ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS FC: 3.
GAS RECREATION FC: 2.
Date: Saturday 18th February 2017. Venue: Ford Lane, Alresford
A bright sunny afternoon welcomed those who made the trip over to Ford Lane, Alresford to watch the fourth placed home team take on second placed Gas Recreation FC and current league leaders Little Oakley FC, without a game today, were in attendance just to make sure the game reached a fair conclusion. Whilst the home team won handsomely last weekend today’s opponents suffered a rare defeat to the improving team from White Notley FC, a feisty affair apparently and looking at the players on show today another similar match was expected, well by me, at least.
The match officials for this Premier Division match were Paul Lawrie, who would be assisted by Adrian Arnot and Ben Hughes-Day, another new official whom I had not met previously. The two more experienced officials knew today’s teams well and would surely have expected to have had their work cut-out given the relative league positions of the two teams.
Alresford kicked off but Taylor (L) had the first shot at goal, a typical left foot shot that drifted narrowly wide, the resulting goal-kick from Spencer failed to find any distance falling to Taylor (L) who found Firkens down the right wing and when he cut inside, onto his left foot, his shot from the edge of the penalty area drifted wide of the goal. With Alresford failing to clear the ball out of defence the Gas pushed forward with Craig finding Taylor (L) and from his deep cross Firkens tried a first time effort that Spencer saved on his goal-line. Another poor clearance from Spencer led to Bulmer being fouled just outside the penalty area by McConnell, Bulmer took the free-kick himself but Spencer dived at full stretch to parry the ball into the path of Dale whose free header flew over the cross-bar. This five minute spell of attacking football from Gas should have seen them ahead, they just lacked the finishing touch, something that would trouble them throughout this match, especially as Alresford had created very little, themselves, having failed to really make it beyond the half-way line so far. That changed when Bellamy dispossessed Dadds who promptly fouled him right on the edge of the penalty area, four players stood in the Gas defensive wall but this line of players failed to stop the well struck free-kick taken by RYAN LEWIS whose effort seemed to go through that defensive wall.
Even before the ten minute mark the game showed all the signs of being very competitive and physical battle and Gas showed signs of panic when Bellamy chased down a back-pass that keeper Ringe should really have cleared first time but in delaying it allowed Bellamy a slight chance however Ringe was left with no choice but to concede a corner kick. Bellamy took this corner kick with Hooper heading powerfully away to Taylor (L) who furthered the clearance when finding Bulmer and from the next Alresford clearance made by McConnell, Lewis, tried his luck from thirty-five yards almost catching Ringe off his line. Dale received a caution for a lazy challenge on McConnell whose strong running and tackling was breaking up any Gas moves out of midfield. Another move started by Martin found McConnell but Ringe saved and when play switched to the other end Gas, through Bulmer had a good chance after he beat firstly Machin, then Martin but found Guyon doing his defensive job well at the expense of a corner.
As Gas continued to rush their play in trying to score an equaliser and they were clearly fired up for the challenge, a cross from Craig fell from the head of Firkins to find Bulmer who had little time to react as Guyon literally took the ball off the forwards toes to another corner kick then West was caught off-side from a forward pass by Taylor (L). Alresford had clearly decided which players to target most and Hooper found himself outnumbered with Lewis and Bellamy chasing him down for a throw-in which Gas did defend and then break forward with Machin fouling Taylor (L). Bulmer struck the free-kick into the defensive wall and McConnell picked up the loose ball and charged forward, riding three challenges to cross the halfway line only to be stopped by West but Lewis took up the running with the ball until Dadds stopped the attack. From a long clearance by Spencer, Lewis played the ball wide to Johnson but Ringe got his body in the way of the goal-bound shot then West blocked a volleyed effort by Lewis, this from a cross from Tuckwell.
With Alresford now pushing forward on regular occurrences it would leave spaces at the back which Gas, if they were clinical would punish and when they were stretched Guyon, raced thirty yards to challenge Craig, unfairly, wide on the left side which earned the home player a caution. With fifteen minutes to go to half-time, Gas should have been more than level on the balance of chances, only their finishing was letting them down, O’Connell found Tuckwell as Alresford made another foray forward then Firkens played in Bulmer but Spencer made a great save at the expense of a corner. Dadds for Gas played the ball forward to Craig with Martin heading clear allowing Alresford to push forward at pace and when the ball reached the other end Hooper foolishly pulled down Lewis right on the corner of the penalty area. BRETT BELLAMY took the free-kick curling the ball over and around the defensive wall with Ringe only able to push the ball further into the net to give the home team a two goal cushion. Bulmer had another chance for the Gas but by using his right foot rather than his left the ball skidded wide but it was Bellamy who was tormentor in chief for Alresford, constant running at the Gas defence and likewise, non-stop effort to chase back to regain possession with only the outstretched boot of Ringe saving another goal with Lewis driving the loose ball wide. As the game reached half-time Spencer produced another fine save, this time turning away a flicked header from Dale following a fine flighted free-kick by Dadds.
HALF-TIME: 2 – 0
Gas replaced defender Girling with Taylor (R) and thereafter played with a back three with the substitute taking a forward berth however Alresford continued their attacks with Hooper conceding a cheap corner which was cleared whilst at the other end gas were denied a penalty call when O’Brien seemed to handle the ball but the referee was not interested in the calls from the visitors. Ringe got out of jail again after his poor clearance put the chasing Lewis in a decent position then Taylor (L) beat McConnell to win a corner kick off Machin and Gas thought they had another call for a penalty when Bulmer looked to be nudged off the ball by Machin, again nothing given! When Martin handled the ball mid-half a big cheer went up from the Gas contingent, on the back of certain decisions not going their way but how many times have clubs said that when playing against the Gas, what comes around goes around! Another free-kick conceded Bellamy on Bulmer led to Craig being cautioned for dissent and Gas continued to force chances but despite a fine tackle on Hooper by O’Brien the ball fell to Taylor (L) who slipped the ball through to RYAN TAYLOR who swivelled to fire home and the Gas sensed a recovery.
Gregory clipped the heels of McConnell but the delivery from the free-kick was poor and Gas replaced Dale with Eggerichs then Johnson playing Lewis through only for his effort to clip the post and bounce to safety whereupon Alresford replaced the injured O’Brien with Roberts, but another chance Alresford might rue later on. Taylor (L) curled one effort just wide and again his second chance, even after having his heels clipped by Martin also drifted wide on the other side as the referee played an advantage. Bellamy had continued to chase every loose ball and tried to execute a neat turn just inside the penalty area but the ball rolled marginally away from him. Another free-kick from Dadds was cleared by Martin for a corner, taken by Bulmer, whose in-swinging kick struck the inside of the far post, bouncing off Machin to be cleared by McConnell. On seventy-eight minutes Gas were awarded a penalty kick when Guyon leaned too heavily on Firkens who went to ground allowing JOHN BULMER to step up and score the equaliser, game on!.
McConnell led with a high foot to the equally high boot of Dadds who fell to the ground with McConnell cautioned for his efforts and Craig tried with a low effort that Spencer saved. Now with five minutes remaining, surely the next goal would be a winner but who would score it, again not long to wait as a long ball towards the Gas defensive line led to indecision between Gregory and West, not sure who stuck up an arm to handle, immaterial really but RYAN LEWIS slammed home the penalty kick. West was lucky to escape punishment with a poor attempt at a tackle on Lewis which led to Bellamy berating the referee, to receive a just caution for dissent, shame really as it spoilt an excellent game for the home player. Another cynical foul followed, this time by Hooper on Johnson and from a break by Firkens his shot at goal grazed the post as the home team lived through a dangerous period of injury time.
FULL TIME: 3 – 2
As expected a feisty game, plenty of action at both ends, Gas should have scored more goals earlier in the game as Alresford tried to cope in defence, but cope they did and when presented with two first half free-kicks took advantage to lead at the break. Gas as expected, came back strongly into the game and fully deserved to draw level but as we know football is a funny old game so when a needless handball incident is punished so late in the game the proverbial one goal will win this game, came into play and the home team profited to leap-frog Gas into second place, a heady position for them but not un-deserved as they have continued to improve throughout this season and today played with several absent players.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice, early on I was impressed by the work carried out by midfielder McConnell for Alresford but all around him he had a team of fighters prepared to battle at every level of the game so in a way the choice might have been difficult except for the performance of Bellamy, a new to the Border League but a real threat throughout, scoring a fine free-kick to add to his all round game
ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS FC: Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Red Socks.
Peter Spencer., Sam Drysdale., Gary Machin., Daniel Martin., Daryl Guyon., Jack Johnson., Sam McConnell., Aiden O’Brien., Ryan Lewis (C)., Brett Bellamy., Kye Learoyd-Tuckwell.
Joint Managers: Gary Wright & Gary Bright.
Used Substitutes: Steven Roberts.
Unused Substitutes: Adam Williams., Gary Wright.
GAS RECREATION FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Elliot Ringe., Liam Dadds., Ben Girling., Jack Gregory., Ryan Dale., Dean West., Eldon Craig (C)., Luke Taylor., John Bulmer., Scott Hooper., Asten Firkens.
Manager: Simon Hayward.
Used Substitutes: Ryan Taylor, Jay-Louis Eggerichs.
Unused Substitutes: Jack Murray., Reife Marangou.
Referee: Paul Lawrie (Thorpe-le-Soken)
Adrian Arnot (Colchester)
Ben Hughes-Day (Beaumont-cum-Moze)
Man of the Match: Brett BELLAMY (ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS 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.
The web-site for the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League is: www.esblfootball.com