ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WEST BERGHOLT FC RESERVES: 3.
HEDINGHAMS UNITED FC: 2.
Date: Saturday 15th April 2017. Venue: Lorkin Daniel Field, West Bergholt.
As we approach the end of another season I was disappointed to hear that my intended venue on Saturday would be without any football owing to Coggeshall Town FC Reserves being unable to raise a team to play Gas Recreation FC. Under normal circumstances, Gas would have been presented with the Premier Division Runners-Up Cup this following Little Oakley FC confirming their position as deserved champions the previous weekend.
No matter there were other games being played and not wishing to travel too far decided on the match between struggling West Bergholt FC Reserves and promotion hopefuls, Hedinghams United FC. I say struggling as they languish second from bottom with only five victories to date and three of those were their last three matches so improvement has been seen albeit late in the season. Hedinghams on the other hand have been at or near the top all season and Manager Nick O’Dell has pulled together a decent squad that grind our results and going into this match could still finish top or second in the congested Division One table. There are many crucial games still to be played in this division and with three / four potential vacancies in the Premier Division there is every possibility that fourth place might secure promotion, depending upon the mandatory ground inspection etc.
Today’s referee would be George Lowe, at home from University studies and once again he is close to another promotion, we wish him well in the future.
Hedinghams kicked-off with Harrington conceding an early free-kick for a foul on defender Welch which led to a corner, taken by Webb to Cook who volleyed the ball, hard into the ground, with the ball bouncing over the cross-bar, a close call! An accidental high foot from Thompson on George led to another verbal spat, plus a free-kick taken by Webb and after another early foul the respective captains, Revie and George were called together for a chat from the referee. Revie dived into another challenge on Pyman twenty-five yards out but Cook could only hit the defensive wall with his first effort whilst knocking the rebound high and wide. On ten minutes Mitson advanced to catch a high bouncing ball with Cook threatening and a cross from Jones also found the hands of Mitson, a keeper who has been plagued by injury this season. Hedinghams had started the livelier of the two teams and when Cook played the ball to Pullinger he ran in from the left side striking the foot of the near post and with the ball rolling across the six yard box, Webb could only steer the ball into the side netting, another chance for the visitors.
Price (C) tackled Pyman, a bit on the late side perhaps, just on half-way from which Hedinghams won a corner when Thompson headed clear, Cook took this kick but struck the ball much too hard to trouble anybody and a goal-kick followed. Chandler made a timely interception from a pass from Newman towards Harrington and at the other end Bethell (A) rolled back, the years to block Cook with a perfect tackle. Harrington thought he had opened the scoring for the home team, only to see the club linesman’s flagged raised, a decision that clearly irked the home team and their supporters! West Bergholt raised their game when Harrington embarked on a run and crossed towards Newman whose first time side-footed effort should have found the back of the net but sixteen year old keeper, Crissell made a point blank save, parrying the ball clear.
With twenty minutes gone, Hedinghams were involved in a goal-mouth scramble after the attempted clearance punch by Mitson fell short of safety with young Bloomfield, a decent prospect, clearing off his own goal-line with Revie completing the desperate defending by his team. Harrington was again the providing source of chances for the home team and from his cross Jones, cooly chested the ball down under pressure from Revie and cleared the ball away from the six yard line, then Harrington robbed Welch but his poor cross was cleared for a corner by Chandler. Next attack was from Hedinghams through Pullinger and Webb forcing Mitson to race out to clear up-field and give away a throw-in on the half way line. Price (C) again tangled with Pyman after twenty-five minutes with the long free-kick taken by Cook being held by Mitson just under his cross-bar. Pullinger was adjudged to have fouled Revie with the left footed free-kick taken by Bloomfield forcing Crissell to dive and save at the foot of the post covered by the defensive wall. Tackles continued to be hard and not always fair as both teams set about trying to win this game.
From a West Bergholt corner taken by Harrington the high curling ball was headed out for another corner by George and this time Price (D) drove the corner kick long to Harrington whose header clipped the corner of the post and cross-bar, are we getting closer to a goal! A high cross from Price (C) found the head of Mucaj but he could not get any direction on the ball which was fielded by Crissell, and then a goal when Bloomfield came forward from defence to find JACK HARRINGTON who rounded Welch and then keeper Crissell to plant the ball into the net, with the home team calling for a foul by the scorer on Welch. Bethell (A) sent the ball to the feet of Mucaj who forced Jones to concede a corner which Hedinghams cleared through Webb to Pyman with Farrow just getting a nick on the ball to divert it for a corner. Price (C) was forced to clear the ball off his own goal-line when Pyman headed down a cross from Chandler with Mucaj beating at least four players when dribbling out of the area rather than finding row Z!
HALF-TIME: 1 – 0
West Bergholt restarted the second half and from a high in-swinging corner Thompson was hurt in a collision inside the six yard box and soon afterwards Price (C) was replaced by Bethell (B) with Mucaj just failing to get a touch to a driven cross from Newman on the right side. At the other end when Farrow conceded a corner Webb’s kick found Chandler but he headed wide and play immediately swung to the other end with Revie finding Mucaj running free but keeper Crissell read the danger and advanced to kick clear. A poor back pass from Bethell (B) almost cost his side dear but Bethell (A) covered the danger putting the ball into touch as Cook threatened. On the hour mark Mucaj conceded a corner, Webb took it with Mitson, this time punching clear and the home team pushed forward through Price (D) whose hanging corner was headed over from six yards by Thompson. George and Pyman, so often then play-makers for Hedinghams pushed forward with Pyman dragging his right footed shot just wide then Harrington was fouled by Taylor leading to the home team replacing Bethell (A) with Martin on sixty-five minutes.
George and Pyman created another chance, this time for Webb who rounded Bloomfield only to shoot into the side netting but a decent chance that the player rather snatched at instead of picking his spot however in the next attack, on sixty-six minutes Hedinghams equalised when George laid the ball into the path of TOM COOK who blasted the ball home past the stationary home keeper from twenty yards out. Now the old adage is when, are you most vulnerable to concede, well just after you have scored, of course and that is exactly what West Bergholt did when Price (D) threaded the ball through the Hedinghams defence to PERRY NEWMAN who ran on to place the ball wide of the advancing keeper to restore the home teams lead. Hedinghams replaced Taylor with Tyler and he had not touched the ball when Chandler made a rare error when attempting to pass across his defensive line towards Welch only for Harrington to steal the ball and set PERRY NEWMAN through on goal and once again he scored and despite being on a hat-trick was replaced by Gildea.
With fifteen minutes remaining a direct free-kick from Webb crashed against the cross-bar with ALEC PYMAN quickest to react when stooping to head the loose ball into the unguarded net and five minutes later Pyman hit the base of the left hand upright with the unfortunate Webb again finding the side netting. Gildea was fouled by Jones, right on the edge of the penalty area, Revie drove the free-kick into the defensive wall to be cleared and at the other end Tyler found Cook in space but he lofted the bouncing ball over the cross-bar, and another chance to snatch a point goes begging. Crissell made a fine save to deny Gildea with ten minutes to go and in the dying minutes Pullinger ran across the area to find George whose pass found Webb, completing his hat-trick, one of yet again hitting the side netting when well placed to score and minutes later the referee called a halt to proceedings.
FULL TIME: 3 – 2
Both teams huffed and puffed, a draw might have been the fair result from a neutral perspective but West Bergholt FC Reserves won again but still remain three points from safety with two difficult home games remaining against Gas Rec Reserves and new league leaders Wormingford Wanderers FC who are also the opposition for Hedinghams United FC who finish their season with that home game next Saturday.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice and by virtue of being involved with most of the positive attackes by West Bergholt, setting up one goal and scoring himself then Jack Harrington it is.
WEST BERGHOLT FC RESERVES: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Andrew Mitson., Jamie Thompson., Luke Bloomfield., Shane Farrow., Adam Bethell., Daniel Price., Christopher Price., Darren Revie (C)., Ermal Mucaj., Perry Newman., Jack Harrington.
Manager: Shane Farrow.
Assistants: Jimmy McIntyre & Russell Mead
Used Substitutes: Callum Gildea., Bobby Bethell., Kirk Martin
Unused Substitutes: Jack Higgleton., Jake Bethell
HEDINGHAMS UNITED FC: Colours: Red Shirts, Black Shorts and Red & Black Socks.
Jordan Crissell., Harry Loe., Sam Jones., Jamie Chandler., Danny Welch., Ashley Taylor., Barrie Pullinger., Daniel Webb., Tom Cook., Alec Pyman., Sam George (C).
Manager: Nick O’Dell
Used Substitutes: Callum Tyler
Unused Substitutes: Rhys Williams., Thomas Archer.
Referee: George Lowe (Colchester)
Men of the Match: Jack HARRINGTON (WEST BERGHOLT FC RESERVES)