Buildbase FA Vase 4th Round
Hullbridge Sports 3 Enfield 1893 2
Saturday 2nd December
On FA Vase Third Round day, Hullbridge Sports welcomed ESL stable-mates Enfield 1893 to Lower Road for an intriguing FA Vase tie. For the hosts, Russell Harley got the nod between the sticks, with Harry Watkins making his first start and skipper Jimmy Cox and Michael Salako leading the line. Regarding the visitors, they lost full-back Matthew Claxton in the warm-up because of a hamstring injury, David Ottley filled in while ex-Ilford winger Luke Thomas lined up on the right flank with forward John Bricknell being supported up top by Ben Bradbury. Jayden Hocking-Rising and Josh Sykes were options for Matt Hanning’s side from the bench.
This much-anticipated tie (with radio’s BBC Essex also in attendance) got underway with Hullbridge having the first real chance as Cox’s cross from the left found Salako though he couldn’t direct his header past visiting stopper Michael Corderoy. The visitors did have more of the ball in the early stages, with the hosts arguably sitting too deep. Enfield winger Thomas was a consistent threat down the right flank with his direct running and pace.
As we got to the mid-way point of the first half, both sides were lacking that final ball to unlock defences thus far. Midway into the half, home midfielder Joe Pattison’s drive was blocked in the area, the referee pointed to the spot after adjudging it to be a handball. Cox stepped up and buried the spot-kick in the right corner.
Enfield nearly leveled on the half-hour as Bricknell’s free-kick shaded past the top-right corner with home custodian Russell Harley beaten. On the stroke of half-time, Hullbridge midfielder Harry Watkins’ free-kick was saved by Corderoy.
The second half didn’t begin well for the visitors. Already aggrieved at the manner of the first spot-kick given against them, Enfield conceded another penalty two minutes after the re-start. Cox once again duly stepped up for Hullbridge and converted it well, low into the right corner of the net. On the hour mark, Salako was well-denied by Enfield full-back Joe Clark when poised to strike.
On 68 minutes, Clark’s cross from the left found midfielder Joe Johnson though he shot wide at the back post. Five minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty after a foul on Thomas, with Bricknell dispatching it well. So, 2-1 with a little over a quarter-hour to play – you knew it was going to get a bit frantic.
The ‘chaos meter’ went up a notch again with 11 minutes of allotted time left as Hullbridge substitute goalkeeper Jamie Merralls, who had only been on the pitch 12 minutes, was dismissed for reacting to being fouled. Home forward Cox had the unenviable task of taking the goalkeeper’s jersey.
The action was far from over though as with nine minutes of normal time remaining, the hosts increased their lead with a pearler of a free-kick from Watkins, which sailed past Corderoy into the left corner. Enfield showed more guts though a few minutes later to reduce the deficit through Thomas’ strike from close range. As we entered six minutes of added-time, Enfield defenders Ryan Cosson and Clark had to be alert to deny Salako another sight of goal. Enfield by this time were peppering the home defence with balls into the box, though the defiant back-line, led by centre-backs Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn and Jordan Meikle dealt with it well though Enfield substitute Jayden Hocking-Rising’s shot did test stand-in stopper Cox.
As the full-time whistle sounded, unsurprisingly the Hullbridge players & staff showed their delight though they knew they had been in a real battle here, for which credit should go to Enfield. There really wasn’t much to seperate these two sides today, though it is Hullbridge who take their place in the next round of the competition.
Hullbridge Sports: Russell Harley (GK) (Jamie Merralls 67′), Jordan Meikle, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Rob Hodgson, Perry Dunn, Tom Ranger (Michael Edgar 39′), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Charlie Buffin
Scorers – Jimmy Cox [Pen 23′, Pen 47′], Harry Watkins [81′]
Enfield 1893: Michael Corderoy (GK), David Ottley (Josh Sykes 76′), Joe Clark, Ryan Cosson, James O’Brien (Capt), Joe Johnson, Luke Thomas, Joe Staunton, John Bricknell, Ben Bradbury, Harry Prince (Jayden Hocking-Rising 65′)
Scorers – John Bricknell [Pen 73′], Luke Thomas [84′]
Report by Scott W @ScottMHC14 & www.survivor16b.wordpress.com
Photo by Neil Hunwicks @ABridgeTooFar16