ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE - PREMIER DIVISION
HEDINGHAM’S UNITED FC v ALRESFORD COLNE RANGERS FC
Date: Saturday 26th November 2011 Venue: Lawn Meadow, Sible Hedingham.
After the previous week’s entertainment with the League Representative Team over on Jersey, it was going to be difficult to find a game with anywhere near as much commitment and passion as that encounter. I chose to visit Sible Hedingham and although there were six goals and other near misses the game was a dour affair on a sloping pitch where good quality football is normally difficult. Whilst there was no rain there was a pronounced breeze blowing across the pitch and arriving in good time was pleased to hear that, Hedingham’s United, after a long search, have now secured the services of Darren Thomas as Team Manager. I last saw Hedingham’s United in late August when they lost to Sudbury Athletic FC and their performance that day suggested they might struggle this season, results have continued to be against them although by all accounts they did play well when only losing by a single goal against Harwich & Parkeston FC last week. (Sadly, I have now heard that Sudbury Athletic FC have withdrawn from the league). Alresford Colne Rangers after a slow start have been more consistent of late but still lie below mid-table with their hosts for the day.
The visitors kicked off down the slope and in their first attack Woods was adjudged to have fouled Robertson who took the resultant free-kick but Thomson coolly headed back to O’Riordan. Almost immediately Alresford Colne Rangers took the lead, as from Woods throw-in on the left Price shot towards goal where defender DAVID MILLS could only deflect the ball past George (L) for an own goal. This early goal lifted the visitors who were trying to pass the ball around and the omens did not look good for the home side! With only ten minutes gone the injured George (S) was substituted by Weston and Parker went on a run down the right but his eventual cross did not cause any problem to the Alresford Colne Rangers defence. Argent followed likewise but Childs completely missed the ball when well placed and it looked like Hedingham’s United had settled down. Marchant then fouled Childs but Pyman’s free-kick was too long before play switched ends where Woods fed Shaw who blasted the ball over the cross-bar. The visitors led by Thomson in defence were coping well although Hedingham’s United attacks were rushed and lacked cohesion and penetration. On twenty minutes, when Thomson emerged from defence on a run across the half-way line he was impeded, the same player taking the free-kick passing to the off-side Woods but the referee pulled play back for a re-take in the correct position. Thomson’s second effort found Shaw and after some slick foot-work he found CRAIG ISOM who increased the visitors lead from close range. George (L) was then forced to advance and block Shaw in a one-on-one situation before referee Woods, had cause to caution Parker for dissent. Pyman in midfield for Hedingham’s United was the centre of most of the home sides attacking moves but he was getting frustrated as his passes were not being held and controlled by colleagues. From Marchant’s throw-in, Shaw worked an angle on goal only to hit the side netting then on twenty-seven minutes Dickson fouled Childs but Peat running back hacked the ball away from near the goal-line from Cook’s free-kick. From the resultant corner O’Riordan caught the ball at the second attempt and the same outcome followed from another free-kick. Just before the half-hour mark, a free-kick conceded on the right side was taken by Thomson and he floated the ball into the area, where, under pressure from Shaw, defender, DAVID MILLS headed past his own keeper for another own goal. From the restart Pyman broke forward and expertly passed the ball between the retreating defenders but Cook, through on goal blazed wide of the target. Ten minutes before half-time the visitors scored again, this time it was a well worked goal from a passage of passing involving Gibbons, Woods, Shaw and Isom who used both feet to avoid a challenge before laying the ball off to ANDREW GIBBONS who drove the ball past the diving keeper into the net from just inside the penalty area. Hedingham’s United FC pushed forward again from the re-start, Pyman’s free-kick was controlled by Cook and with Weston in attendance he laid the ball back to BEN PARKER who hit the ball on the volley and it curled round the defence, beating O’Riordan at full stretch to his left and just creeping inside the post. Robertson, for Hedingham's United was then hurt in a tackle with Woods and was replaced by Ervine and he helped set up Pyman whose shot was comfortably held by O’Riordan as the half finished.
HALF-TIME: 1 - 4
At the re-start, just as in the first half, Alresford Colne Rangers FC managed an early goal after only two minutes. Isom played the ball wide to Woods on the right, he hit a long left foot cross to the far left where ANDREW GIBBONS beat the left side defender and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper. Thomson saw another well directed free-kick wasted by his colleagues before Woods combined with Gibbons but George (L) was out quickly to clear the danger. Argent rattled his own cross-bar when attempting to clear then Isom got under a cross from Gibbons on the right then down field Ervine got under a similar cross from Argent. Pyman broke forward again but shot over the cross-bar in seeking some glory before Cook over-hit his corner kick, taken from the right. Hedinghams United FC had started better this half, despite conceding a well executed goal, and playing down the slope seemed to help! Argent and Cook linked up to set up Ervine but he shot wide. Woods set up Gibbons but his fine cross was headed wide by Shaw, bursting through the defensive line. Pyman received his caution for jumping at Peat, then questioning the referee’s decision and once again Thomson’s probing free-kick found the head of Shaw who headed wide. Argent broke down the right and won a rare corner for the home side but Gibbons was on hand at the post to clear Weston’s effort off the goal line. With seventeen minutes remaining several substitutions followed, for the home side Ozer replaced Childs and Powell and Allston replaced Peat and Gibbons for the visitors. Allston was soon in action but blasted well wide from a good position on the left. Not to be outdone O’Riordan had to save a dipping effort from Argent who was more involved this half. Home keeper George (L) then excelled himself making two fine saves in quick succession advancing at Shaw then diving low to his right to beat away the follow up from Woods. O’Riordan was then called upon to save well from a Cook effort and as the game petered out referee Woods was given little option but to caution several players who persistently questioned decisions made.
FULL TIME: 1 - 5
A dour game, riddled with mistakes, Alresford Colne Rangers FC ran out comfortable winners by five goals to one, Hedingham’s United won the cautions contest by the same margin in a game that did not have any bad tackles! In my opinion, the referee might well give an occasional incorrect decision or even a late decision but to hear almost every decision questioned in the manner they were, is not right, players should accept his decision, not show dissent and get on with the game, as even they are not infallible! Finally, good luck to Hedingham’s United, new Manager Darren Thomas, who clearly has some work to do to pull his new team round and move away from near the bottom of the table.
Hedinghams United FC: Colours: Red & Black
Liam George., William Robertson., Stuart Bryant., Jordan Finch., David Mills., Harrison Childs., Keith Argent, Ben Parker., Tom Cook., Alec Pyman., Sam George.
Manager: Darren Thomas
Coach: Geoff Thomas
Used Substitutes: Sky Ozer., Scott Ervine., Jamie Weston
Alresford Colne Rangers FC: Colours: Yellow & Blue
Anthony O’Riordan., Andrew Marchant., Shane Dickson., Jamie Thomson., Sam Drysdale., Jon Joe Peat., Andrew Gibbons., Chris Price., Wayne Woods., Jamie Shaw., Craig Isom.
Manager: Malcolm Price & Nick Alston.
Used Substitutes: Danny Allston., Chris Powell
Unused Substitutes: Danny Price, Malcolm Price.
Referee: Steve WOODS
Man of the Match: JAMIE THOMSON (Alresford Colne Rangers FC)