ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
LAWFORD LADS FC: 2. GREAT BENTLEY FC: 3.
Date: Saturday 04th November 2017. Venue: School Lane, Lawford
Another Division One match appealed to me this week, top versus second in Lawford Lads FC against Great Bentley FC, both undefeated so far, in a game played at School Lane, Lawford where the facilities, pitch and hospitality were as expected, excellent. Now that we had turned the corner into November and fallen back an hour the week before, the weather also took a turn with a cold damp afternoon unfolding as the teams emerged for the earlier kick-off time.
Once again, not just for me but also the visitors, the match official was Connor Hodgkins, who now thinks I’m stalking him and like last week he would be assisted by respective Club linesman, not the best scenario in a top of the table clash and in a match that was entertaining but competitive throughout.
Great Bentley kicked off with the wind at their backs, with Jones playing the ball back and wide to Brown who set off down the right side to force a corner off Upton, however, the corner from Brown was too short and cleared out by James as far as Brand whose first time shot was held by Thompson (J). The visitors kept their momentum going stringing numerous passes together as Lawford sat back but just after five minute mark the visitors scored. Brown took a corner on the right side, keeper Thompson (J) flapped at the high ball without making any contact and in the ensuing six-yard scramble CONNOR JONES poked the ball home. Worse followed for the home team when Wood scythed down Jones wide on the right side, Brown stepped up to send a delightful cross towards the six yard line where the unmarked ARAN YARWOOD ran in to thump a fine towering header past the static keeper. Great Bentley continued to dominate, they were much quicker to the ball, stronger in the tackle and were prepared to attack throughout with Vaughan making a strong run past three defenders and to me should have had a free-kick when he was bundled over just outside the penalty area.
After twenty minutes the visitors were good value for their lead with Lawford struggling to get forward over the half-way line, perhaps because of the wind blowing down the pitch or more likely because the visitors allowed them no time or space when in possession with Brown, Southee and particularly Yarwood dominant in midfield. Primus fouled Brumpton when he went on a decent run down the left side, Brown, drove the free-kick towards Jones whose downward header bounced once and into the arms of keeper Thompson (J) who was almost deceived by the low bounce of the ball. Vaughan was fouled by Wood again with Brown, this time finding Brough who volleyed way over the cross-bar. Great Bentley keeper Waltham had been a virtual spectator by the mid-half point having by my records just two goal kicks to take as his defence nullified any danger. On twenty-five minutes a poor challenge by Ainger on Brumpton was followed by another by Yarwood on Primus and free-kicks punctuated this period of the game. A break by Jones and Brown followed a rare Lawford attack but the home team defended to win a throw-in, taken by Foster to Stocker who had run off-side then Foster again found Stocker whose neat pass was meant for Yeo who failed to control the ball when well placed.
More free-kicks followed, Brumpton on Primus, taken short by Ball to Yeo but Yarwood intervened to concede a corner, the first for the home team, taken by Stocker to Wood whose header was caught by Waltham. Another break forward by Vaughan led to a pass to Brown whose shot was weak and Thompson (J) gathered and play switched to the other end where Burch put in a strong tackle on Stocker who was the last player to touch the ball for what should have been a goal-kick, no sorry, a corner kick was awarded, despite the linesman correctly indicating clearly whose ball it should be, well we all get things wrong from time to time! A long throw-in from Vaughan, bounced once before Brown tried a cheeky back-heel with Thompson (J) gathering, a long free-kick from Wood was headed clear by Brough and when play switched the cross from Vaughan was scooped over the cross-bar by Flack standing three yards out, what a miss! A long clearance by Thompson (J) was headed back by Yarwood but Primus set Yeo away but Waltham safely handled the ensuing cross but it was clear that when Lawford pushed forward the Great Bentley team got players back to defend with midfielders Southee and Yarwood playing like the immovable objects and with Burch and Brough stubborn but effective in defence as their team ended the half two goals ahead but Lawford had raised their game after falling two goals behind.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 2.
Immediately from the restart, Lawford brought on Lorimer for Foster and he almost had an immediate impact when he ran down the left side, cut back inside to find Stocker who curled an effort just round the far post. Another Lawford attack followed with Lorimer chasing a long ball forward, his pace was going to test Brand who had a relatively easy first half. However, Great Bentley pushed forward to score a crucial goal, again nothing pretty and perhaps unfortunate as when Wood dived in to tackle CONNOR JONES the ball ricocheted off the forward to bounce over the advancing keeper and find the back of the net. With five minutes gone the visitors were again quicker to the ball but substitute Lorimer chased a free-kick taken by Wood, flicking the ball around Brand but when failing to stop or attempt to avoid Brough he crashed into the defender and receive a just but needless caution! A foul by Ball on Vaughan led to another free-kick taken by Brown, the flag was raised but the referee ignored it as the player was not interfering with play and a corner was awarded. Ten minutes into the half and a late challenge by Ball on Flack led to his caution, he had already committed several fouls in the first half so no surprise for him to see yellow then.
Lawford should have clawed a goal back on fifty-eight minutes when from a free-kick taken by Upton, Yarwood clearly pushed Stocker to earn a caution and concede a penalty kick, Stocker took the spot-kick hitting the ball hard and low to the keepers left side where Waltham excelled with a fine save down by the upright to concede a corner. From the corner taken by Lorimer the ball fell to Primus whose rising shot clipped the cross-bar and flew to safety but clearly the home team had better intentions this half, that third goal conceded and the penalty miss might contrive to go against them as the game progressed. Keeper, Waltham was again in action saving at the feet of Yeo who was unmarked six yards out when the ball fell at the forwards feet and the referee had cause to speak to the home Manager as things still appeared to be going against his improving team. A run by Lorimer led to Brough chasing back to miss his tackle allowing Lorimer to cross to Wood whose found Primus whose shot was weak and Waltham gathered but the positive second half by Lawford led to their first goal when a right wing run and cross saw the ball fall to ADAM THOMPSON whose chipped shot found the top corner.
That was much better from the home team and on sixty-six minutes Great Bentley had to substitute Brumpton who sustained a shoulder injury to be replaced by Bell, with Brumpton presumably going off to hospital. Vaughan chased back earn a caution when fouling Lorimer who had been a real thorn to Great Bentley since his half-time introduction. Lorimer took the free-kick himself and Wood stooped to head goalwards from three yards out but missed the ball completely, a real let-off for the visitors. The first touch by Bell was to foul Ball with Wood driving the free-kick forward where Burch headed clear to Lorimer who sent a curling effort just wide of the far post with keeper Waltham struggling to make up the ground across his goal-line. Question, are Great Bentley panicking, not quite, but Lorimer, for Lawford sent over another teasing cross to Thompson (A) who sent a curling header just wide and with fifteen minutes remaining anything could happen. And maybe it should have, as when a high dropping ball fell between Stocker and Yeo there was Southee, in the sandwich, who appeared to punch the ball clear when inside the penalty area, the referee was clearly unsighted and nothing came of the incident, despite valid protests!
With fifteen minutes remaining Great Bentley replaced Jones with Clifton and Lawford scored their second goal when Lorimer teased his way down the left side to find MITCHELL YEO who with his back to goal, turned to his right to sweep the ball home with his left foot, game on! Flack hit the cross-bar from a cross by Vaughan who was then replaced by Hurd and these last few minutes might get a bit frantic if this half is anything to go on. With five minutes remaining a fine move involving Lorimer and Stocker led to Wood driving the ball just over the cross-bar, this following a rare defensive error by captain Brough. Clifton was held back by Upton, bit stupid really as he was technically the last player, save the keeper but by being close to the centre-circle he was perhaps lucky just to concede the free-kick. Brown took the free-kick finding Flack who drove the ball wide from an acute angle. Clifton was involved again running in from the left side to set Brown away along the goal-line and from his low cross the ball flew past keeper Thompson (J) finding Hurd standing all alone at the far post only for him to miss the open goal. Hurd then bought a foul off of Upton near the corner flag with Great Bentley playing for time and a succession of fouls in that area led to the end of the game.
FULL TIME: 2 – 3.
As expected from two previously unbeaten teams this game was always going to be competitive, Great Bentley won the crucial first half battles to score twice but squander at least two more chances and get a fortunate third just after the second half restart. However, in the second half Lawford scored twice but would rue, that penalty miss and two other gilt edged chances but they made Great Bentley work really hard to keep that slender lead as the home team won the second half with a much improved performance and it could have been so different.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, as an impact player Lorimer was a breath of fresh air when he came on for Lawford Lads, who are still adjusting to losing Mann back to Brantham Athletic but in Yeo and Stocker have sufficient cover to score goals provided the defence plays their part too. For Great Bentley an overall team effort, defensively rarely troubled in the first half as Brown, Southee and particularly Yarwood, imposed themselves, on midfield, Jones and Vaughan with his direct running with the ball caused problems for a retreating defence but overall Brown gets the nod this week. Brown worked up and down the pitch, breaking up play one end and starting attacks at the other, taking corners and free-kicks generally with accuracy as two assists in the first half testify.
I know it’s a long season but these two teams look to be in the Division One title race for the duration but they need to keep a check on the chasing pack where Brightlingsea Regent FC Reserves and Tiptree Jobserve FC are lurking by putting good results together as well.
In closing, it was gratifying to see the Great Bentley FC players stay behind for a drink after the game, clubs like Lawford Lads FC with those bar and food facilities welcome that income and I’m sure will reciprocate when they vist “The Green” later in the season.
Also, don’t forget, the “Respect” handshake should be made before every ESBFL game and lastly kick-off times in November are 14:00pm unless the match is a cup-tie when lick-off will be thirty minutes earlier or as advertised.
LAWFORD LADS FC: Colours: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
James Thompson (C)., Nathan Ainger., Samuel Foster., Glen James., Ben Upton., Jack Wood., Steven Ball., Jerome Primus., Mitchell Yeo., Alex Stocker., Adam Thompson.
Manager: Andrew Young.
Assistant Manager: Paul Bowers.
Used Substitutes: Sean Lorimer.
Unused Substitutes: Nicholas Bolingbroke., James Lee., Kevin Young.
GREAT BENTLEY FC: Colours: Silver Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Greg Waltham., Adam Brand., Connor Brumpton., Jack Burch., Peter Brough (C)., Michael Southee., Jake Vaughan., Aran Yarwood., Connor Jones., Dale Brown., Tim Flack.
Manager: James Meadows.
Used Substitutes: Aaron Clifton., Joe Hurd., Jake Bell.
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Barbour., Callum Holyman
Referee: Connor Hodgkins (Clacton-on-Sea).
Man of the Match: Dale BROWN (GREAT BENTLEY FC)
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 ( email@example.com ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
KO is 2:00pm in: November, December & January
KO is 2:30pm in: February
KO is 3:00pm from: March to end of season
Kick-Off times for ESBFL cup matches, are generally 30 minutes earlier than those shown above but check competition rules beforehand.
Kick-Off times for Essex County Football Association cup matches are published on the ECFA web-site.
The web-site for the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League is: www.esblfootball.com
Clubs are reminded that the following documents are all available on this website under Clubs / Documents etc :
Player Registration Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form