ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
KNOCK-OUT CUP – ROUND 1.
FLITCH UNITED FC: 3. LAWFORD LADS FC: 2.
Date: Saturday 23rd December 2017. Venue: Allcotts Playing Field, Warehouse Road, Stebbing.
Another cup-tie, this time the ESBFL Knock-Out Cup, Round 1 match between Second Division, Flitch United FC and First Division leaders Lawford Lads FC caught my eye this weekend, the home team play at Stebbing, a picturesque village that you easily miss if you travel down the A120, this was also another venue I had not visited before. Flitch joined the ESBFL last season after many years in the Mid-Essex Football League, winning the Essex Junior Trophy two years ago before entering Division 3 and gaining promotion in their first season in the ESBFL with manager, Pater Monk bemoaning the fact he had lost his leading goal-scorer only half-an-hour before kick-off. Lawford Lads are currently enjoying a successful season under new Manager Andy Young and with the league’s leading scorer Mann (29 goals in 13 games) in fine form they were looking to progress, however, today’s opposition who would be a stern test if league results can be judged.
On yet another cold afternoon, the match official was Robert Watson, another young official who I had not met before and on the day he was being “observed” with a view to promotion, by the jovial Bob Sayward, so good luck to him in the future.
Lawford kicked-off but a throw-in from Coopersmith (O) found Layzell whose flick on ran through to Brett whose cross was cleared by Upton and on three minutes Upton fouled Sykes, who took the free-kick but curling the ball just wide with a deflection giving the first corner of the match. Burton took the corner which was poor and then the persistence of Layzell forced Upton to clear as the home team pressed forward, looking sharper into the tackle, with better distribution as Lawford made defensive mistakes, perhaps aided by a late Friday night of partying! A feature of the home team is their shirt numbering system, seems the players own their own shirt and just to add confusion they have three players, I presume to be brothers in their starting line-up plus another pairing with the same surname, a reporter’s night-mare! A forward move started by Coopersmith (C) found Coopersmith (M) and he set Brett clear with only keeper, Thompson to beat, the keeper wining this time when clearing into touch. Even before ten minutes had elapsed we had a competitive match, Flitch looked solid at the back and the midfield would soon be asking questions with Coopersmith (C) getting forward to cross with Upton heading away from near the feet of Coopersmith (M).
Mann, for Lawford was well marshalled by Coopersmith (M) and Coopersmith (O) when he strode forward being deceptively quick for a big player, Pyne fouled Bolingbroke, to me it seemed his momentum took him unavoidably into the Lawford player who was, needless to say, not impressed! On fifteen minutes Pyne and Coopersmith (M) linked up before Upton got his clearance away to Mann, standing off-side, Mann then showed his strength to firstly win the ball then hold it up before shooting at goal with Thorogood blocking the ball, but a better approach from the visitors. When keeper Thompson miscued his clearance, a high curling effort, the ball fell to Layzell who opted for a first time shot which flew wide of the goal. Defender Young had a great battle with Thorogood from a cross by Pyne and the home team continued to comfortably play the ball around the pitch and when a chance for Lawford appeared, the cross from Ainger was headed narrowly wide by Mann. Thompson saved from Pyne, from a decent pass from Sykes then Coopersmith (O) found Sykes then Pyne got involved to force a decent save from Thompson, advancing to narrow the angle. Foster was fouled by Coopersmith (C), the free-kick was taken by Lorimer with Coopersmith (M) clearing as far as Young whose return ball forward flew straight to keeper, Taylor.
Coopersmith (M) and Coopersmith (O) defended well once again to deny Lee but on thirty minutes, and totally against the general run of play, Lawford scored, Lorimer played in a delightful curling ball which eluded the home defence to reach ALEX STOCKER who seemed to make a right meal of scoring at the far post, having missed the ball the first time his second attempt crept in at the far post with keeper Taylor still scrambling across his goal-line. Undeterred Flitch continued their steady approach play with only the final ball being their un-doing this half, Thompson saved from Layzell who was still adjusting his sights, Bolingbroke, fouled Burton (A) in midfield, Sykes took the free-kick with Lorimer guilty of a high boot on Layzell, just yards outside the penalty area. Sykes laid the indirect free-kick to Layzell who blasted the ball wide of the four man defensive wall. A forceful run from Bolingbroke got the ball to Mann with Bolingbroke bursting through for the return ball which only came after he had strayed behind the home defence, off-side and somehow, Flitch managed to take that free-kick more that fifteen yards up-field! Both Coopersmith (O) and Layzell were guilty of wayward shots whilst at the other end Mann burst through one-on-one with keeper, Taylor only to place the ball wide of the goal, wasteful, you could say that but let’s see how the rest of the game pan’s out! Buoyed by their goal, Lawford attacked again through Bolingbroke finding Mann whose weak shot bounced to keeper, Taylor, then Mann found Lorimer in enough space to send in a shot which keeper Taylor saved and in the final action of the half Burton (D) found Sykes whose driven cross-cum-shot landed on the top of the net, perhaps his team are trying too hard!
HALF-TIME: 0 – 1.
Flitch restarted this delicately poised match and Pyne set off on a mazy run until Young impeded him and this may have set the tone for more niggly fouls which quickly followed. A strong run down the left side by Mann led to a foul by Burton (A) which Flitch defended well to break forward with Thompson clutching a high cross from Brett on the penalty spot. Layzell forced a corner off Young, taken by Coopersmith (C) but not cleared properly allowing Layzell to pass to ADAM BURTON who miscued the ball into the goal. This goal had been forecast and was perhaps overdue and within minutes Flitch took the lead when Sykes, Burton (A) and Pyne set up PAUL LAYZELL who scored from the edge of the penalty area. Another, goal followed, a cracker as well, this time for Lawford when a long right wing cross from Young was met on the volley by OLIVER MANN running from the left side to send a left-footed shot back across goal to strike the far post and enter the net, so all square again and half an hour to play.
Lawford replaced Ainger with Watson, and Stocker forced a fine save from Taylor who produced an even better save within a minute, again to deny Stocker. Brett was fouled by Wood, a rash challenge and with the game stopped Flitch replaced Brett with O’Brien and Lawford changed Lee for Shaikly and when play re-commenced Taylor saved at the feet of Mann who then tested the pace of Coopersmith (M) who conceded the corner. Foster received the first caution of the match getting his man at the second attempt from behind, Coopersmith (C) took the free-kick finding O’Brien and from his long raking pass Layzell was only inches away with a diving header. Shaikly was spoken too by the referee for a cynical push on Pyne who had shown him a clear pair of heels, O’Brien took the free-kick finding Layzell whose knock-down was saved by keeper, Thompson near the penalty spot.
As we entered the last ten minutes, my thoughts turned whether the next goal would be the match winner, I had witnessed extra-time and a penalty shoot-out last week and it was definitely getting colder underfoot. On eighty-three minutes a cross from Pyne found Layzell who forced Thompson, not for the first time to save his team, and the visitor’s frustration continued when Lorimer fouled Coopersmith (O) and by throwing the ball hard into the ground received his caution for dissent against an obvious decision. With five minutes remaining, a throw-in from Sykes was headed on by Layzell to Pyne whose shot was going wide until PAUL LAYZELL stuck out a leg to divert the ball past the static defence, could this be the decisive goal! Bolingbroke, a real tiger in midfield, for Lawford, was perhaps lucky to escape a caution for a foul on Pyne and again when he clattered Coopersmith (C) and on ninety minutes Layzell made way for Rivett and a minute later Monk replaced the injured Coopersmith (C) if only to run down any remaining time, I think he got one touch.
FULL-TIME: 3 – 2.
So a very close game, just as I thought it would be, teams from lower divisions can and will cause an upset if they apply themselves properly and work hard to their strengths. Good luck to Flitch United FC, who will now, in Round 2, be at home to Alresford Colne Rangers FC who overcame Division 3, Rowhedge FC.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, for Lawford, keeper Thompson did his bit to keep the score down with some good saves, Bolingbroke chases everything and everyone but you cannot criticise his efforts in midfield, Lorimer has a gift for a free-kick or a pass, as for the first goal but can be a bit impetuous if things don’t quite go right, upfront Mann is clearly the architect of his teams league position, scored a fine goal and but for some quality defending would have had more. For Flitch, another team effort, defensively the Coopersmith trio looked sound throughout, in midfield Burton (A), Burton (D), Sykes and Brett were more than comfortable whilst in attack Pyne was a constant menace but my choice is Layzell, always in the mix to score not just his two goals but be part of the home teams attacking threat throughout.
FLITCH UNITED FC: Colours: Navy Blue Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts and Navy Blue Socks.
Andrew Taylor., Charlie Coopersmith., Oliver Coopersmith., Sean Thorogood., Adam Burton., Daryl Burton., Shane Pyne., Billy Sykes (C)., Matthew Coopersmith., Paul Layzell., Ben Brett.
Assistant Manager: Peter Monk.
Used Substitutes: Peter Monk., Daniel O’Brien., Neil Rivett.
LAWFORD LADS FC: Colours: White & Light Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
James Thompson (C)., Nathan Ainger., Sam Foster., Kevin Young., Ben Upton., Jack Wood., Nicholas Bolingbroke., Sean Lorimer., Oliver Mann., Alex Stocker., James Lee.
Manager: Andrew Young.
Used Substitutes: Macaurley Watson., Daniel Shaikly.
Unused Substitutes: Jerome Primus.
Referee: Robert Watson (Great Dunmow).
Man of the Match: Paul LAYZELL (FLITCH UNITED FC).
Reminder to Club / Fixture Secretaries
Once again 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: December & 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.
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Clubs are reminded that the following documents are all available on this website under Clubs / Documents etc :
Player Registration Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form