Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup 2023/24 – Match Report

The first of this season’s cup competitions saw Gaslights and Harwich & Parkeston Social Club looking to be crowned winners of The Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup in the mid-April sun at Alresford Colne Rangers.

With both teams having completed their preparations and the game getting underway, Harwich & Parkeston Social Club couldn’t have asked for a better start, as Rob Good saw the ball at his feet outside the area in the opening minutes and took the initiative to get his shot away, which beat the Gaslights keeper to give them an early lead.

As Gaslights looked to establish a foothold in the game, Harwich & Parkeston Social Club continued to put pressure on their defence, with a host of crosses and set pieces delivered into the Gaslights box and it wasn’t long before they had something to show for this pressure, as a whipped corner was met by the run and a bullet header from Mitchel Knight to double the lead.

Once again, Gaslights looked to respond but failed to create any clear cut opportunities for themselves and despite giving a better account of themselves as the half progressed, they found themselves further behind when a mix up between a Gaslights defender and goalkeeper allowed the ball to run free and the fortunate Joe Knight who was putting pressure on both was able to capitalise with a tap in for Harwich & Parkeston Social Club to further extend their advantage prior to the half time whistle.

Half Time: Gaslights 0-3 Harwich & Parkeston Social Club

The second half started with Gaslights looking to rectify their first half performance and they were able to create much more in an attacking sense, whilst defending resolutely to avoid falling further behind.

Despite the pressure and opportunities from Gaslights, they had to wait until they had something to show for it and when they did it was a well worked goal, with the ball falling to Rob Thorne on the left-hand side of the area who finished smartly across the keeper into the corner to give Gaslights some hope.

The same player very nearly made things even better for Gaslights as he followed a ball the Harwich & Parkeston Social Club keeper had to come out to try and collect, but the attempt from Rob Thorne to lift the ball over him into the net was met by the hand of the ‘keeper to prevent him from doing so.

As Gaslights continued to push, frustration started to show that they did not have more to show for their efforts which saw their numbers reduced when Dean West was shown a straight red card, meaning Gaslights would have to find a way back into the game with ten men for the remainder.

The next event of note was an unfortunate one as two Gaslights defenders went up for a header and collided, leaving Josh Dennis on the floor, and needing attention.

Thanks to the quick response of the Ambulance service who were on scene within minutes and attended to him, the game was able to re-start for the final six minutes to be played and it was during this time that Gaslights committed a foul in their penalty area and provided a chance for Harwich & Parkeston Social Club to make sure of their victory from the spot, with Matt Geen stepping up and confidently converting before the final whistle sounded to end a well contested final.

Full Time: Gaslights 1-4 Harwich & Parkeston Social Club

Thank you to our Match Officials;

Referee: Matthew Hills, Assistant Referees: John Watson & Lewis Farthing, Fourth Official: Ronald Bennett

The League was delighted to be joined by League President Ernie Osborne, who selected his man of the match as Rory Harman of Harwich & Parkeston Social Club and presented the winner’s trophyto Harwich & Parkeston Social Club.

Thank you to Alresford Colne Rangers FC for hosting this final on behalf of the League.

Match Officials : Referee Matthew Hills
Assistant Referees : John Watson and Lewis Farthing
Fourth Official : Ronald Bennett
Man of the Match : Rory Harman of Harwich & Parkeston SC as chosen by Ernie Osborne
Harwich & Parkeston SC
Winners of the 2023/24 Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup