ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
BURES UNITED FC: 0. TIPTREE HEATH FC: 1.
Date: Saturday 10th February 2018. Venue: Bures Recreation Ground.
So where do I go this week, with nine games falling foul of the weather, this Division Two, top of the table clash still looked worth a visit, to date Bures were unbeaten in the league and topped the table, Tiptree Heath lurked in third place, four points behind with a game in hand with only one defeat, against Bures, so far. I had seen both teams already this season and even then they looked the best equipped teams to gain promotion, so this match had an added edge as whom ever won would probably win the division. It might be too early to predict that outcome as Belle Vue, Flitch United and Connaught Red Star will all compete until the last match which is commendable as these top five teams were all promoted after their first season in Division Three last season.
Despite the awful weather, the Bures pitch looked very heavy but definitely playable according to match day official, Matthew Webb who got the game started after the “Respect” handshake and generally with both teams keeping their minds on playing football he only had to resort to issuing two cautions, both deserved and accepted without argument!
Bures kicked off but immediately lost the ball inside the Tiptree half, Ward giving chase with Wanmer chasing back to get the ball which Ward played back to Turner (T) whose cross was fielded by Waterfield, who released Durey who found Prince who took on Turner (C) to gain a corner kick. Durey took the corner which was headed out by Tollhurst towards Green who was fouled on the half-way line by Hubbard, Turner (T) drilled the ball forward to find Ward who cut inside Knebel to fire goalwards with Waterfield parrying the ball high and wide from ten yards, the first real effort on goal. Even after five minutes, Tiptree looked sharper on the ball, neat passing and quick movement allowed them to keep possession and when Bures threatened momentarily through Durey and Prince, the throw-in was worked forward by Turner (T), Green and Ward who forced keeper, Waterfield into another save. Kenny tracked back to defend when Ward threatened again, gaining a corner off Wood, taken by Scillitoe but headed clear by Wood but only to Ward whose run and dribble with the ball saw him place the ball across the six yard line where Knebel cut out the danger.
After ten minutes, Bures had not really got their game going and had hardly ventured over the half-way line such was the early domination by Tiptree Heath, Waterfield saved from Green who then fouled Finch and Bailey was warned after a silly trip on Chester who drifted past the home player with ease with Green over-hitting the free-kick. Ward was prepared to chase any long forward ball and when he reached the goal-line from a driven pass by Chester the low cross was scrambled away by the home defence. So far, the game was a stalemate, Tiptree attacking, Bures defending in numbers, Wanmer fouled Ward, the free-kick was cleared but only to Hawkins (M) who almost found the feet of Ward with Waterfield taking the ball off his toes on the edge of the penalty area. Another dribble through a crowded area by Ward saw him smash the ball into the side-netting and already the missed chances count was adding up, Tollhurst eased the ball away from Bailey and found Chester, whose shot was blocked by Wood at the expense of a corner, taken by Chester with Bures eventually hacking the ball away as Tiptree threatened.
When Prince threatened with a strong run he should have released the ball to a colleague rather than plough forward making it easy for Tollhurst to intercept to find Hart but when the return ball was made Kenny failed to clear and the back-tracking Prince upended Tollhurst inside the centre-circle. Another raid, this time by Scillitoe down the left side for Tiptree gained a throw-in then a corner off Wood and to be honest the home side had not threatened at all but were in danger, but for an over-worked defence, of conceding whenever Tiptree attacked. Chester shot straight at keeper, Waterfield whilst his opposite number, Hawkins (P) saw his first real action on thirty minutes, catching a cross from Durey whose team were getting frustrated by not having or keeping possession of the ball. Hawkins (M) set Green away but the cross was poor, then Hawkins (P) launched a long ball forward where Bailey stooped to keep it in play only to concede a corner. Green drove a low corner-kick goalwards which Bures cleared to Scillitoe and from his pass Ward tried to wriggle away from Wood who hauled him back to earn the first caution of the match. Scillitoe and Hart worked a short corner routine with Scillitoe crossing, Wanmer headed clear with Chester returning the ball into space however Ward had ventured off-side but his first time effort was saved by keeper, Waterfield who had certainly been the busier of the two keepers.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 0
What can we expect in the second half, Bures needed to get into this game, as whenever they had possession Tiptree were quickly at them, stifling any progress whilst gaining possession and attacking with pace and purpose themselves and it was the visitors who re-started this match. Play-maker, Green found Ward, but the quick forward was marginally off-side, a close call but correct, then Tucker pushed forward to find Durey who conjured up a corner kick off Turner (C) but the kick from Hubbard was easily gathered by Hawkins (P). Tiptree remained dominant and Bures keeper, Waterfield made three consecutive saves as Ward, Green and Chester, all let fly from inside the penalty area leaving the Tiptree Management scratching their heads as to why they were not in front, not by the odd goal but by several! Ten minutes into the second half Bures replaced the injured Kenny with Smith, this after a foul by Tollhurst on Prince however the normally dependable Hubbard wasted the free-kick with an under-hit ball that was cleared by the first defender. The longer this game went-on then a draw might suit the home team but Tiptree had other ideas and pressed forward constructively again and again.
The best move from Bures came just before sixty minutes, Wanmer, brought the ball out of defence finding Durey, then Smith, found Prince who shot straight at Hawkins (P). The Bures defence continued to stop a barrage of shots especially from Green and Ward normally set up by the running of Chester from midfield. It’s fair to say the final pass was generally the problem, for both sides, Bures in trying to get into the Tiptree half and for Tiptree when they reached the Bures penalty area. On sixty-seven minutes a huge clearance from keeper, Waterfield, cleared the Tiptree defensive line, Durey ran on and from an acute angle forced Hawkins (P) to save at the expense of a corner. With twenty minutes remaining Finch was injured and being unable to continue was replaced by Binfield when play stopped when Green was fouled by Prince who was cautioned. At this stage my guess was that if this game did not finish level then a single goal would be enough, there, another prediction!
There was fifteen minutes to go when a corner from Green was cleared by Binfield and several home players looked like they were now tiring in the heavy conditions and the constant pressure from Tiptree Heath. When substitute Binfield pulled up after a particular heavy, but fair challenge, he was replaced by Wallis, Tiptree got a corner, Green took it with Hubbard heading clear with Bures breaking forward, defender Turner (C) tried to play the ball past Durey who won the ball, was through on goal but in his haste to finish the rare attack he dragged the best chance his team had got just wide of the far post with Hawkins (P) beaten, so would Bures rue that missed chance! With the game entering the last ten minutes the heavy pitch was very slippery and keeping your feet became a problem if turning to chase or defend. Ward, Green and Scillitoe worked the ball down the left side gaining a corner off Smith with Waterfield commanding his area for the corner, again to launch the ball long to Durey who again cleared the defensive line and keeper Hawkins (P) but the ball rolled agonisingly wide. With five minutes to go Tiptree brought on Ramsey for Hart, he had not even touched the ball when defender Tollhurst sent a long ball forward to CAMERON WARD whose control on the edge of the penalty area, was good, his slight of movement sent Wanmer the wrong way and his right footed shot beat the despairing dive of Waterfield, that’s it, game won by a single goal margin.
FULL TIME: 0 – 1.
On the balance and quality of play, Tiptree Heath deserved their narrow, single goal victory, talk about “lastminute.com” but with their overall superiority when on the ball being very evident this victory closes the gap on Bures to one point with that game in hand. Bures will be disappointed in their performance in this, their first league defeat but even they could not deny that the better team won this match.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, defenders Wood and Wanmer for Bures played very well to thwart the constant Tiptree attacks with keeper Waterfield their outstanding player with numerous excellent saves until he was beaten by the only chance that went past him. For Tiptree Heath it is their midfield and forwards that cause the problems, Hawkins (M), Chester (23 goals), Hart and Scillitoe set up the chances with Green (19 goals) and Ward (15 goals) looking to score whenever the chance arises, in fact Tiptree Heath have five players who have contributed 78 of the total goals scored this season. However, when all is said and done, one player did stand out, Bures United keeper, Kurt Waterfield, without him the Tiptree Heath goal machine would have had a field day so well done for keeping your team in this match for so long.
BURES UNITED FC: Colours: Black & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Kurt Waterfield., Connor Tucker., Oscar Knebel., Shane Wanmer., Jake Wood (C)., Adam Kenny., Jack Durey., Jack Hubbard., Lloyd Finch., Courtney Prince., Thomas Bailey.
Manager: Denis Handley.
Used Substitutes: Darren Smith., Hunter Wallis., Ashley Binfield.
TIPTREE HEATH FC: Colours: Green & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Green Socks.
Paddi Hawkins., Toby Turner., Charlie Turner., Charlie Briggs (C)., Jack Tollhurst., Max Hawkins., Joe Chester., Joe Hart., Charlie Green., Cameron Ward., Ryan Scillitoe.
Joint Manager: Steven Chester
Used Substitutes: Matt Ramsey
Unused Substitutes: Ryan Jones., Harry Hazell., Steven Chester., Jamie Chesney.
Referee: Matthew Webb
Man of the Match: Kurt WATERFIELD. (BURES UNITED FC)
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