Len Cordell Cup – Group E
Venue: Lower Road (Hullbridge FC)
2020 -21 Season – Match 23
Saturday 10th April 2021 – 3pm KO
Great Wakering: Green & White Shirts, Green Shorts, Green Socks
White Ensign: Red & Navy Blue Shirts, Red Shorts & Red Socks
Energised Ensign power to victory over below-par Wakering at Lower Road
Great Wakering Rovers 1 – 4 White Ensign
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
After a near four-month enforced hiatus, it was nice to get back to Non-League Football, as I travelled to Hullbridge’s Lower Road to see Great Wakering Rovers face ambitious White Ensign in the opening weekend of the inaugural Len Cordell Cup. I was here as part of the Essex Senior League (who run this competition)’s media team.
Before we got underway, there was a minute’s silence marking the passing of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The match got underway with a half-chance for the visitors after only a minute with Ensign forward Connor Barnby striking narrowly wide of the right-side post. Wakering responded with more of the possession in the next ten minutes, with winger William Harris having an effort just wide of goal and soon after a fierce drive by forward Martin Tuohy was beaten away by Ensign custodian Louis Hawes.
Ensign did take the lead in clinical fashion on eighteen minutes as a rapid defence-breaching run by winger Dominic Locke saw him face Rovers stopper James Scammell and Locke’s firm low finish was placed into the right corner. Unsurprisingly, Brett Munyard & Mark Healy’s side were buoyed by their opening goal and showed more energy and purpose for most of the half. However, they had a let-off just short of the half-hour when Wakering centre-back Marc Gorbell ghosted in at the back stick for a tap-in from a set-piece, only to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag for an off-side.
Ensign had a decent chance five minutes before the interval, as forward Connor Barnby played in strike partner Luke Woodward with link-up play, only for Woodward to breeze his strike over the woodwork. At the interval, the visitors did deserve their lead as Stephen Butterworth’s Wakering side needed to up the ante.
Half-Time: Great Wakering Rovers 0 – 1 White Ensign
Despite the chilly conditions, the match grew in intensity in the early parts of the second half. Five minutes after we resumed, tricky support forward Kojo Apenteng made a good surging run down the right for Rovers, with his centre finding its way to Tuohy though his shot was blocked from mere yards out by a combination of custodian Hawes and a covering defender. Wakering forward Jake Gordon was similarly frustrated moments later as his forward run was stifled by the alert Ensign back-line. That hard work served Ensign well as on 55 minutes, a clever turn by Barnby opened up an opportunity at goal and he made no error, firing past Scammell firmly to double his side’s lead.
The visitors were finding their stride now as nine minutes later, Locke broke the Rovers off-side trap and breezed towards a one-on-one with Scammell, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home with ease to surely seal this Cup tie. Great Wakering couldn’t quite find their rhythm to create much in the way of sustained pressure on Louis Hawes’ goal, despite Tuohy and Gordon showing willingness to create options. Wakering did get on the score-sheet at least as on 79 minutes, Gordon broke past the visiting defence and stroked home past Hawes with a low drive into the far corner to squash the chance of an Ensign clean-sheet.
However, White Ensign were not done showing their impetus and skill as with six minutes remaining, a fine ball from Locke found the advancing Luke Skinner who struck crisply past the unfortunate Scammell to seal a great performance for the Eastern Senior League South side. A promising free-kick for Rovers moments afterward was fired over by stalwart Billy Johnson but it rather summed up Wakering’s afternoon. Take nothing away though from Ensign’s spirited performance which undoubtedly would have left the players & management delighted.
Full-Time: Great Wakering Rovers 1 – 4 White Ensign
In summary, Ensign were good value for this victory and took their chances when they came in the first hour to give themselves the platform they needed to complete the win. Wakering were lacking potency in front of goal besides forwards Tuohy and Gordon but their lack of rhythm is understandable given they haven’t played since the Isthmian League shutdown in October 2020.
In terms of stand-out performances, Ensign again were indebted to livewire winger Dominic Locke who scored two and also set up the fourth goal for Luke Skinner. As ever, he was a constant threat with his direct running & pace. Connor Barnby also had a fine game in a more forward role & added to Wakering’s defensive headaches, while fellow forward Luke Woodward and wing-back Jason Reynolds-Blanche also had good outings for Munyard’s side. For Wakering, veteran forward Martin Tuohy led the line well, and fellow forward Jake Gordon kept the Ensign defence alert, as did attacking midfielder Kojo Apenteng who showed his talent at times with trickery, ball control and pace.
Thanks also to the home venue, it was nice to see a few officials at Hullbridge today. Finally, this win for Ensign takes them top of Group E. They face a trip to Athletic Newham next weekend, whilst Wakering are also on the road, as they head to Brimsdown (at Chadfields I understand)
Great Wakering Rovers | Manager: Stephen Butterworth
1. James Scammell (GK), 2. Jake Pitty (14. Lewis Jaggs 46’), 3. Billy Johnson, 4. Marc Gorbell (15. Daniel Brock 46’), 5. Louie Hay, 6. Alex Stephenson, 7. William Harris, 8. George Cox (Capt) (12. Jacob Wiggins 33’), 9. Martin Tuohy, 10. Kojo Apenteng, 11. Jake Gordon
Goal-scorers: Jake Gordon [79’]
Booked: Tuohy | Subs Not Used: None
White Ensign | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Asst: Mark Healy
1. Louis Hawes (GK), 12. Charlie Adams, 5. Andy George, 6. Jake McWee (Capt), 11. Jason Reynolds-Blanche (2. Charlie Buffin 75’), 4. Harry Skinner (3. Thando Moyo 66’), 20. Brett Munyard, 10. Luke Skinner, 7. Dominic Locke, 9. Connor Barnby, 19. Luke Woodward (17. John Hilliard 70’)
Booked: Barnby, Adams | Sub Not Used: Johnson (GK)
Goal-scorers: Dominic Locke [18’ & 64’], Connor Barnby [55’], Luke Skinner [84’]
Referee: Ike Ayesemuate
Assistant Referees: Thomas Ruffan & Robert Collins