ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
LITTLE OAKLEY FC RESERVES: 1. ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS FC: 1.
Date: Wednesday 11th April 2018. Venue: War Memorial Ground, Little Oakley.
Evening games can be a bit of a lottery for clubs without floodlights, early evening kick-offs for matches that finish in the gloom and maybe after a reduced playing period, however the facilities at Little Oakley this season are excellent and despite the fog, which dropped just before kick-off, the bright floodlights enabled this entertaining game to take place. Before kick-off the hosts, with six games to play, sat in seventh place whilst the visitors, with just two games to play, had continued to confound other clubs by keeping up a commendable fourth placed position.
For this match the appointed match official was Stuart Gillman, with Daniel Webb as first assistant whilst club stalwarts Michael Good (LOFC) and Brian Martin (ACR) ran the other line, despite not having the best of footwear!
Alresford, whom I had last watched back in late October, kicked off with at least four players I had not seen before in their line-up and in their first attack home keeper, Pepperell was quickly out to kick clear but his effort was poor, failing to reach the centre circle where Johnson failed to control properly and when shooting weakly towards the unguarded net fired well wide and keeper Pepperell collected. On four minutes Rusby fouled O’Brien from which a corner ensued when Hammerton chased forward with Bedford putting the ball out. Little Oakley struck back with Rusby pushing the ball forward to Smart who played in Brazitas who used his pace to get round Snook with Juby covering to concede a first corner to the home team. From the corner, Little Oakley kept up their pressure inside the penalty area with keeper Spencer making a fine one-handed save however from another corner on nine minutes, Juby headed clear outside the penalty area from where defender MATT BEDFORD hammered a fine strike past the keeper, his first goal for his team this season. Smart chased a long ball forward towards the corner flag and from his driven cross Stallan cleared but only as far as Rusby who snatched at his shot with the ball flying wide on the right side of the goal. The home team pushed forward again when Harte found Brazitas who again used his pace to find the goal-line and cross into the penalty area where Stallan cleared.
Alresford had been forced to defend for ten minutes but later broke forward leading to a shot from O’Brien flying wide, then on sixteen minutes a cross from Hammerton was headed wide, also by O’Brien. Little Oakley started again with Harte finding Smart who needed too many left footed touches before a killer pass opportunity was found as the visitors snuffed out that danger. Brazitas made a clumsy challenge on Snook and when the ball was pumped forward, defender Bedford attempted to play the ball back to Pepperell, O’Brien intercepted the ball and pushed the ball goalwards, past, Pepperell who was now out of position but Kioussis was covering behind his keeper to clear the danger. Little Oakley got forward again when Smart chased down a forward ball from Eade but keeper Spencer made another good save, Eade struck the right hand post when well placed and Bellamy for Alresford tried his luck with a long effort which Pepperell field comfortably as this end-to-end game found the half-hour mark.
A long free-kick taken by Juby found the free head of Lewis whose header flew straight to keeper, Pepperell and from his throw out he found Eade who skipped past the challenge of Bowden to find Smart who held his head in his hands as keeper, Spencer made an excellent parry with Stallan clearing up, Linnane blocked the first of two close range shots with Juby doing likewise as the home team tried to press home on their single goal advantage. Brazitas was eased off the ball by O’Brien, calls for a penalty went unheard but to me, like the referee, it was a case of adult on youth, a fair challenge by a committed mid-fielder. A long ball chase by Jackson produced a left footed cross from the right side but team captain Kioussis headed the ball back to his keeper, then a free-kick taken by Bellamy from twenty-five yards found O’Brien who was adjudged to have fouled Eagle on the penalty spot and the first half played by two committed teams drew to a close with the home team holding on to their single goal lead.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 0.
With Bedford, having sustained an injury late in the first half he was replaced by Adams at the start of the second half, Little Oakley were to kick-off as the fog seemed to lift making for improved visibility across the pitch. Brazitas took an early run down the left side, cutting inside Snook but Stallan was on hand to divert the ball to Eade who, surprised at the pace of the ball, reacted too slowly to capitalise with only Spencer to beat. A run and dribble by Rusby past three midfield players was stalled by a poor final pass towards Brazitas with Linnane intercepting mid-half. Adams made a fine challenge on Hammerton, Jackson tried a long effort at goal from a pass by Bellamy but Pepperell caught the high cross. Eagle used his knee to play the ball out for a corner as Alresford upped their approach and the pace of the game continued in the early stages of the second half. Alresford replaced Bowden with Chavas de Nova, Linnane, ran forward beating three players before running into trouble just past half-way with Roots dispossessing the adventurous defender to set Smart away with Snook defending well to concede a corner.
On the hour mark, Alresford found a deserved equaliser, Chavas de Nova burst down the left side running onto a pass from Bellamy and when his low cross reached the edge of the penalty area RYAN LEWIS struck the ball with the outside of his right foot with the ball curling into the goal with Pepperell seemingly wrong-footed on his goal-line! Little Oakley replaced Pratt with Eades and Smart dived sharply into a challenge on Juby to concede a free-kick on the half-way line, Bellamy showed some good footwork reaching a ball from Jackson and when play switched Snook fouled Brazitas in full flight. Keeper, Spencer made another timely save at the far post when Eades drifted wide to head goalwards from a cross by Smart, a real chance but an excellent piece of re-positioning by the keeper. On seventy minutes two player changes were made by Alresford, Linnane and O’Brien departed with Thompson and Wightman taking their places. Alresford, who had improved this half and were making more telling attacks, one of which led to Lewis being thwarted by an excellent reflex save by Pepperell and Little Oakley made their final change with Eade being replaced by Caudill. When Wightman put the ball through to Bellamy he looked up and tried to lob the home keeper, standing near the edge of his penalty area, but the ball was slightly over-hit and clipped the back of the cross-bar and safety, a close call but a piece of opportunist play.
Bellamy was now seeing more of the ball and when he played in Chavas de Nova the young player shot only for Pepperell to dive at full stretch to push the ball wide to be cleared. At the other end a long ball forward by Kioussis almost found Eades but Hammerton, now playing in defence was alert and headed the ball back to Spencer. Thompson pushed the ball forward to Bellamy who had just strayed off-side, Jackson used his pace to get round Roots and when the ball fizzed across the six-yard box, Thompson tried to get between Eagle and Kioussis who collided and with the loose ball reaching Bellamy his shot was still dipping as it flew over the corner of the cross-bar and upright, with Pepperell back-pedalling. A strong challenge by Smart led to a verbal word from the on-the-spot referee, Juby struck the free-kick to Thompson who fed Lewis who hit a low shot which Pepperell field low down. Eades strode forward and set up Rusby up but his shot took a deflection off a defender and Spencer saved despite initially going the other way across goal. When Hammerton ran forward he found Chavas de Nova on the left side and from his deep cross Bellamy could only manage to control the ball with his hand on the edge of the penalty area. Alresford kept pushing forward, Juby found Jackson down the right side with Eagle clearing high and long whilst Kioussis fouled Bellamy with just three minutes remaining. Could this be the last chance for a winner, Bellamy claimed the ball, set it up and stroked a fine free-kick towards the far post where Thompson rose to head goalwards only for keeper, Pepperell to make an outstanding save, conceding a corner. From the corner taken by Jackson, Pepperell punched the ball high and slightly behind him and it looked like Harte who cleared the ball off the goal-line and the game was brought to a close, honours even.
FULL TIME: 1 – 1.
Considering most of the players on show had probably been at work during the day, they all put in a lot of commitment in an entertaining game that did not slow at any time, good attacking football, plenty of chances, very little dissent, only three players were spoken too and no cautions, well done, you are a credit to the ESBFL.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, for Little Oakley, Pepperell made a couple of timely saves, the defence looked sound with Kioussis and Eagle dominating, Eade and Brazitas looked sharp in the first half whilst Smart was a live-wire all game long. For Alresford, again the defence looked sound with Linnane and Stallan working hard, O’Brien, Juby and Bellamy mastered the midfield in the second half, a half they slightly edged, however, with several timely and decisive saves keeper, Spencer gets my nod for this game.
LITTLE OAKLEY FC RESERVES FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Charlie Pepperell., Matt Bedford., Daniel Roots., Reece Harte., Nathan Kioussis (C)., Daryl Eagle., Leroy Eade., Brandon Rusby., Robert Pratt., Ryan Smart., Ross Brazitas.
Manager: James Good.
Used Substitutes: Conor Adams., Jamie Eades., Josh Caudill.
ALRESFORD COLNE RANGER FC: Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Red Socks.
Peter Spencer., Brandon Snook., Tom Bowden., Winston Juby., Scott Stallan., Glen Linnane., Jack Johnson., Aiden O’Brien., Ryan Lewis., Brett Bellamy., Chay Hammerton.
Manager: Gary Bright.
Used Substitutes: Robert Thompson., Robert Wightman., Pablo Chavas de Nova
Unused Substitutes: Chris Marshall., Christopher Collins.
Referee: Stuart Gillman (Wivenhoe)
Assistants: Daniel Webb (Colchester)
and 1st half: Michael Good Little Oakley FC
and 2nd half: Brian Martin Alresford Colne Rangers FC
Man of the Match: Peter SPENCER. (ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS 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 ( email@example.com ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
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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Player Registration Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form