ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
GREAT BENTLEY FC: 1.
TIPTREE PARK FC: 2.
Date: Saturday 08th April 2017. Venue: Great Bentley Green.
Like last Saturday, it was either a cup semi-final, a top of the table clash to decide a title or it could have been any other game that might have a bearing on a divisional title so I made my way over to Great Bentley Green where the top of the table, home team were playing second placed Tiptree Park FC.
Both teams had been keen to see how their relative leagues positions would be reflected after the removal of the playing record of Colchester Athletic FC, who sadly left the competition a few weeks ago without completing 75% of their fixtures. So in their last league games of the season it showed Great Bentley top on fifty-two points and Tiptree Park second on forty-nine points with the former team having a greater goal difference, however a win by five clear goals by Tiptree Park would see them as champions, so a close game was anticipated.
With quite a lot resting on the outcome of this match, the league, at the clubs request appointed three officials, referee Steven Tovey who would be assisted by Simon Bird and Robert Cox and before kick-off an expectant crowd had gathered, numbering close to two hundred persons.
In near perfect match conditions, there is always a breeze blowing across “The Green” the visitors kicked-off winning an early free-kick when some pushing followed a throw-in, Wilson took the free-kick which keeper Waltham held comfortably then a throw-in by Kelliher found Galvin who was tripped by Burch just on the corner of the penalty area. On three minutes PETER WILSON stepped up to take the ensuing free-kick and with the aid of a slight deflection off the end of the defensive wall the ball looped goalwards to beat Waltham at his near post having lined up himself on the far side, game on! Great Bentley conceded further free-kicks as Tiptree pushed forward building from the back and generally through Quinney (D) and Newcombe in midfield. A strong tackle by Vaughan on Wilson led to a lecture from the referee with Wilson receiving a similar warning for a foul on Hurd leading to Galvin and Newcombe linking up to provide a ball for Aves to chase and return to Reynolds whose cross was over-hit. Holyman fouled Rayner but the Tiptree attack broke down leading to Sauka running forward with Brand whose pass to Sauka ended with a low cross into the six-yard box where home Captain, DALE BROWN side-footed home from close range and bring the scores level.
Holyman was the next player to threaten for the home team but Rayner shielded the ball back to keeper Ward, and we approached the twenty minute mark with a goal apiece and plenty of attacking football as both teams wanted to show who really deserved to win the league. Galvin and Quinney (B) sandwiched Hurd to concede another free-kick which was sent long by Bell with Kelliher putting the ball behind for a corner, taken, too long by Hurd with Reynolds chasing up-field supported by Aves who gained a throw-in. Galvin took the throw-in, long into the six-yard box where Waltham gathered high above Quinney (D), Holyman was spoken to by the referee, this for dissent after fouling Newcombe. Two more throw-ins taken by Kelliher led to a third to be taken by Galvin, another long flighted throw-in which Brough rose to head clear near the penalty spot. On twenty-five minutes Quinney (D) fouled Vaughan with Kelliher defending the free-kick well, heading clear from inside the six-yard box and with Tiptree having more ball possession Great Bentley set about harassing every player in possession of the ball giving them no time to dwell and consider passing options. Ward was forced to save a ricochet off Newcombe from a volley by Vaughan and more competitive challenges followed from both teams and a cross from Brand forced both Kelliher and then Reynolds to head clear.
On the half-hour mark a long clearance from Ward found the head of Brough, Newcombe set Galvin up but his first time shot flew wide and at the other end Vaughan found Brown whose cross was cleared by Quinney (B) to Galvin who galloped away before over-hitting his left wing cross. Aves posed a threat down the Tiptree right wing but when he tried to cross with his left foot the ball lacked power and direction leading to Great Bentley breaking forward through Sauka whose snatched shot failed to trouble the keeper as the ball flashed across goal. Southee for the home team continued to break up Tiptree attacks through midfield but from a rare error in giving the ball away Aves almost capitalised but struck the ball into the side netting and Aves was again involved receiving the ball from Newcombe and we ended the half with Brough intercepting an intended pass from Galvin with Wilson clear on the left side.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 1
Tiptree Park replaced Quinney (B) with Driver immediately after the half-time break and from a Kelliher throw-in, Driver played the ball into the path of PETER WILSON who fairly hammered the ball home from twenty-five yards out giving Waltham little chance to save, a great goal. Quinney (D) fouled Hurd wide on the left side with Bell taking the free-kick which eluded two home players who were running into the penalty area, a missed chance perhaps! Vaughan fouled Newcombe with the free-kick cleared quickly to Sauka who after beating Rayner ran through on goal only for keeper Ward to advance and make a fine save, then Sauka beat the offside trap to cross towards Holyman who missed a glorious headed opportunity and when the ball fell to Vaughan he scuffed the ball wide. On fifty-five minutes Great Bentley started to play better football and Tiptree Park questioned numerous decisions that were not given leading to a foul by Quinney on Hurd who can be a difficult player to harness. The free-kick taken by Brand was headed wide by Brough and at the other end Aves got a sight of goal but in not being able to control the ball could only flick it goalwards with Waltham catching.
On fifty-five minutes Great Bentley replaced Vaughan with Yearling and Tiptree moved forward through Reynolds and Galvin to Aves before Bell cleared allowing Great Bentley to make another substitution with Sauka being replaced by Bennett and Tiptree Park replacing Aves with Pomphrett. A strong run by Quinney (D) saw him beat four players before trying to find Newcombe who failed to control the ball, Pomphrett held the ball up well to allow Galvin to take over and find Newcombe who shot wide as the visitors raised their game once again. A Driver free-kick forced Bell to head clear and the visitors made their third change replacing Wilson, suffering with cramp, with Prow (L). A curling shot on the turn from Brown hit the right hand upright and it was now the home team that was doing all of the attacking, not quite like the “Alamo” but you get my drift! Kelliher was cautioned for going through the back of Bell whilst attempting to win the ball and Bennett also saw a yellow card for kicking out at Newcombe and generally he tackles were getting a bit spiced up leading to Burch being cautioned as well.
A free-kick from Driver fell nicely to Kelliher, or so we thought, as the ball hit his knee and the chance was lost but chances were being created at both ends with a run and cross by Driver skimming the head of Brough to go out for a throw-in. A more centrally placed free-kick, taken by Driver deceived keeper Waltham who only managed to push the ball upwards with Pomphrett netting the loose ball only to be flagged for offside. Great Bentley made their last change with Durling replacing Holyman and when Galvin dived into a challenge on Durling he was promptly cautioned to even up that tally as well. When Ward advanced towards Bennett and was beaten Tuddenham cleared off his own goal-line, good defending and from a Bennett throw-in, Yearly got in a heaer which Tuddenham cleared and the final action saw Driver play the ball into Pomphrett whose clever flick was tipped over the cross-bar for a corner by Waltham.
FULL TIME: 1 – 2
With so much at stake, a close game was always going to be on the cards, Tiptree Park had numerous chances to increase their goal tally but never quite looking like they could erase that big pre-match deficit, they did however do the double over the divisional champions which might be some consolation when finishing runners-up. Despite this last game defeat Great Bentley FC are the Division Two Champions for season 2016/2017 with Tiptree Park FC deserved Runners-Up.
After the match, ESBFL, Fixtures and Results & Registration Secretary, Mick Willmore congratulated both teams on their exhaustive seasons and for being at or near the top of the table throughout the season, as a whole, presenting medals to both sets of players with divisional cups being presented to the respective club captains.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice, for Great Bentley, it was more of a team effort, rather than an individual player, but Brough, Burch and Hurd deserve a mention whereas for Tiptree Park two goals from Wilson, the winner was really special, with Newcombe and Quinney (D) putting in a big shift in midfield but Tuddenham, hardly mentioned perhaps in my report, was solid and constructive throughout making a fine goal-line clearance near the very end so he gets the nod this week.
GREAT BENTLEY FC: Colours: White Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Greg Waltham., Adam Brand., Jake Bell., Jack Burch., Peter Brough., Michael Southee., Dale Brown., Jake Vaughan., Callum Holyman., Joe Hurd., Ashley Sauka.
Manager: Jamie Meadows.
Used Substitutes: Scott Yearling., Charlie Durling., Lee Bennett.
Unused Substitutes: Tim Flack., Philip Burnett.
TIPTREE PARK FC: Colours: Red Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Chris Ward., Ben Reynolds., Robert Kelliher., Ricky Tuddenham., Ben Rayner., David Quinney., Peter Wilson., Gavin Newcombe., Leighton Galvin., Ben Quinney., Elliot Aves..
Manager: Richard Catanach#.
Used Substitutes: Luke Prow., Carl Driver., David Pomphrett
Unused Substitutes: Charlie Prow.
Referee: Steve Tovey (Colchester)
Assistant Referees: Simon Bird (Wivenhoe)
and: Robert Cox (Holland-on-sea)
Men of the Match: Ricky TUDDENHAM (TIPTREE PARK FC)