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As the first matches of 2019 got underway, East Ham Inter missed the chance to significantly cut the gap at the top of the Senior Division table as they gave up a lead in their clash at West Essex Reserves and had to settle for a point. Inter took a 3-1 lead but West levelled it up at 3-3 to take a share of the spoils on the day.
Third placed London Cranes also lost ground on the top two sides as they slipped to a defeat at home against fifth placed Singh Sabha Barking in West Ham. Bruno Boris got the Cranes goal but Barking responded with two goals of their own to secure a fifth win of the season, moving them into the top half of the table.
Completing the top flight action, there was a big six pointer at the wrong end of the table where London Park City were looking to build upon their recent first point of the season with a match against second from bottom, Grove United. Grove’s opening performance of 2019 gave them much to fight for, securing a 7-2 win to close the gap on safety above them.
There was a huge shock in Division One where it was top versus bottom with leaders FC Baresi playing host to Sporting Hackney Under 23s at the Britannia. Marvin Smith was on the scoresheet for Baresi but a Ricardo Balogun goal for Hackney handed the strugglers just a fourth point of the season so far in an eventual 1-1 draw, remaining four points from safety still.
Fourth placed Three Colts remain major contenders for the title in this consistently inconsistent division and they enhanced their credentials with a routine victory on Saturday away at Melbourne Sports in Hainault. Tom Jakob scored twice with Jason Fox and Dave Watson getting the others as Colts ran out 4-0 winners to make it seven league wins from eleven so far this season.
It was local derby day in Leyton with Lymore Gardens the hosts as Forest Green made the short journey to face their local rivals. Lymore missed the chance to stay fourth in the table as they slipped to defeat by the odd goal with Green’s Joshua Kibuuka, Romelle Pile and Joshua Thompson all scoring in a 3-2 for their side.
Remaining sixth in the table, Rapid Chingford got their new year underway with a positive performance, edging a thriller of a contest away at Wapping as they won 4-3. Ionut Pumnutiu was the hero with a hat-trick for Rapid with Bogdan Galan’s goal completing the scoring, rendering Wapping goals from Ashraf Ameek, Mohammad Rafe and Mohammed Hussain as just consolation.
It’s as you were at the top of the table as Eastside stayed top of the table at the weekend following a hard fought victory at home against FC BKT at Hackney Marshes. In a contest comprising eight goals, Side scored five of those with Abraham Monae (2), Abdisamad Mohamed, Idris Shittu and Michael Odukoya all netting to earn their team a 5-3 win.
Rainham Working Mens Club closed the gap on the sides above them with an important opening win of the calendar year, defeating Old Esthameians in a seven goal thriller in Rainham. Chris Booker, Danny Harris and Jack Smerdon all scored for E’s but a Rainham hat-trick from the in-form Liam Tormey plus a Ricardo Teixeira effort completed the narrow 4-3 win.
The merry-go-round at the top of Division Three continued at the weekend with Haver Town Reserves taking full advantage of Custom House United’s lack of action to move top of the pile with an important 3-1 home win over Flyers Reserves. Lee Harris, Samuel Higgins and Ryan Kelland all found the back of the net to render Chris Anele’s goal as just consolation for the visitors.
There was a sixth league win confirmed by Tower Hamlets Reserves who got revenge for defeat earlier in the season against Frenford A by winning this time around in a 3-1 scoreline away from home, closing the gap on the top half teams to just three points.
The biggest winners of the day were New Star Soccer who started their 2019 action with nine goals on the road as they faced a depleted St Francis side at Wanstead Flats. The two Sutherlands, Micah and Tyrese, were the main heroes each scoring twice with debutant Lheureux Menga also scoring a brace and single goals arriving from goalkeeper Helio Gomes, Diphy Menga and Samson Ogunwole to win 9-0.
The Division Four action started with a bang with the top two sides, Sungate Reserves and Avondale Rangers meeting for the first time with just two points separating them at the start. Sungate started strongly and should have been ahead but were undone just before the break then twice in the second half, going down 3-1. That saw Avondale move top with their goals arriving from Paul Regan, Thomas Jackson-Lyall and Adam Friend.
Third placed Brentwood United Reserves were therefore able to make up ground on the promotion places which they achieved successfully with an important win on their travels away at Soul Youth. Nazmul Ahmed scored the Soul goal but United responded with two goals of their own in a 2-1 victory that opened their account for the year.
Old Barkabbeyans Reserves returned to winning ways and moved off the bottom as they putting in a shift to beat Loughton Lions 4-2 in Hainault. Klodan Meta scored twice with Nahid Abdallah and Marc Sewell goals were the difference in the end as they secured their Barks side a third league win to give them some hope for the year ahead.
Completing the day’s action, Dagenham United Reserves will be pleased to have secured a first point of the new year as they put in a spirited comeback performance to rescue a draw at home to Chigwell Mens Club. David Ottley scored twice with a Niven Nkensah effort the pick of the goals in the eventual 3-3 draw, continuing their virtual mirror image of their opponent’s league record.