The FA Cup 2019 -20: Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Venue: Burroughs Park
2019 – 20 Season: Match 13
Wednesday 14th August 2019 – 7.45pm KO
W Ensign: Navy Blue & Red Shirts, Navy Blue Shorts, Navy Blue Socks
Woodford :Yellow Shirts, White Shorts, White Socks
Ensign triumph in an enthralling FA Cup tie at Burroughs Park
White Ensign 3 – 1 Woodford Town
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
This year’s FA Cup Extra Prelim Round ended for me with a trip to Great Wakering’s Burroughs Park to see White Ensign face Woodford Town in this replay following an entertaining draw in Harlow the previous Friday night. It was widely reported that Ensign held their own in that match and are one of the sides talked about with regards to promotion from the Eastern Senior League South this term. Woodford Town reside in the Essex Senior League though before kick-off it was felt in the local Non-League scene that the hosts had a chance of progression here.
For this debut match in their new ‘home’, Ensign fielded a strong side with Elliot Vile and Andy George in central defence, midfielder & skipper Jack McWee with a front three of player-boss Brett Munyard, Connor Barnby and Dominic Locke. Forward Luke Skinner and midfielder John Hilliard were among the substitutes. Woodford, buoyed on by their travelling support ‘the Woodford Towners’ also named a well-recognised side with Morgan Seaman, Josh Steele, Tola Odedoyin and Ellis Routledge making up their back four, Andrea Mantovani as captain and a front two of the in-form Asher Modeste and a big prospect in Temi Babalola. Samir Ali, Connor Leon and Vlad Sighiartau were among the options on the bench.
The hosts started the game brightly, as on eight minutes forward Connor Barnby got his past his marker to face Town custodian Alex Reed one-on-one though his low drive was adrift of the target. Four minutes later, Ensign took the lead as from Munyard’s in-swinging corner, centre-back Elliot Vile powered home a header past Reed to really gee up the home crowd. Woodford took a little time to settle, particularly defensively and conceded another decent opportunity for the hosts though rapid forward Dominic Locke’s effort was tame and was easily gathered by Reed. As we passed the midway point in the first half, Town were getting their passing game going and had two half-chances of their own though forward Asher Modeste and midfielder Georges Kebi couldn’t trouble home stopper James Parkins.
That momentum continued for Town as the hosts were finding it increasingly difficult to break out of their own half, though the likes of midfielder Ensign Ben Austin were doing an admirable job of ‘dampening the tide’ as Town’s attacks gathered steam. With nine minutes to play until half-time, Locke did well to seize on a Town defensive error though couldn’t make the most of it. Woodford did level moments later as a ricochet off a home defender saw the ball fall kindly to the on-rushing Temi Babalola who made no mistake as he drilled low past Parkins to heighten the tension in this tie.
Half-Time: White Ensign 1 – 1 Woodford Town
The tempo of the match was building as the second-half began as both sides traded openings. Six minutes into the half, a free-kick in a promising position saw visiting skipper Andrea Mantovani step up and his good strike was well parried away from danger by Parkins. At the other end, forward Brett Munyard was causing some trouble with his set-pieces and from his deep free-kick, energetic midfielder Harry Skinner headed over after being well picked out. On the hour, Ensign’s good passing continued as Munyard was well found though just as he was making his way in on goal to strike, Town centre-back Tola Odedoyin made a crucial interception to snuff out the opportunity.
The hosts had another good opening for Ensign minutes later as after forward Connor Barnby was denied by ‘keeper Reed, Munyard picked up the second ball though his drive was well-blocked on the goal-line. With ten minutes remaining on the watch, Town midfielder Georges Kebi did well showing neat touches before blasting over. The Ensign defence had to stay alert in the latter stages as Parkins superbly denied a firm header on goal.
After 90 Minutes: White Ensign 1 – 1 Woodford Town
Extra-time it was then and somehow you felt that it was one of those ties that you felt was going to need that extra 30 minutes and that one single incident might have a bearing on who would win out. It was the hosts who had the first chance though after decent approach play, Locke found himself in goal but he couldn’t generate the power in his shot to beat Reed, who gathered comfortably. Kebi also headed over for Town in that first period of extra-time though more drama came on the other side of the extra thirty minutes.
Just three minutes into the second period of extra-time, Town defender Tola Odedoyin brought down substitute Luke Skinner and was promptly sent off, much to the dismay of the visiting side. Directly from the free-kick just outside ‘the D’, substitute John Hilliard (who has just come on for Munyard) sent over a crisp strike over the wall and curled in past Reed to give the hosts the lead once again. Ensign hammered home the advantage as with five minutes to play, midfielder Jake McWee made no mistake from close range to send the vocal home fans into raptures and give them a two-goal cushion to defend.
Not even a late second booking for Vile after a tussle with Babalola could dampen the spirits for Ensign who held out for arguably their most important win as a Senior club and complete one of the biggest results in their history.
Full-Time (AET): White Ensign 3 – 1 Woodford Town
After the full-time whistle, the home side turned to their supporters to applaud them as the celebrations begun in earnest. Woodford will feel they had the chances to come away with a win though ultimately the energy levels and determination of the Ensign side could not be matched. As far as stand-out performances go, it is very hard to pick out one or two players. For Ensign, midfielder Harry Skinner typified the resolve of his side and shone, as did centre-half pairing Elliot Vile and Andy George who had to deal with the physicality of Babalola plus the skill of the likes of Modeste and substitute Sighiartau. Full-back Charlie Buffin also showed great willing and energy plus the pace of Dominic Locke really gave the hosts a good outlet on the right flank.
For Woodford, forward Temi Babalola was always an outlet going forward while centre-half pairing Josh Steele and Tola Odedoyin also stood firm under pressure. Skipper Mantovani also helped build his side’s attacks well and could’ve had a big say on the match with his delivery too.
Finally, I’d like to thank Ensign for their hospitality and regardless of the result, it was great to be there for a dramatic and highly-engrossing match. Brett Munyard’s side make the trip to ESL side Takeley in the Preliminary round of the FA Cup and whilst that is a different challenge, these two matches may well buoy them on for the season to come. Best wishes to Woodford as well for the rest of the campaign.
White Ensign | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Assistant: Mark Healy
James Parkins (GK), Charlie Buffin, Elliot Vile, Andy George, David Limber, Harry Skinner, Jake McWee (Capt), Ben Austin (Luke Skinner 72’), Connor Barnby, Dominic Locke (Jack Maleary 113’), Brett Munyard (John Hilliard 106’)
Goal-scorers: Elliot Vile [12’], John Hilliard [110’], Jake McWee [115’]
Booked: Locke | Sent Off: Vile (two bookings) | Sub Not Used: Ainslie
Woodford Town | Manager: Dee Safer | Assistants: Neil Day & Ross Weare
Alex Reed (GK), Morgan Seaman, Ellis Routledge (Connor Leon 106′), Chris John (Alfie Anderson 74′), Josh Steele, Tola Odedoyin, Andrea Mantovani (Capt) (Mohammed Al-Dani 84′), Georges Kebi, Temi Babalola, Asher Modeste (Vlad Sighiartau 54′), Sharn Quinn
Goal-scorers: Temi Babalola [37’]
Booked: Routledge, Seaman, Babalola, Quinn | Sent Off: Odedoyin |Subs Not Used: Ali, Parrott
Referee: Lukas Wood