(Images by Andrzej Perkins, used with thanks)
Essex Senior League (Season 2018-19)
Venue: The Harlow Arena
2018-19 Season – Match 4
Friday 3rd August 2018 – 7.45pm KO
Woodford Town: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, White Socks
Leyton Athletic: Maroon Shirts, Maroon Shorts, Maroon Socks
Scott W reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On a kind dry evening, the Essex Senior League got underway for the 2018-19 season as Woodford Town entertained Leyton Athletic at their new temporary home at the Harlow Arena.
Woodford have largely kept the same squad from last term, save for Alex Reed in goal, replacing the now retired Nick Wilson. Best wishes to you Nick. In another change from last term, Ola Ogunwamide lined up further forward and joined Samir Ali and playmaker Ethan Kessel in attack for Town. Leyton Athletic had Kieran Southgate, Isaac Atugumya and Daniel Francis leading the line for them.
The match got underway and quite early on, you could ascertain that the hosts were ‘up for it’ with Ola Ogunwamide particularly stretching the Leyton back-line with his rapid runs down the right flank and he twice forced visiting ‘stopper James Scammell into decent saves early on.
If there was one ‘criticism’ of the hosts early-doors, it was that they didn’t have a final ball. The over-worked goalkeeper Scammell gathered a few crosses as the visiting defence was being over-run by the quick Woodford attacks. Leyton did have sporadic chances though didn’t severely test Alex Reed in the Woodford goal. Woodford did eventually break the deadlock midway through the first half as Ogunwamide was found superbly by a cross-field pass that and the converted wing-back beat the off-side trap and lobbed Scammell well after the ‘keeper slipped coming out of his six-yard area.
Leyton winger Daniel Francis’ free-kick was well-gathered by Reed moments later before Town had three decent chances to extend their lead though centre-back Ricardo Shaw, winger Connor Leon and forward Samir Ali failed to beat Scammell.
Half-Time: Woodford Town 1 – 0 Leyton Athletic
The second half began with Leyton boss Jason Ngandu making all three substitutes as Foster, James and Ntumba all joined the action. Woodford struck twice in five minutes to realistically seal the points as first, Chinua Phinn-Archer [56′] beat Scammell one-on-one and passed the ball into the net, only two minutes after coming off the bench. Then after a punch from the Leyton ‘keeper went awry, Kessel lobbed a cool strike into the top left corner on the hour mark.
Leyton had a good chance to pull one back on 68 minutes as a super deep cross from midfielder Nathan Muskitta found forward Kieran Southgate though the latter’s header needed Reed to make a decent save to keep it out. Woodford spurned chances to really make this a rout as Kessel and full-back Routledge both sent efforts wide of goal.
Athletic got some brief respite with Southgate’s drive was well tipped wide for a corner by Reed though fell further behind on 81 minutes as Ogunwamide made another good darting run and beat Scammell with aplomb. As we entered the last few minutes of proceedings, Ogunwamide and Kessell had further chances to add to the score-line though Leyton did ruin a likely clean-sheet a minute from time as a terrific ball from Francis on the left wing found substitute Dwade James who had a simple tap-in from close range.
Full-Time: Woodford Town 4 – 1 Leyton Athletic
All in all, Woodford were very good value for this win and their play was bright and incisive for most of the match. If they can keep this form going then it would not surprise me if they have another good season. As for Leyton, if they don’t pick up their level of performance then this could be another very long season for them.
Best wishes to both teams for the new season.
Woodford Town | Manager: Dee Safer
Alex Reed (GK), Leon Wildman, Ellis-Marcus Routledge, Malaki Toussaint, Ricardo Shaw, Jack Grosvenor (Capt), Connor Leon (Chinua Phinn-Archer 55′), Andrea Montovani (Oliver Palmer 82′), Samir Ali (Taku Mastingaidze 71′), Ethan Kessel, Ola Ogunwamide
Goal-scorers: Ola Ogunwamide [22′ & 81′] , Chinua Phinn-Archer [56′], Ethan Kessel [60′]
Booked: Phinn-Archer | Subs Not Used: Small, Tarrant
Leyton Athletic | Manager: Jason Ngandu
James Scammell (GK), Nico James (Dominic Foster 46′), Dami Olaiya (Jerome Ntumba 46′), Mish Djemalli, Eli Benoit (Capt), Cory Rider, Rujorn Tuitt, Nathan Muskitta, Kieran Southgate, Isaac Atugumya (Dwade James 46′), Daniel Francis
Goal-scorer: Dwade James (89′)
Booked: Muskitta | Sub Not Used: Akumwami