Non-league enthusiast, Peter Dudley, takes a look back at the midweek ESL action
Barkingside 1 Sporting Bengal United 3
Sporting Bengal United bounced back from two successive defeats to come from behind to defeat Barkingside at Cricklefield, their second game at the ground in three days. At the weekend they lost to Ilford and for the first forty-five minutes, it looked like they would suffer another loss at the went behind on twenty minutes following a lovely lob from Kai Heather. Jason Fontaine then tried an identical lob but saw his effort go just over as the hosts had the better of the first period. However, the visitors from Mile End improved in the second period and levelled in the 63rd minute when Oscar Mendes lobbed McCarthy and then nine minutes later took the lead when Francis found space on right, cut inside, and blasted a great effort into the net. And with eight minutes left the visitors sealed their win when Embalo coolly slotted past McCarthy, meaning they took their fourth win in six and pull ever closer to those above in 17th and 18th place and now twelve points clear of the bottom three.
Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Semi Final
Waltham Forest 2 Eton Manor 2 (Waltham Forest won 6-5 on penalties)
Forest came from two goals down to force penalties and eventually win through to the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Final on Easter Monday. Sykes turned his man and fired the visitors ahead and when Manor scored the second goal on the counter, bundling in a deep free kick eventually, it looked like the side from Hertfordshire had one foot in the final. However, Dembele turned in a corner at the near post to reduce the arrears just before the break to make it game on once again. Into the second half and a Forest attack saw Dembele and the Manor keeper collide, but Makuendi could only fire wide with the goal at his mercy whilst down the other end came a massive let-off for the hosts when Bradbury somehow spooned an effort wide from a yard out. Forest’s Banton then headed inches wide from a Harris free kick however he was to find a late leveller when Banton scored with a bicycle kick from just inside the box. Tsakonas then almost won it for the hosts, hitting over on the half volley, but the tie went to penalties. After ten successive penalties, the shootout was locked at 5-5, however, Manor hit the bar with their first sudden death kick, leaving the hosts to net theirs and take the win and passage to the final where they play either Barking or Takeley at Burnham Ramblers Leslie Field ground on April 17th.
Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy Semi Final
Barking 0 Takeley 1
Takeley stunned Barking at Mayesbrook Park to reach the final of the Memorial Trophy thanks to a late winner from Reece Barrett. The first half was a very tight affair with neither side wanting to give much away and early on in the second half the hosts did have a couple of openings, firstly when a loose ball inside the area was just about pounced upon by Takeley keeper Ronnie Yates before the hosts could touch home and then secondly seeing an effort go away over from a decent position. However much of the second half was played in the middle third but with just seven minutes remaining Barrett struck and put the visitors into the lead. Takeley did see Mitchell Das sent off late on although this didn’t affect the result as they held on to take their place in Easter Monday’s final against Waltham Forest and thus ending the host’s chances of a double.
Eton Manor 0 West Essex 5
Hosts Manor suffered a semi-final defeat hangover after they were crushed at home by West Essex. The visitors took an 8th-minute lead when Isaac Marfo won the race to the ball with the keeper to nod a Michael Mignot flick on home and it was two for the visitors on twenty minutes when Marfo converted again after a super pass from James Bromley. And eight minutes into the second half they made it three when a Jack Francis clearance saw Marfo turn provider, cushioning the ball into the path of Cameron Gray who held off a defender before producing a stunning finish. With twenty minutes remaining West Essex made it four as Ben Clarke set up Tom Macleod to finish and the scoring was completed with two minutes left when a great run from Mignot ended with Marfo grabbing his hat-trick and cap a fine win for the Mayesbrook Park side.
Wadham Lodge 1 Burnham Ramblers 1
The spoils were shared at Kitchener Road in Walthamstow as Lodge and Ramblers could not be separated. The struggling visitors made a good fight of things early on but once Lodge edged in front after twenty minutes when Falola bundled home the hosts took control and could have been further ahead at the break. However, the visitors fought back in the second period and we’re rewarded around the hour mark when Hughes headed home a Cobb centre and although both sides could have won it neither could find that winning goal and so the sides picked up a point each. Ramblers point means if Haringey fails to win their last game the Leslie Field outfit will not finish bottom of the table.
League Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Ilford 1 FC Romania 0
The Foxes are through to play Sawbridgeworth Town away in the semi-final of the League Challenge Cup after a hard-fought win over FC Romania at Cricklefield. The only goal of the game came in the 16th minute when Carl Mullings produced a good low finish past Darabant to send his side through to the Last Four.
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Sawbridgeworth Town 2
Goals from James Richardson and Michael Fishenden gave Sawbo Reserves a good win at Stortford’s Development side in the Reserves Division. Sawbridgeworth remains in fourth whilst Stortford stay in eighth spot.
Haringey & Waltham 2 Sporting Bengal United 5
Sporting continued their terrific end to the season after coming from two goals down at the break against Haringey & Waltham at the Terence McMillan Stadium to net five second-half goals and take their fifth win in seven games. The hosts knew that a win would give them a chance of finishing off the bottom and at 2-0 up at the break they felt they were on their way to a rare victory, however the visitors stormed back and saw a brace from Mendes plus goals from Embalo, Carvell and Francis take Sporting to victory and see them climb two places into 17th whilst defeat for the sorry hosts confirms they will finish bottom of the table having now completed their league campaign and remain a point behind Burnham Ramblers.
In other news.......big news coming out this evening saw Waltham Forest forfeit their Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy semi-final against Eton Manor after they fielded an ineligible player. Forest, of course, won the tie on penalties but after their breach of rules, it will be Eton Manor who play Takeley at Leslie Field on Easter Monday in the final instead.