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News Round-up - July ‘22

Here is the news of players’ moves, and anything else that might have occurred in the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division during July. As the season’s start gets closer, the number of signings will increase, but some clubs still seem to be keeping things close to their chest! This article will continue on a monthly basis during the season when any transfers, involving the Premier Division clubs, will be reported.

 

Aveley

As you’ll have seen in the Round-ups for the previous two months, ‘The Millers’ did their business early, so no further player news coming out of Parkside this month.

 

Billericay Town

‘The Blues’ have added more players to their squad as they rebuild for the 2022/23 season and attempt to get their place back in the National League South Division. Defenders George Wind, Henry Lukombo, Aaron Ekumah, Michael Chambers and Marvel Ekpiteta have re-signed, whilst defenders Toby Stevenson and Ellis Sullivan have joined from National League Bromley having been on loan last season, and EFL League Two Colchester United, respectively. Midfielder Kurtis Cumberbatch has joined from National League South Dover Athletic for his second spell at the club, midfielder/forward Alfie Cerulli has been signed from National League South Hemel Hempstead Town, central midfielder Eze Ebuzoeme has joined from Kingstonian, and striker Jacob Bancroft has moved from another National League South side in Oxford City. Full back Lawrie Wilson, who was recently appointed as Assistant Manager, has also registered as a player. They have seen one departure though as goalkeeper Rhys Lovett has signed for National League Torquay United.   

 

Bishop’s Stortford

‘The Bishops’ have added winger Terrell Egbri to the squad, signing him from National League Southend United although last season he was on loan at Farnborough Town, helping them to win promotion from the  Southern League Premier Division South as they won the Play-offs, winning 2-1 at Hayes & Yeading United having finished 3rd. Danny Tippett, who has a UEFA ‘B’ badge, has joined the club as goalkeeping coach having previously had experience with Grays Athletic, Colchester Utd and St Albans City. It has also been announced that Archie Jones has left the club.  

 

Bognor Regis Town

Three more of last season’s squad have agreed to re-sign for this, they are, James Crane, Charlie Bell and Ethan Robb, whilst defender Josh McCormick, who was part of the team that won the Sussex Senior Cup in 2019, has re-joined from Winchester City of the Southern League Division One South, and defender Tom Bragg has signed on a season-long loan from National League Eastleigh. They have also signed Isaac Olaniyan from EFL League Two AFC Wimbledon and forward/winger Nick Dembele from Gosport Borough of the Southern League Premier Division South and secured the loans of goalkeeper Toby Steward, and attacking midfielder Alfie Bridgman, who also played on loan last season, from Portsmouth.

 

Bowers & Pitsea

‘The Bowers’ have brought in attacking midfielder Stephen Okoh, who has had a few pre-season games for Invicta in the past without playing competitively, from Whitstable Town, and striker Luke Hirst who has returned to the club from Hashtag United after four years away, whilst Jack Unwin has also signed. Other players to leave the club, however, are defenders Luke Wilson, although he only played the last game of the season for them, and Alex Bentley, who have signed for North Division Hullbridge Sports and Cray Wanderers, respectively.

 

Brightlingsea Regent

The club are currently dealing in fullbacks, have signed two in Jermaine Anderson from North Division Great Wakering Rovers and Temi Oladejo from SCEFL Premier Division Fisher, but they’ve let another, Sam Mvemba, leave for Carshalton Athletic.

 

Canvey Island

No player news coming out of last season’s North Division Play-off winners, but they have announced that their ground will be known as The Movie Starr Stadium, following sponsorship from a family run independent cinema located on the seafront.

 

Carshalton Athletic

Steve McKimm continues to rebuild the Carshalton Athletic squad with fullbacks Sam Mvemba signing from Brightlingsea Regent and Leo Hamblin joining from National League Woking, whilst forwards Bobby Mills and Reise Allesani, have switched from Corinthian-Casuals and National League South Dulwich Hamlet, respectively. Defender Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite has left the club, moving across the Premier Division and joining Enfield Town.

 

Corinthian-Casuals

It appears that Ben Checklit, Jack Tucker, and Charlie Edwards have re-signed for the forthcoming season. New Manager Tony Reid has appointed Louis Carder-Walcott, who was with Reid at Westfield, as Assistant Manager and Peter Barkley, who was with Kingstonian last season, as First Team Head Coach, whilst Club Physiotherapist Carly Doyle and Goalkeeping Coach Alan Winnett have left the club as ‘The Casuals’ go through several changes for the forthcoming season. It has also been announced that goalkeeper Emmanuel Agboola has moved to Potters Bar Town, defender Peter Ojemen has joined Margate and forwards Bobby Mills and Kieron Cadogan have signed for Carshalton Athletic, and former ground sharers Kingstonian, respectively. And it is also the end of an era as long serving goalkeeper and Club Captain Danny Bracken, who made over 500 appearances for the club and has consistently been one of the best keepers in the Isthmian League during his career, has followed his brother and former Manager James out the club.  

 

The club have also announced that LATOPE Sports & Entertainment have entered into an agreement  to become the club’s newest partner, in a deal which will see the LATOPE logo emblazoned on the back of both their home and away shirts. They would seem a good fit as LATOPE is a commercial agency that represents some of the world’s biggest Latin American football stars that play across Europe’s major leagues.

 

On the pitch, ‘The Casuals’ were foiled in their attempt to retain the Corinthian Cup in the Egri Ebbstein* Tournament, as having beaten Hilltop, of the Combined Counties League Premier Division North, in the Semi Final, they lost 1-0 against Sheffield of the Northern Premier League Division One East, in the Final the following day. Sheffield, who are recognised by FIFA as the oldest Football Club in the World having been founded in 1857, had beaten Budapesti AK 7-0 in the other Semi Final. The 3rd/4th Place Play-off was a much closer affair with Hilltop, who benefitted from the demise of Staines Town to gain promotion to the Combined Counties League for this season,  winning 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw against Budapesti AK, who play in BLSZ III, which is the sixth tier of Hungarian football.    

 

* Egri Ebbstein was a Hungarian football player and Manager from Nagyvárad, now known as Oradea, in Romania. He conducted his footballing activities in several countries, but he was most noted for his association with Italian football. He was most well known for his time at Torino where he (as technical director) along with Englishman Leslie Lievesley (as trainer) were co-managers during the 1948–49 season. Torino were defending champions of Italy and on track to progress further, until disaster struck on 4th May 1949 when Erbstein and most of the Torino team died in the Superga air disaster. During his playing career, he spent the majority of it at Budapesti AK, hence their invitation to the competition.

 

Cray Wanderers

It has been announced that full backs Freddy Barton and Sam Wood have been retained for the forthcoming season, whilst Alex Bentley has returned to the club after a ten-year absence, signing from Bowers & Pitsea. In the June Round-up it was mentioned that Nyren Clunis had left Kingstonian, it has now been announced that he has signed for ‘The Wands’. Two other players, goalkeeper Jacob Russell and midfielder Mitch Chapman, have joined from South East Division Ramsgate, whilst they’ve brought in another goalkeeper, Shaun Rowley from Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One Carlton Town, and Sinn’kaye Christie from South East Division Haywards Heath Town.

 

‘The Wands’ did something a bit different as part of their preparation for the new season, they visited Jersey to play in the inaugural Bulls Cup with the home side, Combined Counties League Premier Division South Jersey Bulls, North Division Hashtag United and Football Club United of Manchester (FCUM) of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Although they probably had a good weekend off the field, it didn’t go quite so well on it, in the Semi Final they lost 3-0 against FCUM, whilst in the 3rd/4th Place Play-off, they went down 3-2 against Hashtag United, having been 3-0 down at half-time, they pulled back two goals through an Anthony Cook penalty and a Chris Dickson header in the last four minutes of the game. For the record, FCUM recorded a comfortable 6-1 victory over their hosts in the Final, to pick up their second ‘overseas’ trophy in two months as in June they won the Fenix Trophy in Rimini, Italy, defeating Czech club Prague Raptors 2-0.               

 

Enfield Town

‘The Towners’ have brought in defenders Juevan Spencer from Lewes, Ben Frempah from Southern League Premier Division South Hayes & Yeading United where he was part of the side that reached the Play-offs last season before they lost in the Final against Farnborough Town, Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite from fellow Premier Division side Carshalton Athletic and Wynford Marfo from St. Neots Town of the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands. Midfielders James Dayton from National League South Dulwich Hamlet, and Scott Shulton from Hampton & Richmond Borough of the same League, plus forward Marcus Wyllie from Spartan South Midlands League Risborough Rangers where he scored thirty-six goals last season, have also signed.

 

It has also been announced that goalkeeper Nathan McDonald, Skipper Scott Thomas, Rian Bray, Josh McLeod-Urquhart, Ryan Kirwan, Nathan Smith, Jon Muleba, Lewis Taaffe, Sam Youngs, who last season won the ‘Goal of the Season’, ‘Players’ Player’ & ‘Members’ Player of the Year’ awards, plus Adam Cunnington and Jake Cass have all re-signed for the forthcoming season, although Mo Faal is still deciding on his future now his contract has expired, and Percy Kiangebeni has left the club.

 

Haringey Borough

Rakim Richards, Andronicos Georgiou, Michael O’Donoghue and Callum Ismail have agreed to stay at ‘The Borough’ for the 2022/23 season, but Bobson Bawling has decided to leave despite the club originally announcing that he was staying, and Ade Cole has joined Margate. Off the field, the club have appointed Mustafa Bashkal, who previously managed at Leatherhead, as First Team coach.

 

‘The Borough’ are another side to have played in a pre-season tournament as they competed in the Community Cup at Cheshunt in a round-robin competition with the home side and National League Kings Lynn. They beat Cheshunt 2-0 in their first game and drew 1-1 with Kings Lynn to lift the trophy as Cheshunt and Kings Lynn had drawn 0-0.  

 

Hastings United

Five more of ‘The Us’ South East Division Championship winning side have agreed to stay for next season as Ryan Worrall, Bermudan international Knory Scott, Danny Parish, Kane Penn and Ollie Black have all put pen to paper, and they have also added to their defensive options by bringing in Alex Brefo from Cray Valley PM, where he was part of their side that reached the South East Division Play-offs last season.

 

Herne Bay

No player news from ‘The Bay’, but they have reported the sad and premature death of their former centre forward Andy Ballantyne, our condolences go to Andy’s family and friends at this sad time.

 

Hornchurch

The majority of last season’s squad have re-signed as goalkeeper Joe Wright, Club Captain Lewwis Spence, Ola Ogunwamide, Mickey Parcell, Tobi Joseph, Ellis Brown, Ronnie Winn, Jordan Clark, Ollie Muldoon, Nathan Bertram-Cooper, Rickie Hayles and Remi Sutton, Sam Higgins and Liam Nash have all agreed terms for the forthcoming season. Meanwhile, Charlie Ruff has left ‘The Urchins’ to sign for National League South Chelmsford City.

 

Horsham

Midfielder Archie Burnett and defender Harry Osbourne have become the fourth and fifth players to sign for ‘The Hornets’ this summer, joining from National League Bromley and Kingstonian respectively, whilst in, what they describe as their ‘final’ signing of the summer, forward Daniel Ajakaiye has also signed from Kingstonian, although we’ll see about that!

 

As League Cup winners, ‘The Hornets’ recently played at League Champions Worthing in this season’s Isthmian League Charity Shield and ‘The Mackerel Men’ won 3-0 with second half goals from Mo Jammeh, Nodirbek Bobomurodov and Evan Hoarty. 

 

Off the field the club have applied to Horsham District Council for improvements to their already well-appointed ground. The application includes plans for an extension to the Octotech stand at the western end, two extended replacement stands and a press box on the dugouts side of the ground, the subsequent relocation of the existing Durrants and Lines & James stands to the Jack Scrase Community Pitch, an electronic scoreboard, and additional turnstiles, although the application will not change the existing capacity of the ground.

 

Kingstonian

Midfielder Fumnaya Shomotun and forwards Korrey Henry and Kieron Cadogan have signed from Wingate & Finchley, Merstham and Corinthian-Casuals, respectively. Leaving the club are centre back Harry Osbourne and forward Daniel Ajakaiye who have both gone to Horsham, whilst midfielders Eze Ebuzoeme and Kershaney Samuels have signed for Billericay Town and Cray Valley PM, respectively. Last month it was announced that winger Dan Bennett had joined ‘The Ks’ from Carshalton Athletic, it now appears his stay was short lived as he has now signed for South East Division Cray Valley PM.     

 

Lewes

Still not a lot of news from the Dripping Pan, although Juevan Spencer has left to join Enfield Town.

 

Margate

Manager Andy Drury has finalised his backroom staff, with James Scott, who holds a UEFA A Coaching Badge, coming in as Assistant Manager with George Howard being named as goalkeeping coach. Drury also continues to bolster his squad as he has brought in Peter Ojemen from Corinthian-Casuals, plus Ade Cole from Haringey Borough, and Harvey Smith from Isle of Thanet neighbours Ramsgate of the South East Division, and Montrell Deslandes from SCEFL Premier Division Whitstable Town, whilst James Bessey-Saldanha has also re-signed for the forthcoming season.   

 

Potters Bar Town

Manager Sammy Moore has brought in Lee Protheroe from Wingate & Finchley as First Team Coach, whilst they have also further strengthened their squad by bringing in goalkeeper Emmanuel Agboola from Corinthian-Casuals, defender Mo Kamara from South East Division Ashford United, and  Grenada international striker Dejon Noel-Williams from National League South Braintree Town, although John Budden and Ergys Pepaj have both left and signed for Northwood of the South Central Division.

 

Wingate & Finchley

It has been announced that coaches Lee Protheroe, who has gone to Potters Bar Town, & Franco Piazza have both departed the club. On the playing front, midfielder Fumnaya Shomotun has joined Kingstonian.