Stansted 0 – 2 Redbridge (Premier Division)
On a fairly serene late autumn’s afternoon, I made my first visit to Hargrave Park as Stansted welcomed Redbridge. Stansted were missing a number of players that were not available, while the Motormen’s Brian Moses and Jonothon Mbamarah were among those missing for the visitors.
In the main, both sides took a bit of a time to settle on the wet outfield. Stansted could have taken the lead five minutes in though winger Nick Brown’s 20-yard curling strike fizzed just wide. The visitors responded as Redbridge winger Joshua Hutchinson’s angled drive was saved by home goalkeeper Tim Pitman. The visitors did need a little while to get their possession game going though when they did get it up top, they kept the Airportmen backline busy; forward Thomas Gogo making a good run which was blocked for a corner just following the quarter-hour. The visitors had to make a change not long after that as centre-half Vinny Murphy was replaced by Olly Gollard.
As we past the midway point of the first half, the bustling energy of midfielder Shaun Harris and winger Reside Coxi-Sebastfao did start to set some good build-up play up though the end product wasn’t quite there. Stansted reminded them that they were well in this as Brown sent another effort wide. Fellow winger Ryan Ramsey was having a good tussle at times with Redbridge full-back Courtney Homans, with Ramsey showing good pace and trickery.
The hosts’ front three of Ramsey, George Smith and Brown were certainly keeping the visiting backline honest. In the latter stages of the half, the visitors did start to dominate though Paul Pittuck’s men were in a typically determined mood, midfielder Jack Folan denying Hutchinson with a good tackle as the latter was poised to strike. The deadlock was broken three minutes before the break as Harris’ angled-drive from just inside the area beat Pitman on its way to the corner. Forward Calvin Poku nearly made it two only a couple of minutes later though he sent his shot wide.
The second half began with the hosts having to make two enforced changes in the opening minutes with Brown and skipper Dave Limber going off, replaced by Julian Lloyd and Lewis Riches respectively. The hosts did test visiting custodian Lewis Greene though he was equal to Smith’s effort from a narrow angle on 57 minutes. Both sides pushed in attack, though the visitors were gradually having more of the play with the likes of Coxi-Sebastfao and Hutchinson growing in influence on the game. When Smith limped off with 15 minutes to play, the hosts were down to ten and although you knew they’d graft hard, you also felt it might be an opening for the visitors to make the points safe.
The Motormen did just that eight minutes from the end as Hutchinson slotted past Pitman to double their advantage. In added time, substitute Tommie Turner’s shot was well-saved by Pitman though in fairness, the score-line was about right as the visitors came away from Hargrave Park with a hard-earned but deserved win. Stansted can hold their heads up high though as they certainly didn’t make it an easy afternoon for Ricky Eaton & Joey May’s side today.
Stansted : Tim Pitman (GK), Jack Isherwood, Jevoy Blair (Jay Hocking-Rising 68’), Chris Moore, Dave Limber (C) (Lewis Riches 48’), Jamie Bennett, Nick Brown (Julian Lloyd 46’), Jack Folan, George Smith, Stef Nielsen, Ryan Ramsey
Redbridge: Lewis Greene (GK), Courtney Homans, Ejlay Worrell (C), Shaun Harris, Vinny Murphy (Olly Gollard 19’), Liam Thomas, Joshua Hutchinson, Patrick Duggan, Calvin Poku (Lindisipho Mtyanda 76’), Thomas Gogo (Tommie Turner 67’), Reside Coxi-Sebastfao
Scorers – Shaun Harris [42’], Joshua Hutchinson [82’]
Report & Photos by Scott W @ScottMHC14 & www.survivor16b.wordpress.com