Having secured their League status last weekend with a victory against Ilford, the Greens had planned to go into the final game of the season unchanged, but were forced into a late alteration with Paul Jones
coming in to replace the unwell Scott Davis
at full back. Also with both Steve Fallon and Ian Hart
unavailable for different reasons, experienced midfielder Neil Andrews
took charge of the side.
The game started in difficult wet and windy conditions and it continued like this throughout the match. Both Simpson and Antoine had early efforts but both placed wide before Wall had the first real opportunity after ten minutes, but after being played in down the left, made his way into the area firing narrowly wide of the far post. Slowly the visitors started enjoying the better of the play but couldn’t capitalise on this as Ogbonna shot wide before Paxman setup his Southend team-mate Auger who forced Stevens into a good save. The Greens did think they had opened the scoring four minutes before the break when Ogbonna followed up after Stevens failed to hold Duncliffe’s low shot, but the striker was ruled to be in an offside position. The number nine also tried to earn a penalty moments later, but was cautioned by the referee for diving inside the area.
Soham continued their attacking play into the second half, opening the scoring in the 50th minute when Jack Paxman
made the most of a defensive error, taking the ball off Stevens to roll it into an empty net from the edge of the area for his first goal for the club. The goal scorer was also involved with the visitor’s next real chance ten minutes later setting up Ogbonna, but after getting into the box placed low at the keeper. To try and get back into the game, Maldon made two changes as they brought on Yao and Pearman for Antoine and Downs before the Greens were given the opportunity to double their advantage just after the hour mark when Simpson was fouled inside the area. However after a delay, during which time Cousins was cautioned for dissent, Martin Bromwich
saw his spot kick well saved by Stevens, with the keeper then clearing as the defender closed down the loose ball. This seemed to affect Soham as Maldon started to get on top as sub Yoa twice came close before Captain Adam Flannagan was given room to rise and head Collins’ corner under the bar midway through the half. Pearman then fired across goal and wide before the hosts were awarded a penalty of their own in the 73rd minute after Sos Yao was adjudged to be fouled in the area, with the substitute sending Bircham the wrong way to give his side the lead. After working his way in from the left, Cotton was denied by Stevens’ feet whilst Simpson headed narrowly over from Duncliffe’s delivery, before James McCabe
, Lewis Brown and Chris Munday
, who was making his first team debut, where all brought on in the closing stages. Maldon could have increased their advantage late on but Pearman and Wall curled wide before Milner fired over with the last kick of the game.
Soham Town Rangers
D. Bircham, P. Jones (L. Brown 83), JP. Duncliffe, M. Bromwich, J. Motley (C. Munday 86), M. Simpson, D. Cotton, N. Andrews (J. McCabe 83), D. Ogbonna, J. Paxman, R. Auger
Unused: S. Davis, L. Shipp
Maldon & Tiptree
S. Stevens, B. Coyne, D. Collins, R. Morgan, A. Flannagan, I. Cousins, M. Milner, O. Berquez (R. O’Rawe 70), R. Wall, L. Antoine (S. Yao 54), R. Downs (J. Pearman 59)
Unused: J. Wiffin, T. Saltwell
Score: (0-0) 2-1
STRFC: J. Paxman (50)
MTFC: A. Flannagan (67), S. Yao (Pen 73)
STRFC: D. Ogbonna (Simulation 43)
MTFC: I. Cousins (Dissent 61), R. Morgan (Foul 68)