COGGESHALL UNITED 2 - 3 MAY & BAKER
By Andy Everett
Bakers win on the road
May & Baker made the trip to Coggeshall with no less than 7 players missing from their previous starting XI. However, they were buoyed with the return of Conor Okus, Craig Hall, Besmir Hoxhaj, Daniel Lopes and Kiel Chandler showing that strength in depth is a much needed quality this season.
In what was to be an entertaining game, it was Bakers that had the first real chance in the third minute. From an Elliott Carter throw in, Richard Oxby was able to work the ball to Henry Osei and his cross found James Barlow who smartly played in Reece Tranter and his shot was well saved by Matt Walker. The resultant corner led to the home side breaking but George Martin was able to collect the Andrew Fennel's cross.
The away side took the lead in the 6th minute when Barlow showed great strength down the left hand side and crossed for Tranter who controlled and swivelled quickly to shoot right footed past the static Walker. 0-1
The home side responded quickly and the dangerous Fennel rounded Carter and shot low but Martin saved well. Both sides were playing all out attacking football and both defences need to be at full concentration. In the 17th minute, May & Baker scored a great team goal, Carter, who had to be at his best against the lively Fennel, managed to dispossess the winger and surged forward, his deft pass found Osei who cut inside Abednego Mensah and played a reverse pass into the overlapping Luke Dickens, his measured cross allowed Barlow the simple task of tapping in to the gaping net. 0-2
This should have seen the away side take control but this was not the case and it was Coggeshall that started to gain the upper hand and in the 21st minute they carved out a great chance for George Smith but with only the keeper to beat he could not found a way past Martin who saved brilliantly. The home side continued to press but the Bakers back four of Dickens, Hall, Joe Maskell and Carter stood firm.
Although Bakers were on the back foot they were still causing the home defence problems with their quick counter attacking play and in the 24th minute should have gone further ahead. A Maskell free kick found Barlow unmarked but he put his header wide. Almost immediately Coggeshall responded and some good work down the left hand side found Tom Blackwell who fired across goal but Fennel could not apply the finishing touch and shot into the side netting from an acute angle. However, Fennel did not have to wait long to get on the score sheet. Some more good football on the left between Sam Cripps and Blackwell played Smith into some space and his deflected cross fell invitingly for Fennel who volleyed in from close range. 1-2
The home side were full of confidence and the pace of Fennel was beginning to have a greater effect down the right hand side. The nippy number 7 out paced Carter and Maskell to fire in a dangerous cross with both Blackwell and Smith waiting to tap in, but Martin expertly dealt with the situation. Then Fennel was involved again but this time producing an opening through his own initiative but his left shot, from just inside the box, went wide.
These two near misses seemed to inject some urgency into the away side and they created an opportunity for Osei but his cross/shot flew into the side netting. From another Bakers counter attack they furthered their lead when Barlow used his strength and pace to get beyond Akins and he found Carter, who had left his defensive responsibilities to support his team mate. The full back coolly cut inside Hayes and shot right footed which took a deflection to wrong foot Walker and hit the back of the net. 1-3
The final action of this pulsating first half was for Maskell to be in the right place to block another Fennel surging run before he could cause any further damage and the referee blew for half time.
HT: Coggeshall United 1 - 3 May & Baker
The second half resumed and it was May & Baker that had the first opening when following some intricate play between Osei and Dickens the former found Tranter but he shot wide. The home side management team then decided enough was enough and made a change of personnel and formation. Josh Dalziel replacing Akins. However, before Coggeshall could get used to the new system, Osei worked an opening for Tranter who's powerful shot was well saved by Walker. In the 58th minute the lively Fennel tried his luck from distance but his shot sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Coggeshall made their second change and Josle Syrett was introduced for Cripps. This allowed the home side more freedom in front of the Bakers defensive line and both Maskell and Hall had to be alert to tidy up. The home side made their last change with Adie Cant coming on for Blackwell. May & Baker also made their first substitution and brought on Besmir Hoxhaj for James Zanelli who had put in an unselfish shift in the middle of the park.
The changes were sure to have an effect either way and it was the home side that got their reward. A Fennel free kick was headed forwards by Sean Radley but as Jack Hayes tried to head back across the goal the ball drifted over the bar, goal kick, or at least that is what all the players thought so. Somewhere the officials had spotted a deflection from a Bakers player and had deemed the ball to be over the by line before Hayes good head it and so to the bemusement of the away side players a corner was given. Unfortunately, Bakers let their concentration slip and Hayes was on hand to head home in the 67th minute. 2-3
The away side responded well and following a good passing move between Barlow, Oxby and Tranter created an opportunity for Barlow but his shot was well saved by Walker. However, following this, Coggeshall took control of the game and were having some dangerous situations down their left hand side. The Bakers Management Team of Micky Wetherall and Andy Hill decided a further change was needed and introduced Kiel Chandler for Dickens with Osei moving to right back.
The home side continued to press and a clever passing move between Fennel and Cant gave the latter the opportunity to send in a low hard cross for the oncoming Syrett and just when he thought he was about to make it 3-3 Hall appeared and his desperate lunge was enough to put off the Coggeshall substitute and he missed the target. Unfortunately, Hall was injured at this time and had to be replaced by Alex Owuadey with Barlow being asked to move back into central defence.
The introduction of the pacy Owuadey allowed Bakers respite and began to see them gain more possession in the Coggeshall half. In the 83rd minute his tenacious running won him possession and made a simple pass to Hoxhaj who shot from the corner of the box but too high to worry Walker. A couple of minutes later and Bakers should have made sure of their win when following a Coggeshall attack the ball was cleared up field with Owuadey and Chandler in pursuit but they appeared to get in each other's way and the home side were able to clear.
In the 89th minute, the ever impressive Fennel, combined with Smith to work an opening but Barlow was on hand to thwart him before he could get his shot away. However, a minute later, Fennel almost grabbed his second goal when his lob shot hit the top of the bar and behind for a goal kick. This could have been the end of Coggeshall's attacks, but because of the lengthy injury stoppages to Hall and Tranter there was still time for one last foray into the Bakers penalty box. The game was now deep in injury time and the home side through some clever play got Fennel free on the right hand side and his pin point cross found Cant at the back post but with the goal at his mercy Martin pulled off a match winning save to deny him the equaliser. Moments later the referee signalled the end of the game much to the delight of the Bakers Management, players and supporters.
FT: Coggeshall United 2 - 3 May & Baker
An exciting, enthralling game with plenty of attacking football played throughout.