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30/09/2017 – REPORT – FA Inter-League Cup versus Somerset County League

THE FA INTER-LEAGUE CUP              –                  ROUND 1

 

SOMERSET COUNTY LEAGUE:                                          2        (3 – AET)(Pens: 0)

ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE:           2        (3 – AET)(Pens: 3)

ESBFL WIN AFTER PENALTY SHOOT-OUT

 

Date:   Saturday 30th September 2017.       Venue: Hengrove Athletic FC, Whitchurch, Bristol.

 

What a weekend! With earlier permission sought and sanctioned from the FA, this for an overnight stay in Bristol the ESBFL coach left Stanway on Friday afternoon for what turned out to be a four and a half hour journey down to Bristol, just as well we travelled on Friday as there was a severe accident on the M4 on Saturday leading to major diversions which caused the late arrival of some spectators and League Management who arrived dead on kick-off!

 

We had hardly got half-way down the A12 to Brentwood when a call came through that due to an administrative error we had booked double rooms for the players rather than twin rooms, sounded cosy, however, Premier Inn came up trumps and relocated the party to Portishead, fourteen miles from where we were due to stay but pulled out all the stops to accommodate our late arrival and provide meals etc

 

Due to the change of hotel location a new area had to be sought for an early Saturday morning training session so the park next to the seafront and boating lake was used for an hour’s session of player acclimatisation and tactics led by Manager, Tony Armstrong, Lloyd Pentney, Anthony White and Cliff Akurang and from the lakeside cafe it looked a good session. So back to the hotel for a quick shower, a change of clothing and an hour’s drive to the ground through the Bristol suburbs to reach Whitchurch village, the home of Hengrove Athletic FC who would be hosting this match.

 

The ESBFL team stepped out sporting their brand new playing kit, blue shirts with a white trim, Blue Shorts and Blue & White hooped socks with the goal-keepers both sporting a fluorescent orange kit and believe it or not it was all returned after the match!

 

The match officials were referee, Adam Osborne, with senior Assistant, Steve Higgins, both from Wiltshire County FA and Christopher Hunt, from Somerset County FA and given that none of our players knew either the opposition or the officials then best on field behaviour was required, or at least to a point where frustration might get the better of the players. The referee led out both teams and ensured the “Respect” handshake was undertaken on the recently mown pitch which looked in very good condition albeit a bit damp, they get more rain in the west country!

 

I’m not sure who won the toss of the coin but the ESBFL kicked off and Westley and Lodge set up the first attack with Osinoiki (D) chasing down the left side to find Bethell who was stopped by a firm challenge by Gale. Bamford fouled Lodge and it was fairly obvious that both teams had adopted the same tactics, get the ball long and use the pace of their forwards. Another foul, this time by McCall on Cripps, taken by Bethell was cleared by the head of Robinson and a long cross from Osinoiki (D) led to Cripps fouling keeper, Bishop on the penalty spot. At the other end a long cross from McCall saw keeper Felgate confidently catch high above Smith who was going to be a player to watch out for, and the home dug-out was getting vociferous as a couple of decisions were not given their way but overall a good start from both teams. On seven minutes Lodge appeared to win the ball in a challenge but the referee warded a free-kick for a foul on Smith and from the ensuing scramble Lodge lost possession with the loose ball volleyed home from inside the penalty area by SCOTT BAMFORD putting the home team ahead on eight minutes.

As play resumed Whittaker fouled Kabashi and now the ESBFL needed to keep their heads, not rush their play, not over-hit the ball forward, basically keep possession and try to use their collective strengths against a physically bigger but not necessarily stronger team but the home team had been quicker to the ball so far. Osinoiki (D) played the ball forward to brother, Osinoiki (A) down the left side but he was easily eased off the ball by McCall with Osinoiki (D) trying a shot from twenty yards which deflected off Scorer to his keeper, Bishop. Better play followed from the ESBFL when Osinoiki (D) found Cripps who laid the ball back to Gregory then Bethell got involved and with the team pushing forward Osinoiki (D) again found Cripps, then Bethell found Loveridge who just over-ran the ball out of play but the ESBFL passing game was developing. A throw-in taken by Osinoiki (D) found Bethell but from his pass the cross from Osinoiki (A) was under-hit and McCall cleared long, once again, no messing about from the Somerset defence to clear any danger. From a long clearance by Bishop, Gale galloped forward to find Bamford who beat both Westley and Lodge to shoot with Felgate comfortably saving low to his right side. On twenty-two minutes McCall fouled Osinoiki (A) twenty-five yards from goal but the free-kick taken by Bethell hit the defensive wall but a number of free-kicks had crept into the game to make it a stop / start match. When Lodge fouled Smith, the forward was clearly not happy, Whittaker took the free-kick finding Scorer whose lay off to Smith should have led to a goal but he clipped the rising ball over the cross-bar and the ESBFL defence breathed a sigh of relief.

The ESBFL equalised on twenty-seven minutes, Kabashi hit a long free-kick into the six yard box, Bishop, for such a tall keeper, flapped at the ball and SCOTT LODGE was on hand to steer the ball home off the left hand post after his first effort was stopped on the goal-line, that’s better we thought, back on even terms and plenty of time to gain control. Two minutes later and a cross from Lodge was headed goalwards by Kabashi at the far post with Scorer heading out for a corner. A great tackle by Lodge on Smith followed which led to a promising attack with a cross from Westley being flicked over the cross-bar by Scorer with the corner routine from Kabashi being charged down leading to a break by Scorer until Lodge cleared and this game was now very open and entertaining.  Smith bustled his way between Rowe and Lodge to set up Bamford with Felgate saving an easy shot from the edge of the penalty area. With ten minutes to half-time Rowe found Osinoiki (A) who was up-ended by McCall right on the corner of the penalty area for a free-kick on the far side, taken by Kabashi with Bishop excelling when tipping the dipping ball over the cross-bar for a corner. The last real action of the half saw Lodge push forward to shoot goalwards only for his opposite number Freeman to deflect the ball wide for a corner that was cleared and so ended a competitive first half.

 

HALF-TIME:       1 – 1

 

Somerset were set to restart this tight match and an early ESBFL touch found the ball back with Bishop who threw the ball to Gale and he tried to set Bamford away only to be caught off-side and on forty-seven minutes, Gregory dived into an untimely challenge and by leaving his leg high caught Madge to receive the first caution of the game, meaning he must tread carefully from now on! The ESBFL found the early minutes of the second half a bit awkward with their first touch letting them down but it remained an open game. Lodge played the ball wide to Bethell who was adjudged to have been fouled by McCall, seemed a bit harsh to me but teams will take any opportunity to progress and when Osinoiki (D) found Loveridge we was unceremoniously dumped on his backside by Robinson who received the second caution of the game. With the ESBFL now playing more confidently they had a lucky escape when Smith took the ball in his stride and despite a suspicion of handball, in reality it hit his hand and he forced a fine save from Felgate and Smith reacted quickest to chase the loose ball, only for Felgate to parry the ball again whereupon Smith only managed to sky the ball over the empty net, lesson learnt, we hope!

A cross from Bethell saw Osinoiki (A) head the ball upwards and then foul Scorer as the ball fell to ground whereupon Somerset replaced Madge with Cotterill on fifty-five minutes. Osinoiki (A) played Cripps into space with Freeman covering at the expense of a corner taken low by Kabashi, a ball which eluded everyone allowing Somerset to break forward at pace with Lodge fouling Bamford in a wide position. The long free kick from Gale was fielded by Felgate and as we passed the hour mark the home team had nullified the ESBFL and were creating chances themselves. Felgate watched a dipping volley from Bamford fly over the cross-bar and Somerset made their second change bringing on Sully for Gale after sixty-two minutes. Bamford had proved to be another useful player and when he chased a through ball Felgate had to advance to the very edge of his penalty area to catch the ball almost off the toes of Bamford then Lodge made a timely tackle on Smith and Westley did likewise on Cotterill. With twenty-five minutes remaining Kabashi showed excellent skill and footwork to get through a tight situation leading to a corner, however the kick was poor and cleared easily but when it returned forward Cripps found space and from his pass inside the unmarked JAKE BETHELL nudged the ball past Bishop to put the ESBFL in front and twenty-one minutes remained.

Somerset had always looked capable of scoring and it was perhaps no surprise when they equalised four minutes after the ESBFL had taken the lead, the initial attack did not really spell any danger but with the defence dithering it gave JOSH  COTTERILL the time and space to sweep home a loose ball inside the six-yard box. Kabashi for the ESBFL had been injured in the build up to this goal and was replaced by Tuckwell whilst Somerset made their final change replacing Freeman with Harvey on seventy-nine minutes. Osinoiki (A) made a bold run past McCall down the left side but after cutting inside and with space at a premium he fell to the ground under a soft challenge from Scorer with the ESBFL player cautioned for diving! Somerset were still using the long ball out of defence, it was effective for defending but immediately gave the ball back to the ESBFL who started their attacks again, Gregory went down with cramp and being unable to continue was replaced by Lamb, in defence with Lodge moving into midfield, a logical move given that Kabashi and Gregory had both been forced off through injury. Tuckwell forced a corner on the right side then an aerial collision between Osinoiki (A) and Smith forced the game to be stopped due to the clash of heads. Maybe the ESBFL were unsettled by this collision as within seconds of the restart Cotterill raced through only to miss an almost open goal when cutting in from the left side. Another huge clearance from Bishop fell to Bamford who forced another save from Felgate then Scorer dived into a challenge from behind on Cripps, fortunately no contact was made with Cripps having plenty to say to the referee as no foul was given with Cripps when fouling Sully, retribution perhaps! Just we passed the end of normal time Westley went down with a touch of cramp but soldiered on regardless after treatment and the end of normal time was reached, meaning a thirty minute period of extra-time beckoned for some tired players!

 

FULL TIME:        2 – 2.

 

Loveridge for the ESBFL kicked off the first fifteen minute period, his team were keen to get a victory and avoid the dreaded penalties scenario which with the scores level was a big possibility, Felgate kicked long up-field to Osinoiki (A) but Somerset had designs on a victory for themselves and when Felgate received a short back-pass he was forced into an error in clearing with the ball ricocheting off Smith for a goal-kick. Osinoiki (A) tried to find Cripps then took a tumble under a challenge from Scorer but won a throw-in, taken by Kabashi with Scorer receiving a head injury in a clash with Cripps with both players being spoken too whilst the Somerset bench was getting further agitated! Rowe was pulled up for going over the top of Smith when trying to head the ball clear, more a case of the forward backing into the defender when he was off the ground, but clever play all the same and the referee fell for it! To be fair Somerset were calling for every decision, and why not, they definitely wanted to win, but fairly, not sure, a bit of professionalism perhaps!

Felgate launched another long ball to Osinoiki (A) who controlled the ball to find Tuckwell who gave chase but ran the ball out for a goal-kick. On ninety-eight minutes Osinoiki (A) was fouled in a central position just on the curve of the “D”, a defensive wall was formed, Loveridge took the free-kick, a hand went up to protect a face and a penalty kick was awarded which resulted in RICKY LOVERIDGE stepping up, despite a bit of gamesmanship by Bishop, to drive the ball to the left of the keeper and twenty minutes remained, so could the ESBFL hang on! Westley made a fine tackle on Bamford, a good battle between those two all game, and Bamford took out his frustration by flooring Loveridge with a rash challenge to end the first period of extra-time.

 

EXTRA-TIME – HALF TIME:          2 – 3.

 

Right, fifteen minutes go, this game was still too close to call, the ESBFL had a slender lead but Somerset had shown they will not give up lightly, Osinoiki (A) made the first attack for ESBFL but within a minute of the period starting Somerset had drawn level. Bamford broke through the middle of the defence, Felgate failed to hold the bouncing ball and regardless of being forced wide SCOTT BAMFORD hooked the ball goalwards and despite a valiant effort by Westley, jumping on the goal-line the ball landed in the back of the net to bring the scores level once again, penalties now looked more than likely! On one hundred and seven minutes a free-kick from Loveridge skimmed the top of the cross-bar, another close shave, Lamb fouled Smith with Harvey taking his time to take the free-kick which flew wide.

Tuckwell gave chase to a long ball from Rowe but Somerset pushed forward again with Lodge making another fine challenge and then release Tuckwell who won a corner. With five minutes remaining Cripps, who had already been spoken too earlier received his caution for persistent fouling, pity that some of those on him went unpunished as Somerset were still taking no prisoners in their physical style of play. Lodge kept up his captains, role by encouraging his tiring team and when he pushed forward to support an attack he was fouled by Lintell, Tuckwell took the free-kick but Lamb failed to get a proper connection, scooping the ball wide and the referee brought the match to a close. So had the ESBFL practised penalties, unlikely as many of the players had not played together before but at this late stage they had gelled together and worked hard to stay in the game for so long and especially after losing creative midfielders Kabashi and Gregory to injury.

 

EXTRA-TIME – FULL TIME:           3 – 3.

 

The ESBFL took the first penalty with LOVERIDGE stroking the ball to the left of the keeper, next up was Whittaker for Somerset but Felgate made a fine save low to his right hand side down by the upright. (0 – 1)

Next up for ESBFL was defender ROWE, again a confident penalty driven home past Bishop with Smith, the Somerset front man seeing Felgate dive to his left hand side to palm the ball away. (0 – 2)

The third penalty could be crucial for ESBFL, up stepped defender WESTLEY to calmly stroke the ball past Bishop which put huge pressure on Bamford but again Felgate dived to save to instigate a huge celebration by the ESBFL players and management team. (0 – 3)

 

Somerset County League                                  Essex & Suffolk Border Football League

 

  • Saved.               (1)        Loveridge.                      Scored.              {0 – 1}
  • Saved                (2)        Rowe.                            Scored.              {0 – 2}
  • Saved                (3)        Westley.                         Scored.              {0 – 3}

 

PENALTIES:                                    0 – 3.

 

              So jubilation for the ESBFL, Somerset is a long way from home, to have lost after the travelling that far and the team effort shown would have perhaps been heartbreaking but credit where credit is due nobody let the ESBFL down in this match and in its preparation. Commiserations to Somerset County League, they battled throughout, they asked a lot of questions of the ESBFL and had more than enough chances to have won the game themselves in normal time but the reality was that the lottery of penalties had its day and the ESBFL emerged victorious.

 

A few words of thanks are due, to the ESBFL Team management, great job, well done, to the players, never looked beaten despite being under pressure for long periods, to those League Management Committee members who made the trip and to some Coggeshall United FC players who made the long journey to support their teammates. To the Somerset County League and Hengrove Athletic FC who made the day possible, for their hospitality and kind wishes for the future and particularly the next round. Lastly a big thank you to Lee Dabbs, our excellent Coach driver, as for those of us sitting at the front of the coach he was a laugh a minute during our rest periods, I still think he should write a book about his exploits in the services.

 

Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, as it was a cup tie I’ll pick a player from each team. For the Somerset County League, numerous players were effective, defenders Scorer and Freeman were a solid unit but Bamford with two goals in open play was just overshadowed, at least to me, by Smith, an old style bustling but mobile centre-forward, who caused a lot of problems with his constant chasing, tackling back, distribution and holding up the ball when his team pushed forward. Now to the ESBFL, Felgate perhaps made an error leading to the third goal, but made three, yes three saves from the penalty shoot-out, defender Westley was a typical up and down wing back, strong in the tackle against a skilful winger, central defender Rowe stood firm alongside captain Lodge, in midfield Gregory and Kabashi linked up well with Bethell, a rare scorer whilst Cripps and Loveridge, a confident penalty scorer, did their best to get the better of a resolute central pairing for the opposition. I might not have mentioned everyone as it was a collective team effort from several players who had not played together before but gained confidence after an indifferent start but getting back to my selection, it goes to captain, Scott Lodge, scorer of the first equaliser and with a solid defensive then midfield role and finally by leading by example on the pitch.

 

As Round 1 of this FA Inter-League Cup is not due to be completed until Saturday 14th October 2017 the Round 2 opposition will not be known until after that date, no doubt many of us will be monitoring other results closely for potential opponents. The draw, which if kept as “regional” already include Cambridgeshire County League, the Amateur Football Combination as well as both Guernsey County Senior League and Jersey Football Combination, so watch this space!

 

 

Teams:

SOMERSET COUNTY LEAGUE:                                         Colours: Green Shirts, Green Shorts and Green Socks.

 

1)         Adam Bishop.                  Watchet Town FC,

2)         Danny McCall.                  Shirehampton FC,

3)         Chris Gale.                      Nailsea & Tickenham FC,                           (Off 62m)

4)         Gary Freeman.                Nailsea & Tickenham FC,                           (Off 79m)

5)         John Scorer.                   Shirehampton FC,

6)         Gerard Robinson.             Shirehampton FC,            Captain                                      Yellow

7)         Ryan Madge.                   Fry Club FC,                                            (Off 55m)

8)         Charlie Lintell.                 Middlezoy Rovers FC,

9)         Andrew Smith.                 Middlezoy Rovers FC,

10)        Jordan Whittaker.            Shirehampton FC,

11)        Scott Bamford.                Shirehampton FC.

Used Substitutes:

12)        Aaron Harvey.                 Shirehampton FC,                                    (On 79m)

14)        Josh Cotterill.                  Fry Club FC,                                            (On 55m)

16)        Chris Sully.                     Watchet Town FC.                                    (On 62m)

Unused Substitutes:

15)        Edward Searle.                Fry Club FC.

 

Manager:                        Pete McCall.                    Shirehampton FC,

Assistant Manager:           Alan Smith.                     Nailsea & Tickenham FC,

Coaches:                        Lee Rogers.                    Shirehampton FC,

Richard Brightwell.           Shirehampton FC,

Physio:                           Mark Stockham.               Shirehampton FC.

 

 

ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE:  Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue & White hooped Socks.

 

1)         Sam Felgate.                   Brantham Athletic FC Reserves,

2)         Bradley Westley.              Harwich & Parkeston FC,

3)         Daniel Osinoiki.                Coggeshall United FC,

4)         Scott Lodge.                   White Notley FC,              Captain

5)         Dominic Rowe.                Coggeshall United FC,

6)         Jack Gregory.                  Gas Recreation FC,                                   (Off 84m)            Yellow

7)         Jake Bethell.                   West Bergholt FC,

8)         Rigers Kabashi.                Coggeshall United FC,                               (Off 77m)

9)         Sam Cripps.                    West Bergholt FC,                                                                        Yellow

10)        Ricky Loveridge.              Coggeshall United FC,

11)        Abraham Osinoiki.            Coggeshall United FC.                                                       Yellow

Used Substitutes:

14)        Oliver Lamb.                   Harwich & Parkeston FC,                           (On 84m)

16)        Kye Learoyd-Tuckwell.      Alresford Colne Rangers FC,                      (On 77m)

Unused Substitutes:

12)        Curtis Edwards.               Harwich & Parkeston FC,

13)        Jordan King.       (G/K)     Coggeshall United FC,

15)        Ashley Wood.                  Brantham Athletic FC Reserves.

 

Manager:                        Tony Armstrong.              Harwich & Parkeston FC,

Assistant Manager:           Lloyd Pentney.

Coaches:                        Anthony White.                West Bergholt FC,

Cliff Akurang.                  Coggeshall United FC,

Physio:                           Adrian Armstrong.            Harwich & Parkeston FC.

 

 

Referee:                        Adam Osborne                (Westbury, Wiltshire).

Assistant Referee’s:          Steve Higgins                  (Westbury, Wiltshire).

and       Christopher Hunt             (Street, Somerset).

 

Man of the Match:          Somerset County League:                                        Andrew SMITH.

 

Man of the Match:          Essex & Suffolk Border Football League:              Scott LODGE.

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