For the first game of 2019, Manager Graeme Smith introduced Aryton Coley and Daniel Cunningham to the starting eleven as Tyler Brampton and Nnamdi Nwachuku were reduced to the substitutes bench. Heybridge Swifts came in to the game after a last minute draw at home to their closet rivals Maldon & Tiptree, knowing that a win in this game would see them leap in to second place in the league table behind leaders Bowers & Pitsea.
The game got underway and the opening stages were cagey, with both sets of players look to get to grips with one another. It was the home side who had the first clear cut opportunity of the afternoon, through ex Heybridge man, Sam Bantick. A through ball from Tevan Allen saw Bantick bearing down on goal with only Chris Haigh to beat, however Bantick toe-poked his effort wide of the goal. Up the other end of the pitch, Heybridge responded by creating a chance of their own however Danny Sambridge was on hand to deny Matt Price with a smart diving save.
Both Coggeshall and Heybridge were intent on playing football, in what was a joy to watch throughout the entire first half however neither side were able to create a real host of chances. The SeedGrowers did however have the best opportunities and striker, Ross Wall looked destined to opening the scoring before a last ditch defensive header from Luke Wilson cleared the danger. Before half-time, Cunningham tried his luck from distance and Bantick had a free-kick from twenty five yards however both efforts sailed over Haigh’s crossbar.
Half Time: Coggeshall Town 0-0 Heybridge Swifts
Manager, Smith made one change at the break as full-back Tyler Brampton was introduced to the action, in place of Daniel Cunningham. Unlike the first half, it was Heybridge who created the first chance of the half and they should have opened the scoring. Midfield, Jack Adlington-Pile found himself one-on-one with Sambridge, he thought he had scored before a superb save from Sambridge ensured the scores remained nil-nil. As the game flowed from one end to the other, Coggeshall then had the ball in the net. However, Ross Wall was adjuged to be offside to the relief of Haigh who had spilled a shot from Correy Davidson which gifted Wall with the chance, however the assistant referee had her flag up for offside.
As Coggeshall began to take charge of the match, Conor Hubble was introduced for Coley and Hubble began to make the SeedGrowers tick as they dominated possession. Bantick almost opened the scoring after a dangerous cross from Davidson, however the division’s leading goalscorer was unable to keep his effort under the bar mainly due to an awkward bounce which made his life difficult. That was to be Bantick’s last involvement of the afternoon as he was replaced by Nnamdi Nwachuku. ‘Nnams’ had an immediate impact and had the best chance of the half by a country mile. As ex Coggeshall captain, Luke Wilson tried to play Nwachuku offside, he ghosted past the defence and only had Haigh to beat, however Nwachuku lost his usual composure and allowed Haigh to collect the ball from his feet when really, he should have opened the scoring.
Against the run of play, Heybridge handed out a real sucker punch to the SeedGrowers with what was a goal of the season contender. A cross from the right hand side took a slight deflection off of Dexter Peter, the ball looped nicely in the air for Elliot Ronto who was able to pull off a fantastic bicycle kick which landed in to the top corner of the net past a helpless, Danny Sambridge. Coggeshall nil, Heybridge one. With the game drifting towards the final whistle, Coggeshall began to throw everything at the Heybridge defence and even the introduction of Jamie Shaw to the forward line was not able to create a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity for Coggeshall who sadly, suffered their second home defeat of the season.
Full Time: Coggeshall Town 0-1 Heybridge Swifts
Danny Sambridge, George Allen, Tevan Allen, Daniel Cunningham, Dexter Peter, Jamie Shaw, Correy Davidson, Aryton Coley, Sam Bantick, Ross Wall, George Cocklin.
Curtis Haynes-Brown, Tyler Brampton, Conor Hubble, Nnamdi Nwachuku, Michael Gyasi.
Chris Haigh, Guillem Ramon, Jey Siva, Charlie Kendall, Toib Adeyemi, Luke Wilson, Kreshnic Krasniqi, Jack Adlington-Pile, Elliot Ronoto, Harrison Chatting, Matthew Price.
Chris Millar, Joe Claridge, George Craddock, Odei Marin-Sorondo, Daniel Walker.