(Photo by Peter Dudley)
Friday 21st December
Essex Senior League
Redbridge P Enfield P
Tower Hamlets P Leyton Athletic P
Saturday 22nd December
Essex Senior League
Hoddesdon Town 2 Sawbridgeworth Town 0
Hullbridge Sports P Southend Manor P
Ilford 0 Clapton 3
Sporting Bengal United 0 Barkingside 1
St Margaretsbury 3 Woodford Town 1
Stansted 2 Takeley 1
Stanway Rovers P Saffron Walden Town P
Walthamstow 1 West Essex 0
Stansted go into the Christmas break with a four point lead over Hullbridge Sports after beating local rivals Takeley at Hargrave Park. The visitors went into this one on the back on an eleven-game unbeaten run and they took the lead on only 8 minutes via Coby Miles. Stansted were back on term two minutes before the break as Connor Hammond fired home a penalty. A top of the table local derby is always going to be a tight affair but the hosts had the better of the chances and took the lead in the 68th minute through Callum Ibe. It proved to be the winning goal that keeps Stansted top, while Takeley remain 3rd. Barkingside received a welcome Christmas present at Mile End Stadium: a 1-0 win against Sporting Bengal United. Darnell Goather-Braithwaite scored the goal; Ryan Karrer kept a clean sheet and it’s Side’s first league win of the season, coming only a few days after a 1-0 win over Leyton Athletic in the Errington Challenge Cup. They remain bottom but will be hoping their sudden winning habit carries over into the New Year.
Walthamstow also won 1-0, with Dwade James providing the goal that edged out West Essex. Harry Girling kept West Essex out, earning him a clean sheet; Aaron Bull did the same for Hoddesdon Town who went on to beat Sawbridgeworth Town 2-0. Aiden Critchley finally opened the account in the 83rd minute and six minutes later Hoddesdon sealed the deal with an Imani Matthews goal. One other ‘keeper played the Christmas stooge on Saturday as Joe Phillips and his defence kept Ilford at bay. Meanwhile at the other end Clapton went on to breach Ilford’s defences three times; Timi Abiola, Rueben Campbell and Ali Al-Nashi the Tons men that inflicted the damage. St Margaretsbury move up to 9th after a 3-1 win over Woodford Town. Thomas Cowell opened the account for the hosts in the 38th minute but two minutes later the Woods drew level via Temi Babalola. Connor Scully handed St Margaretsbury the lead once again in the 55th minute and the posts were secured when Lennox Shaquille added a third later on.
The weather wrecked some damage too as Redbridge v Enfield, Hullbridge Sports v Southend Manor and Stanway Rovers v Saffron Walden Town were postponed due to the elements making pitches unplayable. Tower Hamlets meanwhile had their Friday night engagement with Leyton Athletic called off due to Mile End Stadium staff having a Christmas party!