Great Wakering Rovers 4 Wadham Lodge 1
Essex Senior League
Saturday 14th April
Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Peter Dudley
Great Wakering Rovers took a step closer to landing the Essex Senior League title on Saturday after a 4-1 win at Burroughs Park that saw them end the day with a five point lead over the rest of the pack. At the same time Wadham Lodge ended their Saturday afternoon a step closer to the trapdoor after a performance that rarely threatened the leaders.
Rovers had their first effort inside the first minute when Jay Nash unloaded from outside the box which Dwayne Uylett managed to fingertip around the post. It was an early sign because the hosts opened their account at early as the 3rd minute when Neil Richmond curled a shot with the outside of his boot past the stranded Uylett.
And whilst Brandon Kelly almost muscled his way into the Rover box soon after his side had gone a goal down, the rest of the half saw constant Rovers pressure as they went in search of further goals. They looked dangerous at times going forward with Richmond being pivotal as he laid off his team mates, with a knock on to Billy Johnson being blocked; while a long-range effort from Jay Nash, who had been teed up by Richmond, resulted in Uylett pulling off a great save to tip around the post. Nash then narrowly missed with a drive from distance, as did Evans, before Uylett again had to show some top-class keeping stopping a Dewberry shot from extending the lead.
A Johnson corner just missed the head of Nash as Rovers continued pressing forward. The hosts actually went and put the ball in the net in the 28th minute when Dewberry connected with a through ball and fired the ball past Uylett but the goal was chalked off due to an offside flag being raised. And Dewberry was to be hard-done by again moments later when he turned and fired off a powerful shot that the Wadham Lodge keeper parried. Terry Foxe marshalled his defence who certainly did their best to stem the flow, while the Lodge frontline were finally able to test Louis Hawes as Asdoulie Ndjai launched a free kick that the Rovers custodian had to come out and claim. The only other Wadham Lodge attack of note came in the 41st minute when Ndjai was played in but his powerful shot was blocked.
Nash drilled another shot wide as the half came to a close; then Uylett had to punch clear a dangerous looking in-swinger from Johnson and with time ticking down it looked like Great Wakering Rovers were going to go in at the break with only the most slender of leads despite having dominated the whole opening stanza. However the second goal that they had been threatening to score duly came in the 44th minute when Johnson cracked an effort beyond Uylett to put his side firmly in the driving seat as the half ended.
The hosts made a rather subdued opening to the second period which allowed Wadham Lodge the opportunity to come out of their shell a little bit. Scott Pethers had to concede an early corner which Hawes soon mopped up. Then Ndjai unleashed a sizzling shot that was only an inch to high, before he then had another shot blocked by Hawes.
A Pethers free kick on the hour forced Uylett to make a save, then in the 67th minute Kieran Southgate sped into the Rovers box and poked a shot wide.
The points were virtually in the bag three minutes later when Richmond charged down the right flank, squared to Dewberry at the near post, who squeezed the ball past the Wadham Lodge keeper to give his side a three-goal cushion.
Oshin went close with a header for the visitors before they pulled one back in the 76th minute when a Danny Francis free kick made its way past the Rovers wall and keeper to end up in the back of the net.
It was to prove a mere consolation because in the 81st minute Rovers restored their three-goal cushion after a ball lofted into the Wadham Lodge box wrong-footed Uylett allowing Bayley Newell to roll the ball home from close range.
Hawes was wise to another Francis effort a minute later, and Chris Bryan drilled a shot over the bar in the closing stages as Rovers saw out the game to collect an important three points. With Redbridge only managing a draw means they now have a five point lead and landing their third ESL title is very much in their hands. As for Wadham Lodge they remain second from bottom but do have games in hand on the teams above them.
Great Wakering Rovers: Louis Hawes, Jason Ring, Danny Hurford, Scott Pethers (Capt), Aaron Waters (Aaron Russell 63’), Sam Carter, Billy Johnson, Ricky Evans, Nathan Dewberry, Neil Richmond (Bayley Newell 77’), Jay Nash (Chris Bryan 71’).
Scorers – Neil Richmond (3’), Billy Johnson (44’), Nathan Dewberry (70’)
Wadham Lodge: Dwayne Uylett, Nathan Joseph, Ashley Bankole, Brandon Kelly (Nathan Muskitta 71’), Terry Foxe, Chris Gormley, Kieran Southgate, Paul Oshin, Sherwin Stanley (Capt) (Rujorn Tuitt 79’), Danny Francis, Asdoulie Ndjai (Cory Rider 88’).
Scorer – Danny Francis (76’)