ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
EARLS COLNE FC: 4. HEDINGHAMS UNITED FC: 4.
Date: Saturday 09th December 2017. Venue: Green Farm Meadow, Earls Colne
It’s cold, in fact, it’s almost freezing and despite some games already suffering from the overnight frost I took a chance driving over to Earls Colne for a Premier Division match, a local derby, between the twelfth placed home team and Hedinghams United FC, one place below, both were on twelve points, in the fifteen team division. Both teams were almost at their usual playing strength, however, Hedinghams, Manager, Nick O’Dell was working so Club Chairman, Gary Heather was in charge.
The match officials were late replacement referee, Jack Willmore who would be assisted by Anthony Darke and Jeremy Mott, who I had not met before, however, the pitch looked in good condition and was fairly soft given the low temperatures experienced overnight.
Hedinghams, who had a decent following of supporters today, kicked-off, although the first free-kick, for a handball by Bryant, was driven hard and low but wide by Turner and Nicholls tried his luck with an early shot that Argent saved, diving low to his left side. Preston foiled an attack from George by fouling him and Pyman struck the defensive wall from the centrally placed free-kick and the visitors had settled down and were taking the game to Earls Colne. On eight minutes the visitors took the lead, Ogborn fouled Pyman, Webb took the free-kick which clipped the defensive wall and fell kindly to MATTHEW HILL who slotted home from close range. The Earls Colne response came from Snaith who pushed the ball wide to Root but Bryant cleared the ball out for a throw-in, then Randall and Nicholls pushed forward with Pullinger fouling Nicholls, the free-kick taken by Keefe, looked, good but Pike had strayed off-side. Another free-kick taken by Nicholls found Gilder with his back to goal but the lay back fell to Turner whose shot rebounded off Jones and Turner for a goal-kick. After twenty minutes, the game had been largely quiet, both teams pushing forward, the visitor’s one goal ahead and perhaps the more cohesive of the two teams.
Mid-way through the half Taylor for Hedinghams dived into un unfair challenge to receive the first caution of the game, no arguments about that one and a few minutes later Root and George clashed, bit of handbags really, to receive a verbal warning from the on-the-spot official. Surprisingly, Earls Colne seemed set on the long ball approach which played into Hedinghams hands as Pullinger and Bryant swept these balls up as their team looked to play their way out of defence. On twenty-seven minutes George found Hill who played the ball wide to the over-lapping, Loe who won a throw-in deep in the Earls Colne half from where Webb found Pyman who forced Tregaskes to firstly save on his goal-line, then again from the follow-up, however the loose ball was swept home by defender BARRIE PULLINGER.
Keefe for the home team forced keeper, Argent to make a fine save when cutting in from the left side with Bryant clearing up-field to Pyman who sent a left footed volley wide of the target. Hedingham captain, George set a fine example when tracking back to tackle Keefe and actually got the goal-kick for his efforts and with ten minutes to go before half-time Hedinghams pushed forward to score again. Pyman, played a delightful ball between two defenders from where MATTHEW HILL ran on to round Pike and beat the advancing keeper with ease, three-nil, where did that come from, not what I expected in this match. Pullinger was on hand to cover defensively when Earls Colne tried again to get a goal back before the break, George then picked out Lewis but Taylor fouled Pike inside the penalty area. Keeper Tregaskes saved with his feet when firstly, Webb got through and again when Pyman did likewise as the visitors pressed home their territorial advantage. Pyman and George then combined down the left side with a curling cross from George just clearing the cross-bar, Keefe fouled Taylor on the half-way line and the visitors ended the half with a very comfortable lead.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 3
I’m not privy to what is said or not said in the changing rooms at half-time suffice to say that one team must have got a grilling and reacted whereas the other team maybe, just maybe thought, job done! Earls Colne kicked off and within three minutes had scored when a free-kick from Randall was punched clear by keeper, Argent, but when the ball fell to BRADLEY KEEFE wide on the left side he sent a curling cross-cum-shot into the six-yard box which the retreating Argent could only help into the back of the net. Preston was cautioned for a foul on Hill whose left-footed free-kick curled goalwards only to strike the cross-bar and be cleared, but already there was more bite and purpose to the Earls Colne approach. Preston was brushed aside by Webb as the pair chased loose ball, with the foul given against the unfortunate Preston who protested, I did sympathise as from my vantage point it looked like a foul, the other way. Earls Colne could have scored again when Turner broke forward but he missed the open goal and his blushes were spared as he was flagged for off-side, but again a better approach from the home team.
On sixty minutes Root, for Earls Colne was cautioned for a poor foul on Loe and gaps were starting to appear at both ends of the pitch for what was now a much better match, at least for a neutral. Pullinger cleared an effort from Root off his goal-line and Pike and Pyman clashed inside the penalty area, a spoken word and a handshake from two players who clearly know each other well. On sixty-eight minutes Earls Colne made a double substitution replacing Root and Turner with Tomlinson and Watts respectively then Hill found Loe running in from the right side and his cross-cum-shot hit the cross-bar to be cleared but Hedinghams were still looking dangerous. On seventy minutes Webb fouled Ogborn with the free-kick taken by Randall being punched clear by Argent but two minutes later Ogborn set off down the left side and when his low cross came in JACK NICHOLS swept the ball home with a really fine goal, game on!
With ten minutes remaining, keeper Argent was adjudged to have released the ball from his hand whilst outside the penalty area, a centrally placed direct free-kick was awarded and a caution for the keeper however the driven free-kick from BOBBY PIKE hit the defensive wall however the rebound was driven past Argent and the game was suddenly all square. Earls Colne replaced Snaith with Crosdale whilst Hedinghams replaced Webb with Wilson and when play continued George crossed towards Pyman but Pike won the aerial challenge to win a goal-kick. On eighty-three minutes the home team went ahead, yes you have read that right, three goals down but now a goal in front when Hedinghams failed to defend properly and CRAIG TOMLINSON ran through to score with ease. Earls Colne pressed again and a move between Keefe and Watts ended with Watts, miss-hitting his shot straight to Argent, in time added-on, Gilder fouled Pyman to receive the last caution and for the free-kick, Hedinghams keeper, Argent raced forward, putting almost every player inside the Earls Colne penalty area. Hill took the free-kick and an almighty goal-mouth scramble ensued, Pyman and George had shots charged down, Argents effort was blocked and cleared but only as far as MATTHEW HILL who drove the ball high into the back of the net from the edge of penalty area. There was little time to restart the match which ended four goals apiece.
FULL TIME: 4 – 4.
On paper, a game from the lower part of a division should be a close fought affair, Hedinghams charged ahead before half-time, but credit to Earls Colne for their perseverance to go ahead before the visitors got a deserved equaliser in a game that was definitely the proverbial game of two halves!
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, after the first half Pullinger, in defence for Hedinghams looked assured whilst Hill had looked lively with two goals as their team took what should have been an unassailable lead. Earls Colne were slightly out of sorts in that first half but regrouped as a team for the second half spurred on by Keefe and captain Pike, who both scored as did substitute Tomlinson with Nichols scoring the best goal of the game, however by scoring the late equaliser and for an all round strikers role my choice is Matthew Hill of Hedinghams United FC.
EARLS COLNE FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Samuel Tregaskes., Thomas Ogborn., Joshua Preston., Bradley Keefe., Bobby Pike (C)., Jordan Snaith., Jonathan Root., Andrew Turner., Jake Gilder., Jack Nicholls., Connor Randall.
Manager: John Pike.
Assistants: David Turner & Carl Pearce.
Used Substitutes: Craig Tomlinson., Adam Watts., Luke Crosdale
Unused Substitutes: Ross Farquhar., Stephen May.
HEDINGHAMS UNITED FC: Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Red & Black Socks.
Keith Argent., Harry Loe., Samuel Jones., Joe Lewis., Stuart Bryant., Barrie Pullinger., Ashley Taylor., Daniel Webb., Matthew Hill., Alec Pyman., Sam George.
Acting Manager: Gary Heather.
Used Substitutes: Thomas Wilson
Unused Substitutes: William Robertson., Daniel Welch., Josh Green
Referee: Jack Willmore (Clacton-on-sea).
Assistant Referee’s: Anthony Darke (Bicknacre).
and Jeremy Mott (Witham).
Man of the Match: Matthew HILL. (HEDINGHAMS UNITED 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 ( 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
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.