Len Cordell Cup – Plate Final
2020 -21 Season – Match 38
Saturday 15th May 2021 – 12pm KO
Woodford: Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts, White Socks
Hoddesdon: White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Youthful Hoddesdon out-work Woodford to claim Cordell Trophy Plate
Woodford Town 0 – 3 Hoddesdon Town
Match Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
Additional Photo by Jack Hayman, Non-League Chronicles team (@NLChronicles)
The 2020-21 Season ended (for me at least) on the late May Bank Holiday weekend with a return to the Cup Finals Day experience with two matches at Redbridge FC’s Oakside. This first match was the Len Cordell Cup – Plate Final between Woodford Town and Hoddesdon Town. Woodford are still a youthful set-up, marshalled by joint-bosses Dee Safer and Julian Charles and were skippered by centre-back David Agboola, with Harvey Simson between the sticks and a front three of Ramiah Mills, Rasheed Salau and Jaydon Charles. A slightly depleted bench featured Eren Muti and Ramzi Mahmoudi among the options there. Hoddesdon were also missing ten players though injury or unavailability so Simon Riddle’s side also had a youthful complexion but they could still field Connor Bolton as left-back, veteran centre-back Kardan Campbell as skipper and the talented front line of Harrison Rookard, Cyrus Babaie and Harry Andic in attack. Among their options from the bench were Alfie Little, Mark Stevenson and Shaun Barwaah.
The first thing to notice really as the match got underway was the buzz of the returning crowds for this Finals day. More than seventy people were spread out through the sides near the pitch and as you’d expect, the Woodford Towners were there in good numbers providing their usual mix of atmosphere and songs, good on them. Hoddesdon definitely settled the quicker of the two sides on-the-pitch, with the opening ten minutes seeing a firm strike by Cyrus Babaie which he skewed off-target with only Woodford custodian Harvey Simson to defeat. Full-back Connor Bolton then did force Simson into a decent save moments later, as the goalkeeper parried a fierce strike wide for a set-piece. Woodford didn’t need those warnings though as soon after they fell behind. On the quarter-hour, Babaie broke away from the Woodford defence again but this he fired home a cool finish with Simson to bypass and put Simon Riddle’s side in front.
The Lilywhites so nearly doubled their advantage barely a minute later as Babaie was again the architect, involved in a good passing move with midfielder James Mays and fellow forward Harrison Rookard which allowed the later to strike at goal, forcing Simson into an acrobatic save. Hoddy kept up the pressure at this stage of the match, as Woodford were unable to retain possession for any length of time, but skipper David Agboola did make a number of well-timed interceptions in the first half. Another cross from the left by Bolton needed the intervention of the central defender on twenty minutes. You sensed at this point that Woodford were in danger of falling further behind and but for Simson, they may have been as he pulled off another good save to deny as Mays were again one-on-one with the Town stopper.
Hoddesdon did get the second goal their play merited just shy of the half-hour as Cyrus Babaie turned provider by making a good run down the right flank, before his centre found Rookard who helped himself to a close-range goal. Woodford did emerge from their half towards the latter stages of the first period but found Hoddy stopper Alex Reed in decent form as a lofted goal-bound effort from substitute Reece DaCosta was well-tracked and gathered by Reed. So at the break it was an important team-talk for the Woodford side, whereas Hoddesdon had to be mindful of concentration lapses in defence.
Half-Time: Woodford Town 0 – 2 Hoddesdon Town
If the travelling Hoddesdon contingent were concerned about ‘sitting back’ after the break to protect their lead, they needn’t have done so as two minutes after the resumption, a well-hit overhead kick by Rookard tested Simson before the latter made a good save to clear his lines. In fairness though, Woodford did have more of the play in the second half though they found the Hoddesdon defence eager and enjoying the contest, particularly well-travelled centre-back Kardan Campbell who made a number of good interceptions throughout and was in no mood at all to give the opposition forwards any glimmer of hope of getting back into the match.
If there was one over-riding critique of Woodford up to this point, it was that they really didn’t test Lilywhites stopper Alex Reed enough, despite their customary decent approach play. On fifty-six minutes though, Town forward Jaydon Charles nearly found his radar as a well-struck effort was only narrowly wide of the far-left corner. Not surprisingly, this seemed to lift the ‘hosts’ as midway through the half, a rare blemish in work-rate by the well-drilled Hoddesdon defence allowed forward Ramiah Mills to make a good run and his pass found the advancing Shaye La-Rose, pushed forward from full-back but Reed again was well-placed to deny him with a good save.
During the latter stages, the chances fell away somewhat as Hoddesdon maintained their miserly defending despite the growing heat in the nice blue skies surrounding the ground, but in added-time, Cyrus Babaie grabbed his second of the contest with another cool finish past the unfortunate Simson to add further gloss to the score-sheet and secure the Plate for his side, which on balance was entirely deserved.
Full-Time: Woodford Town 0 – 3 Hoddesdon Town
So in summary, Woodford were not at their best here but it is worth adding that Hoddesdon did not allow their opposition to really settle into the game, through determined defending, good organisation and a high work-rate.
In-terms of stand-out performances, for the victors Hoddesdon, they were indebted to another excellent match for two-goal star Cyrus Babaie who really gave the Woodford defence a hard afternoon. Strike partner Harrison Rookard also had a good game for the Lilywhites, giving a whole-hearted performance with pace and running plus he took his goal well. Skipper Kardan Campbell marshalled the defence well and was a key figure in his side’s efforts, assisting the youngsters in the team. Connor Bolton also showed his experience well and could’ve got on the score-sheet as well.
For Woodford, it goes without saying that goalkeeper Harvey Simson had an impressive afternoon, making at least five important saves to keep his team in it. Skipper David Agboola also had a good game and Shaye La-Rose also made good runs on the left side to assist his side’s forward line.
If you’d like to catch up with our special one-off article looking at the Cordell Competitions from the Writer’s View (including views from other writers who have covered the tournament) then click here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/2021-in-focus-cordell-cups-the-writers-view/
All that’s left to say is I wish both sides well for next season. Both have talent but as the cliché says, it is about getting results and Hoddesdon got that result here.
Woodford Town | Joint-Managers: Dee Safer & Julian Charles
1 Harvey Simson (GK), 2 Cameron Lyttle (16 Reece DaCosta 33’), 3 Shaye La-Rose, 4 David Agboola (Capt) (12 Eren Muti 74’), 5 Abdus Salam-Salami, 6 Evangelos Empochontsif, 7 Tyriq Alexander (15 Jack Murry-Sharpe 81’), 8 Joshua Ron Gravesande, 9 Ramiah Mills, 10 Rasheed Salau, 11 Jaydon Charles (14 Ramzi Mahmoudi 83’)
Booked: None | Sub Not Used: McAvoy (GK)
Hoddesdon Town | Manager: Simon Riddle | Assistant: Jeff Cross
1 Alex Reed (GK), 2 Ben Fox, 3 Connor Bolton, 4 Archie Lockie, 5 Kardan Campbell (Capt), 6 Sam Cross (14 Alfie Little 71’), 7 Ollie Finch, 8 James Mays (12 Mark Stevenson 25’, himself replaced by 15 Shaun Barwaah 81’), 9 Harrison Rookard (17 Liam Nugent 81’), 10 Harry Andic, 11 Cyrus Babaie
Goal-scorers: Cyrus Babaie [15’ & 90’ +1], Harrison Rookard [29’]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Michael Scott
Assistant Referees: Martin Quinn & George Barker
Fourth Official: Alan Steward