As football returned for a new year, the weather curtailed us in the opening January action, just one Senior Division game surviving as Flyhouse Athletic made the trip up to Loughton to take on Total Football. In a game of eight goals, it was Flyhouse who earned a 5-3 win in the end, taking their wins tally to three for the season and climbing to fourth in the standings.
DIVISION ONE CUP
In the Division One Cup, three sides now sit top of the table with six points apiece, JK Silvertown to the side to move into the race for leadership as they took all three points from their local derby contest against Benchviews. With a big county cup tie to come for JK, they started their new year in a positive fashion, winning the game 3-1 to make it two wins from two in the group.
Also sitting on six points, albeit from three games, Barking Riverside now lead the group by the virtual of goals scored, their latest success seeing them record a narrow 1-0 win away at Cinoci as the sides met in Loughton. Despite an eight point deficit when comparing their league positions, Cinoci put in a good performance to make Barking work hard for the win, Rio Hicks the game’s sole scorer.
Over in Newbury Park, St Augustines and Wanstead went into their clash both in search of their opening points of the group stage from four games collectively. But St Augustines had leapt up a number of places by full-time, comfortable 6-1 winners as they overcame a Saifaldin Shangama goal with six strikes of their own to record their opening win.
There were some big results in Division Three, beginning at Barking Park where the league leaders, AC Milano Reserves, had to do things the hard way, coming from 2-0 down against Valence United to eventually take the honours, winning 4-3 to stay a couple of points clear at the summit. Ashley Collins, Rowan Newland and Charlie Fiander all found the back of the net for the hosts but those efforts proved in vain in the end.
Second placed Singh Sabha Barking remain well in touch with the leaders but are running out of games to make a big impact, but retained their position at least with a hard fought 3-2 home win against South Ilford Catholics. Jordan Hamilton, Victor Ferrini and Kailen Davey all got on the scoresheet for the hosts, making it seven league wins for the season for the hosts.
Just below the promotion places, there was another closely fought contest in the game between JP8 and City Site as those sides battled it out in Dagenham. After an indifferent spell of form in the run-in to Christmas, JP8 will be very pleased with their new year efforts, sending City SIte to just a second league defeat, winning 3-2 to move within a point of their opponents in fourth spot.
Over in Hainault, United Amateurs went into their clash with Asianos Vets trailing their opponents by a couple of points towards the lower end of the table, both sides in need of points to steer clear of the drop zone. But it was Asianos who produced the goods, winning 6-1 to move five points clear of United, Berty Frith scoring the sole goal for the hosts in consolation.
In Division Four there were crucial games at both ends of the table, beginning with a metaphorical six-pointer at the bottom where ninth played tenth, Kit Out London trying to close the gap to second bottom Horse & Well. And that was how it played out as the bottom side recorded a third league win, 4-2 winners through goals from Osakpolor Omorodion, Ashraf Sheikh, Torren Darroux and Russ Seth, overcoming Well strikes from Joe Powell and Joshua French.
Over in Hainault, Prospect Protege were the hosts looking for a better start to the new year, taking on a Warren Senior side very much in the title race at this level. Ethan Kieran and George Matthew both scored for the hosts but Warren goals in reply from Anthony Cooke (2), Scott McGlynn and Alan Butt gave their side a 4-2 win and retained their second place position in the table.
There was yet another twist in the race for the title and promotion in Division Five as the league leaders, Royal Lions B, suffered just a second league win of the season to give Manford Way the chance to cut the gap, the Hainault derby ending in an important 4-2 victory for the visitors. Two Manford goals from Herman Mwanza plus strikes from Jake Li and Callum Owen were enough in the end to put their side in pole position with games in hand.
Mansfield Rangers are up into third spot and well involved in the mix following a big home win on Sunday against Ace Athletic. Rangers were 8-1 winners on the day with Billy Happe leading the way with a hat-trick, Jay Kanber netting two, while Alex Mark, Billy Evans and Kemston Allen also getting on the scoresheet. Louie Seaman’s struck the Ace goal in reply.
A pair of five-goal thrillers complete the action from the sixth tier, beginning in Dagenham where hosts, Lonsdale, were taking on an Athletic Newham side sat level on points going into the game. But it was the visitors who moved ahead in that head-to-head, two goals from Tim Mason and one from Robert Devlin enough to give Newham the 3-2 win despite Lonsdale goals from Kalium Fletcher and Anthony Scott.
And that same scoreline was mirrored in the other game from the division where Hainault Athletic were the visitors to Wanstead Flats to face an Alpha side who went in with a five point lead over their opponents. Alpha were able to edge the game on the day to win 3-2 themselves, Stephen Maitland scoring twice and Marco Nunes once to present Alpha with a fifth league win of the season.
In Division Six, Woodford Town Reserves continue to lead the way and opened up a slightly larger lead following the weekend’s results, firstly as the leaders earned themselves a thirteenth win of the season, defeating London Legacy by the odd goal in five, despite visitor goals from Walid Benmouna and Abiola Balogun. That 3-2 win, coupled with results elsewhere leaves Town eight points clear in the race.
That position was made more certain as second placed Chingford Athletic, the only side with realistic hopes of still catching the leaders, were held to a 2-2 draw against now fourth placed Valence United Reserves, a late goal earning the sides a share of the spoils. Enzo Victoriano and Kevin Bangura were the players on target for the visitors who have made good progress following promotion.
Over in Dagenham, Epping Royals made the trip to Old Dagenham Park to take on relegation threatened Titans United with twelve points and five places between the sides before that contest got underway. It was the higher ranked Royals side who walked away with a 2-1 win on the day, Joseph Bothwell scoring both of their goals to move them up into third place in the table.
Just the one game survived the elements in Division Seven and that contest saw Emerson & Upminster in home action at Hall Lane as they took on a Debden Sports A side who were in search of points to continue their promotion quest. A Shane Mitchell hat-trick for the visitors set Debden on their way with Lee Cavanagh and Aman Gill goals completing a 5-0 win.
COUNTY & CHARITY CUP
In the London Sunday Trophy, AC Milano’s quest to repeat last year’s run to the final is on course after they came from behind to draw 3-3 late on in the quarter-finals, despite a man deficit against higher-ranked opponents, Croydon, to head through in dramatic fashion in a penaltty shootout.
In the Essex Sunday Junior Cup, the fourth round action saw FC Galaxy on the road again with a trip down the A13 to take on Chadfleet United from the Thurrock Association Sunday League. After some good performance in earlier rounds, Galaxy saw a 1-0 lead slip in this tie and it was the Thurrock side who headed through, 2-1.
The first West Essex Cup action of the new year pitted Hackney & Leyton League side Loxford Lions up against Critics from our league, the tie comfortably seeing the higher-placed visitors take the win as Critics headed through the quarter-finals, 7-1 winners.