ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
ROWHEDGE FC: 4. TIPTREE JOBSERVE FC RESERVES: 3.
Date: Saturday 20th January 2018. Venue: Recreation Ground, Rowhedge
It’s early on a Saturday morning, it’s cold, it’s raining, in fact it’s pouring, will the ESBFL Representative game go ahead, well by ten o’clock the answer was a definite no, as water was laying in puddles in several places on the pitch at Coggeshall, so that FA Inter-League, Round 3 fixture will now require to be re-scheduled in the next few weeks.
Having sorted that game out, my phones and PC became red-hot with calls, messages and texts getting notification of other ESBFL League fixtures falling foul of the wet conditions. If the rain continues then it is fair to say that next week’s fixtures may already look vulnerable and for those games that were played then the pitches used may have been damaged to an extent that they might be doubtful as well, so here’s hoping that we have some drying days this week.
So where do I go, as you know I try to visit every Premier Club home and away but with only one game surviving I looked elsewhere, deciding upon the Division Three match over at Rowhedge, a new / reformed club who would be playing a new Reserve team, that of Tiptree Jobserve FC, who were within their rights to field some first teamers, I counted three maybe four.
The match official was Godfrey Obwoya, a Colchester based referee who is new to the ESBFL this season, firstly, he had a difficult decision to make, the pitch was heavy and the rain was expected to persist until after the game was scheduled to finish, so does he start the game. Well yes, the game started and in deteriorating conditions both teams, as they say, had a right go, two nailed on penalties, a total of seven goals with the visitors striking the post in the first half and the cross-bar on three occasions in the second half and no cautions, you see it can be done!
And so to kick-off, it still raining, open notebook, page gets wet, pen does not work, number two lasts ten minutes and number three till half-time, in second half number four completes the job, who would be an all weather reporter! A last minute change was required for Tiptree when their nominated keeper, Aherne, pulls up in the warm-up, with Parfitt commendably donning the gloves, could be a busy afternoon! Tiptree kicked off with both teams starting tentatively due to the slippery conditions underfoot, an early free kick to Tiptree was awarded when Raynes handled but at the other end Tiptree failed to clear to allow a driven corner from Hughes to totally miss everyone as it flashed across the six-yard box. Watson for Tiptree played in Walker for a run forward against keeper Lewis but his attempted chip was too heavy and the ball cleared the empty net, the first real chance of the match. On twelve minutes another driven corner from Hughes was cleared by Hudson and Tiptree won a free-kick when Raynes impeded Rodwell in his attempt to clear. With fifteen minutes gone Tiptree took the lead, keeper Lewis made a poor clearance that only reached veteran GORDON WATSON and with a shimmy of his portly body he moved the ball onto his favoured left foot to strike the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.
Three minutes later and a left wing cross-cum-shot from Sheridan beat the keeper only to strike the far post and be cleared and with twenty minutes gone I was questioning whether this game might get finished. The young Rowhedge team stuck to their task with veteran Ashurst prompting and encouraging from defence and he set Raynes away down the left side with Todd conceding a corner, taken by Hughes and headed goalwards by Lyness through a crowd of players to reach keeper, Parfitt who gladly collected, rabbits in the head-lights came to mind! A mistimed challenge from Walker earned a rebuke from the on-the-spot official with Hughes sending a left footed free-kick goalwards which Parfitt elected to punch clear for a corner. Every corner from Hughes had been dangerous and in the ensuing scramble RAYMOND TURNER latched onto the ball which deflected off the unfortunate Rodwell and past Parfitt for a deserved equaliser. Just past the half hour mark, Foley was accidentally injured in a heavy collision with Barham and could taken no further part with new signing Lepage entering the fray.
At times the game was scrappy, the pitch conditions were not conducive to a passing game but both teams did at times put together decent attacking moves, a long run and cross from Kirwin was clutched out of the air by Lewis, a confident young keeper, despite his earlier lapse when clearing which resulted in the visitors, first goal. Another Hughes corner found the head of Powell but Rodwell controlled the ball on his thigh before clearing downfield and with five minutes to half-time Tiptree replaced Kirwin with Trussler. I’m not sure whether that substitution upped the tempo of Tiptree but when Rowhedge again failed to clear the ball up stepped CHRIS PARKIN who sent a fine left footed volley from outside the penalty area and past the despairing dive of keeper, Lewis who was well beaten. (Check “You-Tube”!)
HALF-TIME: 1 – 2
A welcome cup of tea in the clubhouse where I found a handy radiator to muse to dry out my notebook and then have a quick word with the referee to seek his opinion on the match so far and what of the second half prospects, however he was confident and both teams who had given everything so far wanted to continue so game on again. Well, within a minute of the restart the scores were level, Rowhedge kicked off and poor defending left keeper Parfitt in no-man’s-land as an attempted sliced clearance by MARK HUDSON bounced once before nestling in the back of the net. A minute later and substitute THOMAS HUGHES swept the ball home with his left foot, once again Tiptree failed to clear the ball and Rowhedge capitalised, going from a goal down to a goal up inside two minutes. Not sure what Tiptree did or talked about at half-time but Rowhedge should have scored again on fifty-three minutes as Raynes burst forward, by-passing keeper Parfitt with an open goal beckoning but when Raynes tried to control the ball Parfitt recovered to dive in and conceded a corner. Before the corner could be taken Tiptree replaced Parkin with Bygrave and Rowhedge were grateful for the reliable Ashurst chasing back to sweep up as defender Caetano threatened down the left side.
On the hour mark, a good passing interchange between Hughes and Turner led to Parfitt intercepting the cross whilst at the other end a break by Barham, who skipped a tackle by Sheppard before trying to release Wilson but the ball held up in the mud, otherwise a decent chance could have unfolded. A corner from Hughes should have been headed by Powell who missed the ball completely when well placed and a corner by Caetano for Tiptree found the head of Rodwell who cushioned the ball before volleying against the cross bar, great effort though. However, Rowhedge broke quickly to the bottom end where Hudson clearly clipped the legs of Raynes inside the penalty area resulting in a confident THOMAS LEPAGE scoring on his debut, despite a fine attempt to save by Parfitt, who was beaten by the pace of the ball. Undeterred Tiptree hit back and Barham intercepted a midfield pass before striding forward to strike a left footed shot that crashed against the cross-bar and rebound to the grateful keeper, no going to be his team’s day by the looks of things!
A double substitution came of sixty-eight minutes, Sheppard was replaced by Pearce for Rowhedge and Irons replaced Walker for Tiptree but Rowhedge held the initiative with Hughes, Lepage and Hughes again linking up in attack before a fine tackle by Rodwell stopped the move. When Raynes broke through onto a pass from Gosling-Clarke, we all thought goal number five was imminent but when Raynes let fly, advancing keeper Parfitt made a fine save diving to his left side. Fifteen minutes remained when Watson was fouled inside the centre-circle, but he ran off the injury to receive the ball again just outside the penalty area before rolling back his playing years to attempt a waltz between Ashurst and Powell only to be clipped and give the referee no choice but to award a penalty. After the referee had paced out the required twelve yards to find an obliterated penalty spot GORDON WATSON strode up, right footed to despatch the ball past keeper, Lewis who had opted to dive to his left side whereas the ball flew in to the other side. Neither team had slackened their approach to this game and in one final piece of action Tiptree defender Caetano got forward to strike a fine shot that had the keeper beaten only for the ball to rebound off the cross-bar to the keeper and Rowhedge held on for a narrow victory.
FULL TIME: 4 – 3.
In my opinion an excellent, entertaining game from two committed teams who deserve credit for playing and conducting themselves in the terrible conditions, the referee handled the conditions very well as well, a difficult call if considering curtailing the game early. If there is any down-side, it is the state of the pitch, it looked like a herd of buffalo’s had been let loose, not sure the grounds-man will be happy though! Back in the clubhouse, where sandwiches were served, it was good to see both teams having a drink, clubs who have their own facilities like a bar rely on the income however small, so a polite note to all clubs, if there is a bar then use it because you know you would expect the same from the opposition when you play at home.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, for the visitors, Walker looked useful in the first half, maybe should have scored, Parfitt made several decent saves as a stand-in keeper, Watson plugged away with some nice touches prompted by Barham and defender Caetano made several probing attacks in the second half only to be thwarted late on, by the cross-bar, as was Rodwell and Barham, we are talking inches from glory here, on three occasions! Rowhedge have already used some older more experienced players this season but have recently brought in numerous youngsters and several, Lewis, Hughes, Sheppard and Foley for example looked to be good prospects but in any young side you need that old head, the calming influence and Turner in attack and through captain Ashurst who showed just that playing out of defence to cap a professional display.
ROWHEDGE FC: Colours: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Jai Lewis., James Lyness., Elliot Gosling-Clarke., Chris Powell., Sebastian Birch., Max Foley., Jack Sheppard., Simon Ashurst (C)., Raymond Turner., Lee Raynes., Thomas Hughes.
Manager: Pal Sheppard.
Used Substitutes: Charlie Pearce., Thomas Lepage.
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Ager.
TIPTREE JOBSERVE FC RESERVES: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Ross Parfitt., Jason Todd., Ricky Caetano., Ben Rodwell., Mark Hudson., Chris Parkin., Finlay Kirwin., Gordon Wilson., Kevin Barham., Brett Sheridan.
Manager: Kevin Battersby.
Used Substitutes: Daniel Trussler., Terry Bygrave., Lewis Irons.
Referee: Godfrey Obwoya (Colchester)
Man of the Match: Simon ASHURST. (ROWHEDGE 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 2:00pm in: 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.
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Player Registration Form,
Player Transfer Form,
Match Postponement Form,
Referee – Low Mark Form