Upminster’s 4th XI fell to a 4-1 defeat at Rochford 1s as their league season began on a chilly and blustery Saturday afternoon in South Essex. While Rochford were worthy winners, Upminster may feel the final scoreline somewhat flattered the home side.
The visitors began with their normal 4-5-1 formation and while Rochford dominated possession in the early stages they rarely threatened the Upminster goal, with keeper Matt Chapman only being called into action once early on. In fact it was Jordan Southan’s side who created the best chance of the opening 20 minutes when Gary O’Donohue played in Ian Munn but the Rochford keeper was out quickly to beat Munn to the ball. However, shortly after it was the home side who did take the lead. A short corner was not cleared and the Rochford player was allowed to much time on the ball before powering home the opener. At this stage Rochford looked like taking control as they enjoyed a sustained period of pressure, but the Upminster back four of Southan, Nick Green, Matt Tilbury and John Fortune stood firm and Chapman also made two vital clearances. Upminster then began to compose themselves and get back in the game. They won two short corners, one of which O’Donohue fired just wide, before Louis Pickering and George Giles linked well on the left to win another. Paul Middlemiss injected once more and this time O’Donohue found his range to bring the teams level, and that is how they went into the interval.
Upminster began the second half well with Aaryan Jass looking lively on his debut and Caleb Shorter combing well on the right with O’Donohue as the visitors continued to impress. However, Rochford were still enjoying the majority of possession and this began to tell as the game wore on and Upminster began to tire. Chapman made a good save to deny the home side from a well constructed attack, but the relief was short lived as a well worked short corner saw Rochford go in front again with 15 minutes remaining. Upminster heads didn’t drop and Shorter, Fortune and Munn combined well to create a half chance before Giles weaved his way through on the left but couldn’t finish. Rochford put the game to bed though with ten minutes remaining as they got behind Upminster’s back line in the right hand channel and an excellent pass set up a chance which was gratefully accepted, and as Upminster legs became a little heavy the home side added some gloss to the scoreline with a fourth.
The home side will expect to be amongst the frontrunners in the Division 6 table this season, so Upminster can take heart from a gritty performance as they look ahead to a trip to Redbridge and Ilford this weekend.