Redbridge 0 Hullbridge Sports 1
Essex Senior League
Saturday 6th October
Winning League titles sometimes means grinding out results and winning ugly. Hullbridge Sports certainly did that on Saturday at a wet Oakside, it was a game in which the hosts had a real go at the leaders but in the end Darren Manning’s side were able to keep it tight at the back and took their chance when it arrived. They followed up Tuesday evening’s 1-0 away win at Saffron Walden Town with a similar score line on Saturday; former Redbridge player Nathan Scarborough headed home the winner in the 64th minute, while George Marsh made it two clean sheets this week – proving that it isn’t just goal scorers that help win matches.
It was Scarborough who had the first chance of the game, a drive from outside the box that Lewis Greene tipped around the post. But the leaders were soon to have a scary moment as Jack Stevenson had a long range shot that struck the cross bar.
And the opening 15 minutes really saw the hosts laying into their visitors; Stevenson played in Calvin Poku who then lost his footing on the soggy surface and miscued his shot, and then Poku again was in on goal until Perry Dunn did enough to prevent the forward from getting in a clean strike.
Matt Dicks had Hullbridge’s best chance of the game thus far in the 22nd minute; yet another shot from range which caused Greene to back pedal furiously, but luckily for the Redbridge ‘keeper the ball was just a fraction too high.
Redbridge were having a fair bit of possession and were getting crosses into Hullbridge’s danger zone but the Hullbridge back four were solid and soaked it up. Greene at the other end had to punch away a cross that swept across his six-yard box; then Matt Dicks went on a run before drilling an effort just over. Greene stopped a Cox effort in the 40th minute, but it was the Motormen who closed the half with two near misses. First a Stevenson cross from the right just eluded Tommie Turner at the back post; then Poku sent over a cross from the other flank which Larry Asare just failed to connect with at the near post.
The second half saw Hullbridge win an early corner which Cox headed over. Then a promising ball over the top of Redbridge’s defence came to nothing, as this time it was a Hullbridge player that lost his footing, with Cox the player that slipped
Cox did however make amends in the 51st minute when his shot-on-the-turn hit the post. Redbridge then went close themselves as a Stevenson free kick was parried by Marsh; the ball was then re-constituted back into the box with Poku having a shot saved by Marsh, with a Hullbridge defender then quickly lofting the ball clear. It was back to the wall stuff for Hullbridge at times.
But then in the 64th minute they were in the lead as Hodgson’s cross from the right was headed home at the back post by Scarborough.
Stevenson blasted one over for the hosts soon afterwards, but Hullbridge’s defence now fought for every ball; with three points now almost in the bag the leaders were shutting up shop. The hosts were still able to eke out a few chances though. In the 80th minute Asare blazed a shot into the side-netting; then in the closing stages Asare had another shot, this time Dunn standing firm and deflecting it away, then Marsh had to get down low to tip away a Burgess effort, pulling off a save that effectively made sure of the three points as the final whistle went soon afterwards.
That’s three straight league defeats for Redbridge, their newly assembled squad still going through a bedding-in period it seems. Hullbridge however are coming together quite nicely; still unbeaten in the league and top of the table by a five point margin. There’s still a long way to go of course, but teams that grind out results in wet October conditions can often have more than just some sunshine to look forward to once the season reaches its climax in April.
Redbridge: Lewis Greene, Glody Nsamu, Marcus Carter, Liam Burgess, Quincy Egbejale, Bryan Kyungu (Josh Coulson 84’), Daniel Smith (Capt), Tommie Turner (Tyrone Scarlett 71’), Calvin Poku, Jack Stevenson, Larry Asare.
Hullbridge Sports: George Marsh, Sam Taylor, Matt Rose, Matt Dicks, Perry Dunn, Robert Hodgson, Dan Okah (Aundre Spencer 68’), Matt Tapley, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Luke Hornsley (Michael Salako 73’), Nathan Scarborough (Arnold Achampong 82’).
Scorer – Nathan Scarborough (64’).