December 2007: Esprit hit hot form
Esprit were surely team of the month for December having picked up a four match unbeaten run, including a win against runaway league leaders, Sprint. Esprit started with a hard fought draw against Colebrook Royals at their ground. It was a landmark occasion as it was Esprit's 300th game and also Dan Parker's 50th. However the boys in purple didnt start too brightly and were a goal down after a bad bit of communication at the back. This followed with another sloppy goal and with the score at 2-0, the club seemed destined to be rooted to the bottom of the table. Danny Burton brought Esprit back into the game with an outrageous goal from his goal area. It must be a record, as it travelled 80 yards before hitting the opposite net. Amazingly it was Burton's second goal of the season. Not bad for a keeper ! Esprit then fought back and in the last 10 minutes, Runo's shot was cleared off the line by a defender's hand. Phil Urubusi scored from the resulting penalty and the game finished 2-2. A fair result considering the fightback but disappointing considering the manner in which we played.
Team : Burton, JJ Hill,(Runo),Greenhill, Brown, Yeo, Kuku, Dupree, Urubusi, Webb,Ulugun,(Parker), Akurang.
The following week, Colebrook Royals were the visitors at Clayhall Park. The weather conditions and the strong wind made the game difficult. Esprit drew first blood this time when an Akurang through ball found Hakeem Kuku who scored his first goal of the season. Kuku didnt have to wait for his second as it came shortly after half time when Urubusi fed him clear this time. The African dream team worked wonders. The second half however both sides had to face the elements, with the gale force wind against Esprit, for long periods the ball was pinned in their half. Colebrook deservedly got a goal back and esprit had to fight like lions for 30 mins plus and defenced superbly with Nick Hanson is top form to deny the opposition on several occasions. At the final whistle Esprit were proud winners and collected their first league win with everyone playing their part in the end. Credit has to be given to Colebrook Royals who played their part over the fortnight as they proved to be a good young side who will get better and better.
Team : Hanson,Valente,Yeo,Greenhill,Parker,(Ulugun),Kirby,Dupree,Urubusi, JJ Hill,(Runo) Akurang,(Burton) Kuku
The next league game was against our friends and runaway league leaders, Sprint. They had smashed a poor Esprit side 4-0 earlier in the season so the boys in purple had to be on the ball and concentrate from the off and thats exactly what they did. Esprit gave their best performance of the season to come out 2-0 winners against a previous unbeaten side. The most impressive stat was that Esprit registered a solid clean sheet. However it was far from easy as Sprint showed why they are the best side in the division with some slick football. Esprit took the lead with Hakeem Kuku's superb finish after a Tolga set up and Tolga then followed up by setting up strike partner Eric Akurang for his first league goal for the club. after the second half, Esprit defended superbly, espcially with Stuart Greenhill solid in the middle and centre backs Tony Brown and Daniel Yeo immense at the back. Whilst Esprit can be proud of themselves for this superb win, it looks like the League title will belong to Sprint at the end of the season, a credit to the league in the way and manner that they play football.
Team : Burton, Valente, Yeo, Brown, Parker, Blanks, (Ulugun) Dupree, Greenhill, Kuku, Akurang,(JJ Hill) Kulahcigil,( Kirby)
The final game of 2008 and May and Bakers were the visitors. this was a real scrappy affair at the beginning as the M&B boys started strong and used their power and aerial threats whilst Esprit were a bit timid, still on a bit of a high from the week before. However Esprit scored against the run of play as Tolga skipped past the defence to slot the opening goal with ease. Esprit however were still on the back foot and were lucky to go into half time 1-0 to the good. After the break M&B got a deserved equaliser, this geared up the Esprit boys and the game improved. However Esprit gave away a clumsy penalty which was converted, but they just dug in deeper and got an equaliser when Kuks's cross fell to Irishman Micheal Kirby who claimed his first goal for the club after performing a mini riverdance in front of the goal to fool 2 defenders. Another draw and it completed an undefeated month for Esprit. Long may the run continue.
Team : Hansen, Blanks, Yeo, (JJ Hill) Brown, Parker, Valente, (Greenhill) Dupree ,Ulugun,(Kirby) Kuku, Akurang, Kulahcigil.