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19/01/2019 – REPORT – Harwich & Parkeston FC Reserves versus Gosfield United FC







Date:               Saturday 19th January 2019.            Venue:            The Royal Oak, Harwich.


Another Saturday, it’s another bitterly cold but bright afternoon and a chance to see two more new teams back in the ESBFL, I say back, as the hosts, managed by Gavin Hewitt, currently sitting in eleventh place, folded their Reserves several seasons ago whilst Gosfield United FC, currently top of the league, left to play in the Mid-Essex League. With the Harwich & Parkeston FC First team now playing in the Thurlow Nunn Division One South it was deemed an opportune time to place a Reserve Team back in the ESBFL using players from their Under 16 side. Today, in this match they fielded four sixteen-year olds., four seventeen-year olds with the remaining three players still under twenty-six, in their starting line-up for an average age of eighteen years and nine months. So, what could these youngsters do against a free scoring and experienced top of the table team managed by Mark Wiskin.


The appointed match official was Paul Beard and with both teams wanting and trying to play football without undue stupidity in challenges and few moments of dissent, there was only one caution, we were ready for kick-off, with the low sun creating long shadows across the pitch.


Harwich, who had to change one player before kick-off, Oughton having pulled up in the warm-up was replaced by Garwood, kicked-off and within minutes another player, defender Eadie, was seen to be limping and he hadn’t even touched the ball yet, the omens did not look good! Manager, Hewitt having lost Oughton managed to get Fay (T) to come along as the only substitute so would he get the chance to play in the same game as his son! Harwich kept the ball well for the first five minutes until Gosfield moved forward purposefully through Turner whose cross was taken down and fired goal-wards by Green, only for keeper, Bird to make a fine save from four yards out. Another cross from Turner was palmed away by keeper, Bird, the ball falling to Bowman who lashed the ball into the side netting from ten yards out. Never one to predict the outcome of games I was, however, fearing for the home team as Gosfield continued their attacking options, any early goal against might Harwich might easily have seen a capitulation, they needed a steady head or two, even a whole team’s worth and needed to gain some confidence, read on…. Pike, for Gosfield, went down injured, don’t know why but he required treatment, and Harwich when in possession did everything they could to keep the ball and frustrate Gosfield when possession was lost.

On ten minutes, Turner fouled Strange, McGowan-Harvey took the free-kick which was headed away by Symms to Strange who leant back to volley the ball straight to keeper, Reeves but a definite show of intent from the home team. The injured Eadie defended well when facing up to Turner however his clearance was miscued and bobbled out of play, in fact, a number, of low passes had bounced awkwardly making control difficult at times. On fifteen minutes Smith (C), for Harwich, and I must mention that he plays in protective goggles, fouled Smith (K) wide on the left side, level with the penalty area, Doughty took the free-kick and the ball was met on the volley by Gilder only for keeper, Bird to make another timely save on his goal-line. From his clearance Strange scampered away to force keeper, Reeves, out and in doing so was forced wide and despite the goal being unattended he could not get in a telling cross or shot as the Gosfield defence regrouped and clear the danger. Garwood, for Harwich almost opened the scoring when from a run down the right side by Lebrett, he climbed higher than Symms to head narrowly over the cross-bar. The game thus far, had been dominated, possession wise, by Gosfield, Baker blocked a shot from Gilder, who minutes later fouled Baker, with the free-kick taken by McGowan-Harvey being headed away by Slater to Gilder who was immediately tackled by Herbert.

Gosfield took the lead on twenty-three minutes, I suppose the goal had been coming on the balance of play as when the ball was played in from the right side it fell at the feet of ANDREW TURNER who turned to score from ten yards out. Undeterred, Harwich moved forward through Garwood who found Good who flicked the ball up and Blackburn handled mid-half and just left of centre to the changing room end goal. Strange stepped up to hammer the ball against the defensive wall and when the ball rebounded to Strange he blasted the ball high and wide. Smith (C) tackled Slater to concede a corner with Eadie heading down with Strange completing the clearance under pressure from Doughty. A long throw-in from Pike followed but Harwich defended well once again and created a promising attack until that final ball syndrome kicked-in and the move faltered, just like they had for Gosfield. With Gosfield still pushing forward, defender Eadie stepped through three tackles to emerge with the ball just outside his own penalty area, Fay (E) put in a strong challenge on Gilder with McGowan-Harvey bringing the ball forward to find Good.

With seven minutes to half-time, Gosfield defender, Blackburn strode forward to launch a rising shot from about forty yards with keeper, Bird making a fine save when tipping the ball over the cross-bar then Smith (K) linked up with Gilder and Turner who was stopped when keeper, Bird smothered the ball at his feet with McGowan-Harvey completing the clearance of the loose ball. Slater raised a high leg to impede McGowan-Harvey, but the free-kick was cleared long, down-field leading to a corner for Gosfield, taken by Turner, the ball finding the head of Pike only for keeper, Bird to produce a fine one-handed save just under the corner of the post and cross-bar. The bespectacled, Smith (C) once again stuck to his task to tackle Smith (K) and when Good set Garwood through keeper, Reeves was well outside his penalty area when he cleared the danger and Harwich closed the half in a stronger position with Good riding three tackles until he lost control of the ball which was thrashed over the cross-bar by Strange. This entertaining half ended with Lebrett handling inside the centre-circle with Gosfield, defender Blackburn sending the ball long, but too long for a goal-kick.


HALF-TIME:    0 – 1.


At half-time Gosfield replaced Doughty with Smith (A), who took the captains armband from Pike, and despite Gosfield restarting the match it was Harwich, through Good who almost scored but for the outstretched leg of defender Symms who recovered well to clear the danger. Once again that final pass of the ball was letting both teams down as the earlier approach pass and move play was generally good. A run forward by Strange led to a shot that flew narrowly wide and Blackburn had to step in to stop Strange when he threatened again soon after. In defence for Harwich, captain, McGowan-Harvey led his team well, defensively sound, un-flustered when under pressure and encouraging his younger team-mates, he defended well again when Turner and Gilder threatened through the middle. A long throw-in from Smith (A) was headed away by Eadie to Smith (A) who sent the ball high over the cross-bar. Gosfield, once again looked the more threatening team, a corner taken by Smith (A) was hit too long and when the ball was returned from the other side by Slater it went out for a goal-kick. Turner missed an open goal when a wayward back header from Eadie put keeper, Bird in trouble, this from a cross from the left side by Gilder.

Strange, Good and Fay (E) put a good move together for the home team and for a time Harwich were pressing for an unlikely but deserved equaliser, but keeper, Bird was quickly out at the feet of Gilder to parry the ball with McGowan-Harvey once again on hand to clear to Good who ran on to force keeper,  Reeves to save low down on his goal-line. A long throw-in from Smith (A) found the head of Gilder but keeper, Bird was well placed to catch then just before the hour mark the first off-side decision of the match, against Bowman, from a pass by Smith (A). When Slater fouled Lebrett he was spoken too by the referee, but the free-kick from Fay (E) flew straight to keeper, Reeves. Pike put a high arm across McGowan-Harvey, play was initially allowed to continue, then the ball was brought back as the move foundered. With an hour played a cross-cum-shot from Good was headed towards his own goal by Smith (A) only for his own keeper, Reeves, to fly across the goal and save, brilliant reactions! Good, tested Reeves again with a snap shot, but the hard work by the Harwich defence was undone, well almost, when keeper, Bird, perhaps showing the exuberance of youth, chased a loose ball wide inside his penalty area, Gilder, tactfully stepped in front of the keeper who could only bring the forward down for a penalty award. Gilder stepped up to hammer the ball goal-wards only to watch as keeper, Bird guessed right, quite literally to push the ball wide, Gilder retrieved the loose ball playing it forward to Turner who placed the ball into the net but who was correctly flagged off-side, which led to Green receiving a caution for dissent.

Smith (C) covered for his defence as Gilder looked to break through the centre, a log throw-in from Smith (A) fell to Pike who gained a corner off the injured Eadie who could not continue allowing forty something Fay (T) to enter play for the last twenty minutes. Harwich still showed promise going forward through McGowan-Harvey who linked up with Fay (E) on three occasions before the ball was laid into the path of Good whose rocket of a shot was expertly tipped over his cross-bar by keeper, Reeves. More attacking link up play from Fay (E) and Lebrett saw the latter crash a shot against the cross-bar and Gosfield had to defend again with Symms going through the back of Strange just outside the penalty area with the free-kick, taken by Strange just dipping too late to trouble the keeper. Harwich continued to press forward giving Gosfield little time on the ball, Fay (T) put his body in the way of a driven shot, going down winded and needing some help before continuing.

Gosfield scored the much needed second goal with just under ten minutes remaining and there was a stroke of luck here as when Harwich cleared the ball from the six-yard box a driven cross took a massive deflection and fell kindly to JAKE GILDER who headed home from close range. Keeper, Bird made another fine save from Pike, this from a cross from Smith (A), then a rare mis-placed pass from McGowan-Harvey should have let in Gilder, through on goal, only to shoot wide. Bird made another fine stop when Smith (A) latched onto a loose ball which bounced once before the keeper scrambled the ball clear, a chase out by Fay (T) saw the ball reach Lebrett who beat three players before Smith (K) got a toe to the ball to concede a corner, taken by Fay (E), keeper, Reeves punched clear of his penalty area where Strange, leaning back stroked the ball over the cross-bar. On eighty-five minutes Gosfield replaced Bowman with Cutmore and with Smith (A) pulling the strings from midfield, Gilder set up Smith (K) whose driven snap-shot found the side-netting. Gilder had a run and shot that keeper, Bird parried with Smith (C) taking no chances to clear for a corner which was cleared by McGowan-Harvey. The game came to an end with a foul by Garwood on Slater and a corner off Pike, taken by Garwood and comfortably cleared by the visitor’s defence.


FULL TIME:     0 – 2.


In summing up, any old cynic, not me I might add, given the relative league positions of these two teams, and the apparent shortage of players for the home team, might have expected a hat full of goals in this match but none of the materialised as the youngsters stood up and competed throughout, in fact they were a credit to the name of their club, a fact I mentioned to them all in the changing room, after the match had ended. Gosfield United stay top of the league, I’m sure they can play better, today, they were not allowed to play and had to grind out this victory, even after having a penalty kick saved.


Now for my Player-of-the-Match choice, Gosfield have many decent players, they clearly have played together for some time with some new additions this season, keeper, Reeves showed some good positioning when making crucial saves, defensively they are strong with Slater and Symms prominent, today their physical presence was greater than that of the Harwich players. In midfield, again they are a solid outfit, Pike rarely loses the ball, Doughty, Green and Bowman work hard alongside and in Turner and particularly Gilder have proven goal-scorers who confirmed that fact again in this match. Now any team, who sports so many youngsters could invite criticism, you don’t win anything with youngsters a learned BBC commentator once said, more years ago than many of these players were born! At the back, keeper, Bird made numerous saves, beaten twice but saving a penalty, McGowan-Harvey and Eadie stood firm in the centre with both wing backs Herbert and the tenacious Smith (C) playing their part. In midfield, Baker, Strange, Fay (E) and Lebrett battled throughout to work the ball to Garwood and Good, who tried their hardest, basically a great team effort that augers well for the future, but if I have to pick a player then step forward captain, McGowan-Harvey, these young players should take his display as an example of effort and encouragement.





Colours:            Black & White striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.

Quinn Bird., Charlie Smith., Joshua Herbert., Matthew McGowan-Harvey (C)., Alex Eadie., Harry Baker., Adam Strange., Elliot Fay., Connor Lebrett., Ross Garwood., Robert Good.


Player Manager:             Gavin Hewitt.

Used Substitutes:          Terry Fay.

Unused Substitutes:      Konnor Oughton.



Colours:            Green Shirts., Green Shorts and Green Socks.

Oli Reeves., Liam Blackburn., Kieran Smith., John Slater., Daniel Symms., Bobby Pike., Jake Gilder., Tom Doughty., Josh Green., Liam Bowman., Andrew Turner.


Manager:                      Mark Wiskin.

Used Substitutes:          Morgan Cutmore., Adam Smith.

Unused Substitutes:      Christopher Hobster., Mark Wiskin



Referee:                       Paul Beard.                   (Elmstead Market)



Player-of-the-Match:    Matthew McGOWAN-HARVEY.  (HARWICH & PARKESTON FC RESERVES)




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” ( ) but would all Club / Fixture Secretaries please advise any agreed changes, as required, to Alison Willmore ( ) especially for evening games and for those matches being played under floodlights etc.


KO is 2:00pm in:              January

KO is 2:30pm in:              February

KO is 3:00pm from:         March to end of season


Cup Matches:

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.

( )




ESBFL “web-site”


The web-site for the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League is:


Clubs are reminded that the following documents are all available on this website under Clubs / Documents etc:


ESBFL Handbook,

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”

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