The worlds media descended on the small cathedral city after a former Russian spy was poisoned. But for residents and traders, they are desperately seeking assistance to help life go on
The occasional TV presenter is still spotted outside Zizzi’s restaurant or behind the police cordon in the Malting’s. But for the locals who still have to live and work in the City, they are just hoping for some degree of normality to return to a city that is the very essence of “normal” southern life.
The story has been reported across the world. Article appear in publications such as the New Yorker whilst cable news outlets continue to report on the geopolitical consequences of the poisoning. Back in this sleepy cathedral city, it’s another Saturday which means market day. A cornerstone of the Salisbury economy the market runs every Tuesday and Saturday, all year round.
Since the poisoning, the market has seen a fall in shoppers. The locals still turn in numbers, but another key aspect of the Salisbury economy is tourism. People flock from all over the world to gaze at the wonderous Salisbury Cathedral which towers over the entire city and is a two-minute walk from the market square. Tourists come through Salisbury on their way to Stonehenge. Hundreds of them stop off at the market seeking anything from fresh fruit to meat and even watch repairs.
For the vendors on the market, who have the cordoned off Zizzi’s restaurant in their eyeline whilst they work, there is a sense of anguish that the focus has moved to far to the global political stage, leaving them isolated and struggling with the drop-in customers. Richard Longley, who has run the Longley cheese stall in the market for years. He sees forensic officers entering and leaving Zizzi’s everyday and can see the effect it has had. “Obviously since the incident, business has been difficult. I used to get a lot more customers than I am at the moment. Obviously, I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for the people who were poisoned, and I hope they get better soon.”
In the weeks since, the local authority has sought to give the city a boost by scrapping the hideously expensive parking charges around the city in a bid to woo potential customers back to the city. This came shortly before the government announced a £2.5 million package to help the city recover including a grant to Wiltshire County Council and funds available to local businesses that have been affected. However, Longley was sceptical that the funds would ever make their way down to businesses like his. “I hope that the money from the government helps, but we are going to need help for months, not just as long as this is still in the news.”
Alison was shopping around the market, her bag loaded with fresh fruit from one of the many stalls. She sympathised with the traders having shopped in the market for years. “I love the market and shopping in Salisbury is always nice. There’s lots of other little shops outside the market that have some great things. What has happened is awful and it’s horrible to think how some of the businesses here are suffering as well because people aren’t coming here because they think we are under quarantine.”
A first-half blitz including a stunner from Kaylem Weadock crowned a brilliant performance and saw LSBU take home the cup
The game could not have been more appropriately matched. Of all the teams in the competition, the final came down to what was statistically the best two. Kings had won every game this season whilst South Bank had won every game since their opening day defeat against Suffolk. Both teams overcame tough semi-finals to get here. Kings had to rely on the drama of a penalty shootout to overcome St George’s. LSBU had to wait until the 86th minute to breakthrough against Imperial 4ths. It seemed destined, right up until kick off to be both teams tightest and most competitive game of a long season.
So, it was a huge surprise that, after half an hour the game appeared all but over. LSBU ran out expecting to face King’s second team, only to find out that their opponents had bussed in a bunch of their first team contingent, including the manager. For clarification, the King’s first team are in the 3rd tier, whilst South Bank are in the 6th. None of this should distract from the brilliance of LSBU who bombarded their opponents who simply could not contain what they had been confronted with.
The warning signs for King’s were there in the first couple of minutes, the first corner of the game led to a free header at the back post for Connor Burrows but his effort went harmlessly over. Almost straight after that, the ever-dangerous Ismail saw his shot deflected wide for another corner that this time came to nothing. All this excitement in just the first five minutes would then culminate with a contender for goal of the season in the biggest game of them all.
In what has been nothing short of a spectacular, goal-laden season, with the fair share of bangers to boot, it should no longer be a surprise when Kaylem Weadock manages to smash the ball home. He got his 19th goal of an incredible season after making a masing run down the left wing. On the very edge of the box, where the position was perfect for a cross, only a shot came to mind. The second the ball left his foot, it was destined to nestle right into the top corner of the goal. That’s exactly where it went, the keeper had no chance and no choice but to stand and admire.
South Bank didn’t have long to wait for their next chance. Ismail, operating just behind the main striker of James Leyton, picked the ball up in middle of the King’s half. Spotting the run of midfielder Matt Clarke, he dinked a perfectly timed ball through to him, with a little bit of space in front, Clarke sent his volley goalwards, but it swerved just wide.
Another corner presented LSBU with their next chance. Failing to properly clear the first ball in, Weadock had slipped unmarked to the rear of the pack, he sent his fierce volley into the pack of players, but it missed them all, going just wide of the right-hand post in the process.
The pressure was intense, and it wasn’t long before the rickety King’s dam burst again. Intercepting a poor pass from the King’s right-back, LSBU’s left-back, Clive Sarireni, both got in front of his man, and got his pass off to Leyton. Holding the ball up like he has done so well this season, Leyton picked his moment to release the ball back to marauding Sarireni who hadn’t stopped after winning the ball back. A lovely clipped pass into Sarireni’s feet was controlled and moved onto his trusty right foot. As the King’s centre-back put in a desperate lunge, Sarireni had already gotten his shot off. It was by no means the cleanest of strikes, but it completely wrong footed the goalkeeper who had anticipated a shot to his left. The ball however trickled into the opposite corner giving Sarireni his second goal of the season, not a bad time to get it either.
It had taken going two goals down for King’s to show any kind of attacking promise. Their first chance both came and was denied thanks to LSBU keeper Joe Cook. Originally failing to properly claim a deep free-kick into the box, he then made amends, first by leaping on the loose ball to deny a strike and as the ball went loose again, he stood up well to push the resulting strike wide of the goal after the ball had deflected off of one of his own defenders.
In between King’s chances, Weadock found himself one on one after being released by an excellent lobbed pass from Clarke. Sensing the keeper was off his line, he attempted an ambitious long-range lob but caught it all wrong and the ball ended up rolling safely wide. At the other end. Cook pulled out a trademark save, standing up well to the King’s attacker that has powered his way through down the left. Making his body as big as possible, he narrowed the angle, meaning the ball had nowhere to go other than straight at him. LSBU survived again as King’s finally began to realise they were playing a cup final.
Before King’s had another chance to score, the game was all but put to bed. Having already started and finished the second goal. Sarireni then turned provider. Deep in the King’s half, Sarireni launched a cannon of a throw in from the left. The King’s keeper should have had a routine catch but the ball simply flew through his hands and bounced in the six-yard box. Making its way to the back, the ball sat up to be nodded home by Brian Yego and he duly obliged, heading home from little more than a couple of yards to give LSBU the simplest and softest of three-nil cushions.
King’s were now on the ropes, and like all dangerous animals. They started to look their most threatening when they seemed down and out. After tussling back and forth with King’s attacker, only a brilliant, last ditch leg from Burrows prevented a simple one on one. An almost certain goal-saving tackle. A piece of individual brilliance shortly afterwards from Leyton almost culminated in a spectacular solo goal. Weaving in and out of every defender that came his way, Leyton worked the ball onto his right foot and from the edge of the box, attempted to curl his effort into the top corner. However, it curled just that little too much and allowed the King’s keeper to push it away.
With the last effort of the half, King’s should have really pulled one back. Again it was both created and then rectified by Cook. His kicking was not at its usual high standard, not helped by the quality of the pitch that differed so much from the usual Burgess Park astro. His attempted clearance was charged down and fell to a King’s player on the left side of the box. He gave it straight back to the man who had charged down the kick. He turned sharply and booted an effort that was destined for the bottom left corner but Cook threw himself to his right and pulled off a stunning save to keep his clean sheet intact and his team firmly in control as the referee blew for half-time.
The second-half was one of complete contrast. South Bank offered little going forwards although there was a good chance for Leyton at the start, receiving another excellent pass from Clarke, he found himself with his back to goal but with a free header than he could only drop straight into the keepers midriff.
Whilst LSBU did not really threaten, neither did their chasing opponents. The chances that did come their way were not exactly golden. A well hit strike from the edge of the box was straight at Cook and was gathered easily. The game was starting to drift. King’s were dominating possession and inside LSBU’s half, so it was by no means a walk in the park for South Bank, their defence and midfield was working incredibly hard to ensure no more clear cut chances came the way of their opponents.
Indeed South Bank continued to carve out the odd good chance here and there. Three substitutes combined., first Amin Martinez laid the ball off to Pol Bass-Pinol who played through Mo Gani on the right side of goal. He galloped forward before unleashing a rasping drive goalwards. The keeper was at full stretch but couldn’t reach it, however, the shot flew just wide of the left-hand post.
There really was nothing else of note, every time the ball approached the LSBU defence it was either won back or dispatched to safety. Potential attacks were being thwarted in midfield with the wingers assisting in defence when needed. A through team performance was rewarded as the referee blew the final whistle sparking cheers and cries of delight from South Bank players and fans alike. Hands on heads and fist pumps flew about everywhere. A game that started with an attacking masterclass was firmly shut out by defensive brilliance. A long hard series of cup games had culminated in brilliant triumph. What began with a hastily arranged game away at Brunel in October when it should have been played at Burgess saw LSBU rely on a late goal in extra-time from Martinez ended here. That journey of six games has seen them play five teams in a higher division. After Brunel came Roehampton and Essex, both comfortably dispatched. A quarter-final against Chichester was tight in score-line but never was the result really in doubt. After seeing off Imperial, King’s should have proved the toughest of tests. With nine wins out nine in their league and a promotion to division four already assured before this final. It would be fair to assume that King’s would be regarded as favourites. But in what has been a golden season for South Bank, with a settled team bristling with talent, goals and resilience. All have been called upon at crucial moments this season and every time, they have delivered. On the biggest game of them all. They all shone brighter than ever before.
Darnell Depradine’s brilliant header saw LSBU take the spoils over UCL in this table topping six pointer
Having comfortably dispatched a spirited but underwhelming Middlesex the week before with ease, this game proved to be the exact opposite in more than just score line. It was a game that held all the hallmarks of a top of the table clash. LSBU were just a point behind UCL but with a game in hand. UCL had dispensed with the other team vying for the title – Suffolk the week before. A draw would have made South Bank favourites for the title, a defeat would hand the initiative back to UCL.
The pitch before South Bank ensured that a smooth, quick passing rhythm was unlikely to flow. The bobbles meant the fall never stayed flat across the turf. Acclimatising to this surface from the smooth astro turf of Burgess Park meant that South Bank started the game firmly on the back foot.
After a poor clearance, the ball was slid into the LSBU box, some grappling failed to stop the ball being squared to the middle where the pitch made its first intervention, the ball bobbled up meaning the scuffed goalwards shot was comfortably, yet vitally blocked on the line by Clive Sarireni.
It was South Bank that had the best chance of the game so far. Exploiting a weak UCL backline, a brilliant lofted through ball from Amin Martinez found LSBU striker James Leyton. Having already bagged a dozen goals this season, you would have bet that after showing excellent control to bring the ball down and bear down on goal, he would have slotted his shot past the keeper but it wasn’t to be as his poked shot went agonisingly wide.
In game of such fine margins, it often takes either a moment of brilliance or moment of luck to produce a goal. In the case of the opening goal, it was neither. Just a long through into the box from the left wing. The ball sailed over everyone only to be met on the six-yard line by a gleeful UCL poacher who volley home the simplest and most frustrating of goals to reward UCL’s dominance thus far.
South Bank were firmly on the back foot and were indebted to their keeper Joe Cook who made the first of a string of saves to keep his team in the game. A well placed through ball from the left wing was seized upon by the UCL man who without needing a touch, struck his shot goalwards bring a smart save from Cook and keeping the game to within the one goal. South Bank almost broke the dominant period by scoring against the run of play. A throw in of their own from Bradley Baterip on the right was controlled by Leyton despite a big shunt in the back, getting back up quickly and showing all the dogged determination that has shone throughout his season, he turned his man and dinked a cross to the back post. It found an onrushing Kaylem Weadock who planted his volley straight into the ground where it bounced painfully over the bar and it was yet another golden chance gone awry.
UCL responded with the best chance since going in front. An interception in midfield was grabbed by the UCL defender, the loose ball was nudged around the oncoming LSBU defender leaving the UCL frontman with a one on one of his own. Charging to the edge of the box before picking his moment to strike, the fierce shot was met by a powerful and brave save by Cook, standing up strongly to deny UCL once again.
If LSBU had ridden their luck before-hand, they were perhaps fortunate to benefit from their own slice as half-time approached. As mentioned, luck can make all the difference but good teams make their own luck and it was with that luck that South Bank equalised. A corner from the left sailed across the six-yard box where it was only half-cleared. Connor Burrows managed to half control the ball before it was kicked of his toes. Matt Clarke on the edge of the box brought the ball back under control before moving it on to Weadock on his right. His first-time cross was only flicked on by Burrows but luckily behind him lurked Pol Basso-Pinol. There were claims that he was offside but before they came, he headed goal-wards over the keeper but the lack of power gave UCL a golden chance to clear. Bizarrely however, the UCL man on the line chose to stoop to head clear rather than the obvious option to boot it clear. His header could only fall as far as Burrows who had stayed up and volley home easily from six yards to give South Bank a crucial leveller.
There is never a bad time to score in football, but there are most definitely better times than others to score. And with only a few minutes remaining in the half when you’re one-nil down is certainly one of the better times to score.
After a warning shot from LSBU substitute Ishmail sailed wide of the post. South Bank got their chance and they grabbed it. A throw in from the left was flicked into the path of Leyton by Darnell Depradine. He twisted and turned, trying to find a route further into the UCL penalty area. Unable to advance further, he laid the ball off to Ishmail. He took one step to his right before swinging a cross into the box where it was met by Depradine who thundered his header into the top corner and fired his team into the lead.
Being at your most vulnerable when you have just scored almost proved true for South Bank. Another poor clearance allowed UCL in again, initially one on one before being chased back by Baterip. It almost stalled the attack completely before the UCL forward shimmied his way into a shooting position and with his left foot, unleashed a snap shot that Cool did excellently to keep out given it travelled through the legs of Baterip.
South Bank finally began to settle on their lead and almost increased it soon after that chance. A free kick out on the left was whipped in by Ishmail and bounced all the way to the back post where Depradine nodded it back across goal, Leyton was waiting to pounce but the ball was whipped away from him at the crucial moment.
That chance wasn’t to prove costly though as the referee brought the curtain down on a brilliant and determined victory that could prove invaluable as the league comes towards its conclusion. Two points clear and with a game in hand on UCL mean the initiative is well and truly with South Bank in the run in. However, three games still remain and they will be wary of conceding any ground and giving any hope to those chasing as they remain in the pursuit of title glory.
The LSBU winger eased to his 12th goal of the season against Middlesex but second half defensive frailties will be of concern going forward.
In what could have easily passed for a carbon copy of the reverse fixture in November last year, the game against Middlesex followed an oh so similar pattern. Race into a massive lead in the first half, score some great goals, win the game after 45 minutes. Then come out again and sit off, and leave the first half magic in the changing room. The only difference here today, is that sitting off cost them more dearly than the first time, three goals rather than one, and they did at least check the poor defensive errors by scoring four more goals to make it 9-3 at full-time.
Fast starts have been a bedrock of LSBU’s impressive form this season. In fact, they scored their quickest goal of the season in the reverse fixture. Today was no exception. Racing onto a loose Middlesex pass, Amin Martinez charged forward before sliding through a pass to Kaylem Weadock who took the ball out of the path of the defender and slotted home from 12 yards.
That goal meant Weadock and James Leyton were tied for goals scored this season and the LSBU frontman almost responded immediately. A flick from Darnell Depadrine was chested down and from the edge of the area, Leyton fired a powerful volley that looked for all the world like it was going to nestle in the bottom corner only for the post to come to Middlesex’s rescue.
South Bank pressure kept up relentlessly. Matt Clarke had a powerful shot tipped over the crossbar and Mo Gani shot narrowly wide from outside the box before a rare Middlesex foray into LSBU’s half almost gave them a shock equaliser. A cross from the left went deep to the back post, initially headed half clear from Clive Sarireni, the ball was controlled by the Middlesex forward who spun well before unleashing a ferocious volley goal-wards only to see it met by a spectacular block from Sarireni who denied Middlesex a certain equaliser.
After preventing a goal at one end, Sarireni turned from saviour to provider just moments later. Latching onto a through ball from Clarke, Sarireni, turned inside his man and despite being harassed by the Middlesex defender, managed to hold up the ball long enough to lay it off to Leyton who dropped back to receive the ball and fired home a brilliant first time left-footed shot from the edge of the box and South Bank had powered into a two-goal lead.
Leyton was instrumental in LSBU’s next goal. His quick feet and trickery drawing a cynical foul from the Middlesex defender just outside the box. Up step Weadock. Having found the net twice already this season from free-kicks, this one was presented to him on the other side of the goal, better suited for a right footer. But nothing was going to prevent him curling another sublime effort into the top right corner, leaving the keeper flat-footed. 3-0 and nothing less than South Bank deserved.
LSBU’s forth also came courtesy of a free-kick, although, with a huge degree of fortuity about it. Wide out on the right wing. Clarke swung a left-footed curling ball into the box that flicked off a Middlesex head and nestled perfectly – if unluckily into the corner. A cruel own goal but an own goal nonetheless.
LSBU’s fifth was as simplistic as they come really. Depadrine won a good tackle just inside the Middlesex half, spun and released Mo Gani who charged at the solo defender in front of him. To his left was the lurking Leyton who tucked away with ease after Gani’s simple forward pass.
Easy enough to say a job well done at half-time and that the second-half emphasis would be on pushing on with ruthless aggression. But far from keeping Middlesex on the back foot, it was South Bank that found themselves going backwards. Despite the scoreline, Middlesex possessed their own danger man who struggled to get going in the first-half but wasted no time asserting his ability in the second. The number seven received the ball just inside the LSBU half and proceeded to carve through the entire South Bank team like a blowtorch through butter. Poking the ball home past stand-in keeper Charlie Wetton to ruin any chances of second successive clean sheet.
5-1 however is no reason to fret but it almost became 5-2 almost straight after. A corner was only half cleared and as the ball ran away from the goal, the referee blew after adjudging that Depadrine had tripped the Middlesex man. Penalty to Middlesex. Usually players are pushing to take the penalty, in this case though, it was trying to give the ball to someone else. Once responsibility had finally been assigned, Wetton got down quickly to his left to push the penalty behind for a corner, the lack of power reflected the lack in confidence in the penalty taker.
The chance may have gone but more kept coming. A lobbed ball was seized upon by the Middlesex frontman who had beaten the offside trap, the bouncing ball made it awkward and may have been the reason his shot cannoned off of the post rather than nesting the corner of the net.
The game started to drift afterwards. Weadock had a chance to complete his hat-trick after an excellent one-two with substitute Pol Basso-Pinol but could only roll his shot into the keeper hands. At the other end, Wetton pushed a long shot wide with Middlesex’s number seven continuing to run all of his team’s attacks. LSBU got themselves on the second-half scoresheet soon after. Finding himself in a chasm of space in the centre of the Middlesex defence, Basso-Pinol received a straight forward pass and one on one with the keeper, toyed with one shot before slotting home South Bank’s sixth.
Middlesex responded with a quick one-two of their own. Receiving a defence splitting long ball through the middle, the Middlesex number seven latched onto the loose ball and initially completely missed his first kick at goal, but made no mistake with his second, rolling the ball home. He ran on to another long ball only a few minutes later, taking the ball past the on-rushing South Bank keeper and finishing well from a tight angle to complete his hat-trick.
After being kicked back into reality and finding themselves reduced from a five-goal lead to a three-goal lead. South Bank finally found the extra gear they needed to put Middlesex to the sword. Basso-Pinol kicked things off with his second since coming off the bench. A goal very similar to his first. Weadock received a pass to feet from substitute Brian Yego he waited on his pass through, finally releasing the ball to Basso-Pinol, he finished with a smart side-footed strike that made the score 7-3.
Weadock had dominated the Middlesex midfield and defence all afternoon and easily deserved his hat-trick. And he could not have been given an easier goal to get it with. Amin Martinez’s corner was curled in; it could have easily gone straight in under the bar. Rather it bounced off the top of the crossbar and then delicately fell to an unmarked Weadock who couldn’t miss his nod home from two yards.
The final goal of the game came from a cross from the right. Full-back Bradley Baterip’s deep cross was controlled after the bounce by Yego. Only six yards out, his fierce shot was blocked but Yego persevered to find Basso-Pinol. He was crowded by two defenders but in an attempt to clear, the ball only succeeded in bouncing straight to Weadock who tucked away his second simple tap in and his fourth overall to round of the score at 9-3.
The result in truth was never really in doubt. Despite the wobble at 6-3. South Bank’s five goal cushion at half-time was always going to prove insurmountable. The irritation will be conceding three goals to a team bottom of the league with minus three points. That said, to score nine against any opponent is a startling achievement. To do it two games in a row is remarkable. No doubt they will not meet as generous a defence in UCL next time round but the knowledge is there that even when one good opposition player can take a game to them, they can always respond by simply outscoring whoever stands in their way of the title.
With hundreds of thousands of visits to foodbanks occurring every year, coupled with benefit cuts and delays, how do staff on the frontline cope, reports Charlie Wetton
It’s not often you find people who will so openly preach about wanting to lose their job. But for the coordinator of a Kennington foodbank – Rebekah Gibson, it is something that she longs for. I sat down with her during the middle of a standard two-hour session of the Oasis Centre in Kennington.
Foodbanks, benefit cuts and delays and endless parliamentary debates have kept foodbanks in the news for years now. Those on the frontline of this ongoing struggle are left to pick up societies pieces. According to the Trussel Trust, more than one million three-day emergency food supplies were issued between April 2016 and March 2017. In the six months following, another half a million were given out as the true reality of the Universal Credit switchover bore out.
Rebekah is the only paid staff member of the Waterloo branch of the Trussel Trust. With her are a group of up to 50 regular volunteers. She explained why so many people offered their time.
“A lot of our volunteers have recently seen the film I Daniel Blake… They saw that and thought ‘I didn’t realise how big this problem was’ and they felt the couldn’t sit back.”
Throughout this 20-minute sit down, it was refreshing to hear the passion of someone talking about their career. Even when asked about the hard times and how the job can affect her.
“Lots of the people coming in here are in really horrible situations, they’ve had really tough and really traumatic events happen to them… When people open up and share those stories with you, it’s great that you can be a part of their journey, a part of their story but obviously it does affect you emotionally and does cause impact to you. “
There is no doubt to her that cuts and delays to benefits have been the primary driver of people to foodbanks. This interview came just two days after Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced the switchover period to Universal Credit would be reduced to five from six weeks. Rebekah described the six-week wait as “crippling” to people living hand to mouth. The end of the interview leads to me to ask bluntly. Is this a battle you can win?
“All foodbank managers would like to say that they would be done out of a job. Our vision is to see the door of the last foodbank close”.
Unsurprisingly she qualifies that this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Downstairs in the store room, plastic tubs full of cereals and canned goods adorn the shelves. I see the laminated sheets that spell out how much of what different groups of people should get.
Down there, I meet two volunteers, sifting through large boxes of donations. One of them, Katie told me that being in-between jobs means she wanted to do something with her spare time. The bureaucracy of the benefits system is castigated, how heavy handed it can be because you may miss one appointment or fill out a form incorrectly.
“Just doing something and not knowing it’s the wrong thing to do. The idea that you can end up not being able to feed your family because of that is just awful”.
LSBUFC recover from a first half deficit to obliterate Essex thirds and reach the quarter finals
Facing the prospect of a team with exactly the same record as them this season, only in a higher league. LSBU once again faced the daunting prospect of a team a division above them. On what was on paper, their toughest game of the season in reality was a mismatch with the supposed lower division team putting a shoddy and largely toothless opposition to the sword.
It was an insult to the scoreboard as much as a shock to the system that South Bank walked in at half time one-nil down, Essex having pounced on a rare defensive mistake to take a shock and undeserved lead. But in what can only be described as a right old rollicking at half time had the effect of producing two goals in two minutes on two occasions within the first ten minutes of the second half. If the game was being played in a large stadium, fans returning late after their half time pie and pint could have easily not known the score had gone from 0-1 to 4-1 in a matter of moments.
The first half was an equivalent to a boxing match where one boxer lands blow after blow without getting the knockout whilst the other retreats to the corner, keeps his arms up and yet still manages to flatten his opponent once during the half. The initial onslaught started quickly, when James Leyton exchanged an excellent one-two with Kaylem Weadock on the edge of the box, working the ball to a tight angle, the shot was easily parried by the Essex keeper but still, it was an early warning shot.
A dangerous free kick from Amin Martinez was swung into the box. Rising above his marker was Connor Burrows whose header seemed goal bound until it was hooked clear, both of the goal and the onrushing Harry Thompson who was lurking at the back post. Burrows was finding little luck from excellent jumping, the resulting corner was beautifully floated in by Mo Gani. Burrows rose again, his header destined to find the net but for a good goal line clearance that left the South Bank players with their heads in their hands.
Piling forward and with Essex yet to settle at all and constantly losing possession in the final third of their own half, South Bank carved out yet another opportunity. A rather tame shot from the edge of the box from Ishmail was spilled by the keeper. However, Leyton who has already poached a couple of goals this season wasn’t quite able to clip the ball home, the Essex keeper making amends with a smart save. The ball was cleared for a matter of seconds before an excellent ball from Thompson found Martinez who dangerous cross just evaded Leyton. Falling unmarked at the back post, an onrushing Weadock attempted to volley home and was disappointed when the ball sailed over the bar and South Bank’s best chance so far had gone begging.
The next couple of chances denied to LSBU were the result, first of bad luck, then brilliant defending. Far out next to the sidelines. Left back Clive Sarireni lofted the ball into the box, surely what was meant as cross completely missed all of his teammates but the swirling ball dropped painfully onto the top of the crossbar bringing a sigh of relief for the floundering Essex keeper.
Only minutes later, after more brilliant play down the left from Weadock, he surged into the box having evaded an attempted tackle, cutting the ball back from the byline found Leyton. Believing he faced an open goal, he opened up his body and calmly slotted the ball towards goal. Having done everything right, the pain when the Essex defender brilliantly threw himself in front of the ball caused disbelief that South Bank were still level although, huge credit should be given to the Essex defender for a magnificent block.
Bad enough was it that South Bank had spurned so many chances. What came next was a cruel and unlucky blow. After a tackle on Darnell Depadrine in midfield that could easily have been given as a foul, the ball was played in behind Sarireni at full back, with minimum pressure behind him, his backpass to South Bank keeper Joe Cook was too light allowing the Essex frontman to take the ball around Cook and slot into an empty net to give Essex a lucky, unfortunate and underserved lead.
While it could have been that South Bank became deflated after such a sucker punch, as has been proved repeatedly throughout the season, their resilience rallied them and they continued to push forward, now in the search of an equaliser. Good work on the right by full back Bradley Baterip released Gani again. His deep cross was met by Weadock who skewed his volley into the path of Leyton. With his back to goal, he tried a speculative left-footed bicycle kick that just cleared the bar.
Leyton as always continued to be involved in most of South Bank’s attacking forays. He was unlucky, having latched onto a brilliant Ishmail pass to be flagged offside after applying a tidy finish. His long pass out to the right found the ever dangerous Gani who tricked his way around the full back with ease, his cross rebounded to Martinez lurking on the edge of the box but like Leyton before found his shot on goal changed down by the Essex defence.
As half time approached, South Bank launched one final attack. Burrows hoofed a huge volley downfield. The ball, swerving all over the place wasn’t cleared by the Essex centre back, eventually controlled by Leyton who rushed through on goal only to be met with an out coming goalkeeper who managed to kick the ball away from Leyton just outside the box where it rebounded kindly for the keeper to clear safely.
Upon the whistle for half time. The question “how on earth are we one-nil down” was asked with a lot more force and with choicer language than can be written. A half which had seen South Bank produce a level of dominance that could only be compared to the first half mauling of Middlesex where they scored four times without reply. In all honesty, if they had walked in at half time two-nil up, the team talk would likely have been pretty much the same. I.E – why are we not out of sight?
Much is credited to half time team talks. Whether it is justified as to if it does actually make a difference is up for debate. Today however, it wasn’t in doubt that South Bank heeded the warnings, both of what is expected of them and what was at stake for them. It took a matter of seconds to turn scoreline worry into scoreline delight. Stooping to direct a header from a long Essex pass into the pass of Martinez. His one touch laid it off to Ishmail who allowed it to run before unloading an unstoppable 25-yard rocket into the left corner. Coming straight from the Essex kick off after half time, they found themselves kicking off for the second time in 60 seconds. But they didn’t learn their lesson.
Losing possession in his own half to Depadrine, he looked up and attempted to play in Ishamil behind the centre back. What should have been a routine clearance skipped over his boot and Ishmail was able to walk the ball out to the right-hand side. Depadrine had stayed over and received the ball, looked up once again and picked out Weadock unmarked at the back post with a pinpoint cross leaving Weadock to head home well and within two minutes, South Bank went from one down to two one up.
After an entire half of pounded the Essex dam, LSBU ensured that when it burst, a flood would follow. A long clearance from Cook was excellent controlled by Leyton. Suddenly along with Ishmail to his left and the freshly introduced Callum Bedward to his right, South Bank found themselves with a three on one. Leyton chose left to Ishamil who almost effortlessly lifted the ball over the sole Essex defender to the marauding Bedward who with his first touch nodded the bouncing ball over the onrushing Essex keeper finishing a sublime move. From Cook’s kick to Leyton’s touch and pass, Ishmail’s sublime lobbed pass and Bedward’s deft and brave header. This was one of South Bank’s goals of the season purely because at no point did they allow the Essex defence to get close to them.
LSBU’s tackling this season as a whole has been both excellent and dangerous to opponents who have been caught napping and suddenly have to find themselves defending. Another recent substitute Pol Basso Pinol but in what is fast become a trademark challenge on the halfway line, robbing the ball, powering forward and finding Ishmail to his left with a precise pass. Allowing the ball to roll past him onto his left foot, he calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and gave South Bank an assured three goal lead.
South Bank were blessed this day to have top quality reserves on the bench, Bedward and Basso Pinol had already made their mark. Now the returning Matt Clarke was also introduced, his heaving run forward set up South Bank’s next chance, his pass to Leyton produced a snap shot that was blocked, another substitute Jack Haywood got to the loose ball first passing to Bedward on the left. He took aim and his looping shot was heading were it not for a good save from the Essex keeper who pushed it over the bar.
Seemingly content with 4-1 lead. South Bank stepped off the gas, whilst not an uncommon feature among cruising teams, it doesn’t seem to suit LSBU who started to get a little sloppy. Essex were unlucky when a great run into the box on the right saw a shot cannon of the left post. At that stage in the game with almost half an hour remaining, it could have been a dangerous end to the game. Another sloppy mistake followed. Thompson receiving a pass from Weadock attempted to pass first time, however it was charged down by the Essex striker who manoeuvred forward to goal, going clean through his shot was excellently saved by Cook. South Bank could only half clear before Essex found themselves one on one again but this time the weak shot was saved by Cook and the rebound which was perhaps an even easier chance was put wide. South Bank had survived a period of play that should have seen the scoreline narrow.
Essex did keep pushing and after having a goal ruled out for offside they got the goal they had been threatening. A long ball down the right was met by the Essex winger. He lobbed the ball over Cook who had come off his line in an attempt to meet the ball. The ball bobbled across the goal, Thompson attempted to clear but couldn’t quite hook it clear leaving a tap in at the far post. It was too little too late, but still an irritant to South Bank who had played and defended so well throughout the game.
However. Typical of South Bank all season, they responded with renewed attacking intent. The ball broke to Basso Pinol on the edge of the box, having weaved into the penalty area he set to shoot before the ball was knocked away from him, but only into the path of Ishmail who had a golden chance to seal his hat-trick, but his powerful shot cleared the bar.
As the game wound down, a handball by the Essex defender on the edge of the box gave South Bank a free kick that was perfectly set up for a left-footed strike. Naturally of course, up stepped Weadock. Whilst it certainly didn’t match his sublime free kick against Suffolk on the first day of the season, the skill to get a ball up and over a wall and on target is not an easy one to replicate. And yet again, the ball sailed over the ball and nestled into the bottom corner. The Essex keeper looked a little suspect in his attempt to save and the muted but happy celebrations seemed more a reflection that the day was a job well done.
The full-time whistle brought the game to an end on a thoroughly efficient days’ work. The nature of the goals conceded from two bits of sloppy play were annoying but not issues South Bank should be concerned about going forward for they were confident on the ball, and brilliant at winning back possession from an Essex team that will be disappointed in the nature of their defeat to a team a division below them. But as South Bank have proved three times already in the cup this season and will have to prove again against Chichester in February, facing higher league opposition means nothing because they will believe, rightly so, that they can beat anyone.
On the live show that week. I worked as an on the day reporter. I went out with Sidney to the Student life centre where a entrepreneurial market was taking place. Together we interviewed the person responsible for organising the event as well as some of the stall owners. When I was back in the newsroom, I transcribed the interview that I had recorded in order to give Sidney quotes that he could use to write the written article.
After that I again edited and uploaded another football clip to be used in the bulletins as well as writing the script that the bulletins presenter read out on the show.