ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC FC RESERVES: 0.
HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: 1.
Date: Friday 10th February 2017. Venue: Brantham Leisure Centre, Brantham
A cold evening, with snow in the air, welcomed those hardy souls who ventured over the Brantham to see their Reserve team take on League rivals Harwich & Parkeston FC and I suppose this was potentially classed as a six pointer with any victory for Brantham taking them level with Harwich, however the home team have two games in hand should this not materialise.
The match officials for this evening’s Premier Division game would be Lewis Farthing, Nathan Oakes and Adrian Arnot and with the “Respect” handshake was duly accomplished we were ready for kick-off.
Harwich kicked off and home keeper Thompson (J) was quickly in action saving with his feet following an early scramble inside the six yard box, then Gibbons got down the left side to cross to Geen who steered the ball wide for a goal-kick. A foul by Smith on Westley led to a free-kick taken by Gibbons to Westley who clipped the ball wide of goal and it was the visitors who had settled first with Gibbons again cutting inside from the left wing but this time shooting wide. Brantham stirred themselves after five minutes with Dorling attacking down the right side before crossing towards Crowhurst but Lamb was on hand to divert the cross for a throw-in. Another attack from Gibbons saw Geen, just fail to connect inside the six yard box and keeper Thompson (J) gratefully collected. Geen had a snap-shot blocked by defender Crouch and Harwich followed this with a cross from Munson which found Geen but Thompson (J) was handily placed to save and from his long clearance Parkes broke forward but Edwards got his body in the way to block the goal-bound shot.
On ten minutes Crouch put in a great defensive tackle to deny Geen who was lurking just on the edge of the penalty area and this game was now fairly open with the visitors just holding the upper hand on chances. When Crouch fouled Westley he received a stern rebuke from the well-placed match official, however the free-kick taken by Gibbons was too low and was headed clear by Spencer. A Brantham break through Parkes was stopped by a combination of Lamb and Edwards right on the penalty spot with Westley who had already covered most of the pitch clearing the ball up-field. A long free-kick from Crouch on fifteen minutes was headed out for a corner by Edwards on the right hand side, taken by Garrad with Crouch heading narrowly wide. Another corner to the home team followed when Lamb cleared his lines, Garrad again sent in a teasing cross only for it to be headed wide on the far side for a third corner. This time Garrad swung the ball over nearer to the goal-line where Munson had to be alert to stop the ball crossing the line by heading away and the chance fell away.
Geen thought he had scored on twenty minutes running onto a pass from Gibbons and putting the ball into the net, only to be correctly ruled offside, no arguments but once again the final pass failed to timely reach its intended recipient. Edwards had to use his pace to keep up with the equally quick Parkes, shepherding the home forward wide of his direct run at goal. Gibbons laid the ball through for Thompson (S) but the bounce of the ball meant it fell to keeper Thompson (J) who collected on the edge of his penalty area and this game was now much more even, certainly a game looking like one goal might win it! After thirty minutes Crissell blocked a Harwich clearance and proceeded to chase down the rebound to force Lamb into conceding a corner, taken once again by Garrad with Felgate punching clear inside the congested six yard box with Lamb completing the clearance.
Four minutes later and a moment of controversy, Spencer played the ball forward, Parkes ran onto the ball and let fly only for keeper Felgate, now two yards outside his penalty area, handling the ball. A direct free-kick was awarded and Felgate received a caution, I’m sure many referees would have dismissed the keeper without any question, but the shot from Parkes was going wide and defender Lamb was behind his keeper in front of the goal. Garrad stepped up to take the free-kick with his left footed effort crashing against the cross-bar and Brantham kept up their period of pressure with Parkes chasing down Felgate as he tried to clear, only to be dispossessed by Parkes who watched in horror as he missed the open goal when screwing the ball wide on the far side, a big miss! Harwich fought back and when Geen was bundled over twenty-three yards out he took the free-kick himself but put the ball just over the cross-bar, Thompson (J) fielded a high cross from Townend and Gibbons tried with another cross that fell to Geen but Crouch cleared to Edwards whose cross flew wide and safety.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 0
With no substitutions made at the break the game restarted at a lively pace but with five minutes gone Brantham replaced Crowhurst with Mann (G), a free-kick taken by Lamb found the head of Geen and the back of the net but once again the goal was ruled out for an obvious off-side decision. Geen found Thompson (S) but his shot was weak and Thompson (J) collected with his long clearance falling to defender Lamb whose long punt forward fell kindly into the path of Geen who ran goalwards only for Thompson (J) to make an excellent save parrying the ball which still rolled goalwards until Spencer cleared off the goal-line. Geen was unlucky not to score when he headed against the cross-bar from a Gibbons corner from the right side and when Geen put Dorling under pressure the full-back launched the ball back to his keeper who promptly caught it, was it a back-pass, probably seen them given, but not his time!
On the hour mark Harwich replaced Edwards, who had suffered a reoccurrence of a shoulder injury, with Neale, who slotted into central defence, and Brantham took the opportunity to replace Crissell with Mann (J). Harwich mounted more attacks with a long clearance from Felgate falling to Thompson (S) who shot wide and a foray forward by Lamb was thwarted when Thompson (J) reached the ball first on the edge of his penalty area. Geen fouled Crouch and in the next home attack Parkes was injured having to leave the field for treatment. A strong run out of defence by Neale was almost stopped when Crouch clipped his heels on the half-way line, with play continuing with the ball falling to Geen wide on the left and from his cross there was no other Harwich player in support. A cross-field ball from Richardson found Thompson (S) but he was standing in an off-side position but the Harwich pressure continued to a point on seventy minutes when Munson burst into the penalty area on the left side only to be scythed down by Mann (G) for a penalty kick with LUKE BARNARD stepping up to slam the ball home.
Following the goal set-back, Brantham replaced the injured Parkes with Lorimer who was promptly cautioned for dissent having not retreated far enough to allow a free-kick to be taken by Felgate. Another free-kick from Gibbons found Lamb with Westley guilty of blasting the ball over the cross-bar and Harwich made their final change with Hammond replacing Gibbons. Thompson (J) saved a low shot from Munson and at the other end Felgate made a fine save himself to deny Smith who was set up by Lorimer. Spencer was cautioned for a rash challenge on the industrious Westley who promptly put in a ferocious tackle on Spencer to bring that personal battle to “even-stevens”. Another charge forward from Lamb was stopped by Lorimer and in the last minute a free-kick from Garrad beat keeper Felgate but Westley, probably the smallest player on the pitch, rising to head the ball clear from right under the cross-bar and upright to keep his teams lead intact. Felgate made another excellent save in a one-on-one situation against Smith, Harwich replaced Barnard with Eldridge (B) on ninety-four minutes and a further minute elapsed before the referee brought this frenetic game to an end.
FULL TIME: 0 – 1
As early as the mid-way point of the first half I thought this game had “one nil” written all over it, there was plenty of effort and chances created by both teams, who did not stop running, just as well as it was a bitterly cold evening. Harwich move onto thirty points from twenty-two games, leaving them with just four games to play, whereas Brantham remain on twenty-four points with six games to play. It is clear that the withdrawal of four Premier Division teams has drastically reduced the number of games still to be played but as high a league position as possible would still be the goal of the respective team managers.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice, players from both teams put in an awful lot of effort, home keeper Thompson was only beaten, by a well struck penalty, team-mate Garrad always looked dangerous from free-kick situations with Parkes proving a handful with his pace when running at goal. Felgate for Harwich made crucial saves and was perhaps lucky to have stayed on the pitch, Geen was a constant menace with his combative style and having had numerous chances to score, Barnard, not mentioned much in my report looked lively on the ball and struck the penalty home but for me Bradley Westley, another player who does not feature much in this report, but throughout, he was here, he was there, putting in big tackles and big headers for such a small player capped by his late goal-line clearance which effectively helped his teams secure the three points.
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC FC RESERVES: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
James Thompson., Charles Dorling., Thomas Barnes., Ben Spencer., Jonathan Crouch., Jack Wood (C)., Thomas Crowhurst., Alfred Smith., Harry Parks., James Crissell., Danny Garrad.
Manager: Keiran Lawler.
Assistant Manager: Nathan Butrell.
Used Substitutes: Gavin Mann., Sean Lorimer., Joshua Mann.
Unused Substitutes: Adam Thompson.
HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: Colours: Black & White striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Samuel Felgate., Rhys Townend., Ryan Munson., Jake Richardson., Curtis Edwards., Ollie Lamb., Samuel Thompson., Bradley Westley., Luke Barnard., Matthew Geen., Andrew Gibbons.
Manager: Glen Eldridge.
Used Substitutes: Billy Eldridge., Jake Neale., Michael Hammond.
Unused Substitutes: Glen Eldridge.
Referee: Lewis Farthing (West Bergholt)
Nathan Oakes (Colchester)
Adrian Arnot (Colchester)
Man of the Match: Bradley WESTLEY (HARWICH & PARKESTON FC)
Request to Club / Fixture Secretaries
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 ( email@example.com ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
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.
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