Haringey Borough 1 - 0 Corinthian Casuals
Borough emerged victorious at Coles Lane with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Corinthians in the Isthmian Premier Division.
Chiduem Onokwai’s 50th minute strike was enough to earn the three points for the home side. The powerful forward deftly touched the ball over the onrushing keeper before tapping the ball home.
The first-half was an entertaining one, with both sides creating chances but often failing to trouble the goalkeepers at either end of the field.
Edwards went close twice for Borough, firstly with a strike from range and then a header, but it was Onokwai who had the best chance of the half. The striker got on the end of a cross from the left but did not get enough contact on the ball and his glancing effort went wide and the sides went into the interval level.
Corinthians’ dead-ball specialists performed well on the day, forcing Valery into some smart saves including a fantastic low parry to deny a dipping free-kick from just outside the area early in the second half.
Borough’s resolute defence was enough to defend the lead until the full-time whistle and earn them the three points on the day.
Both teams are in action again on Tuesday 13 August as Haringey face Leatherhead and Corinthians take on Merstham.
Bishop’s Stortford 3 - 1 Bognor Regis Town
Bishop’s Stortford also began their league campaign with a home win. Unfortunately for Bognor Regis, some sloppy footwork from the goalkeeper after being thrown the ball was capitalised on by Callander to open the scoring.
However, goalkeeper Durin was off his line quickly to smother a potential chance from a long ball, though pressure continued to mount on the visitors.
The Blues doubled their lead after smart footwork on the right by Renee led to a low cross which was not cleared. Worman squared the ball to Jamie Cureton who could not miss with the net gaping.
A third first-half goal was added by Ryan Charles as the Blues punished some poor passing by Bognor Regis. Cureton and Renee combined well in the build-up before Charles showed excellent footwork and composure to round the keeper while under pressure and tap the ball home.
The game could have been all but over before the halfway mark but for the linesman’s flag denying Cureton his second of the afternoon with a powerful header.
Bognor Regis created more chances in the second-half and Burbidge was called into action to deny Dan Smith’s header at the back post following a diagonal ball. Smith went on to earn a penalty after he was brought down by Robbins following a corner and made no mistake from the spot.
However, Bognor Regis grew into the match too late and the Blues walked away with a deserved three points in their opening game.
Up next for Bishop’s Storford is a trip to Enfield Town, while Bognor Regis face Horsham at home. Both fixtures are scheduled for Tuesday 13 August.
Tower Hamlets 2 - 1 Selsey
Away from league football, Tower Hamlets met Selsey in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup at Mile End Stadium.
Tower Hamlets opened the scoring in the second minute in style, with a short corner worked superbly to find Anthony Folkes in the area. Folked slid the ball under the goalkeeper to give his side an early advantage.
The rest of the first-half featured end-to-end action and both goalkeepers were forced into saves, but Tower Hamlet’s held their lead heading into half-time.
An unfortunate own-goal levelled the scores shortly after the break as Arben Asllani diverted a cross past the stranded keeper and into his own net.
Folkes restored the lead for the home side with a fantastic finish from the edge of the area. Selsey will have been kicking themselves for sitting back and allowing Tower Hamlets so much time and space on the ball in the build-up to the goal.
A misguided short pass from a goal kick almost led to an equaliser at the death, but Tower Hamlets came out on top in an entertaining cup fixture and have booked their place in the next round, where they will face Horsham FC on Saturday 24 August.
Barkingside 4 -1 Stansted
WDSportz covered more cup action on Saturday as Eastern Counties League South Division team Barkingside took on the Essex Senior League’s Stansted at Cricklefield Stadium.
Stansted produced the better chances early on and took the lead after Rob Norris’ fantastic half-volley from well outside the area looped over the goalkeeper and into the top corner.
Barkingside grew into the game over the rest of the first-half but were unable to find an equaliser until just after the break. Ali Rajim’s low finish after being played in by Dan Jones levelled the scores on 46 minutes.
Full of confidence and now dictating the play, Barkingside took the lead as Francesco Balestrini produced a fantastic finish of his own to volley home off the inside of the post from just outside the area after a deft one-two.
The home side’s elation only increased as Elliot Scott headed home at the back post from Josef Oates’ corner. Oates etched his name onto the score sheet late on to secure the match emphatically after receiving the ball following some fantastic hold-up play and a no-look clip.
Barkingside will face Bowers & Pitsea in the next round on Saturday 24 August.
Walthamstow scored a remarkable seven goals on their way to victory in the opening game of the season at Wadham Lodge.
Stow controlled the early stages of the match and earned an early breakthrough after Billy Jones was fouled by the goalkeeper. Striker James Dwade made no mistake from the spot to give his side the lead.
Tower Hamlets were not without threat going forward but looked vulnerable in defence at times.
Benjamin Crilley doubled his side's lead after meeting a corner with a powerful header at the back post.
The third goal came soon after, with Jones rewarded for his tenacity in chasing down the goalkeeper to deflect his clearance into the empty net.
The Tower Hamlets stopper made amends for this with some excellent saves throughout the match, including tipping Aiken's shot from range over the bar and denying Crilley's powerful shot in the second half.
A fourth goal for Stow in the first half was one for the cameras, with Gebrai pickpocketing the defender and finding Jones in the area. Jones lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper and finished superbly.
Tower Hamlets had some chances of their own in the opening stages of the second period, but it was Stow who struck once again to add their fifth of the afternoon. Dwayne Jade scored his second with a powerful finish to the top corner at the back post after a pinpoint cross.
Murph's ball was met by the head of Jack Grosvenor to add the sixth goal before the Tower Hamlets goalkeeper made an excellent double save. However, he could do nothing about the seventh goal, with a long throw flicked on at the near post and lashed home by Ryan Reed in the final minute.
Up next for Walthamstow is a match against Sporting Bengal United on Saturday 10 August, while Tower Hamlets travel to Woodford Town on Tuesday 6 August.
Three goals in injury time saw the points shared in the opening game of the season for Saffron Walden and West Essex.
Lewis Francis saw an early chance blocked before Aaron Thomas' opener for the home team was ruled out for offside. Soon after, striker Gavin Cockman saw his effort denied by Jack Coker.
However, Saffron Walden's pressure paid off and Francis gave his side the lead with a low finish from a tight angle on 17 minutes.
A second goal was ruled out for the Wardens due to Ryan Fleming being adjudged to have been in an offside position. The home side continued to trouble West Essex with their delivery from set pieces, with full-back Greg Strong denied by a good save following a free-kick delivery.
Francis was denied his second by an excellent save in a one-on-one situation after being played in-behind by a through ball in the final action of the half.
For all their pressure in the first half, Saffron Walden were undone by a long ball early in the second half. Hakim Medfai's through-ball was finished by Cameron Gray under goalkeeper Neil O'Sullivan's legs to level the scores.
West Essex went on to take the lead as goalscorer Cameron Gray was brought down in the box by O'Sullivan, with Callum Bloss sending O'Sullivan the wrong way from the spot.
Set pieces continued to present opportunities for both sides throughout the second half, with Ryan Fleming's header from a free-kick going narrowly wide.
A flurry of activity at the end of the game began as Francis was brought down on the edge of the West Essex area after O'Sullivan's goal kick. Spike Bell's powerful effort found the back of the net to level the scores at the end of regulation time.
However, the scores were level only momentarily as West Essex capitalised on tired legs and Michael Mignot burst through to fire home amid calls of offside.
Incredibly, Saffron Walden drew level once more at the death, with a corner met powerfully by Ryan Fleming and share the points.
Up next for Saffron Walden is a fixture against Sawbridgeworth Town on Tuesday 6 August, while West Essex are not in action midweek, but face Whitton United in the FA Cup on Sunday 11 August.
Jack West's header on the 40th minute was the difference as Ilford and Stansted played out a competitive match at Cricklefield Stadium.
Stansted missed the chance to take an earlier lead as an excellent free-kick delivery was met with a header that travelled just the wrong side of the post.
Ilford had chances of their own, breaking down the right on occasions but seeing their efforts blocked or saved.
Stansted winger Jack Mitchell showed great technique to produce a fizzing shot on the half volley, forcing a good save by Hugo Rossetti.
Rossetti saved well from another headed chance but a corner was met by the head of West to give the away side the lead just before half-time.
Ilford had the better chances in the second half but failed to beat goalkeeper James Pellin, while Stansted continued to be dangerous from set pieces and it was the away side who came away with three points.
Up next for Ilford is a meeting with Redbridge while Stansted travel to Enfield, with both fixtures scheduled for Wednesday 7 August.
Walthamstow, Woodford Town and Hadley's thrashings of their respective opposition were the highlights of the action during the opening round of fixtures in the ESL.
Walthamstow hammered Tower Hamlets 7-0 at Wadham Lodge and you can find WDSportz's match report here: walthamstow-7-0-tower-hamlets-stow-breeze-past-opposition.html
Elsewhere, Woodford Town inflicted an 8-0 defeat on Sawbridgeworth Town at Crofters End and Hadley beat Enfield 5-0.
You can find our match report from a tight match between Ilford and Stansted here: ilford-0-1-stansted-stansted-edge-tight-game.html
...and our report from an entertaining fixture between Saffron Walden and West Essex here: saffron-walden-town-3-3-west-essex-injury-time-drama-as-points-shared-at-catons-lane.html
Dissapointingly, Clapton vs Hoddesdon Town was postponed on Friday with little reason given beyond Calpton's Old Spotted Dog Ground being unavaialable.
Here are the results from the opening weekend of ESL action in full:
Clapton P - P Hoddesdon Town
Hadley 5 - 0 Enfield
Ilford 0 - 1 Stansted
Redbridge 3 - 0 St Margaretsbury
Saffron Walden Town 3 - 3 West Essex
Sawbridgesworth Town 0 - 8 Woodford Town
Southend Manor 0 - 1 Sporting Bengal United
Takeley 3 - 0 Cockfosters
Walthamstow 7 - 0 Tower Hamlets
The Essex Senior League commences for the 2019-20 season with nine fixtures on Saturday 3 August kicking off at 3pm.
With eighteen of the nineteen teams in the division in action, Hashtag United are the team to miss out on playing on the opening day. The newly-promoted side must wait until Wednesday 7 August to play their first game of the season, against Southend Manor.
WDSportz will be in attendance to film the fixtures at Catons Lane, Wadham Lodge Stadium and Old Spotted Dog Stadium. Here are the fixtures in full:
Clapton vs Hoddesdon Town, Old Spotted Dog Stadium
Hadley vs Enfield FC, Hadley Sports Ground
Ilford vs Stansted, Cricklefield Stadium
Redbridge FC vs St Margaretsbury, Oakside
Saffron Walden Town vs West Essex, Catons Lane
Sawbridgeworth Town vs Woodford Town FC, Crofters End Stadium #1
Southend Manor vs Sporting Bengal United, The Arena Stadium
Takeley vs Cockfosters, FSI Stadium
Walthamstow vs Tower Hamlets, Wadham Lodge Stadium
Remember that you can sponsor our coverage a match of your choice to have your logo featured! Get in touch on the here to find out more: www.wdsportz.com/contact.html
Stay tuned to WDSportz for the latest from the ESL and more. It promises to be a busy week with a the second round of fixtures scheduled for Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 August.
Josh O’Brien is one of our sports journalists. He currently studies a multimedia sports journalism degree at the UCFB Wembley campus. His previous roles include writing for You are my Arsenal blog, The Sun’s Dream Team app and betting company Kwiff.