South East Counties Under 16 Championship: Essex v Amateur FA (Thursday 6 April 2017).
The Amateur FA team travelled over to Aveley to renew competition with Essex, who we are pleased to see back in the competition this season. It was also the last game that Essex would be playing on this ground before Aveley move to their new 3G pitch nearby for next season.
It was a dry but cool and windy evening and the teams were competing on a hard and bouncy pitch that made playing good football a little difficult.
The AFA adapted better and after an even first 10 minutes created the first chance when Mason Tunbridge broke through and had his shot saved by the Essex ‘keeper before a defender cleared for a corner.
From then on the AFA dominated the half apart from spasmodic Essex raids that were well dealt with. Unfortunately, they could not convert this dominance into goals, despite several opportunities.
Jardel Sterling had a left foot shot caught under the crossbar by the Essex ‘keeper and Tunbridge went on a good dribble which almost succeeded but his shot was blocked. Alfie Mason was one-on-one with the keeper but his shot went wide and Sterling had another effort from 30 yards that lacked the pace to beat the keeper.
The Amateur FA were not helped by losing skipper Ethan Barton to a head injury after about half an hour and went into the break at 0-0.
Essex had a bright start to the second half with a long throw (which was a potent weapon for Essex all night) coming into the AFA box and not being gathered, but the subsequent shot was wide.
After seven minutes of the second half, Mason made a great run down the left wing. The Essex ‘keeper advanced but Mason took the ball around him and crossed. A couple of shots were blocked and the ball eventually came back to Mason who slotted home to get just reward for his efforts and put the AFA ahead.
He almost got a second shortly after but hit his shot wide after a good cross from Jarvis Monk.
The game then became more even and Essex responded with a long range shot which was well held by substitute keeper Tommy Langton, on for the second half. This was consistent with his excellent handling throughout the half.
Shortly after the AFA had their last real chance when more good work from Mason set up Monk and his shot from the edge of the area was half saved by the Essex keeper before being cleared by a defender.
The Amateur FA comfortably held onto their slender advantage and their only scare came with 2 minutes remaining when Langton was sent off after a reactional handball to a bad bounce just outside the area with an Essex forward bearing down on him. Jake Bell returned to goal and the resultant free kick came to nothing.
All in all, it was a good win in difficult conditions to take AFA joint top of the table with one game left and all to play for against Middlesex.
1. Jake Bell (Colney Heath)
2. George Brand (Bishops Stortford)
3. Rhamar Douglas (Bishops Stortford)
4. Jake Reid (Enfield Town)
5. Max Bassington (Bishops Stortford)
6. Ethan Barton (Bishops Stortford)
7. Jardel Sterling (Broadwater Farm)
8. John Fordwoh (Enfield Town)
9. Alfie Mason (Bishops Stortford)
10. Mason Tunbridge (Enfield Town)
11. Jo Leslie Wicks (Life Academy)
12. Kieron Ali (Protouch)
14. Cameron McAdam (Basingstoke Town)
15. Jarvis Monk (Bishops Stortford)
16. Tommy Langton (Enfield Town)
Gary Harrowell - Manager
Gary Casey - Coach
Mark Hankin -Referee
James Allaoui & Alan Moore - Assistant Referees