On a decent if damp day at Burroughs Park, Great Wakering Rovers (GWR) took on relegation-battlers Waltham Forest in another Essex Senior League encounter. For the hosts, Nathan Dewberry was unavailable so Jay Nash and Neil Richmond led the line for Iain O’Connell’s side, with Chris Bryan and Jamie Brown on the bench. For Forest, player-manager Ryan Maxwell was one of only two substitutes on the bench while new signing Tyrone Scarlett led the attack alongside Christian Owusu.
Wakering undoubtedly started the stronger of the two sides with forward Neil Richmond somehow not connecting properly with a header three minutes in while winger Billy Johnson blasted over the bar only a minute later. Forest nearly took the lead moments later in bizarre circumstances as Oliver Woodhouse’s ‘radar’ was off as his misplaced pass found its way past home custodian Louis Hawes and would’ve trickled in the net had it not been for a committed goal-line clearance from full-back Jason Ring.
Winger Stephen Butterworth then spurned two good chances before ten minutes of the game elapsed, the second of those chances being one-on-one with visiting stopper Bryce Billington, who did well in blocking the shot with his leg. On the rare occasion that Forest got forward up to this point, winger Bradley Kaye did draw a save from Hawes though just part the quarter-hour mark, Richmond and Butterworth couldn’t find the target before GWR eventually took the lead on 22 minutes. The ball came to Jay Nash in the area, his shot glanced off the post into the opposite corner.
Even though Rovers led, at times the attacking 4-2-4 formation still lacked a little verve or energy as we got to half-time.
Half-Time: Great Wakering Rovers 1 – 0 Waltham Forest
As the second half got underway, it was rather ‘double or nothing’ as Forest brought both their substitutes on. The hosts looked to find a better rhythm and nearly doubled their lead seven minutes after the break though Johnson’s drive was well-saved by Billington. The visitors had battled quite well at times, and shifted their formation at the break so that Anthony Da Silva was almost playing as a makeshift striker, all 6ft 10 of him. Anyway, just past the hour Forest had a free-kick which hit the bar though at times they lacked cutting-edge.
That said, Forest did level on 67 minutes when Da Silva took advantage of a mix-up in the home defence and passed the ball home calmly to delight the travelling support. Unfortunately for Maxwell’s side, they were only level for four minutes before GWR re-took the lead as after a good passing move, Johnson got a tap-in from close range.
Forest were still in the match though two silly bookings in as many minutes for Owusu made the visitors’ task harder, a man down. GWR midfielder Ricky Evans’ drive was well tipped-over by the impressive Billington as we entered the last ten minutes. Moments later, Johnson finally sealed the points a lovely curling effort which found the left corner.
Full-Time: Great Wakering Rovers 3 – 1 Waltham Forest
Great Wakering Rovers
Louis Hawes (GK), Jason Ring, Danny Hurford, Scott Pethers (Capt), Oliver Woodhouse, Sam Carter, Billy Johnson (Finley Dopson 86′), Ricky Evans, Jay Nash, Neil Richmond (Chris Bryan 60′) Stephen Butterworth
Goal-scorers: Jay Nash [22′] , Billy Johnson [71′ & 86′]
Booked: Johnson, Ring | Subs Not Used: Froud, Willis, Brown
Bryce Billington (GK), Santana Porter, Nelati Gench, Bradley Kaye, Gus Douglas, Elias Silagato, Harry Morgan, Anthony Da Silva, Tyrone Scarlett (Ryan Maxwell 46′), Christian Owusu, Antoine Fontaine (Onome Emovon 46′)
Goal-scorer: Da Silva [67′]
Booked: Douglas, Kaye | Sent Off: Owusu (2 Bookings) | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Eugene Robinson
Assistants: Martin Green & Harry Dunnett