Great Wakering Rovers 1 Takeley 0
Saturday 10th February
On a very chilly, miserable afternoon at Burroughs Park, two of the division’s top 5 took on each other as Great Wakering welcomed Takeley. Conditions were difficult from the outset and got increasingly squalid as the match went on. Wakering named Nathan Dewberry and Jay Nash in attack with Chris Bryan and Neil Richmond among the substitutes. Takeley were without Jason Todd and Will Green though commanding goalkeeper Ronnie Yates did start, with Carl Mullings leading the line and Mitchell Das & George Wappett on the flanks.
The hosts began the match the stronger of the two sides and nearly led in the first minute as full-back Jason Ring’s centre was back-heeled towards goal by forward Nathan Dewberry though it lacked the power to beat Takeley goalkeeper Ronnie Yates. Takeley responded four minutes later as skipper Nick Barrett’s 25-yard free-kick needed the intervention of home stopper Louis Hawes. Dewberry and strike partner Jay Nash had shots off-target for Wakering before Frank Oatham’s wind-assisted lob needed Hawes to be alert to tip the ball over the crossbar.
As the half progressed, Takeley did unsetttle the Wakering defence more. Winger Mitchell Das sent a free-kick just the wrong side of the post just past the half-hour mark. The home defence, led by skipper Scott Pethers and Oliver Woodhouse needed to be strong to keep the game scoreless at the break.
After the interval, as the rain continued to come down, Takeley forward Carl Mullings nearly broke the deadlock two minutes in though his header was cleared off the line by a well-positioned Danny Hurford. Oatham had another drive minutes later well-gathered by Hawes as the wind just added an element of doubt perhaps into the player’s minds.
Dewberry wasted a decent oppurtunity to open his account on the hour as he passed his shot wide of goal. Six minutes later, Dewberry was denied by the on-rushing Yates as the match increasingly became a real physical battle in tricky conditions. Takeley had two good chances in the midway point of the half, with Mullings heading over from Das’ great right-wing delivery. Mullings then used his strength well to tee up Das who could only fire over the bar.
Takeley had showed pace and strength today, exemplified by the pace and skill of left-back Andre Humphrey and winger George Wappett who stood out for me today. Though unfortunately for the visitors, there was a late twist as the hosts were awarded a spot-kick four minutes from time, which substitute Neil Richmond duly converted into the left corner. On another day, this may well have been a draw though Marc Das’ side will be cursing the chances they couldn’t quite tuck away today in what was a game of fine margins.
Great Wakering Rovers: Louis Hawes, Jason Ring, Danny Hurford, Scott Pethers (Capt), Oliver Woodhouse, Sam Carter, Billy Johnson (Chris Bryan 77′) Ricky Evans, Nathan Dewberry, Jay Nash, Stephen Butterworth (Neil Richmond 77′)
Scorer – Neil Richmond (86’p)
Takeley: Ronnie Yates, Bryn Thorpe, Andre Humphrey (Lewis Ball 87′), Nick Barrett (Capt), George Powell, Mike Castle, Mitchell Das, Matt Gill, Carl Mullings, Frank Oatham, George Wappett
Report/Photo by Scott W @ScottMHC14