ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBAL LEAGUE - PREMIER DIVISION
GREAT BENTLEY FC 1 WEST BERGHOLT FC 4
Date: Saturday 28th April 2012. Venue: The Green, Great Bentley
Atrocious! That was the weather, not the football! High winds and driving rain greeted those who decided to watch football on Saturday afternoon over Great Bentley Green when the home side met top of the table West Bergholt FC. The visitors had put together an impressive eleven straight victories and were undefeated in fifteen games. Now that’s championship form at this late stage of the season, a season that still has many twists and turns and there are numerous crucial games still to be played! With the visitors seemingly at full strength, the home side had a number of regular players missing, including any recognised goal-keeper and the two players they used between the stick’s should be commended for volunteering or being volunteered!
The wind was angling across the pitch from corner to corner and Great Bentley kicked off with wind in their favour but it was soon obvious that good football might be lacking in this game as the elements and slippery surface would cause problems. West Bergholt, made an immediate impact winning a corner on the left side from which Jay and Dalziel put pressure on the home defence with the latter player shooting over the cross-bar. When the ball was cleared up-field the visitors took possession and made an early break through after only four minutes when two defenders made a hash of clearing the ball, from a right wing cross, one slipping over on the greasy surface and STEPHEN SPIRES took possession before scoring left foot with a rising drive that gave Peat little chance to save.
West Bergholt were already in the driving seat, young Gildea ran down the right to cross with Dalziel trying an overhead kick only to miss the ball completely as it hung in the wind, then Gildea was forced wide from another attack and a goal-kick was the result. Peat launched a goal-kick straight downfield to Clayden who let the ball run out and the visitors built again from the back. Smith for the home side drove a thirty yard effort straight at Clayden as his team tried to raise their game against the strong visiting quartet in midfield. Gildea always looked to be the attacking option down the West Bergholt right side, playing the ball to Dalziel who set Spires away to chase the through ball collected by Peat. Gildea passed to Bethell whose return appeared to be handled by Gildea but play was waved on! On eighteen minutes and the home side were again defending Gildea found Bethell who shot over, before Smith set Young away down the Great Bentley left side. Young beat two players before winning a corner off White, taken by Oldhamstead whose high swirling kick was defended by Minter at the expense of another corner, this time Clayden caught the ball and the visitors broke quickly forward then a Jordan free-kick was headed over from close range by Young.
Peat had to make a great save on the twenty-five minute mark when Warren and Bethel combined for a cross to Spires but Peat saved not once but twice in quick succession when a goal looked imminent. Bethell’s corner kicks were always dangerous and from one, Gibson, from Spires, flicked header could only direct his effort to the grateful Peat. Peats goal kick found Young and his pass found Thompson but he could not control the fast moving ball, which ran out of play. Bethell was clean through but the home defence recovered to concede a corner kick and the home side were trying the long ball with little effect as the West Bergholt defence stood firm. Another Jordan free-kick found Young but his header went upwards, lacking direction and Clayden accepted the loose ball.
With ten minutes to half-time a couple of rash tackles raised the tempo of the game with Smith trying to set an example and rally his fellow players. As the half closed White passed forward to Spires who set up Dalziel but the home defence was equal to it this time and when the ball found its way to the other end Young shot straight at Clayden and the players disappeared to a warm changing room and a respite from the awful weather conditions
HALF-TIME: 0 - 1
Bell had exchanged places with Peat by going in goal for the home side and he was immediately in action palming the ball away from a snatched effort from Spires. Peat found Oldhamstead wide on the right but as the attack broke down Smith had to defend from his midfield position. Eleven minutes into the second half and Great Bentley scored an equaliser, when Young turned the ball forward into space and STEVE OLDHAMSTEAD just got in front of the defence and slotted the ball wide of the advancing Clayden. Tarling replaced the tiring Hesketh who had worked hard in midfield for the home side but Great Bentley almost immediately conceded a soft goal.
Right on the hour mark, another defensive mix-up between the keeper and a defender, saw the ball fall to Spires who had harassed the defence in the build up, Spires passed the ball inside to his right and JOSH DALZIEL was on hand to rifle home from close range. Jay played in a flighted free-kick on two occasions with Vaughan having to head clear before the same player went on an attacking run at the visitors but found the defence too much to get past. Bell made a great diving save from Gildea but the Referee and his Assistant gave only a goal-kick much to the distain of the visiting management and supporters! Bell repeated the exercise ,again saving from Gildea conceding a corner taken by Bethell.
With twenty minutes remaining Bethell’s delivered corner was swirling in the wind, in the ensuing goalmouth scramble STEPHEN SPIRES headed home although from the side line it looked like keeper, Bell, had been impeded when trying to punch the ball clear. I was later advised that the keepers attempt to punch clear was made after the ball had been headed goal-wards, hence the award of the goal. Murrells replaced Mcilwaine and he was put through by Bethell winning another corner, again taken by Bethell and Bell was struggling to clear. With twelve minutes to go Morton replaced young Thompson for the home side and the visitors substituted Minter and Gildea with Reddick and Edin entering the game.
Five minutes later and the visitors effectively wrapped up this game, Bethell who had been industrious throughout played a fine ball forward, splitting the home defence and STEPHEN SPIRES took the ball in his stride before despatching a shot that gave Bell no chance to save and securing his hat-trick. With time running out Great Bentley looked to have scored a second goal themselves when Oldhamstead received the ball outside the penalty area and with his back to goal turned and fired the bouncing ball over the defence and stranded keeper into the far top corner. Their joy was short-lived as the Referee’s Assistant had raised his flag, the decision I found out later was for an infringement by a home player coming back from an off-side position in the build up play, so there you have it.
FULL TIME: 1 - 4
I must admit this game did lack quality, at times I did wonder what I was going to write about and its taken a couple of attempts to read and decipher my sodden notes! However, West Bergholt FC deserved to win this game, the margin of victory looks comprehensive but Great Bentley FC did not give in easily and in better conditions with less defensive mistakes and perhaps with more regular players available then the score-line might have been closer!
Great Bentley FC: Colours: White Shirts/Blue Shorts
John-Jo Peat., Daniel Jordan., Jake Bell., Daniel Martin., Jaz Wiggins., Jonathan Hesketh., Keith Young., Michael Smith., Steve Oldhamstead., Jake Vaughan., Charlie Thompson.
Managers: Gordon Lawrence
Used Substitutes: Ian Morton., Darren Tarling
Unused Substitutes: Michael Hesketh., Matthew Hardwick
West Bergholt FC: Colours: Maroon
Ashley Clayden., Craig Minter., Marcus Warren., Anthony White (C)., Gareth Gibson., Robbie Jay., Jake Bethell., Callum Gildea., Stephen Spires., Joshua Dalziel., Gary Mcilwaine (C).
Manager: Garry Wood
Used Substitutes: Jonny Murrells., Christopher Edin., Stuart Reddick
Unused Substitutes: Jake Fitzsimmons., Marlon North.,
Referee: Robert Salmon
Referees Assistant’s: Chris Green & Richard Lock
Man of the Match: Jake BETHELL – West Bergholt FC