ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC FC: 5. HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: 0.
Date: Saturday 17th March 2018.
Venue: Brantham Leisure Centre, Brantham.
An evening game was on the cards for Wednesday evening, this time over at Brantham Leisure Centre where their Reserve team took on Harwich & Parkeston FC in an ESBFL Premier Division match. Despite son heavy daytime and overnight rain the pitch was in good condition, heavy perhaps but perfectly playable under floodlights, before kick-off Brantham sat tenth and Harwich with eight or seven games respectively of the season still to be played so plenty of points to play for to achieve a high league position.
For this match the appointed match official was Phil Molly who would be assisted by father and son combo, Adrian and Harry Arnot, the latter in his second full season with the ESBFL, Brantham had made a pre-match signing as well as securing the services of Kioussis (J) from neighbours Little Oakley FC and we were ready to go.
Brantham kicked-off playing the long ball forward to Brothers looking to Selwyn, Abrahams and Sykes to feed off these moves and a ball forward from Kioussis found Sykes in an off-side position, this after the first foul of the match by Selwyn on Lamb (O). Brothers found Mathurin running wide and from his deep cross Lamb (O) headed out for a corner, taken by Selwyn but headed clear by Lamb (O) with Lamb (G) giving chase up-field and setting up a Harwich attack which stopped when Mann raised a high foot against Westley for a free-kick. After the initial positive start by Brantham, Harwich got themselves into the game, but some tackles had started to fly in, the contest between Brothers and Lamb (O) was warming up nicely! On eight minutes Brothers eluded his defensive marker and proceeded down the left side to send a deep cross to the far post where ETHAN ABRAHAMS stole in to side-foot home. The Harwich response was immediate with Shuttlewood winning a corner taken by Payne and cleared to Barnard whose control let him down in front of goal and Brantham cleared towards Selwyn who was stopped by a perfectly timed challenge by Lamb (O) as otherwise the home player was through on goal. A mazy run by Payne led to a left-footed cross which Barnard flicked up and over advancing keeper Hunt with the ball striking the cross-bar before being cleared by Kioussis.
On fifteen minutes Harwich had two crosses blocked by Sykes and Kioussis leading to a throw-in which Brantham defended only to build another attack themselves forcing Harwich to retreat but having gained the ball gave it away too cheaply! A fine run and left-footed cross by Kioussis led to Harwich keeper Woods punching clear to Payne who found Westley then Barnard joined in to find Thompson who crossed only for Westley to foul Eldridge inside the six-yard box. At the other end Lamb (O) was shielding the ball harmlessly behind for a goal-kick until Brothers tackled him from behind, why, I ask myself, the ball was virtually out and those rash types of challenge could easily have led to an un-necessary caution, when will players learn! A cross from Abrahams found Sykes which was cleared by Edwards to Brothers whose snatched shot flashed past the goal then Barnard for Harwich held the ball up well but needed more support in forward positions.
Harwich suffered a blow on the half-hour mark when Edwards rashly dived into a challenge on Abrahams only to get injured and be forced to leave the field until a replacement could be readied, with the free-kick taken by Abrahams drifting right across the congested goal-mouth. Neale was introduced as a straight defensive replacement for Edwards and from the goal-kick Johnson made a rash challenge on Westley, right on the half-way line, the Harwich player returned to play after treatment and during that time Kioussis was cautioned after a typical foul on Tarling who was less than pleased! A dribble by Barnard past three players led to him stumbling inside the penalty area, definitely not a penalty as no contact and no simulation either and when Brantham broke forward Lamb (O) fouled Brothers to receive his first caution, Harwich defended this free-kick to break forward and force keeper, Hunt to punch clear as Barnard threatened.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 0.
Brantham made an immediate change at the second half restart replacing Mann with Davies, Harwich won an early corner taken by Barnard but struck way too hard and long, Richardson found Westley who was challenged by both Eldridge and keeper Hunt. Good work by Brothers saw his crisp left foot shot rebound off the base of the left hand up-right but Sykes should have done better than skying the ball over the cross bar from six yards out, may be just setting his sights for later! Lamb (O) found Brothers too quick and fouled him again, Brantham took a quick free-kick through Selwyn to Brothers but Neale cleared across the penalty area to Abrahams whose snap shot bounced once before Woods fielded on the six-yard line. Ten minutes into the half and Harwich replaced Shuttlewood with Sidiki, Brantham won a free-kick just on the corner of the penalty area, taken left footed by Selwyn with the ball eluding everyone except JACK SIBBONS who stole in at the far post to head home with Westley suffering an injury and having to limp off to be replaced minutes later by King. Harwich keeper Woods made an excellent save against Johnson after Neale had deflected a pass from Selwyn into his path, but the keeper was powerless to stop a first time lobbed effort from GEORGE SYKES who had drifted behind the defence to reach a bouncing pass from Kioussis.
Brantham then replaced the injured Kioussis with Brown, another Under 18 player, whilst Barnard crossed for Harwich with Richardson flicked the ball wide with his head. On sixty-five minutes Brantham scored again, Brothers skipped past Lamb (G) to hit find Selwyn whose low shot was deflected into the net by GEORGE SYKES, handily placed despite a huge shout for off-side by the Harwich contingent. A cross from Barnard was headed firmly home by King only for the goal to be ruled out for off-side and minutes after his involvement in the fourth goal, Brothers was replaced by Rowe. Harwich then put together their most promising attack of the half, Payne defended well to come away with the ball after dispossessing Rowe, Richardson took the ball on to find Barnard who cut inside from the left side only to sky his effort far too high and wide.
Brantham had steadily built attacks from defence forcing Harwich back to defend with a long ball forward from Lamb (O) finding Barnard in an off-side position, then Richardson found Barnard who stepped inside once again to find Neale but in an off-side position. Richardson and Payne linked up again before Sibbons intercepted the final pass then King chased a long ball forward before sending over a decent cross which Sibbons sliced wide for a corner. In the dying minutes Lamb (O) conceded a penalty when fouling Johnson who had tried to wriggle through from the left side, Lamb (O) overstepped the mark with his verbal protests to receive a second yellow card and his dismissal whilst Tarling also received a caution for dissent. So who would take the penalty, well if you are on two goals already then who else but GEORGE SYKES who drilled the ball low to the keeper’s right to complete a second half hat-trick.
FULL TIME: 5 – 0.
The score-line looks like an easy win for Brantham but Harwich had their chances but could not capitalise on these whereas the home team took their chances with the visitors perhaps hampered by the early lose of defender Edwards and then Westley who had proved to be useful up front.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, defender and captain, Lamb (O) had led his team well and his performance was only overshadowed by his late dismissal, Barnard battled away without success whilst Richardson and Payne stuck to their task through midfield where Brantham always seemed to have the edge. Now Brantham had, within the rules of the competition, included a couple of First Teamers, Brothers, returning after suspension and Sibbons clearly helped strengthen their squad for this match, however, midfielder Johnson and forward Selwyn always looked dangerous on the ball, likewise Abrahams who scored the first goal however with a second half hat-trick and all round decent performance then George Sykes is my mid-week nomination.
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Stuart Hunt., Jacob Kioussis., Simon Mann., Jack Sibbons., Adam Eldridge., Elliot Johnson., Sean Mathurin., Ethan Abrahams., Michael Brothers (C)., Franky Selwyn., George Sykes.
Manager: Paul Bertram.
Used Substitutes: Dan Roe., Oliver Brown., Justin Davies.
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Carmichael., Joel Andrews.
HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: Colours: Black & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Thomas Woods., Darren Tarling., George Lamb., Jake Richardson., Curtis Edwards., Oliver Lamb (C)., Samuel Thompson., Mitchell Payne., Bradley Westley., Luke Barnard., James Shuttlewood.
Joint Manager: Glen Eldridge.
Used Substitutes: Lewis King., Jake Neale., Joshgun Sidiki.
Unused Substitutes: Billy-Lee Eldridge., James North.
Referee: Phil Molloy (Colchester)
Assistants: Adrian Arnot (Colchester)
And Harry Arnot (Colchester)
Man of the Match: George SYKES. (BRANTHAM ATHLETIC FC)
Reminder to Club / Fixture Secretaries
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