ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WEST BERGHOLT FC: 3.
WEELEY ATHLETIC FC: 2.
Date: Thursday 20th April 2017. Venue: Lorkin Daniel Field, West Bergholt.
For these two Premier Division teams it was their last league fixture of the season, home team West Bergholt could only finish third whereas Weeley Athletic FC, could, if they won, move above White Notley FC and this being a mid-week evening fixture both teams had regular players missing.
The Referee for this Premier Division match was Jack Willmore with Stuart Hannam and Jack Ridge, a late replacement for Ryan Smith acting as Assistant Referees.
Weeley kicked-off with Downes finding McLean who in turn found Nash, in space, but his snatched attempt at a lob from outside the penalty area cleared the cross-bar. With only three minutes gone West Bergholt took the lead when from a short corner taken by Bethell (B) to Bethell (J) the return ball found Harrington who drilled the ball into the six yard box where captain STUART REDDICK thumped the ball home. From a Davidson free-kick Reddick headed wide and Weeley regained some composure after the early goal they worked the ball forward through Law and McLean to Nash who was thwarted by a saving tackle from Davidson. Webb for the home team started the next move sending a long ball to Harrington but King defended well leading to free-kick being awarded for a high foot by Bethell (D) on Davis. When Payne cut out a forward ball from Gildea his pass found Nash in space but he only managed to scuff the ball wide when well placed to score and another opportunity went by when Downes looked to find Nash who failed to control the ball, not his night so far!
Law playing wide on the left side for the visitors got the ball to Nash and his first time pass towards McLean found the forward offside and with play breaking to the other end Bethell (B) struck the left hand post after receiving a cross from Harrington. The home team were pushing forward with Bethell (B) finding Reddick up in support making Law track back to concede a corner. Bethell (D) struck the corner long with McLean clearing up-field and when play stopped for a goal-kick, Bethell (D) was cautioned for dissent at a previous incident then McLean scooped the ball wide from an offside position as the game ebbed from end to end.
A long ball forward from Rymer set McLean on a charge past Gibson but his final cross was too long, then just after the half-hour point McLean set Nash clean through but Bethell (L) advanced to block the goal-bound effort and another chance for the visitors went begging. A driven corner from Bethell (B) was headed onto the roof of his own net by Duffus, Bethell (J) suffered an injury to his left knee when falling over inside the centre-circle and we approached the half-time break with the side evenly matched, However, when Davis was fouled by Bethell (D) just inside the home half, Law took the free-kick, right-footed and long into the six yard box where the unfortunate ANTHONY WHITE managed to head past his own keeper under pressure from Downes.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 1
West Bergholt kicked off the second half, or the last forty-five minutes of the season, Rymer fouled Harrington but Weeley cleared up-field to Downes whose presence set the ball into the path of McLean who scrambled the ball just wide of the target. A moment of controversy almost followed, McLean chased a long ball forward nodding it beyond White and when he approached the advancing keeper, Bethell (L) he appeared to be nudged from behind by the recovering White, falling over the keeper, a penalty call was a fair shout but nothing was given! The game continued end-to-end but Weeley took the lead five minutes into the half when, from a long throw-in by King, Downes headed on to ROSS NASH who guided the ball past Bethell (L) at the far post. Findlay made a good tackle to stop Harrington and from the home throw-in Downes excelled to clear from inside his own area with three home players surrounding him.
On fifty-five minutes the home team made a double substitution with White and Bethell (B) being replaced by Newman and Geddis but Weeley were still dangerous then King played the ball forward to Downes who shrugged off Webb to force Bethell (L) to save with his feet. Another chance for Weeley followed when Davis found the head of Nash with Davidson giving away a corner, taken by Law to Nash whose header only found the side netting. King found Nash just outside the penalty area and when he played the ball wide to McLean the first time cross was met by the head of Law but the firm header cleared the cross-bar. On the hour mark a cross from the left side from Davidson was headed back across goal by Harrington with CALLUM GILDEA firing home past the flat-footed Weeley defence. Weeley stuck to their task and Payne drifted past Bethell (J) to cross to McLean who scuffed the ball wide, another decent chance for the visitors. A long clearance from keeper, Fox, was flicked on by McLean to Nash who was fouled just outside teh penalty area by Bethell (J) with Law taking the free-kick, right-footed but wide.
West Bergholt made their last change bringing on Bloomfield for Gildea and Weeley replaced Law with Marriot making his first team debut as was defender Rymer and a throw-in from King to Nash saw the leading scorer turn but shoot straight at the keeper. A free-kick from Davidson almost found the head of Bloomfield running clear at the far post and with twenty minutes to go West Bergholt were awarded a penalty when Duffus missed his challenge on Newman with King doing the job illegally, no questions, no arguments and there were none, a penalty kick with DARREN BETHELL stepping up to drill the ball past Fox who had dived to his right. Another long clearance from Fox was headed on by Downes to Payne whose pace was matched by Newman who conceded a corner from which Nash had a chance but shot wide from a crowded area.
With fifteen minutes remaining Weeley pushed forward sensing an equaliser but this, left gaps for West Bergholt to exploit with Duffus putting the ball out for a corner, taken by Bethell (D) finding the head of Geddis with the ball clipping he cross-bar. On eighty minutes Bethell (L) made a fantastic save to deny Findlay who met a cross from McLean with a fine diving header only for the keeper to dive and palm the ball away for a corner.
FULL TIME: 3 – 2
A close game indeed, Weeley definitely deserved a share of the points as after being behind so early on they recovered to equalise right on half-time, then take the lead only to eventually lose to a late penalty, same result and same story as in the earlier meeting of these teams! West Bergholt finish a creditable third in the table after a poor start to their season whereas Weeley can reflect on a job well done, that of retaining their Premier Division status, especially after losing their manager in late September, they now know the standard required to compete at this higher level.
Now for my Man-of-the-Match choice, Harrington, Bethell (J) and Bethell (D) were instrumental or involved in what West Bergholt created whereas for Weeley, Findlay and Duffus needed to be strong at the back, Downes playing in midfield rather than defence was solid, Davis was creative, Nash got his customary goal but McLean used his pace time and time again to threaten the home defence so with so with his attitude and no-stop running he gets the nod this week.
WEST BERGHOLT FC: Colours: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts and Yellow Socks.
Luke Bethell., Stuart Reddick (C)., Connor Davidson., Gareth Gibson., Anthony White., Keiron Webb., Jake Bethell., Bobby Bethell., Jack Harrington., Darren Bethell., Callum Gildea.
Manager: Anthony White.
Assistant Manager: Marc Farthing.
Used Substitutes: Luke Bloomfield., Perry Newman., Pat Geddis.
Unused Substitutes: Sam Cripps., Daniel Price.
WEELEY ATHLETIC FC: Colours: Orange & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Jamie Fox., Lewis King., Lee Rymer., Jamie Duffus., Daniel Findlay., Seven Davis., Mitchell Payne., Steen Downes (C)., Ross Nash., Russell McLean., James Law.
Manager: Fred Fuller.
Used Substitutes: Tyler Marriot.
Unused Substitutes: James Watt.
Referee: Jack Willmore. (Clacton-on-sea)
Assistant Referees: John Watson. (Colchester)
and: Jack Ridge. (Boreham)
Men of the Match: Russell McLEAN (WEELEY ATHLETIC FC)