ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
BARNSTON AFC: 2. WORMINGFORD WANDERERS FC: 3.
Date: Saturday 01st December 2018. Venue: High Easter Road, Barnston.
As avid readers of my weekly epistles might know, I try to watch Premier Division teams both home and away during the playing season, trying to watch all new clubs / teams at some stage and pick up many other matches from all other divisions. Last season the only two Premier Division team’s I did not manage to get to, were, Barnston AFC at home and Wormingford Wanderers FC away so this year I have sorted that issue already. At the start of play Barnston AFC stood twelfth and Wormingford Wanders FC stood eleventh but only on goal difference, both teams signed a player before kick-off, so I was naturally expecting a close match.
On a dark, damp and miserable afternoon the match official Steven Tovey arrived early, the pitch which has a noticeable slope but tends to retain water at the far end looked very heavy and that was before any player ran on it. With the referee, who had a match observer, Tony Trever’s watching, concurring that the pitch was playable, albeit heavy, both teams were changed and with the respect handshake undertaken it was the visitors who kicked off.
Straight from the kick off Wormingford worked the ball down the left side and Curtis put in a wild shot after defenders Scott-Bell and Burgess failed to clear, a bit of to you, to me, to you, to me, here you go, have a shot! Home captain Burgess, urged his team forward and his pass found Glynn who was fouled by Parker just level but wide of the penalty area, Spencer took the free-kick, Burgess headed down and JAKE NEWLOVE swept the ball home from close range with only five minutes on the clock. Barnston increased their lead three minutes later, Healy won a crucial tackle inside the centre-circle and played the ball through to JAKE NEWLOVE who ran on to score as defenders floundered in the tricky conditions. Angel, a recent signing from Alresford, for the visitors, this week playing wide on the left instead of in defence pushed forward only to be fouled by Final just on the edge of the penalty area and despite his protestations Final, received a caution, Brown took the free kick, but Parker fouled Burgess on the penalty spot. Home keeper, Bennett made an excellent save at the feet of Angel who had broken clear, but when the ball ran loose Jackson fouled Angel from behind and a penalty kick was awarded which allowed MARC BROWN to step up and send the keeper the wrong way, three goals in fifteen minutes, what would the rest of the game produce!
Clearly, judging by the score-line, this game had been end-to-end and this continued, club stalwart, Spencer put in an excellent challenge on Curtis, any error on timing could have been critical as Curtis entered the penalty area with keeper, Bennett gratefully fielding the ball. Midfielder, Scott-Bell showed some good footwork, despite the muddy conditions, to find Healy and the home team continued to press and hassle their opponents at every opportunity. Home keeper, Bennett had to act as sweeper when Whybrow threatened when running onto a pass from Pringle, but the keeper’s clearance was poor until Burgess spared his blushes by clearing up-field. Buoyed by this, Wormingford worked the next attack starting with a trade-mark run down the right side by Haynes who found Curtis, suspiciously off-side, but not given, and it remained for defender, Final to get back and clear for a corner, taken by Brown with Burgess climbing highest to power a firm header away from danger.
Whybrow was caught marginally off-side from a pass by Fowler, in my opinion, a good decision from the home linesman and from another Wormingford attack down the slope, Fowler set Curtis up for a shot, but it turned out to be more of an over-hit cross. Spencer combined with Healy who crossed towards Evans, who was just about to shoot when Fowler nicked the ball off his toes and clear upfield to Curtis who sent in a decent cross which home keeper, Bennett clawed out of the air. This end-to-end pattern of play continued, Parker won a tackle on Healy, Gonpo, a deceptive player with good mobility latched onto the loose ball and threatened until Pringle stepped in to dispossess him. Gonpo and Healy worked the ball to Evans and from his lay-off Newlove shot wide of the goal. With five minutes of the half remaining Burgess found Glynn running free but Fitzpatrick raced back to cover, then Newlove gave chase with Brown blocking a driven shot with keeper O’Connor picking up what the home team thought was a back-pass and the half ended with Burgess making a fine tackle on Whybrow on the edge of the penalty area.
HALF-TIME: 2 – 1.
Barnston re-started the match kicking down the slope but would it be to their advantage as despite holding a single goal lead, the visitors were by no means a beaten team and had showed attacking promise in the first half. A corner from Brown found Pringle who headed high and over, Burgess cleared another attack to Spencer and Barnston worked the ball forward with Spencer crossing to keeper, O’Connor. Final pushed down the right side to send in a cross which keeper O’Connor and defender Pringle scrambled away then Gonpo found Healy who set Evans through but after a chase for the ball could only watch as his lobbed effort cleared the advancing keeper only to drift wide of the right hand upright. Even after fifty minutes, I must say that both teams were giving everything and still creating chances, despite the deteriorating conditions. Pringle set Angel away and from his pass inside Fowler scooped the ball over the cross-bar, he should really have done better here but at least he was in the mix for an attempt at goal. Brown found Whybrow mid-half, who turned and chased down the ball until Burgess got across to defend once again to release Evans whose deep cross after a chase down the left side found Scott-Bell too far forward and play was brought back for the off-side decision.
Almost on the hour mark, if either team looked likely to score it was Wormingford, urged on by the midfield prompting of Close, Brown, Fowler and Angel, who were now doing to Barnston what they had experienced in the first half, ie. don’t give them any space in which to play. Evans found Glynn whose cross was intercepted by Parker whose forward ball fell kindly to Brown who let fly with a shot that missed the goal, hit a van and set off the alarm! The home team through Evans, Glynn, Healy and Gonpo created another chance for Healy who shot wide, and when play reverted to the other end Spencer was adjudged to have fouled Whybrow over near the corner flag, a free-kick and the defender was spoken too, a clumsy challenge aided by the conditions. From the free-kick taken by Brown, a goal-mouth scramble ensued, defenders failed to defend and when the ball broke loose, BEN FOWLER slotted home from close range much to the annoyance of keeper, Bennett who berated his fellow defenders, presumably for poor marking. A high foot from Jackson on Curtis led to a free-kick, taken by Brown and cleared by Burgess, a quick turn and break from Newlove saw his driven cross reach Evans who had no time to control and shoot before defenders arrived with Pringle clearing the danger, but goal-scoring chances were still being created. On sixty-eight minutes, the injured, two goal Newlove was replaced by Merritt but it was the visitors who now held the balance of play, a cross from Fitzpatrick found Angel whose looping header was expertly tipped over the cross-bar by keeper, Bennett. At the other end Evans forced O’Connor to save in a one-on-one situation with Parker clearing for a corner with Barnston replacing Healy with Toher and for the visitors, Haynes found Whybrow who set Angel through until Jackson covered in defence and fifteen minutes remained when Wormingford introduced Field for Angel who took over the linesman duties.
A free-kick from Brown skimmed off he head of Pringle, then the determination of Gonpo saw him beat three players through midfield before fouling Haynes and from this free-kick Brown sent the ball towards defender Burgess with Field lashing the loose ball just wide. Despite kicking up the slope in what had become treacherous conditions, Wormingford posed the greater threat although keeper, O’Connor was guilty of an exceptionally poor clearance into the path of Eaves who looked up beat the keeper with his effort but missed the target from the corner of the penalty area, what a let off for the visitors. Then as the last few minutes ticked away Field strode away from half-way, Burgess matched him for pace, but the substitute weaved this way then the other before Burgess clumsily fouled Field who had shown some strength and resilience since joining this match. Unfortunately for Burgess the foul was just inside the penalty area and from his second spot kick of the match MARC BROWN struck the ball into the back of the net and effectively give the visitors an away victory. Barnston launched one more attack as an Evans free-kick found Burgess but nothing materialised, then Fitzpatrick brought down Healy with a free-kick awarded wide on the right side, the referee seeing fit to caution Fitzpatrick for dissent, after the free-kick had been taken and cleared.
FULL TIME: 2 – 3.
Given the playing conditions I must say that both teams tried to play constructive football, plenty of chances to either team, two nailed on penalties in this five-goal, match. Barnston might rue the fact they did not make more for their chances, but they certainly worked the ball to their advantage in the first half. Wormingford, having gone two goals behind inside the first eight minutes did well to stay in the game and then competed throughout, to not only equalise but actually win the match with a late penalty.
Now for my Player-of-the-Match choice, for Wormingford this became team effort, tall defenders Pringle and Parker stood out as did equally as tall midfielder, Close who after a quite first half, imposed himself more in the second. Also, in midfield Brown with some clever free-kicks and two converted penalties, Angel with some unselfish running and Fowler, probably the pick of the visitor’s players, became more dominant with Curtis and Whybrow looking to cause problems if given the chance, which they were not! Now for Barnston, keeper, Bennett looked assured with some clean handling, Spencer was as consistent as ever and Final as the other wide defender grew more confident after his early caution. In attack Evans and Glynn held the ball well in the first half but did not get the same service after the break despite good midfield work from Jackson, Healy, Newlove and Gonpo the latter two who looked useful players who contributed a lot for their team. However the central defensive pairing of Scott-Bell and Burgess thwarted most of what Wormingford threw at them and for me captain Burgess was outstanding in defence throughout, despite his late foul for the crucial winning penalty.
AFC BARNSTON: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Adam Bennett., Kevin Spencer., Christopher Final., Alex Scott-Bell., Josh Burgess (C)., William Jackson., Sonam Gonpo., Tom Healy., Luke Evans., Lee Glynn., Jake Newlove.
Acting Manager: Keith Dorset.
Used Substitutes: Ashley Merritt., Mark Toher.
WORMINGFORD WANDERERS FC: Colours: Claret Shirts., Claret Shorts and Claret Socks
Dillon O’Connor., Tom Haynes., Rob Fitzpatrick., Jamie Pringle., Steven Parker., Liam Close., Ben Fowler., Marc Brown., Martin Curtis., Luke Whybrow., Brett Angel.
Manager: Lee Whybrow.
Unused Substitutes: Edward Field.
Unused Substitutes: Lee Whybrow.
Referee: Steven Tovey (Colchester)
Player-of-the-Match: Josh BURGESS (BARNSTON AFC)
Additional Reporting – FACEBOOK (x2) & TWITTER
This season the ESBFL is widening its match-day reporting coverage, in addition to a full report written by Brian Reed, the league has enlisted the help of a young volunteer, Spencer Hume, who will also attend games using Facebook and Twitter to communicate up-to-date information and replicate other match reports, please make him welcome.
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 advise 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.
The web-site for the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League is: www.esblfootball.com
Clubs are reminded that the following documents are all available on this website under Clubs / Documents etc:
Player Registration Sheet,
Player “Signed-On-Match-Day” Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form Please report via “FA Full-Time”