Saturday 21st October
PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN NORTH
BRENTWOOD TOWN 0 – 1 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS
New Blues’ manager Keith Rowland saw his team beaten when ex-Brentwood midfielder Lee Noble grabbed a last-minute winner for Swifts in this closely fought Essex Derby.
Rowland introduced two new signings to the squad, wide midfielder Jayden Silcott-Brown, and Alex Akrofi who originally came through the Brentwood Town youth system and will be remembered by many supporters for his hat-trick in the 2015 play-off final.
Brentwood started brightly and Heybridge goalkeeper Thomas Wray saved well at close range from Connor Hogan on eight minutes before home keeper Melvin Minter saved from ex-Blues midfielder Sam Park, in the 28th minute.
Both sides lost a player to injury in the first half, Flynn Hamilton replacing Billy Roast in Brentwood’s midfield and Mikey Faulkner coming for another former Brentwood player, wide midfielder Rob Harvey, and it was Brentwood’s sub Hamiton who went close to scoring just before half time, showing good skill before shooting just wide.
In the second half, Minter saved from Noble in the 52nd minute and it was Noble who scored at the death with a deflected shot 20 yards out that gave Minter no chance. The drama was not yet over though, with Swifts forward Ross Wall, who had a spell with Brentwood in the second half of last season, seeing red after picking up a second yellow card and Callum Taylor could have scored a second for Heybridge in stoppage time, but he shot wide after getting behind the Brentwood defence.
Brentwood Town: 1 Melvin Minter, 2 James Love, 3 Josh Rusoke, 4 Billy Roast (Flynn Hamilton 24'), 5 Matt Cripps, 6 Jack Humphrey, 7 Jayden Silcott-Brown (Alex Akrofi 63'), 8 Connor Hogan (Kingdom Dawson 89'), 9 Daniel Ogunleye, 10 Sam Deering, 11 Andrew Freeman.
Subs: 12 Kingdom Dawson, 14 Alex Akrofi, 15 Flynn Hamilton, 18 Romel Aarons Royal, 19 Manuchim Oke-William.