ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
RESERVE KNOCK-OUT CUP FINAL.
DEDHAM OLD BOYS FC RESERVES: 2. HATFIELD PEVEREL FC RESERVES FC: 1.
Date: Monday 8th May 2018. KO – 10:30am Venue: War Memorial Ground, Little Oakley.
This was the first of the ESBFL, end of season cup-finals, normally Bank Holiday Monday is set aside for the Tommy Thompson Cup Final but with Bures United FC in the final of a Suffolk County Cup that final, against Tiptree Heath FC, is now scheduled for Thursday 17th May 2018 at Brantham Athletic FC, so with this fine venue available, the Reserve Team Final was slotted in.
Dedham Old Boys FC Reserves, from Division Three, had reached the final courtesy of two “byes”, then a “walk-over” Wormingford Wanderers FC Reserves, before defeating Boxted Lodgers FC Reserves in the semi-finals whilst Hatfield Peverel FC Reserves, Division Two, had beaten Great Bentley FC Reserves in the Preliminary Round, then had a “bye” before beating Little Oakley FC “A”, on penalties, followed by Gas Recreation FC Reserves in the semi-final.
The appointed match official was Simon Bird, who on a bright and very hot Bank Holiday morning would be assisted by Gemma Gardiner and Graham Austin with Errol Souter acting as the 4th Official. The league would like to extend their thanks to Little Oakley FC for providing the venue and the match day refreshments for the respective teams and officials, whilst a decent crowd had gathered to watch these two teams compete.
Hatfield kicked-off but Dedham gained possession and sent in an early shot that failed to trouble the keeper, however from the clearance up-field the ball was played wide to Dawson (O) who had defender Parker in attendance conceding the first corner, taken by Curtis with keeper, Bentley tipping the ball away for another corner on the other side, taken this time by Garland with Curtis heading out wide to OWEN DAWSON who cut inside Ruffles to send a fine curling shot around every defender to beat keeper Bentley with the ball entering the top corner of the net off the far post and give Hatfield an early lead. From the restart, Williams for Dedham powered forward finding Windsor up in support and from his cross Lee was adjudged to have fouled keeper Hicks on the goal-line, and Williams caused more problems with a couple of long throw-ins that reached the penalty-spot. The same attacking combination made progress again minutes later with Hooton getting around Little before forcing keeper, Hicks to make a great save, parrying the driven ball, with Fitzgerald (J) completing the clearance. After ten minutes, both teams, despite the intense heat, had adopted an attacking style, and both had agreed to a “drinks break” mid-half. Another long throw-in from Williams found Parker who took aim from forty yards forcing keeper, Hicks to collect low down at his feet, a speculative chance perhaps but worth a try. A break from Hatfield forced a corner, taken by Curtis, curling into the six-yard box, difficult to defend with Grimsey heading back to Curtis who placed the ball narrowly wide.
Windsor was fouled mid-half, Brown took the free-kick but over-hit the ball for a goal-kick but Dedham had weathered the early goal and were beginning to force Hatfield to defend, Brown worked his way down the left side with Davis heading the ball clear, Lee fouled his opposite number Curtis, then Grimsey fouled Windsor, and when Curtis played the ball forward, Dawson (O) appeared to be in an off-side position, but no flag was raised however, keeper Bentley was quickly out to clear into touch, which enabled the first “drinks break” to be taken after twenty minutes. A free-kick taken by Windsor, this for a foul by Fitzgerald (J) on Williams, fund the head of Williams who was again fouled this time by Curtis with Brown striking the ball straight to keeper, Hicks. Windsor dived into a challenge from behind on Pascal wide on the left side, Grimsey powered in a high free-kick with keeper Bentley almost dropping the ball as he landed, touch of nerves perhaps! Hatfield captain Curtis, had been fairly, active, through midfield and when he played the ball wide to Pascal a corner resulted off Bell, safely cleared for throw-in by Garland with Parker heading clear and a few more free-kicks followed, despite the referee trying to keep the game flowing. A cross from Garland found Grimsey who headed goal-wards only to be cleared by Bell to Brown who was fouled, taking the free-kick himself only to find keeper, Hicks who dropped the ball under pressure from Williams. Williams then fouled Dawson (R) and stupidly kicked the ball away to receive a spoken warning from the referee.
Defender, Ruffles played the ball out to Randle who broke forward, keeper Hicks and Little made a mess of trying to clear the ball, no call and both left the ball for each other, with Randle crossing to the far side where Fitzgerald (J) pushed the ball forward to Dawson (O) who was flagged off-side. A long ball forward from Davis was headed back to keeper, Bentley by Hooton, and from the down-field clearance, defender Grimsey headed clear, in fact the Hatfield defence had looked pretty, solid, throughout the first half. A free-kick taken by Windsor fell to Lee who shot straight at Hicks the Bentley threw the ball out to Ruffles to find Randle then Windsor joined in only to shoot wide. This game was still quite fast considering the hot conditions, a long free-kick from Grimsey was headed clear by Bell to Williams who chased upfield with Hooton and Randle until Davis stepped in to clear the ball out for a throw-in. Once again Williams launched the ball goal-wards and Grimsey powered the ball away with a header leading to a rare mistake by defender Hooton which allowed Garland through on goal, one-on-one, but keeper, Bentley, excelled with a fine save on the edge of the six-yard box. Williams played along ball forward to Randle, but Brown was slightly behind play to capitalise before Fitzgerald (J) was spoken too by the referee. When Curtis raised a high boot to a loose ball, Dedham captain Campbell received a heavy, but accidental kick, to the head which required some lengthy treatment, with both players sportingly shaking hands after the Campbell regained his feet. The first half of fifty-five minutes, ended with Brown taking the delayed free-kick finding Parker but Bell was adjudged to have fouled Fitzgerald (S) inside the penalty area and the players could relax and take on more fluids.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 1.
Dedham kicked off the second half, the sun was now almost overhead with little shade for any spectators, other than the two new stands erected to allow “Thurlow Nunn” football to be played at Little Oakley FC. Bell fouled Curtis then Curtis was high into a challenge on Lee allowing Dedham to gain possession and start an attack through Williams then Parker sent in a left footed cross which Davis cleared for a corner. Campbell stuck out a high leg against Dawson (R) and had to leave the field of play for more attention to his head.
It had been a relatively quiet, first fifteen minutes, of the second half when Parker was out-muscled by Dawson (R) who passed the ball wide to Pascal who shot wide of the goal, and the stricken Campbell was replaced by Vitelli, an interesting move, a forward for a midfielder, but when you are a goal behind you have, to make, and take your chances. Parker showed good pace against Dawson (O) finding Vitelli who had dropped back to pick up the ball and he showed a good first touch then a burst of pace to move across the penalty area before crossing towards Lee who, was actually caught off-side. Bell charged too hard into Dawson (O) but his co-defenders kept a firm line to clear the resulting free-kick to catch Pascal off-side, and at the other end the pace of Vitelli forced Garland of Hatfield to concede a corner, taken by Brown and headed firmly home through a crowd of players by JAMES PARKER to bring the scores level with twenty minutes remaining.
This goal raised the spirits of Dedham and they were playing with much more confidence than in the first half with midfielder Williams still trying to cover every blade of grass leading to Vitelli laying the ball off to Hooton who sent a curling right-footed effort just over the cross-bar. With fifteen minutes remaining Hatfield replaced Pascal with Harrington, a cross from Randle was flicked goal-wards by Vitelli but keeper, Hicks was untroubled, catching on the goal-line despite the close presence of Windsor, looking for any mistake. A second-half “water break” followed but the introduction of Vitelli had certainly changed the Dedham approach, Hatfield could not risk any rash challenges in or around the penalty area. When Dawson (O) suffered an injury, he hobbled off to be replaced by Reynolds but both teams were still committing players forward with Randle crossing to Windsor who struck the post with a rasping shot then a corner from Windsor led to Little clearing off his goal-line. Williams struck a pile-driver of a shot which crashed into stout defender Grimsey and when the ball fell Hooton, he forced keeper, Hicks into a great save conceding a corner. When the corner from Brown came in MATTHEW RANDLE ran in unchallenged to head home and give Dedham the lead, this goal had been coming perhaps, as Dedham had improved this half.
Reynolds was late into a challenge on Parker and Bell rolled back the years with some excellent defending against Garland who gained a corner and it was the turn of Hatfield to attack with Windsor, for Dedham, bringing the ball away to find Vitelli but Grimsey stood his ground to gain possession. In the ninety-second minute Bell blasted the ball over the cross-bar after receiving the ball from Vitelli, a minute later and Hatfield replaced Curtis with O’Grady, Parker fouled Reynolds unfairly to earn the only caution of the match, which had been played in an excellent spirit. Five minutes into the additional time allowance a break from Garland forced keeper, Bentley to make another fine save conceding a corner, taken by Garland with Hooton heading the ball off his goal-line, to his keeper, Bentley, this after Dawson (R) had sent in a firm goal-bound header, a lucky break for Dedham. In the ninety-eighth minute Dedham replaced Brown with Parsons and two minutes later a great tackle by Ruffles on Harrington led to a corner, taken by Garland to Dawson (R) who headed over the cross-bar allowing Dedham to make their last change with Lee being replaced by Wymer who used his experience to guide his team home and victory.
FULL TIME: 2 – 1.
I, have, to say, that credit goes to both teams for an excellent display in trying conditions, plenty of commitment, some good attacking football and some excellent defending and goal-keeping by both sides, little controversy with the officials rarely being troubled by dissent.
ESBFL, Vice-Chairman, John Campany made a short speech, thanking the teams for their efforts and to Little Oakley FC for providing the facilities for this cup-final, they are a credit to that club, before asking Lt Col Peter Andrews. OBE, to present medals and trophies to the Match Officials, the losing team, Hatfield Peverel FC Reserves and the jubilant victors, Dedham Old Boys FC Reserves
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match choice, for Hatfield, Grimsey was sound defensively throughout, the Fitzgerald twins buzzed around, Curtis and Garland worked hard in midfield and the Dawson brothers linked up well to cause problems in the first half. Now to Dedham, Williams was dominant through midfield, defensively Bell and Parker were rarely troubled after going behind in the first minutes, Windsor seemed prepared to run through everyone and everything when going forward but despite picking up the only caution, and scoring the equaliser my choice goes to James Parker of Dedham, an excellent defensive role, a crucial goal and plenty of encouragement to his team-mates in a never-say-die committed performance.
DEDHAM OLD BOYS FC RESERVES: Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Red Shorts and Red Socks.
Ryan Bentley., James Ruffles., Miles Hooton., James Parker., Daniel Bell., Robert Campbell (C)., Layton Windsor., Ryan Lee., Alexander Williams., Matthew Randle., Keir Brown.
Manager: Paul Tuttlebee.
Used Substitutes: Ryan Parsons., Karl Wymer., John Vitelli.
Unused Substitutes: John Pearce., Nathan Moodie.
HATFIELD PEVEREL FC RESERVES: Colours: Blue and Black Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Conor Hicks., Nathan Little., James Fitzgerald., Joseph Davis., Paul Grimsey., Scott Fitzgerald., George Garland., Luca Curtis., Ryan Dawson., Owen Dawson., Beck Pascal.
Manager: Keith Dawson
Used Substitutes: Grady O’Brien., Sam Harrington., Thomas Reynolds
Unused Substitutes: Siyam Izychi., James Court
Referee: Simon Bird (Wivenhoe)
Assistants: Gemma Gardiner (Holland-on-sea)
and Graham Austin (Kirby Cross)
Man of the Match: James PARKER. (DEDHAM OLD BOYS FC RESERVES)