Redbridge 1 Saffron Walden Town 1
Essex Senior League
Saturday 4th August
Report by Scott Lanza
Redbridge missed out on promotion last season after conceding a late goal at Basildon United that saw the Bees secure their own move up the Pyramid. The Motormen go into this campaign once again one of the favoured teams and they almost made a perfect start to the new season as Calvin Poku nearly beat Neil O’Sullivan with an audacious lob within twenty seconds of the game starting. Saffron Walden, making their return in the ESL, replied in kind a minute later with a Thomas Lakin drive that just missed the target.
After such a blistering start it was no surprise when the deadlock was broken early on; in the 11th minute to be precise, but in controversial circumstances as the referee adjudged that Lewis Greene had made contact with Daniel Trendall before the ball. The game is all about opinions, and in this case position, but it did look contentious to me and Redbridge were understandably not too happy with the decision. Non-League legend Steve Portway, a former Redbridge manager returned to Oakside team to see his son, who now leads the line for the Bloods. However he had to look away as Charlie stepped up and despatched it with some aplomb into left hand corner, sending Greene the wrong way in the process. His dad would have been proud – had he only witnessed it!
Redbridge despite conceding in such a controversial way went back to testing the Bloods defence with Poku and Joey May, back from a long term injury and now likely to feature as a player as well as being co-manager with Ricky Eaton, both causing the Bloods defence a few concerns.
But it was Michael Ogboin, making his first competitive appearance since re-joining the Motormen in the close season, who fired home the equaliser in the 20th minute. A ball swirled into the box and Ogboin showed lovely skills to flip the ball up, before turning and volleying past the desperate dive of O’Sullivan.
Portway dinked one over soon afterwards and Greene then had to show great goalkeeping prowess to tip away a Trendall shot. But the rest of the half looked to peter out as both defences stood firm and that meant chances dried up and so it was looking like there was going to be nothing else of note to report. Not so, as just before the break the Bloods had a penalty appeal when Trendall was hauled down in the box. It looked a stronger claim than the one they had been given earlier. On this occasion though the referee said no and then blew for half time a minute later.
It didn’t take the Motormen long to get into their attacking stride and within five minutes of the re-start Poku was able to prise open the Bloods defence, set-up DJ Adelekan whose shot was blocked. There was no respite for the visitors though as May pounced on the rebound but could only slam his shot wide. Ogboin was only an inch away from giving Redbridge the lead on the hour and at that point it looked like it Redbridge were going to find a way to win it.
The Bloods may have been passing the ball nicely in midfield, but found the Redbridge defence stifling their forward play. That was until the 65th minute when Trendall let fly from twenty-five yards which dipped just too late and cleared the crossbar. Jack Mead went even closer when he ghosted into the Redbridge box and unloaded a shot that hit the woodwork. After that little burst the Redbridge defence then shut up shop and the visitors were unable to test Greene unduly. At the other end the Bloods defence snuffed out any Redbridge forays meaning that the game petered out, with both teams having to be satisfied with a point from their opening day endeavours.
Redbridge: Lewis Greene, Terrell Miller, Marcus Carter, Liam Burgess, Tyron Thomas, Glody Nsama, Daniel Smith, DJ Adelekan (Adam Hunt 71’), Calvin Poku (Capt), Michael Ogboin, Joey May (Asher Modeste 75’).
Scorer – Michael Ogboin (20’).
Saffron Walden Town: Neil O’Sullivan, Spike Bell, Jamie Solkhon, Simon Parsons (Greg Strong 86’), Ryan Fleming (Capt), Jamie Riley, Jack Mead, Joseph Murphy, Thomas Lakin, Charlie Portway, Daniel Trendall ( Dillon Bradley (75’).
Scorer – Charlie Portway (11’p)