ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
A. V. LEE MEMORIAL TROPHY.
GAS RECREATION FC: 1. WEST BERGHOLT FC: 2.
Date: Tuesday 11th September 2018. Kick-Off: 19:30pm
Venue: War Memorial Ground, Little Oakley.
This A.V. Lee Memorial Trophy match eventually got played last evening at the impressive War Memorial Ground, Little Oakley, between last season’s ESBFL Premier Division winners, Gas Recreation FC and defeated Knock-Out Cup finalists, West Bergholt FC. I say eventually played, as the first match was postponed due to a water-logged pitch and that was in August!
Gas, on paper, the home team have lost several of that all-conquering team but in their league matches to date have shown that their desire to win has not faltered and West Bergholt after a couple of defeats are back in contention with some strong recent performances. The team starting line-ups showed numerous player changes, mainly due to injury or mid-week unavailability but we still expected a gritty match that would court on the side of controversy, if only for the fact that both teams know each other so well.
Tonight’s third team, the match officials, comprised of Referee, John Watson, his Assistant Referees, Andrew French and Eric Bowers, now in his fortieth year as a referee in the ESBFL with young Rhys Collins acting as the Fourth Official.
As I made my way to the neutral side of the ground I was conscious of the threatening black clouds heading our way and thought, that stand behind the goal might prove useful, and within fifteen minutes I was proved right and de-camped to that shelter along with other ESBFL Officials. West Bergholt kicked-off playing away from the Clubhouse, and after only two minutes a cross-field ball looked fairly harmless as keeper, Penna called for it and ran to the right side of his penalty area to collect, however, the alert Bloomfield reached the ball at the same time to win the challenge, dis-possess what should have been a keepers ball, before crossing into the six-yard box where BOBBY BETHELL slotted home into an empty net. Gas were subsequently given no time on the ball, from which to create attacking moves, Gregory pulled back Edwards as he ran free across the half-way line, maybe the shape of things to come as Bethell (B) then fouled Firkens (A) to set up a free-kick taken by Taylor which was headed clear by Springett. Another goal followed on ten minutes, White fouled Bulmer right on the arc of the “D” and LUKE TAYLOR curled a delightful free-kick over and around the wall to find the top corner of the net, with keeper, Bethell (L) totally stranded.
Buoyed by this equaliser, Gas moved forward again with Hewes and Bulmer linking up with the latter player mis-hitting his shot straight to the keeper and the rain started, Gregory was the first player to be spoken too about a poor challenge, the free-kick taken by Springett found Townrow who fouled Stoneman inside the penalty area. A corner from Springett was headed clear by Stoneman and from the second corner Firkens (A) headed the corner-kick way whilst standing near the goal-line. Taylor, for Gas was the next player to be spoken too, again for a poor challenge but the game had settled down with both teams trying to move the ball about the excellent playing surface. Hewes sent a fine rising shot goal-wards as the West Bergholt stood off his run forward forcing keeper, Bethell (L) to make a smart save pushing the ball away to his right side where Bulmer controlled to find Gregory lurking on the edge of the penalty area. Farthing cleared the ball forward and away from danger but Townrow fouled Stoneman and the Gas moved forward through Hewes who skipped past Springett only to cross marginally behind Bulmer running in by the penalty spot. Another high ball pumped forward by Farthing saw Townrow out-pace Hooper but with only the keeper to beat, Townrow lifted the ball over the cross-bar and the game remained as a competitive end-to-end match.
A long throw-in from Springett fell to Townrow who turned and fired goal-wards only for Taylor to go down with a head injury and a corner followed to West Bergholt, taken by Springett and cleared by Firkins (C). West Bergholt had so far relied on a direct ball approach mainly aimed towards Townrow and when keeper, Bethell (L) did likewise, Townrow fouled Hooper and was spoken too by the official who eventually called the player back to administer a caution for dissent. Gas broke forward through Firkins (C), finding Taylor who set Hewes away and from his cross Bulmer headed down to Hewes whose shot was blocked by White with Springett clearing up-field. When Bethell (D) found space to exploit he set Bloomfield away and when latching onto the return ball fired well over the cross-bar. With ten minutes of the first half remaining Bethell (B) found Townrow with Edwards heading wide from a close position then Firkins (C) found Hewes a willing runner down the left side, crossing towards Gregory but Bloomfield got there first heading out to Stoneman whose first-time driven effort missed the target by about a yard.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 1.
Gas re-started the second half and West Bergholt stuttered in their direct long ball approach as Gas threatened to dominate, perhaps leading to Bloomfield being replaced by Hannah on fifty minutes. Gas should have taken the lead, good build up play from the right side saw the ball reach Bulmer who side-stepped a lazy challenge, shoot goal-wards only for a defender, not sure who, to get in the way and make a fine block on the goal-line and clear the ensuing scramble inside the six-yard box. Jones was guilty of a high challenge on Davison and he, too, was spoken to probably for the second time. When a West Bergholt attack faltered with keeper, Penna making a diving save near the penalty spot, the keeper gathered the loose ball and ran towards the edge of the penalty area to clear however Edwards hunted him down and fouled the keeper, who stupidly lashed out with his foot, leading to a Gas free-kick and a caution for Edwards, which was quickly followed by a caution for Bethell (B), this for dissent. Bethell (D) was cautioned for a late challenge on Jones, Taylor sent the long free-kick goal-wards but Bethell (L) was fouled by Bulmer in the process of catching the ball then the pace of Hannah forced Firkins (A) into a miss-timed challenge wide on the right side.
On sixty-five minutes this game was evenly poised, Farthing went route one once again and with Townrow running clear of the Gas defence it was left to keeper, Penna to advance and catch the ball just as Townrow threatened to score. Davison fouled Stoneman as another flowing Gas movement threatened down the right side then a pass from Stoneman found Hewes whose cross found Bulmer, but Gregory could not capitalise as West Bergholt cleared their lines. The second and what turned out to be the winning goal came when Firkins (C) won a challenge against Hannah to concede a throw-in, taken by Springett to LEE TOWNROW who controlled the ball on his chest before turning past Hooper and fire the ball high into the roof of the net from an acute angle beyond the six-yard line, perhaps keeper, Penna should have been covering his near post but the shot was accurate and was hit with some force. Davison was spoken too for some strong language and Firkins (C) received a just caution for a heavy challenge on Hannah and West Bergholt replaced Bethell (B) with Hynes.
Gregory latched onto a fine pass from Jones and held his head in his hands as his rising shot cannoned back off the face of the cross-bar to be cleared, a great effort none-the-less and Gas probably deserved an equaliser at this late stage. Gas replaced Jones with Dragos and Hooper spoke out of turn to receive his caution then Mitchell was replaced by West (D) who took up a forward position. West Bergholt had ridden their luck on a couple of occasions defensively but still looked dangerous when attacking, Springett found Townrow whose pass to Bethell (D) was struck into the side-netting. Stoneman got forward for Gas, to find Bulmer and from his lay off, Taylor headed straight into the arms of keeper, Bethell (L), another decent chance you would expect to be taken. A strong run forward by Townrow was stopped by Hooper, Stoneman dived into a challenge but Townrow hurdled this to run on and force keeper, Penna to make a fine diving save. As the minutes ticked away it was left to West (D) to chase back and clatter Hynes and earn only a just caution, on another evening it could, in my opinion, have been worse!
FULL TIME: 1 – 2.
After the match, ESBFL Vice-Chairman, John Campany thanked Little Oakley FC for the use of their superb facilities and asked the Match Officials, the losing team, Gas Recreation FC and the winners, West Bergholt FC to accept medals from M/s Alison Willmore and Brian Reed.
As expected neither team gave any quarter, there was some decent football played and defences largely cancelled out the opposition threat, three goals, one from a keeper error, one, a superb free-kick and a piece of opportunism for the winner. Another statistic was the tally of cautions, three for Gas and four for West Bergholt, could have been more, mainly for dissent which kept the match officials busy and will no doubt swell the coffers of the already well off ECFA!
Now for my Player-of-the-Match choice, as it was a cup competition I’m going to nominate one player from each team, for Gas, Reserve team keeper, Penna, made some timely and outstanding saves but may be was at fault for one if not both goals conceded. In midfield their battle was dominated by Firkens (A), Gregory and Hewes but for me, Luke Taylor was excellent throughout, whether in defence, midfield or latterly up-front. For West Bergholt some stubborn defending by White and Farthing kept the Gas at bay but in goal-scorer Lee Townrow they always had a threat and he took his goal extremely well and probably should have scored more.
GAS RECREATION FC:
Colours: Red & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Benjamin Penna., Jack Stoneman., Calvin Firkins., Connor Jones., Scott Hooper., Luke Taylor (C)., Harry Hewes., Jack Gregory., Jake Mitchell., John Bulmer., Asten Firkens.
Manager: Simon Hayward.
Used Substitutes: Dean West., Vlad Dragos.
Unused Substitutes: Jay West., Ben Lawton., Liam Dadds.
WEST BERGHOLT FC:
Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Luke Bethell., Liam Springett (C)., Connor Davison., Anthony White., Nicholas Farthing., Luke Edwards., Bobby Bethell., Ryan Brown., Lee Townrow., Darren Bethell., Luke Bloomfield.
Manager: Christopher Tracey.
Used Substitutes: Gavin Hannah., Kieron Hynes.
Unused Substitutes: Gareth Gibson.
Referee: John Watson (Colchester)
Assistants: Andrew French (Halstead)
and Eric Bowers (Lawford)
4th Official: Rhys Collins (Clacton-On-Sea)
Players-of-the-Match: Luke TAYLOR (GAS RECREATION FC)
and Lee TOWNROW (WEST BERGHOLT FC)
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 ( email@example.com ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.
KO is 3:00pm from: September to October
KO is 2:00pm in: November, 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