ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
TOMMY THOMPSON CUP FINAL.
TIPTREE HEATH FC: 3. BURES UNITED FC. 0.
Date: Thursday 17h May 2018.
Venue: Brantham Athletic FC., Brantham Leisure Centre.
The two of the top teams in the ESBFL, Division Two had worked their way through to this seasons Tommy Thompson Cup final, Tiptree Heath FC courtesy of victories over Boxted Lodgers FC Reserves (W-O), Kelvedon Social FC Reserves, Connaught Red Star FC and Flitch United FC whilst Bures United FC had defeated Colne Athletic FC (AET & Sudden-Death Penalties), Bradfield Rovers FC Reserves, Colne Engaine FC and Tollesbury FC, both teams having joined the ESBFL at the beginning of last season and having each won one game apiece in the “head-to-head” league matches, I expected another close match.
On another bright and sunny evening, a decent crowd eventually assembled, to watch this cup final which was to be refereed by Lee Miller, who would be assisted by Matthew Webb, Ben Hughes-Day with Harry Arnot as the Fourth Official.
Tiptree Heath were to kick-off, and a quick break saw a shot from Ward, blocked by Wanmer with Ward picking up the rebound to send a curling effort just over the cross-bar, then Hawkins (M) turned Prince on the half-way line only to be fouled. Mitchell for Bures found Smith in space but Hawkins (M) was on hand to clear, but Durey made a long chase to reach the ball before crossing to Wingfield who clipped the ball over keeper, Hawkins (P) with defender Speller clearing the ball off the goal-line. Wingfield was caught running off-side from a ball played by Mitchell and after ten minutes a long ball forward by keeper, Hawkins (P) was cleared by Wood who had given chase to Green. Bures keeper, Waterfield also possesses one of those booming kicks that can reach deep into the opposition half but Tollhurst controlled the high ball and cleared to Chesney. Green, a gifted player when fully fit dribbled his way inside three Bures defenders before being fouled by Wood but the free-kick was comfortably cleared. At the fifteen-minute mark there had been few chances as both teams effectively snuffed each other out with Green gaining a throw-in for Tiptree Heath followed by a corner off Mitchell, the busier of the two Bures full-backs.
On twenty minutes Finch handled the ball inside the centre-circle but untypically the Tiptree free-kick was poor and failed to clear the defensive wall, Durey won a corner off Hawkins (M) with the same player clearing the resulting corner to such an extent that only the alertness of the Bures keeper, who read the danger and rushed outside his penalty area to clear with a low but misplaced clearance but Green was unable to steer the ball back towards goal as the keeper retreated. On twenty-five minutes, a goal, to Tiptree Heath, CAMERON WARD received the ball with his back to goal, he rolled the ball one-way then the other before stroking the ball with his left foot past the stationary keeper. There followed a verbal spat between Hubbard and Ward, then two minutes later it was two goals, Tollhurst struck a long ball forward, CAMERON WARD took off to meet the bounce of the ball and whacked it home, again with his trusty left foot, smash and grab comes to mind, but another well taken goal. A decent run forward by Jones, for Tiptree Heath almost led to a penalty-kick when Knebel dived in, but the referee was not interested and play continued, Green fouled Hubbard but the deep cross from Smith was punched clear by keeper, Hawkins (P).
With fifteen minutes to half-time Ward thought he had got away from the close marking of the Bures defence but was actually ruled off-side when chasing a ball from Chesney, the Tiptree Heath play-maker, then Bures pushed forward through Knebel, Hubbard with Smith getting the ball to Wingfield who scuffed the ball wide, the best move so far by Bures though. A long run forward by Turner gained a corner off Knebel with Chester finding Chesney who returned the ball to Chester only to find keeper, Waterfield catching the driven ball, Bures returned to the attack themselves, Hubbard, through whom most attacking play emanated stroked the ball wide to Durey who found Smith burrowing his way between two defenders only to drag his shot wide with the keeper beaten. Hawkins (M) won a corner off Smith, with Smith heading clear, then his keeper, Waterfield cleared to Chester to Jones but Wood was on hand to clear for a throw-in. A loose ball from Mitchell let in Chester who ran forward only for Knebel to get across and clear the danger before setting Hubbard up for a pass wide to Durey and from a cross by Mitchell, Tollhurst was forced to head clear for a corner which was struck directly behind the goal by Hubbard, normally an excellent deliverer from a dead ball situation. A high back-pass from Wanmer was hurriedly cleared by his keeper with Ward approaching and Briggs was cautioned for dissent at the other end. As the half, came to a close, Jones broke forward with Wanmer clearing the ball for a corner, Green took the corner-kick and with Bures seemingly ball watching Turner struck the ball goal-wards only for keeper, Waterfield to instinctively thrust out a leg and deflect the ball wide for another corner.
HALF-TIME: 2 – 0.
Bures restarted this Cup final, in what turned out to be the last ESBFL match of the season, Waterfield tipped over a rising shot from Ward after receiving the ball from Green and from the corner, taken short by Chester to the edge of the penalty area where Green played the ball into the path of the unmarked JAMIE CHESNEY who struck the ball past keeper, Waterfield positioned at the near post. Game over, I think so! Bures keeper, Waterfield appeared to be struggling with his kicking, a groin strain I believe hampered him throughout the second half, but from one of his huge clearances Hubbard found Smith who headed over the cross-bar. On fifty-three minutes Bures replaced both Mitchell and Smith with Binfield and Liskus, nothing to lose I suppose with Tiptree Heath comfortably in the driving seat. Four minutes later and Bures made their third substitution bringing on Tucker for the injured Prince and Tiptree Heath replaced Tollhurst with Thurston, Chesney was cautioned for dissent before Tiptree Heath introduced Scillitoe for Green who had struggled after coming back from injury.
A free-kick from Hubbard was headed wide by Wingfield and with twenty minutes remaining Chesney was replaced by Newman, Liskus found Wingfield, but off-side and Thurston fouled Liskus with Tiptree Heath defending strongly once again. The three substitutions made by Bures had seemingly improved the team’s performance, their link up play and ball retention was better leading to Hubbard and Knebel working he ball to Liskus whose shot was charged down by Speller, then Mitchell wriggled free to strike the ball against the chest of advancing keeper, Hawkins (P). A cross-field ball from Tucker was intercepted by Hawkins (P) and another free-kick failed to clear the Tiptree Heath defensive line and we entered the last ten minutes of a keenly fought match.
Speller fouled Knebel, who was now pushing forward at every occasion for Bures, Hubbard chipped the ball forward towards Wingfield but Hawkins (P) was quickly out to catch and clear with the keeper in action a minute later to punch clear a cross from Tucker, catching his own player Speller with is follow-through. Bures kept plugging away, Wanmer defended well against Newman, then Hubbard found Liskus with Binfield firing high and wide. When Tiptree Heath got going again Chester found Scillitoe with Ward shooting over from closer range and with three minutes of time added-on Wanmer fouled Hawkins (M) with the free-kick cleared and the final whistle blew.
FULL TIME: 3 – 0.
Just as I expected, another closely fought game by two teams who know each other well and who have been at the top of Division Two all season so congratulations to both for gaining promotion and making this final entertaining. I think it’s fair to say that for some this season has been long and hard as on the night I thought players on both sides looked a bit jaded with injuries taking their toll, nevertheless we had a decent final and on the night the better team triumphed.
ESBFL Chairman, Brian Tatum then gave a short speech before asking long-serving and retiring Ground Authentication Officer and Committee Member, John Omara (Lawford Lads FC), to present the Division Two Winners Trophy to Tiptree Heath FC and the Division Two “Runners-Up” Trophy to Bures United FC. This was followed by the award of medals and trophies to the match officials, Bures United FC, as “Runners-Up” and Tiptree Heath FC as “Winners”.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match choice, for Bures United, Knebel played extremely well when getting forward from full-back, Wood and Wanmer defended well under a constant threat from the lively Tiptree Heath forwards. Hubbard is normally the central play-maker, Tiptree Heath realised this and nullified his threat, Prince and Durey danced their way through several challenges but on the night, did not show the attacking flair I’ve seen earlier in the season and both were withdrawn early in the second half. For match-winners Tiptree Heath, their philosophy is win the ball, pass it and move, keep possession and play to your strengths, they certainly did not let their manager down and controlled large passages of play but only scored three times. Their keeper, Hawkins (P) did his job well, punching when required and his kicking distribution is good, Tollhurst, Briggs and Speller were rock solid in defence allowing Turner to get forward on numerous occasions but it is in midfield where they are a threat. Hawkins (M), Chester, Chesney, one goal, and Green link up well allowing Jones and my Man-of-the-Match, Ward, two goals, to gain the freedom to score at any time.
TIPTREE HEATH FC: Colours: Green & Black Shirts, Black Shorts and Green Socks.
Paddi Hawkins., Toby Turner., Jack Tollhurst., Charlie Briggs., Reece Speller., Max Hawkins., Joe Chester., Jamie Chesney (C)., Ryan Jones., Cameron Ward., Charlie Green.
Manager: Steve Chester.
Assistant Manager: Ian Dobbins.
Used Substitutes: Luke Thurston., Ryan Scillitoe., John Newman
Unused Substitutes: Harry Hazell.
BURES UNITED FC: Colours: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Kurt Waterfield., Tobias Mitchell., Oscar Knebel., Shane Wanmer., Jake Wood (C)., Darren Smith., Jack Durey., Jack Hubbard., Lloyd Finch., Thomas Wingfield., Courtney Prince.
Manager: Denis Handley.
Used Substitutes: Connor Tucker., Ashley Binfield., Harry Liskus.
Referee: Lee Miller (Colchester)
Assistants: Matthew Webb (Colchester)
and Ben Hughes-Day (Clacton-on-sea)
4th Official: Harry Arnot (Colchester)
Man of the Match: Cameron WARD (TIPTREE HEATH FC)