cameron Wallace., Leroy Eade.
Manager: Matthew Windred.
Used Substitutes: Conor Adam., Gary Stanford., Luke Sheppard.
Unused Substitutes: Lewis Vasek-Mayer.
FC CLACTON RESERVES: Colours: Red Shirts, Red Shorts and Red Socks.
Matt Murray (C)., Daniel Pearce., Jack Bruce., Jason Green., Brandon Hunt., Cameron Dolphin., Daniel Whittle., Luke Looker., Luke Foster., Michael Whittle., Sam Reeve.
Manager: Liam Joyce.
Used Substitutes: Jay Simpson., Sam Duly.
Referee: Ricky Johnson (Colne Engaine).
Man of the Match: Michael BUNCE (LITTLE OAKLEY FC “A”)
Reminder to Club / Fixture Secretaries
Once again this season the fixtures, results, referees and “kick-off” times will be shown automatically on “The FA Full-Time / The Whole Game System” ( http://full-time.thefa.com ) but would all Club / Fixture Secretaries please advice any agreed changes, as required, to Alison Willmore ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
KO is 2:00pm in: December & January
KO is 2:30pm in: February
KO is 3:00pm from: March to end of season
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Kick-Off times for Essex County Football Association cup matches are published on the ECFA web-site.
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Player Registration Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form