Len Cordell Cup – Last 16
Venue: Lower Road (Hullbridge FC)
2020 -21 Season – Match 31
Saturday 10th April 2021 – 3pm KO
White Ensign: Red & Navy Blue Shirts, Red Shorts & Red Socks
Barkingside: Orange Shirts, Black Shorts, Orange Socks
Ensign edge a highly-competitive contest with ‘Side on spot-kicks in the LCC
White Ensign 1 – 1 Barkingside (Ensign won 3 – 1 on pens)
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The first match of the weekend saw a trip back to Lower Road for the Len Cordell Cup Last 16 match between White Ensign and Barkingside, both of whom played in the Eastern Senior League South in the previous halted regular season. Brett Munyard & Mark Healy’s side came into this match with a 100% winning record in the group stages, while ‘Side started well but have found it harder as the competition has gone on. Ensign made a couple of changes to their side since I saw them defeat Great Wakering a few weeks back, with Charlie Buffin and Charlie Adams the full-backs here, alongside club stalwarts Jake McWee and Andy George in central defence. Connor Barnby and Domonic Locke led the line, with support from Munyard and Luke Skinner. Among their plentiful options from the bench was defender/midfielder Thando Moyo, midfielders Bradley Gates and Harry Skinner plus Luke Woodward and Jason Reynolds-Blanche.
Barkingside fielded youthful goalkeeper Duncan Smith behind a defence of centre-backs Nathan Saunders and Elliott Scott, with Jordan Cornelius and Shaquel Foyewa as their full-backs. Forwards Reece Simpson and Jacob Dingli led the attack, with Archie Hammond, Grant Frances and loanee Jack Gibbons in midfield. Their options included wing-back Jason Jones, forward Quincy Warner and defender Berkcan Belindir.
The start of the match did rather set the tone as in the first few minutes, a familiar rapid run by Ensign forward Connor Barnby was well-tracked and intercepted by ‘Side full-back Shaquel Foyewa. The enterprising play of Ensign winger Dominic Locke was back in vogue again moments later as after making half a yard of space, his goal-seeking effort was well gathered by visiting stopper Duncan Smith. The hosts were cursing their luck in front of goal soon after as on eight minutes, John Hilliard’s free-kick was headed wide by skipper Jake McWee. To their credit, Barkingside did not feel the nerves at this point and launched forward themselves on nine minutes as a fine deep cross by full-back Jordan Cornelius found forward Reece Simpson but his header was agonisingly wide of Louis Hawes’ goal.
It was an energetic start by both teams to this match. ‘Side continued to give the home defence a headache as Archie Hammond showed a good turn of pace before experienced forward Jacob Dingli was denied a shot at goal with only Hawes to beat thanks to a good interception by McWee. Ensign full-back Charlie Buffin needed every bit of his rapid pace to catch Dingli moments later a clear chance, even if the Barkingside player was also adjudged to have strayed into an off-side position. Steven Le Sage’s side were not giving the hosts any room to spray the ball around as they like to do and also made a number of telling interceptions. Smith also came to the aid of his defenders by making two decent saves to deny fierce strikes by Charlie Adams from a narrowing angle. In the main, Ensign centre-halves George & McWee were holding firm against opposition forwards Simpson and Dingli but there was still a tinge of doubt that more headaches were on the horizon.
It was the hosts that finally bypassed their growing frustration to take the lead on thirty-six minutes as a fine through ball from Brett Munyard, playing in central midfield, found the run of Locke who cleverly switched one way then another to understandably bamboozle his marker before finishing low past Smith. Luke Skinner had a further drive from twenty yards a minute before the break but it was a slender lead that the hosts held going into the break.
Half-Time: White Ensign 1 – 0 Barkingside
A decision which may have proved telling happened on the resumption as Ensign made four more substitutions. Thando Moyo, Bradley Gates, Jason Reynolds-Blanche and Luke Woodward entered the fray in place of Adams, Hilliard, Buffin and Munyard respectively. The visiting defence continued to frustrate the new-look Ensign forward line, exemplified by Cornelius denying Woodward down the left channel five minutes into the second period. Cornelius was also making a good contribution in an attacking sense too as his cross found Dingli who fired wide of Hawes’ goal. Dingli’s strike partner Reece Simpson was also causing problems and Hawes had to be alert to gather a deflected strike from the tireless striker.
White Ensign had a decent double chance as we entered the last twenty minutes of the contest. First, a firm strike by Luke Skinner was well-blocked by ‘Side centre-back Nathan Saunders before Barnby struck the follow-up over the crossbar. ‘Side were starting to gather momentum though as with 75 minutes on the clock, a fine strike from the left flank by Gibbons forced a good save out of Ensign custodian Louis Hawes. Ensign spurned another decent opportunity with seven minutes left as Woodward was denied by a super goal-line clearance by midfielder David Etcheri. That clearance was to be telling as moments afterward, ‘Side dramatically levelled the tie. Simpson got ahead of his marker and powered in a good header past Hawes. Understandably the hosts were getting twitchy as Barkingside tried to pinch it at the death and after seven minutes of nerve-jangling injury-time, it was down to the dreaded shoot-out.
Full-Time (after 90 minutes): White Ensign 1 – 1 Barkingside
So a penalty shoot-out was required to settle the tie, and in the first two spot-kicks – Ensign’s Jake McWee and Jason Reynolds-Blanche both netted confidently. ‘Side had to go second in the shoot-out and while their opening penalty from Grant Frances was saved by Hawes, substitute Jason Jones did fire home into the right-sided corner.
Onto the next wave of two penalties then and Bradley Gates’ fierce spot-kick put his side 3 – 1 up and in a strong position. But much to his disappointment, centre-back Elliott Scott’s strike from twelve yards was skied over the woodwork. However, forward Connor Barnby’s penalty was also blasted over the crossbar before Hawes sealed the contest with a decent save to deny Jack Gibbons following spot-kick so Ensign progressed with a 3 – 1 win on penalties to make it to the quarter-finals of the Len Cordell Cup.
Result: White Ensign 1 – 1 Barkingside (Ensign won 3- 1 on penalty kicks)
In summary, this was a pretty even match, with the hosts edging it at times in the first half and ‘Side really finishing strongly as Ensign really had to battle to stay in the contest in the latter stages. Being positive though, the fact that it was a nerve-jangler for Ensign may do them good in the long-term, particularly against sides in higher divisions. Barkingside can be proud of themselves for not only frustrating a very good side going forward but also creating problems for the home defence as well. I also have to mention the reserved & good way that visiting manager Steven Le Sage took this defeat, I believe he’ll still be pleased with this showing and he has every reason to be.
In terms of stand-out performances, both sides were dominated by defenders somewhat. For Ensign, centre-backs Andy George and skipper Jake McWee had very good games, making a number of interceptions and dealing with the enterprising forward play from the visitors well. Winger Dominic Locke yet again made a good contribution with his pace, energy and passing. Also, left-back Charlie Adams also showed he’s got fierce strike in his armoury and showed good purpose making rapid runs down the flank in the first half. And ultimately, the hosts were grateful for goalkeeper Louis Hawes making two decent penalty saves in the shoot-out as well, so credit to him.
For Barkingside, full-backs Jordan Cornelius and Shaquel Foyewa had very strong matches, with good energy levels, passing and also making a number of good challenges between them to further frustrate the hosts from creating more clear-cut opportunities on goal. I also thought Jack Gibbons had a good game in central midfield, showing good poise and a range of passing. Finally, centre-back Nathan Saunders had a good game alongside Elliott Scott, showing a very determined mindset to clear the danger on multiple occasions.
White Ensign | Player-Manager: Brett Munyard | Asst: Mark Healy
1 Louis Hawes (GK), 2 Charlie Buffin (11 Jason Reynolds-Blanche 46’), 12 Charlie Adams (3 Thando Moyo 46’), 5 Andy George, 6 Jake McWee (Capt), 16 Ben Austin (4 Harry Skinner 41’), 18 John Hilliard (8 Bradley Gates 46’), 10 Luke Skinner, 20 Brett Munyard (19 Luke Woodward 46’), 7 Dominic Locke, 9 Connor Barnby
Goal-scorer: Dominic Locke [36’]
Booked: Locke, Luke Skinner & Gates | Sub Not Used: None
Barkingside | Manager: Steven Le Sage |
1 Duncan Smith (GK), 2 Jordan Cornelius, 3 Shaquel Foyewa (12 Jason Jones 58’), 4 David Etcheri, 5 Nathan Saunders, 6 Elliott Scott, 7 Archie Hammond, 8 Grant Frances, 9 Jacob Dingli (14 Quincy Warner 68’), 10 Reece Simpson, 11 Jack Gibbons
Goal-scorers: Reece Simpson [86’]
Booked: Frances, Saunders | Subs Not Used: Peagram, Belindir
Referee: Adam Miller
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Hodges & Elliott Hardcastle