ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
REPRESENTATIVE TEAM – FRIENDLY
JERSEY FA: 0.
ESBFL REPRESENTATIVE TEAM: 1.
Date: Saturday 6th May 2017. Venue: Springfield Stadium, St Helier, Jersey
It’s that time of year again when the ESBFL Representative Team are invited over to Jersey, in the Channel Islands, to play a friendly football match against the Jersey FA, who have these friendlies as the precursor to the prestigious “Muratti Cup” which is competed for annually by Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.
Upon arriving at the well appointed Springfield Stadium in a heavy drizzle, I wrote down the list of nineteen home players, many of whom the ESBFL have battled against in previous matches so a strong line up to contend with especially as the ESBFL have garnered a new squad together over the last few months. Manager, Tony Armstrong and his assistants, Lloyd Pentney, Anthony White and Stuart Bevis felt confident that if the selected players kept to their game plan then a positive result could be secured. The players who had travelled overnight on Friday had the benefit of a training session on the artificial 4G pitch earlier on match day.
After the pleasantries of the “Respect” handshake, the respective team captains exchanged pennants and the game commenced with Jersey kicking off on the 4G pitch which with the drizzle falling could prove to be difficult as the pitch demands a passing game with the sliding tackle move not to be contemplated, if only to avoid skin burns!
An early shot from Marangou from a throw-in on the right gave the ESBFL team heart but it was clear that Boyle, just as in previous matches, would be instrumental in the Jersey attacks and an early cross was headed away by Murray with Boxall completing the clearance. Another Jersey move started with Cannon finding Gallichan, he who scored the only goal in the FA Inter League Cup on the first ever visit to the island, with Lodge going to ground to foul the player just a few yards away from the corner of the penalty area. Keeper Felgate had two defenders in the defensive wall as Boyle shaped to shoot with Marangou heading clear. Jersey, as expected, pushed forward with Miley winning a corner off Palmer, back defending, Boyle took the corner with Gallichan heading wide after running into space inside the six yard box. The ESBFL continued to be forced to defend with Marangou fouling Miley in a central position, Boyle again stepped up, faced with a four man wall, only to drive the ball just wide with keeper Felgate covering the near post with a full stretch dive. A throw-in from Munson found Lodge who moved the ball forward to Cripps who tested Van der Vliet on six minutes, more encouragement after a tricky start.
Two minutes later, with the ESBFL continuing to concede free kicks, perhaps getting used to the greasy pitch, and when Miley played a stray ball forward, Springett strode forward to try his luck from thirty yards out but the keeper was not troubled then a long ball from Springett almost put Cripps through but the ball skipped off the surface for a goal kick. A stray pass, this time from Springett fell to Boyle who found Gallichan, and when he skipped past Lodge, Felgate advanced and smother, the ball, back off the home forward for a goal kick. After ten minutes the home team had been quicker to the ball moving it quickly to supporting players and when McBey sent a long cross-field ball forward the ball flashed past the leggy stride of winger, Weir (C). On fifteen minutes ESBFL put together a better move, Boxall to Marangou then Firkens almost found Cripps well placed between two tall defenders but his control let him down. Another move started by Springett on the other side found Boxall, then Lodge to Cripps with defender McBey blocking for a corner, taken by Springett and after being cleared the return ball found Cripps netting from an offside position. Both Russell and Weir (C) were caught off-side as the ESBFL pushed up and they worked another attack with Firkins, Marangou, Springett and Boxall involved to gain a throw-in deep in the Jersey half.
On twenty minutes Felgate threw the ball wide to Springett who found Boxall but his pass was lazy allowing Jersey to gain possession until Lodge dispossessed Boyle and slightly against the general run of play the ESBFL scored. Springett took a corner, the ball reached Cripps inside the six-yard box and with the ball running loose the trusty foot of SCOTT LODGE crashed the ball home off the underside of the cross-bar. Another chance went begging when Firkens and Lodge got the ball forward to Cripps but the ball squirmed off the surface and sped past Cripps, almost through on goal. A free-kick from Cannon was safely fielded by Felgate, a confident call and catch on the penalty spot and suddenly the ESBFL looked more confident when in possession. A foul by Weir (C) on Lodge earned some respite in what was now a flowing game until thirty minutes when Boyle reacted angrily to a foul by Palmer, once again pedalling back to defend, the referee opted to let Jersey remove the danger man from the pitch by way of a substitution, by Weir (M), although today’s television report suggested that Boyle had limped off with an injury! A throw-in followed from Firkins finding the head of Cripps whose flicked header made Van der Vliet react to snuff out the danger and from his clearance Weir (C) found Miley whose cross-cum-shot flew wide as some players were still finding the greasy conditions not to their liking.
Marangou headed the ball back to Felgate from a Miley cross, good defending from the ESBFL midfielder, then central defenders Murray and Lodge set both Munson and Springett forward on separate occasions as half-time approached. A foul by Lodge on Weir (M) just shy of the penalty area led to Cannon taking the free-kick, left footed with Reddick, falling backwards, heading tamely away into the path of McBey who missed a golden opportunity to equalise when shooting wide from six yards out. A heavy challenge by Gallichan on Murray left the defender limping, Felgate took the free-kick, Andre cleared up-field with Palmer and Munson combining to seemingly foul Andrews, but no decision was given despite his protestations, then Marangou deflected an effort from Weir (M) out for a corner which Felgate collected as Reddick and Miley collided inside the six-yard box, so the half ended with the ESBFL one goal ahead but also knowing the job was only half completed.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 1
A flurry of substitution activity followed at the start for the second half where Lodge, Reddick, Palmer and Boxall were replaced by Farthing, Bethell, Tuckwell and Kottas respectively whilst Jersey replaced Scott with Lester but the EBFL formation remained unchanged. Tuckwell was involved in an early attack running out of defence to find Cripps, a lone striker following a corner then Farthing cleared with a powerful header from across by Weir (C). Munson sent a long left foot clearance towards Cripps who was fouled by Andre but the new ESBFL players quickly got into their stride with Munson finding Marangou then Tuckwell as the ESBFL pushed forward. Gallichan tried his luck with an overhead-kick attempt from a Weir (C) cross but Felgate watched the ball fly by his goal. Tuckwell rushed a shooting opportunity when he found space then Lester played the ball square to Andre whose pass was heading for Weir (C) who had failed to react to the quick break. Weir (C) shot over the cross-bar after eluding a tackle from Springett and Gallichan showed what a dangerous player he can be running parallel to the penalty area before finding enough space to shoot but not troubling the goalkeeper.
A cross from Cannon found Miley who handled the rising ball and when Firkens tried to wriggle through a gap between McBey and Andre he called for a foul, the match official was not interested and as play moved to the other end Farthing put in a big left footed clearance as Gallichan threatened and on fifty-seven minutes Jersey replaced Russell and Weir (C) with Hinds and Trotter. Captain Murray cut out a cross from Weir (M) and when play stopped Whymark replaced Felgate between the posts to ensure that every ESBFL player took part in this match. Marangou and Springett worked the ball across the pitch to Firkens whose cross was headed wide by Cripps and the difference now was the that the ESBFL players were pressurising the Jersey players, giving them no time on the ball and the game plan continued to work. A strong tackle by Murray on Gallichan relieved some danger and Cripps stood his ground as defender Andre climbed all over his shoulders to try to gain possession and concede a free-kick thirty yards out, clever really as this helped relieve the defensive pressure on his team. Cripps headed a cross from Springett well wide but chances were still there, Andrews fouled Bethell inside the centre-circle, taken by Springett to Firkens who controlled the ball with his hand.
Just past the hour mark a long cross from McBey found Gallichan whose left foot cross was cushioned back to Whymark by Murray, cool as you like! Tuckwell almost put Bethell through until Andre intervened and Munson had to sweep up when Hinds got the better of Murray inside the arc of the penalty area. This game was played using “rolling substitutes”, not easy for me to keep tabs on, let alone the four officials so Boxall rejoined the match with a tired Marangou leaving the field of play. With twenty minutes to go Whymark made a fine save to deny Hinds who had found space inside the penalty area and Munson blocked a follow up effort from Gallichan. Cripps again held up play as the ESBFL progressed up-field and was promptly fouled by Andre whose next action was a rash shot at the other end, that Whymark watched go by his goal. The ESBFL then took the opportunity to replace Cripps with Palmer and when play resumed Whymark found Firkens only to be fouled by Andre and Gallichan was replaced by Querie. More, good handling by Whymark on his six yard box denied Lester and Boxall drove his shot wide after receiving a pass from Tuckwell, and the midfield was bolstered when Firkens was replaced by Reddick. The ESBFL were more confident now with Bethell, Palmer, Kottas and Springett combining to set up Palmer who was tackled on the edge of the penalty area by McBey whose long pass forward fell at the feet of Trotter who was stopped when Whymark dived at his feet to smother. Another forward ball from Springett led to Boxall feeding Tuckwell who did reach the ball after a long chase with defender Cannon who won a decisive tackle.
When Murray was adjudged to have handled the ball the free-kick from Cannon was cut out by keeper, Whymark whose handling like that of Felgate earlier instilled confidence at the back for ESBFL. With ten minutes and few additional minutes for stoppages remaining, the ESBFL had just to remain calm and play the way they had played all game, basically stick to the plan. Palmer and Tuckwell held the ball up when it was played forward allowing the midfield to get forward in support but it was clear that legs were tiring on the 4G pitch. An upwards header from Munson almost allowed Querie to get round the back of the defence but Murray was covering to clear out of play. Palmer had dived into a challenge somewhat late and was tactically replaced by Marangou, good refereeing, and almost immediately Marangou was fouled by Andrews as further stoppages ate into the remaining time. A corner from Springett was handled well by Van der Vliet and from his thrown clearance Kottas fouled Hinds, Cannon took the free-kick and Murray headed clear, whereupon a shot from Weir (M) was blocked by Munson for a corner. Cannon took the corner on the right side towards Andrews but Murray was again well placed to chest the ball back to Whymark and in the last minute Bethell found Tuckwell who was caught offside and finally an interchange of passing between Reddick and Boxall led to Marangou shooting straight at keeper, Van der Vliet.
FULL-TIME: 0 – 1
So for only the second time in six or seven attempts, the ESBFL have emerged victorious against the Jersey FC, albeit a competitive friendly, and the Management should be congratulated on setting out their game plan against quality players they knew from previous encounters, playing on a 4G pitch has its issues but the assembled squad of players did everything they were asked of, so congratulations go to them as well.
For the ESBFL, every player played their heart out so it might have been difficult for me to select a Man-of-the-match but after a little deliberation in a local Restaurant later on Saturday evening we agreed that Captain, Michael Murray was a collective choice, despite good performances from Lodge, Cripps, Palmer, Marangou, keepers Felgate and Whymark but realistically every player deserves a mention.
On behalf of the ESBFL Management Committee who attended, and those that could not, the League would like to send thanks to all those teams who allowed players to travel and take part in what has now become an annual fixture, their organisation and behaviour was a credit to the league. Finally, a big thank you to our hosts, the Jersey FA, who were magnanimous in defeat they are a truly professional group of football enthusiasts and we wish them luck this next weekend when the Muratti Cup takes precedence over anything else on the island.
ESBFL: Colours: White Shirts / Black Stripe, Black Shorts & Black Socks
Team / Squad:
- Samuel Felgate Harwich & Parkeston FC (Off 60 min)
- Laurence Whymark Coggeshall Town FC (On 60 min)
- Liam Springett West Bergholt FC
- Ryan Munson Harwich & Parkeston FC
- Michael Murray Harwich & Parkeston FC (Captain)
- Nicholas Farthing Coggeshall Town FC (On 45 min)
- Scott Lodge White Notley FC (Off 45 min)
- Fillip Kottas White Notley FC (On 45 min)
- Reife Marangou Gas Recreation FC (Off 67 min / On 83 min)
- Daniel Boxell Alresford Colne Rangers FC (Off 45 min / On 67 min)
- Aston Firkins Gas Recreation FC (Off 75 min)
- Sam Cripps West Bergholt FC (Off 72 min)
- Kye Learoyd-Tuckwell Alresford Colne Rangers FC (On 45 min)
- Jordon Palmer Coggeshall Town FC (Off 45 min / On 72 min / Off 83 min)
- Stuart Reddick West Bergholt FC (Off 45 min / On 75 min)
- Jake Bethell West Bergholt FC (On 45 min)
Manager: Tony Armstrong.
Assistant Manager / Coach: Anthony White.
Goalkeeping Coach: Lloyd Pentney.
Physio: Stuart Bevis.
Team / Squad:
Euan Van der Vliet., James Scott., Jack Cannon., Robert McBey., Stuart Andre., Chris Andrews., Cavaghn Miley (C)., Jack Boyle., Craig Russell., Ben Gallichan., Calvin Weir.
Harry Curtis., Joe Kilshaw., Adam Trotter., Keiron Lester., Jamie Querie., Carl Hinds., Michael Weir., Danny Birrell.
Manager: Martin Cassidy.
Assistant Manager: Paddy O’Toole & Paulo Campus..
Match Officials: were supplied by the Jersey Football Association