Len Cordell Cup – Final
2020 -21 Season – Match 39
Saturday 29th May 2021 – 4pm KO
Redbridge: Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts & Blue Socks
Holland: Orange Shirts, Orange Shorts, Orange Socks
Redbridge edge hugely determined Holland to win the Len Cordell Cup!!
Redbridge 2 – 1 Holland
Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The second match of Day One of the Cordell Finals weekend saw this hugely anticipated match between Redbridge, looking to claim the Cup in memory & honour of their former Secretary Len Cordell and Eastern Senior League South side Holland who have been impressive in this competition in their run to the Final. If you’d like to read more about this competition from the Writer’s View, head here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/2021-in-focus-cordell-cups-the-writers-view/
Before we begin with the match specifics, I feel compelled to note that Holland brought two minibuses full of fans to this match which is some effort so they deserve respect for that and it added to the atmosphere of the match.
Onto the teams then and Redbridge named a strong starting XI, with George Martin between the sticks, Harry Gibbs and Olamji Ayoola at centre-back and the forward line of Abdishakur Farah, Ayub Kairi and Tony Martin. Their bench included midfielders Jack Roult and Sonny Fish. Holland fielded Luke Avenell in goal, with skipper Harvey Cowler and Steven Downes as their centre-back pairing. Their forward line was led by Louis Olymbios, Harry Willoughby and Rueben Cowler, whose free-kick in the Semi-Final got them here. On the bench for Paul Phelan’s side were Thomas Ayton, Adrian Cant and Matthew Williams.
As with the proceeding Plate Final, before we began we had a minute’s applause to remember all those lost & long-term affected in the last fifteen months because of Covid-19. Redbridge started the match with the impetus as in the first minute, a header on Luke Avenell’s goal by centre-back Harry Gibbs needed the custodian to gather. Five minutes later, a free-kick from midfielder Jack Chawner cannoned off the left-side post and trickled across the goal-line, somehow evading the touch it needed to open the scoring. Redbridge were having the lion’s share of the ball in these early stages, though Holland set their stall out to be resolute in defence, with centre-back Steven Downes setting the tone for Paul Phelan’s side by making good interceptions in the first half-hour.
For all the possession they had in said first half-hour, George Christou’s side were unable to make the most of it as their final ball eluded them to a point and also that impacted the amount of clear-cut chances they created. Central midfielder Shaun Harris fired wide for the Motormen with the half-hour mark approaching and you were getting a sense of trepidation for the Essex Senior side that they were going to regret not going in front when they were having the majority of the match. In fairness to Holland, they had to deal with the early loss of full-back Mason Lumley-Ridgway due to injury (second picture above) but as the half went on, they started to keep possession and venture forward and they sent a warning to the ‘hosts’ eleven minutes before the break, with substitute Thomas Ayton getting in on goal, with Redbridge defender Olamji Ayoola doing well to shoulder him off the ball allowing custodian George Martin to sweep in and gather.
Holland made the most of soaking up all the early pressure and broke the deadlock, somewhat against the run of play on thirty-five minutes as a good pass in found forward Harry Willoughby and he struck home well from close range to send the travelling contingent jubilant. The increasing drama of the contest didn’t end there though. Impressive winger Ayub Kadiri curled past two Tangerines defenders and fired at goal though Luke Avenell blocked his first shot well before Kadiri sent the rebound wide. Redbridge were behind then at the interval, though the line of Farah, Martin and Kadiri really kept the Tangerines alert and you have to say the defence was beyond rigid, much to their credit.
Half-Time: Redbridge 0 – 1 Holland
Holland had a more than capable forward line themselves, with star forward Olymbios who already has a hat-trick to his name in this competition working well in tandem with tireless forward Harry Willoughby and Rueben Cowler whose passes were causing problems. On fifty-two minutes, Ayton made another good rapid run down the right flank which preceded another good chance for Phelan’s side. Another excellent mazy run by Reuben Cowler ended with Redbridge custodian George Martin denying Olymbios. The end-to-end nature of the match at this stage was further exemplified by a superb fifty-yard run by Motormen winger Kadiri, beating two defenders before his strike was well-parried by Avenell. The atmosphere was getting tetchy as both sides had vocal support from the terraces. Holland saw a chance fade as quickly as it appeared with fifteen minutes remaining as Willoughby ghosted past his marker before skewing his strike wide.
The nerves among the Redbridge management and supporters were getting more frayed as another counter-attack saw replacement Sonny Fish perhaps choosing the wrong option and fired into the side-netting. Target-man Josh Sykes entered the fray with thirteen minutes to play and his good hold-up play fed Tony Martin whose clever pass found full-back Brad Bennett but his couldn’t find the power in his finish to bypass the approaching Avenell, who was happy to gather.
Just when you thought Redbridge had ‘run out of gas’ and Holland were going to complete the job, the Motormen were awarded a penalty on 89 minutes, to which Jake Brocklebank’s spot-kick was converted low into the left corner to send the Motormen fans delirious with delight. Holland were having to hold on as we seeped into added-time and Sykes had a good strike denied by another good save by Avenell. On balance, the Tangerines deserved to take it to extra time at least for the energy and desire they had put into the contest. And with the final whistle blown by referee Alex Kyriacou, it was exactly what was coming – thirty minutes of extra time to determine the winner of the Cordell Cup.
Full-Time (after 90 minutes): Redbridge 1 – 1 Holland
In the Extra-time that ensued, the tension was getting unbearable, even for the neutral. Holland had a goal chalked off for off-side nine minutes in but earlier in the match, you did wonder if the Tangerines having five players on a yellow card at this stage would hinder them. Eleven minutes into the added 30, a searing run by skipper James Barlow down the left channel ended with his cross being cleared by the ever-dependable Downes. Moments into the second-period of extra-time, Olymbios picked up a second booking to leave Holland down to ten men, but you still wondered whether the Motormen had enough in the tank to make the most of that with twelve minutes to pounce. The tetchy nature on-pitch increased with Sykes getting dismissed as well moments after being substituted for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
On-pitch though, the telling moment came with 109 minutes played in the titan of a match as substitute Jack Roult manoeuvred himself into a bit of space before sending a fizzing low drive from the edge of the eighteen-yard box which was too strong for Avenell to get down and block and found the net, much to the delight of all the Motormen contingent. Holland were unable to level the match and had to settle for the runners-up prizes in a match where genuinely neither side really deserved to lose and you have to add that Holland being a Step 6 side as well, they more than showed their talents as a unit here and who knows, they may be joining recently-promoted White Ensign and Athletic Newham in the not-too-distant future.
Result: Redbridge 2 – 1 Holland (After Extra Time)
How do you summarise this one? Heck knows, but I will add it was an utterly enthralling contest which more than justified the occasion it was and Redbridge have had tough times in recent years, and this apparently in their first Trophy since 2004 so you wouldn’t begrudge them a ‘day in the sun’ here. But at the same time, Holland also justified not only their place in the Final but also crowned off a fabulous competition for them with their performance here, showing the difference between Step 5 and Step 6 in this region isn’t that big at all. Every credit to Paul Phelan’s side and I wish them well for next season, they can be very proud.
Stand-outs wise, Redbridge were led well going forward by tricky, pacey forward Ayub Kadiri who showed a lot of persistence to go with his technical ability. Centre-forward Tony Martin again showed why he is an important player for Christou’s team as well with Abdi Farah also contributing heavily before being substituted. Finally, a shout-out to skipper James Barlow as he also left everything out there energy-wise and centre-half Olamji Ayoola who did well in intercepting the impressive Holland forwards. For the Tangerines, forwards Harry Willoughby and Rueben Cowler deserve a big mention as they are big players for their side. Defender Steven Downes was also superb, with midfielder Keelan Sorrell and custodian Luke Avenell worthy of honourable mentions as well as their side came so close to a big win.
But it was to be Redbridge’s day and they honoured the departed Len Cordell with success here and Len would’ve loved the atmosphere with a good crowd at both matches and for me it was a good way to end the disrupted 2020-21 season, so thank you for reading all these reports during the season. Best wishes, Scott
Redbridge | Manager: George Christou | Assistant: Jack Toghli
13 George Martin (GK), 2 Brad Bennett (18 Chikosi Basden 85’), 15 James Barlow (Capt), 4 Jack Chawner, 5 Harry Gibbs, 6 Olamji Ayoola, 7 Shaun Harris (12 Jack Roult 77’), 8 Jake Brocklebank, 9 Tony Martin, 10 Abdishakur Farah (16 Sonny Fish 63’), 11 Ayub Kadiri (19 Josh Sykes 77’, who was replaced by 14 Dean Hall 107’)
Goal-scorers: Jake Brocklebank [pen 89’], Jack Roult [109’]
Booked: Chawner, Ayoola, Fish | Sent Off: Sykes (after being substituted)
| Subs Not Used: Blackledge, Dickens
Holland | Manager: Paul Phelan | Assistant: Luke Watts
1 Luke Avenell (GK), 2 Mason Lumley-Ridgway (12 Thomas Ayton 13’), 3 Jamey Williams, 4 Toby Harms, 5 Harvey Cowler (Capt), 6 Steven Downes, 7 Kieran Michaels, 8 Keelan Sorrell (16 Matthew Williams 114’), 9 Louis Olymbios, 10 Harry Willoughby, 11 Reuben Cowler (15 Adrian Cant 78’)
Goal-scorers: Harry Willoughby [35’]
Booked: Sorrell, Michaels, Avenell, Cant | Sent Off: Olymbios (106’, Two bookings)
| Subs Not Used: Cook (GK)
Referee: Alex Kyriacou
Assistant Referees: James Latham & Katie Dorling
Fourth Official: Callum Dorling