ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
MERSEA ISLAND FC: 2.
GREAT BENTLEY FC: 9.
Date: Saturday 11th March 2017. Venue: The Glebe, West Mersea.
The game between fourth placed Mersea Island FC and second placed Great Bentley FC took my fancy on Saturday afternoon so a trip to “The Glebe” was duly undertaken where I was met by a frustrated club stalwart, Secretary, Richard “Spike” Bond. Why frustrated, well like many clubs he, over many years, has been the back-bone of the club trying to steer it through troubled times and keeping it going and over a welcome cup of tea he recounted the issues he has in keeping his club going. As a Club Secretary myself I could only sympathise with him but almost every week it is a recurring theme of discussion that I have with the Club Officials I meet on my travels whilst reporting on matches and the ESBFL is no different to other football leagues nationally.
In a nutshell player’s attitudes, their reliability, discipline, reimbursement of fines and match subscriptions plus general running costs are the usual themes and it is sad to record that Colchester Athletic FC had given notice on Friday that they have withdrawn from the league. This withdrawal could mean an interesting end of season for both Division Two league leaders, Tiptree Park FC and today’s visitors, Great Bentley FC who still have to play each other on “The Green” sometime next month with a points adjustment required for both teams beforehand.
On a bright, sunny, spring afternoon, the match official for this Division Two match was Anthony Phillipps, another experienced referee who would be assisted by the respective club linesmen and in looking back over my match reports for the last five years I found that whilst I had watched the home team play away, I had never watched them at home.
Mersea kicked off with new skipper Lamb starting proceedings but in the first minute Brown was fouled by Chivers just inside his own half, Brand took the first free-kick of the match and SCOTT YEARLING pounced to head home from close range. Almost immediately Joint Player Manager, Tomkinson was guilty of a high footed challenge to the mid-riff of Holyman, now some referees could easily have construed the challenge as a straight red card offence, from my position on the side-lines that was my immediate thought but the referee had a different perspective on the challenge and its consequence in the first minutes of the game and issued a yellow card instead, meaning the combative Tomkinson would have to tread a fine line for the remaining eighty-eight minutes! Already a goal to the good and Great Bentley had another goal chalked off due to an offside infringement on four minutes and the home team looked a bit shell-shocked. A minute later and Jennings played a long ball forward to WAYNE LAMB who despite appearing to be in an off-side position, well at least the visitor’s linesman thought so and flagged accordingly, only to be over-ruled by the referee, meaning the home side had drawn level and at this rate of two goals in five minutes I might need a bigger piece of paper!
On seven minutes Great Bentley took the lead again, a throw-in by Holyman fell to Bell whose long raking cross was met by at the far post by JOE HURD who squeezed the ball home with a suspicion of handball in the process. Tackles were now keenly contested and the visitors were chasing down the home team players giving them no time to dwell on the ball so when a free-kick from Passfield found RYAN AMASS he out-muscled Burch to score with a volley after the ball stood up nicely for him to rifle home. Lamb has a very long throw capability so whenever he was in range the ball was launched towards Amass whose physical presence unsettled the Great Bentley central defensive pairing of Burch and Brough. For the visitors Holyman, despite his early knock was charging about in midfield breaking up play when tackling back and in the next minute was looking for a goal-scoring opportunity and he almost scored when latching on to a free-kick from Brand following a foul by Tomkinson on Holyman.
Just after the quarter hour mark Great Bentley regained the lead, SCOTT YEARLING flicked on a cleared ball forward from Brough and proceeded to chase after the ball with the home keeper Green advancing but his efforts to save Yearlings shot only parried the ball which rolled on and into the back of the empty net. When Keating (Z) pulled back Southee mid-half, the free-kick from Brand was foiled by the flapping arms of keeper, Green who dived, on the loose ball. From the keepers clearance Tomkinson sent a long ball forward which defender Brough tried to nod back to Waltham but his header lacked power and Amass ran on to miss a glorious chance in a one-on-one situation with the keeper who made an excellent save on the edge of his penalty area. Following this missed chance, let’s just say that some friendly banter between the home supporters behind the goal and the Great Bentley contingent livened up proceedings off the pitch but for once it was good humoured. Another chance fell to the visitors on twenty-five minutes, Burch pumped the ball forward to Vaughan, in space, and with keeper Green rushing off his goal-line Vaughan only managed to clear the keeper and the cross-bar. Minutes later and Burch was again a provider of a ball forward to Yearling who slipped past Hitchman but lobbed the ball over the keeper and cross-bar and it was Yearling whose running both on and off the ball that was causing problems for Mersea.
On the half hour mark, play had quietened down, a long throw-in from Lamb was met by the head of Brough who rose high, above Amass to head clear and Brough was perhaps lucky to avoid any punishment when he flattened Lamb, but with Mersea in possession play continued but Bell was cautioned for a needless foul as Mersea pressed forward. On thirty-eight minutes the visitors increased their lead, Holyman chased down Tomkinson, winning ball possession and running forward to send a deep low cross where CALLUM HOLYMAN chested the ball into the back of the net when diving to reach the ball, they all count of course! Five minutes before half-time and another Lamb howitzer of a throw-in was cleared by Brand at the expense of a corner which Waltham caught and immediately threw out to Yearling who ran from the half-way line to find Vaughan but Green saved low down. Great Bentley were ending this first half in fine style, Vaughan found Yearling who burst through a gap only to hit the far side goal-post and Hurd skied the ball over the cross-bar from four yards out, then a long cross from Bell found the head of Hurd only for Green to save and Hurd be flagged off-side.
HALF-TIME: 2 – 4
Immediately after the half time break. Great Bentley kicked off, the ball played back to Brough was launched long towards Hurd who raced forward, shaped to shoot but delayed as the ball bounced away from him but JOE HURD steadied himself before planting the ball past Green and number five for his team. Worse was to follow for Mersea as four minutes into the half Bell played the ball wide to Yearling and from his flicked pass CALLUM HOLYMAN ran on to easily score. From the restart Mersea got forward with Keating (Z) wriggling through to force a decent save from Waltham and on fifty-nine minutes Mersea replaced Chivers with Keating (K). Amass thought he should have had a penalty when seemingly upended inside the penalty area, the tackle looked soft, the players fall looked theatrical to say the least, and the referee was clearly not impressed either and as Great Bentley proceeded to the other end CALLUM HOLYMAN fended off several challenges before beating the advancing keeper to complete his hat-trick and number seven for his team. A flurry of substitutions followed, Hitchman was replaced by Ellis, a new signing on the day for Mersea, Holyman was replaced by Bennett and quickly afterwards Vaughan was replaced by Jack.
A long ball forward by Lamb found Amass and from his overhead kick Tomkinson headed narrowly wide at the far post and on sixty-six minutes Great Bentley made their final substitution with Flack a recent transferee from Holland FC replacing skipper Brown with Brough taking the captains armband. Yearling and Hurd interchanged passes and Jack continued the move to win a corner, taken by Jack but over-hit for a goal-kick. Yearling was looking for a hat-trick himself and whilst embarking on a run from the half-way line managed to avoid high challenges from Amass then Jennings but did not get a free-kick as his team had retained possession. The next rash tackle by Tomkinson on the elusive Southee inside the centre-circle led to the home player receiving a second yellow card and an early exit to the game. The pace of Bennett led to him chasing down any Mersea player in possession of the ball so when he barged into Amass the Mersea player took exception and was promptly cautioned for his aggressive retaliatory attitude. Great Bentley should have scored again after seventy-five minutes, Yearling received the ball, long from Waltham but when through on goal he wastefully blasted the ball wide, perhaps going for glory!
Ten minutes remained when Jack tricked his way into the penalty area to draw a foul down near the goal-line from Keating (K) allowing JOE HURD to fairly thump home the penalty for number eight and his hat-trick as well. A high but purely accidental challenge by Millar on Flack was met with a handshake, and from the free-kick Jack forced a decent save from Green who saved high to his left side. Another foul, this time by Lamb on Flack led to a free-kick, hit long and high and safety then substitute Ellis rose to head the ball but collapsed holding his leg leading to him being carried from the field of play and reduce Mersea to nine players. With two minutes to go a strong run by Hurd saw his cross controlled at the second attempt by TIM FLACK who eventually turned the ball home from close range and I believe this was the one hundredth goal scored by Great Bentley in the league this season. Mersea thought they should have had a penalty, this time for a handball incident, my first take was handball, but the referee ignored all protests except those of Amass who used some colourful language about the incident and after receiving his second yellow card also left the field of play. The final action saw a cross from Jack leading to a header from Flack with Green saving on his goal-line.
FULL TIME: 2 – 9
When choosing to go to West Mersea I was expecting the fourth placed home team to give second placed Great Bentley a close but decent game and with only fifteen minutes and two goals apiece I thought I was right, however some excellent flowing football from the visitors, a bit of controversy over their second goal perhaps, followed by some indiscipline by two home team players allowed the visitors to literally run away with the game scoring nine goals and that number could and should have been more.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice, Hurd and Holyman scored a hat-trick apiece, Yearling scored two goals but could easily have had more so clearly they are candidates but behind every free-scoring team there are defenders and in a team that has conceded just twenty goals in as many games I’m nominating Messr’s Brough and Burch, a few nervous moments in the first quarter of an hour but thereafter solid and resolute in the tackle, commanding in the air, especially from the long throw-ins and basically dependable throughout.
MERSEA ISLAND FC: Colours: Black & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Rory Green., Billy Millar., Stewart Tomkinson., Adam Jennings., Ryan Chivers., Adam Passfield., Jamie Hitchman., Alex Curtis., Ryan Amass., Wayne Lamb (C)., Zak Keating.
Joint Managers: Stewart Tomkinson.
Used Substitutes: Kaylem Keating., Henry Ellis.
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 (C)., Jake Vaughan., Callum Holyman., Joe Hurd., Scott Yearling.
Manager: Jamie Meadows.
Used Substitutes: Lee Bennett., Tom Jack., Tim Flack.
Unused Substitutes: Philip Burnett., Ryan Gooch.
Referee: Anthony Phillipps (South Woodham Ferrers)
Men of the Match: Peter BROUGH & Jack BURCH (GREAT BENTLEY 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 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
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.
The web-site for the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League is: www.esblfootball.com