Bowers end the Year with a Bang
By Dean Wootten
4-1 victory over Wakering sees Bowers go seven points clear.
Saturday 29th December
The Len Salmon Stadium
Kick Off: 15:00
Bostick Division One North
Referee: Rhys Battye
Assistant Referees: Andrew Simmonds & Gary Baker
Bowers & Pitsea finished 2018 seven points clear at the top of the Bostik Division One North following a convincing 4-1 win over Great Wakering Rovers. Goals from David Knight, Martyn Stokes, Ben Sartain and Brad Warner put Bowers in cruise control, before Brian Moses scored a late consolation.
Bowers remained unchanged from their 2-1 win over Canvey Island as the hosts looked to maintain their lead at the top of the Bostik Division One North as 2018 came to close. Lewis Manor returned to the bench following his absence from the win against Canvey.
The match started at a frantic pace with both sides wasting good chances. After Warner had come close with a free kick, Joshua Wiggins wasted a glorious for Wakering firing straight at Andy Wilton. Warner came close again moments after Wilton’s save, but he could only head straight at Coey Turipa following Quentin Monville’s cross.
Bowers took the lead in the 19th minute through David Knight, the forward pouncing onto the end of James Thomas’ cross after good play from Warner and Sartain. Things turned sour for Bowers five minutes later as Richard Halle was forced to withdraw from the game after clashing with Shomari Barnwell; Lewis Clark coming on in his place.
But that sour note was soon rid as Bowers doubled their lead through the Captain Martyn Stokes. Brad Warner’s whipped corner was glanced home by Stokes, although there were suggestions it may have been a Moses own goal.
Wakering were not deterred by these goals and maintained their intent with Billy Johnson testing Wilton from range. Even though they enjoyed better spells of possession after the second goal, Wakering were dealt a killer blow when Ben Sartain scored three minutes before the break.
The ball was played wide to Monville on the left and he was able skip inside the challenges of three defenders before teeing up Sartain who drove his shot goalwards. It looked a fairly easy effort to deal with, but somehow Turipa allowed the ball to bounce over him, after Sartain’s shot had landed just in front of him. However, they all count and Sartain wheeled away in celebration.
Both sides made a change at the break with Callum Leahy departing for Bowers, due to illness, and being replaced by Jamie Dicks. Meanwhile, Rovers replaced Joshua Wiggins with Jake Gordon.
Chances in the first 15 minutes of the second half were at a minimum, former Bowers Shomari Barnwell firing wide for Wakering, while Knight was denied a second by Turipa. Wakering made a further change when Sewa Maran replaced Billy Johnson.
Just before the hour mark, quick breakaway and slick passing interchanges between Warner, Knight and Sartain put the former in the clear and when Warner cut back and saw Knight meet his cross with a diving header, it had four-nil written all over it. But, Turipa pulled off a great save to deny Knight again and keep the scoreline at 3-0.
It was Stokes’ turn to come close to scoring a second of the game as he saw his header from a Warner corner blocked on the line by Gordon. Wakering were able to break from here and Barnwell was able to slide in Will Harris, but the retreating Jamie Dicks produced a superb goal-saving block to keep the hosts clean-sheet in tact.
Once again, a wasted Great Wakering chance led to a Bowers goal as shortly after Dicks’ block Warner scored to make it 4-0. Tom Stephen hit a clever ball into the channel which Knight was able to latch onto and after making his way back towards his own half, Bowers top goalscorer turned creator by swinging in an inch perfect cross which allowed Warner to head home.
As the fourth goal went in Bowers made their final change as Monville was replaced by the returning Max Cornhill. Stokes again went close to adding to the lead, climbing highest once more to head a Warner corner, but Turipa was able to tip over.
The hosts were unable to keep a clean sheet though as in the 80th minute Great Wakering scored a consolation goal. Gordon clipped the ball into Moses who held off Lewis Clark before chesting the ball down, turning and then volley into the bottom left hand corner.
That was as good as it got for Rovers, with the last chance of the game seeing Knight’s volley deflect narrowly wide. The victory sees Bowers seven points clear of second placed Maldon & Tiptree as we enter 2019.