ESSEX SATURDAY JUNIOR CUP – FINAL
MAY & BAKER EASTBROOK COMMUNITY FC RESERVES: 1. (1). (4 pens)
WORMINGFORD WANDERERS FC: 1. (1). (3 pens)
Date: Wednesday 05th April 2017. Venue: Bowers & Pitsea FC
With some local interest in this game, Wormingford Wanderers FC, playing in their first County Cup Final against May & Baker Eastbrook Community FC Reserves, I travelled to Pitsea & Bowers FC with Mick Willmore, ESBFL Registration Secretary, to watch this final, and after touring the local housing estate we eventually found the ground tucked away at the back.
Wormingford with designs on promotion to the ESBFL Premier Division had beaten: Little Oakley FC Reserves (3-0)., Brightlingsea Regent FC “A (3-1)., Old Southendian FC Reserves (3-0)., Manford Way FC Reserves (5-1)., Flitch United FC (7-1) and Old Chelmsfordians FC Reserves (5-1) to reach this cup final.
May & Baker had beaten: Chingford Athletic FC (3-1)., Canning Town FC Reserves (3-0)., Athletic Corinthians FC (10-0)., Southend Sports FC (6-0)., Railway Academicals FC (4-1 aet) and Tiptree Heath FC (2-0) to reach this final and had only lost one league game all season.
Being a County Cup Final there were four officials appointed by ECFA, the ESBFL were proud to see local referee Lewis Farthing in the middle assisted by Jamie Wood and Tom Johnson with Alphie Ibrahim acting as fourth official.
Wormingford kicked off and one hoped that last weekend’s exhaustive extra-time defeat at Hatfield Peverel was not going to affect their play given that they were also without key midfielder Norfolk and long term injured player, Whybrow (L). The pitch looked huge under the floodlights which also seemed less bright on the far side making the two corners look darker than elsewhere, no matter, both teams set about this final tie with plenty of energy. Wormingford quickly lost possession with Dobson (L) forced to concede a throw-in as Lowbridge harassed him into the error. Patten the tall, May & Baker central striker made a run forward with Haynes tracking back and Curtis conceded the first foul forty yards from goal, taken by Harvey towards Patten who fouled Close inside the penalty area. Keeper, Lynn launched a long ball downfield to Stoneman who played the ball wide to the supporting Haynes and from his cross keeper, Roberts was fouled by Dobson (R). Strangely, both goalkeepers were left footed and possessed a long kick if required, Fitzpatrick dribbled forward to win a throw-in, where he found Stoneman who turned to shoot straight at Roberts and a bright start indeed with both teams on the attack.
A long free-kick from O’Connor found Saunders, who hit the ball straight to Lynn, but he was flagged for off-side in any case and a series of stoppages followed for injuries incurred from fouls with ten minutes gone. Now in this competition the teams are allowed to use “rolling substitutes” which for a reporter is an absolute nightmare to manage but O’Connor was replaced by Messenger in order to receive treatment for a facial wound. May & Baker are a young and lively side who forced Wormingford to defend with Saunders forcing Close to head away for a corner. Lynn produced a fine one-handed point blank save to deny Lowbridge who turned onto his left foot to shoot goalwards and from the clearance Stoneman was supported by Haynes and when play reverted a positive run by Saunders led to him accidentally standing on the ball when about to shoot at goal with Dobson (L) clearing. The first fifteen minutes were a real test for Wormingford as the May & Baker team used their pace and range of passing to keep and move the ball constructively with Wormingford seemingly chasing shadows at times! Harvey, for May & Baker possessed an array of differing corner kicks of which there were many normally looking for a near post flick-on to players piling forward. Just before the twenty-five minute mark, Haynes pushed forward finding Curtis who found Dobson (R) who was just about to shoot at goal when Stanbrook nicked the ball away and then played it off Dobson (R) for a goal-kick.
Gill, for May & Baker required treatment for an injury, forcing him from the field of play and Fitzpatrick scampered forward down the left side only for the ball to go out for a goal-kick then Whybrow (B) was forced to defend inside his own penalty area only to be impeded when Seymour hauled him to the ground. The kick from Lynn was long, with Gill, now back on the field, heading clear with Dobson (R) forcing a corner when shackled by two May & Baker defenders. Dobson (R) took the corner kick but Chambers headed clear at the near post but as we approached the half-hour mark it was Wormingford that had been doing more of the defending. A run by Seymour set up Patten with Pringle conceding a corner and from the clearance by Stoneman, Dobson (R) and Haynes made ground on the right side with Dobson (R) shooting tamely at Roberts but gaps were appearing as Wormingford got to grips with this game. Close impeded Saunders, good contest this, with play being brought back to the half-way line when the move faltered, Harvey took the free-kick which curled onto the roof of the net, Stoneman fouled Lowbridge with Chambers finding Pringle and when the ball ran away from him Patten hit his first time volley wide from close range.
Parker for Wormingford set Haynes off on a run down the right side finding Stoneman who lost out to Gill whose forward pass found Saunders with Lynn forced to save at the feet of the advancing forward. Parker was replaced by Owen (S) in defence for Wormingford and several heavy challenges followed with the referee talking to Whybrow (B), then Dobson (R) was late arriving for a tackle on Harvey and was promptly and rightly cautioned leading us to half-time.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 0
After the break, O’Connor returned in place of Messenger and Dobson hit a long free-kick from the half-way line finding Close whose header reached Roberts, and May & Baker were still quicker to the loose ball and generally closed down any Wormingford player when they had possession. A run by Dobson (R) saw him get past three defenders until more appeared to crowd him out of play then Lynn produced a fantastic reflex save to deny Lowbridge who latched onto a cross by Seymour with the point blank header from three yards out being pushed aside and May & Baker resumed their direct attacking approach. A shot from O’Conner bounced once and flew to Lynn then Dobson (L) set Owen (S) charging forward but the cross was poor and May & Baker moved forward only for Patten to be caught off-side, but another close call. Another Dobson corner fond the head of Close but the header was misdirected, Patten was caught offside once again as Harvey tried to play him through and ten minutes into the half Wormingford had a chance when Dobson (L) launched a free-kick that found Patten defending with Dobson (R) off target, shooting wide from the knock down.
Haynes tackled Patten who was trying to break inside from the left wing with the May & Baker forward rolling off the pitch to receive treatment and be replaced by Oliver whilst team mate Seymour strode forward beating two retreating defenders before firing the ball well over the cross-bar. On sixty minutes Wormingford replaced both Dobson (R) and Fitzpatrick with Poole and Owen (S) respectively with Dobson (L) making a fine tackle on Lowbridge who then fouled Dobson (L) as he came away with the ball until Harvey dispossessed him at which time Dobson (L) pulled up with an injury forcing him to leave the field of play and be replaced by Fitzpatrick. Within minutes, Wormingford took the lead, slightly against the general balance of play but Poole, an inspired substitution, made a fine run down the right side beating the last defender to cross into the path of MARTIN CURTIS who swept the ball home from close range. May & Baker picked up the pace of the game and attacked so when the ball reached the unmarked TOM HARVEY on the edge of the penalty area he drove the ball past the stationary figure of Lynn who was given little chance to save.
With fifteen minutes remaining, the game remained level but with May & Baker looking the more dangerous team with the lively Lowbridge always in the thick of the action so no surprise then, when he crashed a fine rising shot against the cross-bar. Stanbrook headed wide from a header by Seymour following a free-kick taken by Chambers, Stoneman found Fitzpatrick then Earle was involved getting the ball to Whybrow (B) who needlessly fouled Chambers. Stanbrook foiled Poole with a fine challenge but O’Connor got forward to find Harvey and then Lowbridge who unleashed a rising shot that keeper Lynn just got his fingertips on the ball to divert its trajectory and save an almost certain goal. On eighty-two minutes the next goal might prove to be a winner, but who would take the chance, Stoneman and Close worked the ball forward then Stoneman broke forward until Stanbrook recovered to concede a corner, taken by Curtis and headed out the other side by Stanbrook. Earle took this next corner which was cleared until O’Connor fouled Curtis who got up to take the free-kick only to hit the defensive wall with the ball being cleared. Wormingford kept up their attacks with Curtis working the ball to Stoneman but Poole shot wide when the ball dissected the May & Baker defence. May & Baker had the last chance of the first ninety minutes, Saunders sent in a deep cross that Fitzpatrick put out for a corner, taken by Harvey with Pringle heading out for another corner which was cleared.
FULL TIME: 1 – 1
So for the second match in a week, Wormingford had to endure a further period of thirty minutes, the first period of which they started with Chambers covering a potential break by Close and Earle, then Poole got forward on the right side finding Curtis whose first time cross was headed into the net by Stoneman, who was flagged for offside, so close! The limping Saunders was replaced by Patten but Wormingford had another great opportunity when Earle broke clear to find Stoneman, whose first time shot picked out the motionless keeper, Roberts, any other spot would have seen a goal!
May & Baker pushed forward themselves with Seymour crossing to Chambers who lost his footing just as he was about shoot and keeper, Roberts again excelled to deny Stoneman in a one-on-one situation when through on goal. Both teams had been pressing this half, Pringle was injured but resumed after a short delay, Owen (M) fouled Close just inside his own half with Earle turning inside the penalty area to drive the ball just over the crossbar.
EXTRA-TIME – HALF-TIME: 1 – 1
May & Baker started the last period of open play with Oliver fouling Haynes and receive a caution, long driven cross from Lowbridge was caught just under the crossbar by Lynn and Messenger replaced Saunders for May & Baker. Curtis received the ball from Owen (S) then Earle took up the running until Chambers cleared but only to Stoneman who showed good use of his feet to work a cross with his left foot. Oliver for May & Baker was caught marginally offside and with five minutes of extra-time remaining Patten was almost through until Owen (S) put in a great tackle.
Poole and Stanbrook stood head to head, after a robust challenge, bit silly really at this stage of the game but after a spoken word from the referee play resumed. The free-kick was struck hard and low with Roberts collecting and clearing to Harvey who fed Oliver who forced a diving save from Lynn. With penalties now a realistic outcome, May & Baker replaced Saunders with Worboyes who did not actually touch the ball before the end of extra-time was signalled.
EXTRA-TIME – FULL-TIME: 1 – 1
May & Baker Eastbrook Community FC Reserves. Wormingford Wanderers FC.
- Patten Scores 1) Stoneman Scores 1 – 1
- Lowbridge Saved 2) Earle Scores 1 – 2
- Worboyes Scores 3) Curtis Scores 2 – 3
- Harvey Scores 4) Poole Missed 3 – 3
- Oliver Scores 5) Owen (S) Missed 4 – 3
A win for May & Baker Eastbrook Community FC by four penalties to the three of Wormingford Wanderers FC.
So after one hundred & twenty minutes of football and a nail-biting session of penalties it was May & Baker Eastbrook Community FC Reserves who lifted the Essex Junior Cup, both teams had played well in stages with May & Baker probably playing the better football throughout but Wormingford had their own chances in a close contest.
For my Man-of-the-Match choice, May & Baker had several players that looked useful, Stanbrook in defence with Patten, Harvey and especially Lowbridge prominent throughout, for Wormingford, keeper Lynn made several fine save, Stoneman battled away up front and had numerous chances but it was in midfield that Liam Close literally stood head and shoulders over everyone else.
I don’t normally mention the match officials but our own Lewis Farthing kept a tight rein on discipline, kept the game flowing, a deserved caution apiece but a very good performance, so well done.
MAY & BAKER EASTBROOK COMMUNITY FC RESERVES:
Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Jason Roberts., Scott O’Connor., Aaron Chambers., George Stanbrook., Max Owen., Josh Gill., Darren Seymour (C)., Ben Saunders., Carl Patten., Tom Harvey., Josh Lowbridge.
Joint Manager: Alec Simm.
Joint Manager: Jordan Harris.
Used Substitutes: Joel Oliver., Shane Messenger., Frankie Worboyes.
Unused Substitutes: Jack Boys
WORMINGFORD WANDERERS FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Danny Lynn., Tom Haynes., Robert Fitzpatrick., Jamie Pringle., Liam Dobson., Steven Parker., Ross Dobson., Liam Close., Ben Whybrow (C)., Ash Stoneman., Martin Curtis.
Manager: Lee Whybrow.
Assistant Manager: Ben Whybrow.
Used Substitutes: Bruce Poole., Tom Earle., Sam Owen.
Unused Substitutes: Ben Bracey., Jake Westerman
Referee: Lewis Farthing (West Bergholt)
Assistant Referees: Jamie Wood (Romford)
and : Tom Johnson (Harlow)
4th Official: Alphie Ibrahim (South Woodford)
Men of the Match: Liam CLOSE (WORMINGFORD WANDERERS FC)