Southend Manor 0 FC Romania 2
Essex Senior League
Saturday 28th April
Report by Scott Lanza
With the final week of the Essex Senior League season seeing four-way shootout for the promotion places meant that there was a far bit of peeking at the table thinking up all manner of possibilities before the games became at 3pm. What was important as far as FC Romania were concerned was taking care of their own business and doing their best to secure one more final win to give them the best opportunity of landing one of the promotion spots.
The visitors peppered the Manor area early on with Lawrence Priddle cutting out an early cross from Constantin Arotaritei; and in the 7th minute the Manor custodian was then tipping a Vlad Sighiartau turn and volley around the post.
At this point FC Romania seemed to have switched on and continued chipping away; Arotaritei had a drive blocked by Kye Jude, then Florin Pop dinked a ball over to Vladut Sighiartau whose run was blocked by the Manor defence.
The hosts teased out an opportunity when they won a corner in the 17th minute which was headed clear by Mihai Circiumaru. But that foray seemed to have woken Manor up as they carved out another opportunity shortly afterwards as Jude had a long range effort parried by Adrian Darabant.
A cross shot from Pop in the 26th minute almost sneaked past Priddle but Lewis Sparrow deflected the ball away for a corner. The Wolves followed that up with a Mihai Deaconescu shot that was hooked off the line by Rhys Fatt; they went even closer when Pop lofted a ball over the Manor ‘keeper that clipped the cross bar.
But it wasn’t one-way traffic as Manor put together a move that saw Brennon Nolan rushing towards the FCR goal before being crowded out. Alfie Lindfield then darted down the left flank and delivered a fast ball to Nolan whose charge on goal ended with him being bundled over, but no free kick was given. The hosts however at times lumbered at their task which denied their front men opportunities to test Darabant, although they did cause his defence to be alert to the danger Manor’s front men posed when they did venture forward.
With half time approaching FC Romania needed to find a goal to take away any nerves. They had carved out more possession but hadn’t really threatened Manor too heavily. A sweeping move in the 39th minute almost changed that as it ended with Circiumaru unloading a diagonal shot that Priddle tipped away.
The Wolves took the lead two minutes later when Circiumaru had two bites of the cherry, his first shot being blocked by Priddle who had done well to save the initial shot, but he was helpless to prevent Circiumaru then smashing the rebound past him. It meant that at half time FC Romania were taking care of their own business – but they still had work to do.
Manor showed some of their attacking flair to start the second half. Fatt linked up nicely with Evison whose shot was tipped behind by Darabant. The resulting corner ricocheted dangerously around the box until finally smashed clear.
After that little flurry Manor were then kept quiet by the FCR defence with Priddle and his defence being under the most pressure. The Manor ‘keeper blocked a Circiumaru shot; tipped a Pop effort over the bar; then had to claw away a Pop corner from under the cross bar. Cosmin Sandu also went close with a glancing header before the second goal they were pressing for, and to be fare needed to keep Manor at bay, finally came in the 62nd minute. A loose ball in the Manor box was thumped home by Sighiartau. The Wolves were not by any means coasting – but they had no at least got some breathing space and were well and truly taking care of their own business.
Had Manor pulled one back it might have made for a nervy finish. John-Jo Slater came off the subs bench and immediately drilled a low shot that Darabant blocked. Manor went even closer when Evison fired a shot narrowly wide.
FC Romania remained in control of the game though and carved out further opportunities as Circiumaru and Pop both flashed shots wide, with Priddle also preventing the visitors adding any more to their tally with a fantastic diving save to deny Sergiu Maximov in the closing seconds.
FC Romania has taken care of their own business at the Arena Stadium. As news filtered in it became apparent that Great Wakering Rovers had secured promotion and the ESL title. But other results elsewhere confirmed that FC Romania now sit 2nd with Basildon United needing to beat Redbridge on Wednesday night to overhaul them. A waiting game for Ion Vintila then, but his charges did their bit on Saturday afternoon.
Southend Manor: Lawrence Priddle, Grant Webb, Tyler Fowles (Jordan Fisher 46’), Robbie Norris, Lewis Sparrow, Kye Jude, Rhys Fatt (Conor Cobb 65’), Lee Delf (Capt), Alfie Lindfield (John-Jo Slater 65’), Brennon Nolan, Ethan Evison.
FC Romania: Adrian Darabant, Dino Barcari, Cosmin Sandu, Mihai Deaconescu, Andrei Baciu, George Taban (Capt) (Sergiu Maximov 74’), Mihai Circiumaru, Florin Pop, Laurentiu Teleoca (Adrian Balsanu 80’), Vladut Sighiartau, Constantin Arotaritei.
Scorers – Mihai Circiumaru (41’), Vladut Sighiartau (62’).