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On a humid, sunny afternoon at Lower Road, Hullbridge Sports took on Stansted as Essex Senior League action returned following the mini-break for FA Cup action last weekend.

The Airportmen had the better of the ball in the opening period of the match, with Stansted forward Jack Sykes setting out his intentions early-doors though his strike was over the crossbar. Hullbridge came into the match a bit more after the quarter-hour as forward Jimmy Cox dinked a 20-yard shot just over the bar. Stansted could’ve taken the lead on 20 minutes though Sykes’ powerful header rattled the underside of the bar and was cleared by the home defence.

Stansted had further chances though Sykes and full-back Jevoi Blair couldn’t beat home goalkeeper Ryan Emery, having made a surging lung-busting run through the middle from box-to-box. Past the half-hour, Hullbridge had a few chances though forwards Cox and Luca Frankis couldn’t test visiting  stopper Tim Pitman.

The second half began rather differently than the first half as the hosts started brightly. Cox had a shot wide from distance, and then moments later, called Pitman into action, who then saved point-blank from midfielder Sam Dulieu. However, just seconds later, defender Angus Poole’s header put Rob Hodgson’s side ahead as it did cross the line despite the efforts of the visiting defence to clear.

The lead only lasted nine minutes though as on 56 minutes, Stansted levelled through a lovely dinked curler from Sykes which beat Emery, who was off his line and snuck into the top left corner of the net. Only three minutes later, it could’ve got worse for the hosts as Stansted were awarded a penalty, though winger Ben Swift blazed it over the bar.

At the back for Stansted, Captain Dave Limber stood out with his heading and positioning, not too dissimilar to his opposite number 5, Rob Hodgson. The visitors also had a goal ruled out for off-side, substitute Jed Brown the unfortunate player I believe it was having a goal chalked off. Inside the last ten minutes of the match, the hosts were going for it and substitute Charlie Gerada blazed his effort over the bar. As we got into injury-time, Dulieu’s curled effort forced Pitman into a good save. And then with moments remaining, Pitman came out and missed his punch, allowing substitute Ronnie Pallett to head the winner for Sports.

In summary, the defeat was tough on Paul Pittuck’s Stansted side, who had chances to take the points themselves and should have got a point. Hullbridge won’t be complaining one iota though and grab their first home win of the ESL season.

Hullbridge Sports: Ryan Emery (GK), Charlie Buffin, Sam Taylor, Lewis Watson, Rob Hodgson, Angus Poole, Jamie Buffin (Ryan Wallington 88’), Sam Dulieu, Luca Frankis (Ronnie Pallett 77’), Jimmy Cox (c), Michael Edgar (Charlie Gerada 60’)

Scorers – Angus Poole (47’), Ronnie Pallett (90+3)

Stansted: Tim Pitman (GK), Chris Gormley, Jevoi Blair, Dean Neville, Dave Limber (c), Nick Carpenter, Ben Swift, Nick Brown (Joel Young 82’), Reggie Yembra (Jed Brown 71’), Jack Sykes, Anthony Aylett (Julien Lloyd 66’)

Scorer – Sykes (56’)

Report by Scott W @ScottMHC14 &

Photo by Neil Hunwicks @ABridgeTooFar16