ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WEST BERGHOLT FC: 1. DEDHAM OLD BOYS FC: 0.
Date: Saturday 11th November 2017. Venue: Lorkin Daniel Field, West Bergholt.
Conscious that I had not watched a Premier Division match for a couple of weeks I took the short trip to West Bergholt to watch their First team play Dedham Old Boys FC whom I had seen at “The Drift” earlier in the season. For the home team I had watched an early season friendly when I thought the players on show that day might push the club towards the top of the Premier Division. How wrong I have been proved, as player availability and injuries has clearly hampered their season so far and currently they sat second bottom, so a must win day for them.
The match officials were referee, Steve Tovey who was supported by Daniel Webb and young Elliott McIver-Jones, the latter two assistants I had not met before so welcome to the ESBFL and collectively they ensured an impeccable “minutes silence” was held before kick-off on an afternoon that was to brighten up as the game progressed.
West Bergholt kicked-off with both teams being on the attack and then defend with the home team on top to gain a first corner after five minutes but Dedham cleared to get to the other end and win a corner themselves, taken by Alston but White (H) headed clear and Cripps fouled Baister when pushing forward. To be honest, the first ten minutes, were a scrappy affair, there was no pattern of play, numerous fouls and little in the way of attacking football. Slack fouled Springett, Knightbridge fouled Bethell (J) who took the free-kick himself towards Springett who forced a corner off Knightbridge. The best move from Dedham came when Buttery, Knightbridge and Halsey worked the ball forward to Buttery who had strayed off-side then a free-kick from Springett hit the defensive wall with the same player only finding keeper Minter with the follow-up effort. At the mid-half point I again noted that this was a poor game with very little to talk about, things can only get better we thought!
On twenty-five minutes a long throw-in from Dedham down by the corner flag was swept away by Hayes to Newman, then wide to Cripps whose cross-cum-shot hit Baister, allowing Minter to collect, Harrington and Baister clashed in one heavyweight challenge with Alston speaking out of turn and receiving a warning from the referee. Another long ball from Springett, wide to the left found Davidson offside, Cripps headed over from a Springett free-kick and Knightbridge was fouled by Bethell (J) with Moseley placing the free-kick straight into the untroubled hands of Bethell (L) and from his throw-out Halsey needlessly dived into a challenge on Bethell (J) to earn the first caution of this uneventful match.
After thirty minutes Baister made a big recovery from his own error to thwart Harrington who would have been through on goal from a mid-half position, Cripps wiped out Halsey with a poor challenge, luckily without a caution but the free-kick failed to reach the penalty area, a corner from Davidson was over-hit and when Dedham broke away Springett appeared to have been fouled, but no whistle was heard until play stopped elsewhere with Bethell (J) also being spoken too. As we approached half-time the first decent move of the half by Dedham through Baister, Moseley saw Knightbridge running through on goal, his shot beat the keeper but also the far post leading to a goal-kick. A Moseley free-kick was hammered away by Hayes to Harrington who sprayed the ball wide to Cripps who raced through but with his right foot sent the ball over the cross-bar with only Minter to beat. So we had waited nearly forty minutes for a goal-scoring chance then two, one for each team, come along at the same time, but now it was time for a welcome cup of tea.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 0
Well, this match surely had to brighten up, numerous stalwart supporters were, like me disappointed, on the fare so far but I suppose any team in a lowly position will defend to the “enth” degree to get at least a point and not lose! Dedham kicked-off, but Cripps won possession and set off to hit the back of the stanchion when through on goal, maybe the pass inside would have been the better option as two colleagues waited to pounce. A good interception from Springett led to Cripps finding Bethell (J) whose goal-bound shot hit Harrington allowing Minter an easy pickup at the feet of the surprised forward. Five minutes into the half and Knightbridge limped off for Dedham with Webb putting Cripps away only for Minter to save at the near post when again three team mates were waiting inside. Mason made a high and illegal challenge on Webb to get a deserved caution but the Springett free-kick flew straight to the keeper, Minter and whilst the home team had started on top and the pace of the game had picked up as well, it was, still a niggly affair. Knightbridge, now back on the pitch, set up Halsey who volleyed wide and another Dedham player, this time Ross received a caution for a deliberate foul on Newman, from where Davidson sent in a free-kick, met by the head of Cripps but straight to Minter on the goal-line.
So, an hour had gone by, it was starting to get cold as the sun dipped away over Colchester but Dedham were still in this game, Alston played a long ball forward to Moseley who over-hit the cross allowing Springett to head clear. Another niggly foul by Moseley on Newman led to the free-kick from Springett being over-hit, am I getting repetitive, and Minter gathered unhindered and a minute later Minter fielded the ball just on the edge of his penalty area as Cripps chased down another Springett free-kick. Dedham replaced defender Ross with Fowler and with the home team attacking the referee cautioned Springett for dissent when the game next stopped this following an earlier incident. When Newman picked up the ball just inside the Dedham half he ran forward and chose the spectacular option, a shot from thirty yards but it was never going to trouble anybody despite his team having four players in advance of him! From the resultant goal-kick, taken by Minter, the ball fell at the feet of the unmarked Harrington, he ran forward only for Minter to make an excellent save on the edge of the penalty area and when the ball bounced free to Newman, Minter again saved near the penalty spot.
A strong run down the right side by Cripps led to a shot into the side netting, Mason for Dedham required treatment and had to leave the field of play whilst Knightbridge got around Davidson only to drive the ball across the face of the goal from a pass from Buttery. Henry received the fourth caution for Dedham when he unceremoniously dumped Harrington into touch wide on the right side, but again, the free-kick from Springett failed to get beyond the corner of the penalty area. More miss-placed passes followed from both teams, as did free-kicks and when Baister fouled Harrington outside the penalty area but down by the goal-line the free-kick from Davidson found the head of Harrington who was correctly adjudged to have gained an advantage when climbing over Slack. With fifteen minutes remaining Newman was replaced by Gibbons and my thoughts turned to the fact that a single goal, any goal, would win this game. Cripps hit Baister with a rising shot from twenty yards out, his team broke to the other end where a driven cross from Halsey was cleared by Springett inside the six-yard box for a corner, taken by Alston, short to Halsey whose cross was too high to be effective.
Dedham tried their luck again when Knightbridge and Buttery got the ball through to Halsey who was off-side, Webb was cautioned for a deliberate foul on Halsey but another poor free-kick followed. A big clearance from Baister fell to Knightbridge whose effort was cleared and with ten minutes remaining Halsey broke through onto a flicked pass by Buttery but the shot flew across the goalmouth. Moseley was the next to try his luck, cutting inside from the left wing his thumping rising shot stung the outstretched hands of keeper Bethell (L) making a fine save. Only five minutes remained when Cripps dribbled inside the penalty area, now some players may have gone to ground after two attempted defensive challenges but play continued only for Cripps to then be seemingly fouled by a defender as he jumped for a cross. Looked a bit of a soft decision to me but a penalty kick was awarded, LIAM SPRINGETT hammered the ball down the middle, Minter saved the first effort which rebounded to the same player who side-footed home from six-yards. Dedham pushed forward again with Halsey latching onto a pass from Buttery but the shot lacked accuracy as we entered time added-on. West Bergholt were still having to defend as Dedham tried to salvage a deserved, in my opinion, point, Bethell hit the outside of the right hand upright and Springett had to clear almost off his own goal-line, once again from Halsey, in a frantic final few minutes.
FULL TIME: 1 – 0.
Not the best of games to have chosen to watch, two evenly matched teams but for the wrong reasons, the game lacked fluidity, too many miss-placed passes, too many over-hit corners or free-kicks, it lacked a certain amount of passion, clearly both teams had players missing but you have to play with whom is available and work to make chances which were rare, even the goal did not come from open play.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, well, even a day after the game, I’m still thinking about who that might be and I’m not normally stumped on this topic!
WEST BERGHOLT FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Luke Bethell., Jack Kiley., Conor Davidson., Harry White., Liam Springett (C)., Charlie Hayes., Jake Bethell., Kieron Webb., Jack Harrington., Perry Newman., Sam Cripps.
Manager: Anthony White.
Used Substitutes: Andrew Gibbons.
Unused Substitutes: Johnny Murrells., Ryan Carvey., Anthony White.
DEDHAM OLD BOYS FC: Colours: Red & White Shirts, Red Shorts and Red Socks.
Adam Minter., Daniel Alston., Aaron Ross., Ryan Slack., Simon Baister., Phil Mason., Tristan Moseley., Henry Welham., Callum Knightbridge., Thomas Buttery., Matthew Halsey.
Manager: Paul Ketley.
Used Substitutes: Matthew Fowler
Unused Substitutes: Shane Pike., Karl Wymer., Paul Ketley
Referee: Steve Tovey (Colchester).
Assistant Referee’s: Daniel Webb
and Elliott McIver-Jones
Man of the Match: No decision this week.
Reminder to Club / Fixture Secretaries
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