ANDREAS CARTER ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
LAWFORD LADS FC RESERVES: 1.
BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT FC “A”: 3.
Date: Saturday 21st January 2017. Venue: Recreation Ground, School, Lane, Lawford.
When my original match destination, Essex University, suffered from the lasting effects of the frost I took the short trip to Lawford to watch their Reserve Team currently lying second bottom, play sixth placed Brightlingsea Regent FC “A”. As usual the pitch at School Lane, Lawford was in excellent condition having benefitted from not having trees around it, allowing what warmth the sun had, to soften the pitch before kick-off.
Referee for this Division Two match was Christopher Symes who would be assisted by club linesman but not by the low sun which cast long shadows across the pitch almost from kick-off, making his view of events somewhat troublesome.
Both teams had suffered player call-offs in the morning meaning that they both had novice goalkeepers on show with Lawford slightly strengthened with three First teamers. Lawford kicked off but Brightlingsea were quicker to the ball with Barnard setting up Bradley for a snap shot that bounced once before Barr saved at the expense of the first corner, taken by Doig but only finding the roof of the net. From another left wing break by Pawsey, Barnard saw his point-blank effort saved by Barr, I think it just hit him as he stood on his goal-line and from the resulting scramble in the penalty area O’Connell conceded a free-kick just on the edge of the “D” when he fouled Barnard. Doig took the free-kick with Barr fumbling the ball when trying to save the ball and his kicked clearance led to a throw-in taken long by Carvalho, to Barnard who headed on and AIDAN PAWSEY glanced, the ball home from close range in only the fifth minute. This could be a long afternoon for the home team if these first few minutes were anything to go by especially as keeper, Day, for Brightlingsea had yet to touch the ball! Another long throw-in from Carvalho again found Hill and from his cross on the right side Barnard drifted in to head narrowly wide.
Another flowing move from the visitors involving Auger, Pawsey, Barnard and Pawsey again saw the latter player send in a fierce shot that Barr had to save, with a corner given. From the corner taken by Hill, Barnard rose to head goalwards with defender Allam clearing off his goal-line. Lawford were really out of sorts and had not really got into their opponents half, lacking any cohesion when holding the ball but then giving it away cheaply and in fact the first touch by keeper Day was on ten minutes and that was a back-pass! From his clearance to Doig, the forward ball was chased down by Barnard and O’Connell tried to guide it back to Barr who took his eye of the ball and it rolled past him and the open goal for a corner kick. It took Lawford thirteen minutes to create a chance, Barr started it by rolling the ball out to Morris then on to Upton who drove forward through midfield finding Rand whose cross was missed by Day with Watson heading over from close range, but a much better move from Lawford. Brightlingsea then put another flowing move from back to front involving five to six players leading to another save from Barr.
On fifteen minutes, another Lawford move was stopped due to a foul by Auger on Watson, the free-kick taken by Rand was high and direct but Day, this time, caught the ball, with ease and another attack started by Morris saw poor control by Stallan which allowed Bird a free attempt with a volley that flew wide of the goal. On seventeen minutes Lawford scored an unlikely equaliser, I say unlikely because the visitors should have been at least three goals ahead so when Upton took a long free-kick, keeper Day called for and advanced to collect the ball but missed it completely allowing MACAULEY WATSON to head home from six yards out. Bird was forced off through injury and Newman was the first substitute used and it was Newman who stopped the next Brightlingsea attack with a header back to Barr. Brightlingsea kept pushing forward with a shoot on sight mentality which kept Barr busy then from his throw-out to Atton the defender was fouled by Hill and some players appeared to have trouble keeping on their feet with the soft playing surface.
With twenty-five minutes gone Hipkin conceded a corner with a miss-kicked clearance with the corner taken by Hill towards no fewer than eight visiting players in the penalty area, Baker headed on from Hills kick and Bradley headed over from six yards. Lawford got forward themselves in the next passage of play with Upton finding Rand whose shot was blocked by Stallan and as we reached the half hour mark Lawford had gained some of the initiative from the visitors who remained dangerous on the break. Another move involving Hipkin led to him getting in an angled shot which Day saved and punted downfield where Hill scampered away to cross towards Barnard who headed wide with Barr still trying to reach the cross. Barnard received a lecture from the referee after he stuck out a leg to impede Atton, poor timing by the forward in my view but Barnard sounded off to voice his disagreement. Carvalho put in a heavy challenge on Rand, not once but twice, right in front of the home supporters who raised their voices even more when no foul was given! Morris, having moved into central defence had his work cut out trying to shackle Barnard who always puts his frame into every challenge, fairly or otherwise and once again he and Atton clashed with a verbal spat. Best quote of the game so far came from Manager / Goalkeeper, Day who told his players to get off the referees back! Another free-kick from Upton flew straight to Day and again his team attacked to win a corner, taken by Hill with Hipkin clearing but only to Doig whose rasping shot crashed against the cross-bar, bounced down near the goal-line, did it cross the line, Brightlingsea thought so but without modern goal-line technology and club linesmen it was never going to be given or was it!
HALF-TIME: 1 – 1
Brightlingsea used substitute Hyams from the start of the second half, replacing Hill and Pawsey raced through onto a ball from Stallan, Lawford got an early free-kick taken by Upton with Carvalho heading clear to Newman whose shot was superbly saved by Day at full stretch at his near post. Both teams, had started well and looked to attack, Barnard bulldozed his way through but a combination of Atton and Barr, well outside his penalty area stemmed that chance. A free-kick from Baker found the head of Doig and a volley followed from Pawsey with Morris deflecting the ball wide for a corner, and from the kick Baker headed wide allowing time for Lawford to replace Hobson with Cunnell. Watson fouled Barnard with Baker finding Bowles but his cross fell to keeper, Barr. A quick break by Brightlingsea through Baker, then Pawsey who seemed to be off-side, but no flag was raised, with the cross reaching the far post where Hyams had a shot blocked and from the next cross Barnard set up Pawsey who skipped past Newman but shot wide.
On the hour mark Rand, for Lawford won two tackles and rode two more attempts but whilst attacking on his own his shot at goal was wasteful and did not challenge Day who berated his defence. Watson tackled and injured Hipkin, his own player and when play resumed Upton kicked the ball back to Day who passed to Carvalho who found Hyams galloping away down the left side and from his cross Barnard dragged his shot wide but the Lawford defence failed to clear allowing Pawsey to cross, although he was eventually flagged for off-side. With twenty minutes to go a free-kick from Baker bounced across the six yard box with Hyams flashing a shot wide. Barr saved from Barnard, who else, this from a Pawsey cross from the right side and Brightlingsea had resumed their possession advantage with Hyams again blocked off by Allam for a corner. Bradley took the corner in front of the clubhouse and FELIPE CARVALHO rose to head home at the near post and re-establish the visitors lead. Morris was forced to defend against both Barnard and Bradley and Pawsey flattened Atton after not getting a free-kick on the far side when Atton seemed to have fouled the perpetrator, bit of retribution perhaps but I must admit to look up quickly into the low sunshine was never easy to pick out what had actually happened!
The half-time introduction of Hyams had livened up the left side of Brightlingsea forcing Allam to defend against his pace and tricky footwork with Hyams finding Barnard, whose first time shot cannoned off Morris for a corner. Hyams set up another attack with Bradley being tackled by Morris, just as he was about to shoot. And with thirteen minutes left Brightlingsea replaced Pawsey with Holyman with Lawford replacing Hipkin with Wilkins and a few minutes later Barnard was substituted with Radford coming on and the sun continued to play havoc when looking straight across the pitch. With three minutes remaining Brightlingsea made the game safe with their third goal when DANIEL BRADLEY let fly with a crisp shot from twenty-five yards and home keeper Barr never moved. In the final piece of attacking play Holyman was caught with a late challenge and went down injured with the referee signalling the end of the game, early suggestions are a broken ankle or ligament damage to a player who has only just returned after injury so we wish him well whatever the diagnosis.
FULL TIME: 1 – 3
It does not matter what game I go to watch, these games are my choice and I try to mix up who I go to watch, so one week it could be the Premier Division, the next Division Three, last week it was Division One and this week Division Two. Whilst I like to see goals scored and a watch decent competitive game it does not follow that it happens every week, games can be one-sided or close affairs. In this game struggling Lawford could quite easily have been three or more goals behind at half time and until Brightlingsea scored their second and third goals Lawford might have had designs on a point because they did improve in the second half, that said Brightlingsea did make heavy weather of winning this game.
For my Man-of-the-Match selection Morris, Upton and Watson put in a good shift for the home team, whilst Barnard and Auger did likewise for Brightlingsea but in midfield Doig who does get too many mentions in my report did enough with some astute defending in front of his back line whilst his passing, general positioning and enthusiasm helped his team overcome a stubborn Lawford side.
LAWFORD LADS FC RESERVES: Colours: Sky Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Liam Barr., Charlie Allam., Keymar Morris., Matthew Atton., William O’Connell., Chris Upton., Piers Hobson., Adam Bird., Macauley Watson., Aiden Hipkin (C)., Ben Rand.
Manager: Lloyd Bellett.
Used Substitutes: Joseph Wilkins., Zak Cunnell., Robert Newman.
BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT FC “A”: Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Red Socks.
Sam Day., Filipe Carvalho., Christopher Bowles., Conrad Baker., Adam Auger (C)., Scott Stallan., Aidan Pawsey., Reece Doig., Ross Barnard., Daniel Bradley., Danny Hill.
Manager: Sam Day.
Used Substitutes: Kieran Radford., Jordan Hyams., Liam Holyman.
Referee: Christopher Symes (Colchester)
Man of the Match: Reece DOIG (BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT FC “A”)
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 2:00pm in: January
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