2021 Club In-Focus – Dagenham Utd [CIF June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EAL Writer

Hello and welcome to a ‘bonus’ instalment of ‘In-Focus’ blogs for Summer 2021. In this fourth article, I caught up with Essex Alliance League (EAL) side Dagenham Utd, who also competed in the group-only Essex Alliance League Cup since the resumption of Football in March this year.

The ‘Daggers’ have had a side in the EAL divisions since 2017, and although their first team are a more recent addition after coming over from the Olympian League.

In this article, I’m pleased to be joined by First Team player-boss (and Adult Section Chairman) Chris Mascall (CM) and First Team Secretary & Physio Jamie Mascall (JM) to give their thoughts on how the recent League Cup has been to compete in, the season as a whole, the inside track on the club and their thoughts on the change coming for the EAL next season. My thanks to them both for their time & Jamie for the Action images shown here.

Dagenham Utd compete in the Essex Alliance Lge (EAL)

SW: It’s fair to say that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?

CM: “It’s a pleasure Scott, thanks for taking the time to talk to us also.” 

“It has been a frustrating campaign again in terms of the stop start of lockdown etc., but we do take some positives from the last lockdown as it allowed a couple of our key players to return from substantial injuries they suffered at the start of the season which disrupted our season towards the Xmas period. 

In terms of positives on the pitch this season, we had a strong showing in our league division, pushing at the top of the table for promotion for the majority of the season and picking up some very good results along the way. The restart of the league cup groups yielded some of our best results as we introduced a new system and style of play, which lead to us winning all of our cup group games bar one, narrowly missing out on silverware” 


SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?

CM: “There have been some great matches this season but for the neutral, there’s only one that can really spring to mind. We had a home game early on in the season (on October 3rd 2020 – Ed) vs Forest Green which ended 5 – 4 to us with a winner in the 88th min, an outrageous goal from our winger Rodeny Dos Santos Varela whom cut in on the edge of the box and curled one into the opposite corner lobbing the keeper and leaving him stranded, the absolutely scenes that followed were amazing as it was pure euphoria and a goal worthy of winning any game at any level! Our Reserve team were playing at home too that week and won their game also and so the joint celebrations that took place immediately after the games were fantastic with both teams coming together to enjoy the results in what was a great show of the real family feel we have at this club.” 


SW: On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment/s from this season?

JM: “I would say it would have to be the game Chris just mentioned , the togetherness of the teams and the pure elation they both had for each other’s results was beautiful to see. It was a lovely day weather-wise, both teams winning in spectacular fashion and really felt like it was one of those moments that makes all the hard work running and organising these teams worth it. It was a real ‘this is why we do it’ moment.” 


Action Still (Dag Utd in Blue & White Stripes) [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

SW: I vaguely remember the club’s first team being among the sides competing in Essex Olympian League (EOFL). How has it been competing in the Alliance League (EAL) since you came over at Division Two level?

CM: “Yes that’s right, our first team used to compete in the Essex Olympian league and moved across to the Alliance League last season. After transferring to Dagenham, I started my journey as First Team Captain and then moved into a management role with the Reserve team whom were entered into the Essex Alliance League in 2016/17 season I believe it was. It was a real ‘start from scratch’ project. I then moved into the First Team Managers role and the Adult Section chairman position, setting out a five-year progression plan for the men’s teams to aim towards. This was when we entered First & Reserve teams into the Alliance, comprised of a few key players from the Reserve team and a lot of new additions whom were eager to join the exciting project and we haven’t looked back since as I enter my 5th season managing within the EAL. 

In terms of abilities of the teams within the respective leagues, I genuinely don’t see much difference In quality, and the EAL have some great teams and players amongst the leagues.”


SW: You competed in Group D of the hastily-convened Essex Alliance League Cup finishing in third spot, two points behind leaders Cowley Community. How was it to return to playing after such a long lay-off?

CM: “To be fair, as I mentioned earlier, the break almost done us good in a sense that it allowed injured players to return, but of course you then loose the momentum of the team being together etc. What did really impress me however was that a large number of the first team especially took up 1-2-1 coaching with myself and really looked after themselves during the break, which was evident when we returned to action, where as I mentioned, we were unbeaten, bar one.” 

“The final Cup table makes for a slightly distorted view of the way the cup unfolded. We were joint-top along with Unitey after 3 games, both sides winning three a piece going into our encounter with them. We proceeded to draw that game which opened the door to Cowley to sneak up the mini group. We went into the final game of the season against Cowley joint top but with 3 less goal difference then Unitey, meaning we either required Unitey to draw or for us to beat Cowley by a four-goal margin at least, should Unitey win for us to lift the title.  I think this lack of clarity slightly affected us in the final fixture and we deviated from the way we had been playing so successfully since the restart, ultimately losing the final game 2-3 to Cowley, with Unitey drawing their final game a result that would have been ideal, meaning Cowley sneaked in and took the title. 

Absolutely full credit to them for clinching the title as the ‘dark horses’ when it seemed like race between two sides, they are a nice bunch of lads who were simply better on the day, but we take pride in the fact we were so close to silverware and intend to make sure we get our hands on some ourselves next time around ha!”


SW: It was announced recently that the Senior Division of the Essex Alliance League has been given Step 7 status by the FA, putting it on par with the Premier Division of the Essex Olympian League. Is reaching that division an ambition of the club & what is your reaction to the news as an EAL club?

CM: “It’s fantastic news for the league and all those whom make it tick and fully deserved for all their hard work in getting to that level. On a personal note, Barry [Fitzgerald], Rob [Parker] and Alan Spike for example have been extremely supportive towards us as a team and me personally, and this is evident in the piece you did with Rob a couple of weeks ago, where he name-checked Dagenham United as being one of the big teams that are looking likely progress up the footballing ladder, which is a great compliment to read [Pleasure to assist! – Ed). 

In terms of step 7 for us, absolutely, we’ve made no secret of hiding the fact that is very much the plan, to keep climbing up the footballing ladder and into the Non League system etc. We are delighted that we have gained promotion for the coming season to the Premier Division (next season’s EAL second-tier, below the Senior Division) from Div 2 and again feel it shows our progression as a club and our intent to wake what I feel is a sleeping giant of a club.” 


Dag Utd GK in action [Image Credit: Jamie Mascall/Dagenham Utd]

SW: How important is it that the EAL matches are covered by Independent amateur media, particularly with the said focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid?

CM: “I think it’s fantastic that people like yourselves are starting to shine a light on grassroots football and highlighting the hard work that goes into these teams and the quality that Is actually within these leagues that very often get missed. As you mention, coverage higher up the pyramid is strong, but at this level is few and far between, but what it does mean, is that when independent amateur media like yourself do take the time out of your days to cover and focus on teams, you have the chance to really build relationships and respect from the teams and leagues you are covering, which I think is a great thing on a personal level, as often in football, especially higher up, that personal touch element often gets missed and it becomes very business orientated.” 


SW: In my research for this article, I saw you are one of a number of clubs now who film highlights of matches & then put them on your YouTube channel. How important do you feel doing things like that are to raise the profile of the club (and perhaps the League) as a whole?

CM: “I actually believe we were one of the first to really push the filming of fixtures, investing in a Veo Camera prior to pre-season to automatically record our games and create highlights of match days and other media content. The social media aspect is huge in today’s day and age and by far one of the easiest ways to attract interest in the club as it’s a physical representation of your team and whom you are and allows you to express your identity”

JM: “We not only use the filming of games to create highlight pieces etc, but use the footage for tactical analysis of games which has been crucial throughout the season in being able to Identify any areas of improvement whilst also highlighting the positives for individuals that many players often don’t have. Even at a good semi-pro standard, until recently very few games were recorded and so lots of players don’t have the opportunities to see themselves play and identify these areas to work on.” 

CM: In terms of the league’s social media coverage, I genuinely believe they are by far one of the best at any level in terms of engagement with their teams and individuals in the divisions and are very supportive of the social media content put out by clubs. The filming of the games from the league can only be a positive and shows their desire to offer that extra ‘personal touch’ each week. 


SW: What do you believe is the main difference between Intermediate/Grassroots Football and the top four steps of the Senior Non-League game?

CM: “Finances. Pure and simple in my honest opinion. Grassroots football has come under so much pressure with lack of help for funding, with costs rising exponentially each year for facilities especially, as quite simply there will always be more teams then there are good venues, meaning most places of hire can charge what they want, with very few teams owning or having leases to their own grounds at this level, every season you see the same story, teams folding left, right and centre, majority of the time simply down to lack of finances. I genuinely believe there are a lot of clubs out there, ourselves being one of them that have real potential to climb the footballing ladder, but football costs money and many are unfortunately ‘priced out’ of progression.” 

JM: “I agree, finances play a huge part in the gap between the standards of the senior non league game and grassroots football. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of the financial strains get placed upon the managers of these teams to keep the teams afloat let alone progressing forward. 

Thankfully, I’m fully supportive of Chris’s plans for the teams and the ambition he has to keep building the project, meaning the adult section have been fortunate enough to have the financial backing from ourselves to keep progressing. We take pride in the fact we can match what a lot of senior non-league teams can in terms of kits, equipment etc but that ultimately comes down to the passion and drive to want to be able to do this as-well, as we see the teams and the players as extended family and feel that is another of the key differences between the levels.” 


SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, what are the short-term aspirations of the club?

CM: “To get some silverware under our belt and ultimately to gain promotion to the Senior Division, after a positive year this season which culminated in a promotion from Div 2 to the Premier Division. 

We would like to add some fresh faces to our current teams that believe in the project we have and can appreciate the progression we have made and to compliment the existing players we have. We have keen focus of developing young players and providing a pathway into men’s football as well, a luxury which is often not afforded. In our last game for example, we had four 17 year old players in the first team squad, with another 3 under 21’s and that is something we are committed to continue doing in the 21/22 season.”


SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?

CM: “As cliché as it sounds, We’ve got some really exciting plans in the pipeline that will elevate the club to another level. We have transferred to a 4G pitch for our men’s first team to ensure we have a better standard of playing surface to compliment the attractive football we play, whilst also securing a partnership which sees us gain the use of a clubhouse and bar for post-game socials, something we had been sorely missing in the last few seasons.” 

“With our ambitions to progress into the Senior division and continue up the footballing pyramid, we are in positive talks to secure a stadium and pitch for the 2022/2023 season [Readers, Ground-grading is a factor in Step 7 divisions – Ed] and have a secure home base with the fantastic current owners whom we are building a good relationship with.” 

End

If you’d like to catch up with the others article in this ‘In-Focus’ series relating to the Essex Alliance League, you can find them here

Essex Alliance League – The Future: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/2021-in-focus-essex-alliance-league-the-future-eal/ 

Club In-Focus – Chadwell Heath Spartans: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/2021-club-in-focus-chadwell-heath-spartans/  

2021 In-Focus -Essex Olympian League: The Writer’s View [EOFL June 2021]

Written By Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello and welcome a to a special one-off article looking at what it’s been like watching Essex Olympian League matches this season (2020-21), which as we know has been disrupted by several Covid lockdowns at different points through the campaign.

I’m delighted to say that joining me [SW] in giving our views on EOFL matches are fellow Non-League writers Aaron Moore [@aaron_moore25] [AM]  and Peter Dudley [@ped1980] [PD], from the writer’s perspective (Quite the team I hope you will agree!). Thank you for reading, the pictures are archive ones from the season by Scott.

Firstly, thank you all for your time. During the course of the season, we’ve all been to watch & write about several Olympian League matches. In your respective opinions, what is the principal difference watching clubs in Intermediate Football in these divisions compared to clubs higher up the Non-League Pyramid?

SW: “It is true that there is a different vibe compared to being in stadiums with tannoy announcements, big seated stands and the like, but in another way you do feel ‘closer’ to the action itself being at smaller venues. Then there is the connection you can feel with clubs and the various different people that represent their club, you do sort of feel like you’re watching them on a journey, whether you’re writing about clubs in individual matches or from afar doing other articles (ie. Division-by-division Round-ups). To be succinct, Buckhurst Hill have been on a journey which has perhaps now finished its first chapter (with their promotion) of potentially many, but then other clubs like Wakebury, Ongar Town, Leigh Town and even ACD Utd are also on upwardly mobile journeys, which is fascinating to see.

Clubs higher up in the Non-League pyramid have the likes of the Non-League Paper to show their exploits and justifiably so, though at this level it’s a bit different and it is a privilege to write about their stories.”

PD: “I feel first of all that it is very much more Grassroots then senior football, some games are played in public parks with a rope around it, so proper grassroots, and also you can see a very good standard of football for nothing, and also at some venues get a lovely cup of coffee in an actual mug, so it feels quite homely watching it too.”

AM: “Many of these clubs (in the EOFL) play with next to no supporters and the ones that do, generally play with very few numbers watching them, so the players are able to play well without a lot of noise cheering them on. That is one reason why lower non-league football is certainly played for the love of the game.”

Still from Rayleigh Tn v Harold Wood Ath in Premier Division (early May 2021)


What have been your favourite matches to watch in the Essex Olympian League this season?

AM: “I had never thought I would watch any Olympian League football this season, but when it was one of the only leagues to return in April, I decided to ‘dip my foot in’. I covered ten games from April 3rd, from the Premier Division, right down to Division Five. It was a game in the bottom division that I enjoyed covering the most. Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves faced Roydon at Silver Leys, which saw the hosts come back to seal a 3 – 2 win late on. The game was a great advert for Olympian League football and showed that there were quality games right at the very bottom of the league.”

PD: “I’ll go with two recent ones since we came back at the start of April, Wakerbury’s 6 – 4 home win over Corinthians Reserves which was very entertaining, and I even sat on the bench for the hosts!!!

Also, Ryan 5 Epping Town 5 over at Wadham Lodge’s side-pitch on a crazy evening, getting there was no fun, but the awful journey was made worthwhile by an absolutely mental game of football, marvellous!!!”

SW: “Honestly, there are many games I could mention but I will restrict it to three of them in chronological order. First, going back to October 2020, seeing Leigh Ramblers win 3 – 1 at Catholic Utd and the level of performance from the visitors was impressive. Secondly, in what was one of the matches of the season in all competitions to see, Corinthians 3 – 3 draw with Old Southendian Reserves. The score-line could’ve been 5 – 5 and then some, both sides were really fired up that day & a draw was a fair result for both sides who have contrasting styles. Finally, seeing Buckhurst Hill being tested by a determined Hutton side before losing 4 – 3 to the champions at Polo Fields in some ways was a really good to end the season on.”


Which teams have impressed you (That you’ve watched live)?

SW: “Genuinely, this is a tough question and that is a compliment to many teams in the league. Aside from the matches I highlighted in the previous question, Shoebury Town played well despite their problems towards the end of the season. I would add Hutton Reserves and Rayleigh Town among the many sides who I didn’t get round to watch that finished the campaign strongly, including Bishop’s Stortford Swifts, Ongar Town, Galleywood and Beacon Hill Rovers.”

PD: “I watched Hutton Reserves twice at Polo Fields and was very impressed by them, their run of form after the comeback in April was nothing short of outrageous, and I was actually impressed at how much AS Rawreth fought in their match at Corinthians in another midweek contest over in Stambridge, rock bottom of the division and starting the game with nine players after some late arrivals, you feared the worst for them, but they made the hosts work so hard for the win and only went down 3 – 1 in the end, so well done to them in that one.”

AM: “Ongar Town have been one of the sides that impressed me. Their attitude in every game (and training) is exactly what you’d expect right up the National League system (also known as Steps 1 – 6 – Ed). They were so close to going unbeaten throughout the season, but still impressed through their promotion season. I was also impressed with Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves. Although they lost their first game under the management of Dean Perrett, they soon turned their season around and finished on a high, winning 10 – 0 in their final 2020/21 season game.”

Still from Corinthians v AS Rawreth in Division Two (late April)


Taking into account the teams you’ve watched, how would you assess the strength of the top three tiers of the EOFL?   [Top-three tiers are Premier Division, Division One & Division Two – Ed]

AM: “The top-three tiers are extremely competitive, and any side could win any day. While some end-up running away with the title or get left behind at the bottom, every team has to be on top form in order to get the result. Galleywood showed that (to get the win) against Ongar Town on the final day.”

SW: “I’ve said for a while now that the Premier Division isn’t that far below the Regional Step Five and Six divisions in terms of quality. You have to have a lot of consistency and have the ‘knack of winning’ as well to be successful on-the-pitch, as well as a lot of organisation off-it. It will be fascinating to see how the three promoted sides [Ongar Town, Galleywood and Manford Way] do in the top-tier in Season 2021-22, especially given the slightly enlarged division of 16 sides which it now is for one season only, according to the EOFL.

As for Divisions One & Two, they are hugely competitive divisions. Yes, the consistency may not always be the same, but you cannot fault the teams’ endeavour to entertain and in some ways, they are writing another bit of their history whether it be a club that has played at this level for years or clubs that are progressing up the divisions. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a surprise or two in Division Two this term, as we stand now it looks a pretty open division to me.”

PD: “I would say that certainly in the Premier Division some clubs could easily compete with sides at Steps Five and Six, there is a big pool of talent in the Olympian League and as I said some teams, even ones from Divisions One and Two, would give higher more established Senior sides a run for their money, so I would say pretty strong indeed.”


A word now about Premier Division Champions Buckhurst Hill – They have been consistently a strong side in the last three seasons or so, how do you see them progressing in Eastern Senior League South (aka Eastern Counties League Division One – at Step 6) next season?

PD: “Buckhurst Hill’s record in their last four seasons has been phenomenal, and I am so pleased they have finally been given what they deserve and promotion to Step Six and the Eastern Senior League South (aka Thurlow Nunn League Division One South), and I would not be surprised if they went straight up and into the Essex Senior League, they are that good, and if they can keep that squad together and add more depth to it then they will certainly be right up there I feel.”

AM: “The Eastern Counties League is a tough division. During the 2019/20 season, the majority of the teams could have still finished in a promotion spot, which makes it incredibly exciting for the neutral. The sides that finish bottom, typically aren’t bad sides, but unlucky that two-sides have to finish in the bottom two. I think Buckhurst Hill could really cement their place in the division and some early wins next season could take them a long way.”

SW: “The club and manager Mark Williams deserve a lot of credit, not just for the quality of Football they play but also keeping the majority of his squad together for three seasons or so – that is unusual at this level. They may find themselves taking a little time to adjust to the teams in their new division (it is a tough division, it would be remiss to say otherwise), but if they do find their rhythm and consistency, then don’t be too surprised if they push for a top-six finish, which would be superb in their first season as a Senior club. To see them get awarded the Olympian League trophy in May (pictured below) was also an unexpected bonus for me and goes back to a lot of these clubs being on journeys as I mentioned earlier.”


Which EOFL clubs do you like watching and why?

PD: “In terms of Footballing ability it had to be Buckhurst Hill, some of the football they played was out of this world, so they were always a good side to go and watch.

I also always have fun when watching Wakebury as their management duo Dan Blewett and Matt Cardy and his dad always make it enjoyable, and they also play some good attacking football as well, and also Corinthians [who play at Stambridge Memorial ground] as you always get a warm welcome there too, so you cannot fault them as a club.  I’ll be honest though – I have always had a warm welcome to any club I visit so I tend to enjoy any Olympian club I visit because they always appreciate what you do for them and the league, so that always means a lot to us reporters and bloggers.”

SW: “It is hard to argue with Buckhurst Hill as Pete mentions, not just for their ability on-the-pitch but their humility and keenness to engage with us writers, that does also get noticed. However, there are also many other clubs who are gracious to me and my colleagues. Rayleigh Town and Leigh Ramblers are on that list of teams I like watching as they are ‘effort’ teams and when they are on-form, that are tricky sides to play. I’ll give honourable mentions on this also to Matt Singh’s Hutton who may surprise a few again in the Premier Division next term and Chris Stoneham’s Corinthians side who are entertaining to watch but need to find more consistency results-wise.”

AM: “I generally loved watching clubs from all the divisions as the quality runs throughout. Manford Way, Ongar Town and Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Reserves – are three clubs that have been a joy to watch.”


Peter, one of the pitfalls of Steps 5 & 6 in recent years has been the comparative lack of clubs in South Essex. With plenty of clubs in the area competing in the top three divisions of the Olympian League, are you optimistic that several years from now there may be more clubs progressing up the Non-League ladder?

PD: “I feel if the places are available then yes, because there are plenty of clubs who are very ambitious and given the tools and the chance to progress up the ladder, they would certainly have the structure in place in years to come to be able to do this, but whether they are given the opportunity remains to be seen, but I remain hopeful that this will happen and we see many more Junior sides from this league progress into established Senior sides in the years to come.”

Still from Buckhurst Hill v Harold Wood Athletic in Premier Division (late April)


Finally, do you believe the quality of the EOFL divisions will remain strong in the 2021-22 campaign and why?

AM: “The quality runs through all divisions and with promotion going ahead for next season, clubs are set to take their quality up the leagues. Ongar Town have replaced Buckhurst Hill in the Premier Division which will make that an interesting division, while clubs moved up from Division Two and below will hope to make the most of promotion, so should be up for the fight.”

PD: “100% yes, and we are in for a very exciting 2021-22 season, the Premier Division now has sixteen sides competing in it so that means a 30 game season, unheard of in previous years, whilst the divisions below have also seen strong sides promoted upwards too, so the leagues are going to be as strong and as competitive as ever, so it should be a fun league to cover next season, that is for sure.”

SW: “Yes, I do believe we’ll see a number of strong sides this term. As Peter mentioned, the expanded Premier Division really is a fascinating development (even if it is for one season) but also the clubs that are facing new challenges in all the other divisions as well make for a highly-competitive season which I’m looking forward to writing about.

I feel I should mention as well all the supportive messages that I and colleagues get from Olympian clubs/managers etc, it is appreciated so a big thank you to you all.”

Still from Ryan v Epping Town in Division Two (from late April)


Who’s Who?

Aaron Moore may be a fairly recent addition to the Non-League community of bloggers but he previously was as Match Reporter at Walthamstow and currently Reports as an Independent writer alongside reporting duties for Harlow Town Ladies.  

His blog is at http://footballreview.net and on Twitter @aaron_moore25

Pete Dudley hardly needs any introduction, but the long-time prolific writer has seen matches in the Essex Senior, Eastern Senior League South, Essex Olympian League & more this season. He has also been a long-term co-presenter of the Grassroots Football Show on East London Radio and also was former Fixtures Secretary at local side Southend Manor.

You can find him on Twitter at @ped1980  or on his blog: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/

End, many thanks to you for reading.


If you’d like to catch up on the first article of the Summer, looking at the make-up of the EOFL divisions for Season 2021-22, including a round-up of the changes compared to last season. it’s available here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/season-2021-22-essex-olympian-league-divisions-eofl/

S20-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 29 May) [EOFL EoS 20/21 2.6.21]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello all and welcome to the last edition of my Essex Olympian League round-up articles for the restarted Season 2020-21, looking the action in the  Essex Olympian League divisions on Saturday 29th May. Before we move on, I’d like to reiterate my thanks for the support I’ve received from Managers, players & Club Officials during the season and for their assistance during the season.

EOFL Premier Division 

On the last day of action in the Premier Division, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts secured a fourth-placed finish in the PPG Table with a 3 – 2 win over Harold Wood Athletic at Silver Leys. Ryan Blackman struck twice for the hosts, with substitute Jayden Hocking-Rising also netting to secure the win. Jack Sykes-Brown and Robert Whitnell both struck for Wood but this result they dropped to ninth in the PPG Table, below Rayleigh Town. After this match, both Billy Cove and Alex Goldstone announced their departures from their respective managerial roles and I wish them well for their next role in the game.

Hutton drew 1 – 1 with Springfield at Polo Fields, with Tarik Moore-Azille nettng for Matt Singh’s side, and Jake Clarke responding for Dan Williams’ side. Hutton finish seventh in the modified table, with Springfield ending the campaign tenth after a run of just one defeat in their last seven matches. Elsewhere, Rayleigh Town defeated runners-up Basildon Town 2 – 0 thanks to strikes from Sonny Coutts and a Bailey Moss spot-kick. Rayleigh finish eighth after a run of five wins in their last seven which gives them some foundation for next term. Sungate also drew 3 -3 with Champions Buckhurst Hill, in what was Hill’s first draw of the league season.

Uncontested:

Catholic Utd  H – W  Kelvedon Hatch   | Home Walkover

EOFL Division One 

The one matter to resolve in Division One was who would join champions Ongar in being elevated to the Premier Division. Galleywood ended that question with a 2 – 1 win at previously unbeaten Ongar Town, with Matthew Buckingham scoring both goals for the Chelmsford-based side. Aaron Blair notched his 100th goal for the club (Not bad in three seasons!) in response but Town were unable to get through the season unbeaten, but still face a new challenge next term. Nearest challengers Manford Way were just edged out despite a 2 – 0 win at Herongate Athletic, with Billy Rees and Daniel Lopes scoring for Trevor Grace’s side here but they finished two points adrift of the top two in third spot.

Elsewhere, Rayleigh Town Ressies ended their season with an entertaining 4 – 4 draw with Ramsden Scotia. George Vile scored twice for the hosts, with Harry Barham and Ebeneezer Djan also on target for Dave Barker’s side. Richard Bishop struck a treble in response for Ramsden, with Jamie Rivers getting the other goal and they got a point despite finishing with ten men. Town finished tenth, a point clear of the bottom two whereas Ramsden finish eighth, nine points better off.

Uncontested:

Chingford Athletic  A – W  Snaresbrook   | Away Walkover

Shoebury Town H – W   Old Chelmsfordians   | Home Walkover

Toby H – W   Runwell Sports  | Home Walkover


EOFL Division Two

The two outstanding matches provided plenty of goals in Division Two but it was Beacon Hill Rovers who secured the second promotion spot with a 3 – 2 win over Wakering Sports at Wickham Bishops Sports Ground. Josh Perry hit two goals here for Stephen Bennett’s side, with Bradley Morgan notching the other. Ben Rowe and Mohammed Sesay got the goals for player-boss Mitchell Gleeson’s team but they finish in fourth in the PPG-adjusted standings. Epping Town got third spot with a thumping 7 – 0 win over Corinthians, in a game that was overshadowed by player-boss Stuart Hoskins being taken to hospital with a serious leg injury, I wish him well in his recovery. Callum Turner led the way with a treble and a brace from substitute Chris Gormley plus one each for Sam Law and Joe Rickett emphasised the scale of the victory here. The Stambridge side finished fifth after a barren run of only one win in their last five matches.  

Uncontested: 

AS Rawreth  H – W   Ryan     |  The Warren

Laindon Orient  H – W  May & Baker A  | Home Walkover

EOFL Division Three

Champions ACD Utd went into their new challenge next season in Division Two with a 3 – 2 win at Hullbridge Sports A, with player-boss Michael Wade, Billy Rungay and George Munns all on target as they secured their 14th win of a very impressive campaign. Harry Boswell’s second penalty in as many games was allied with Charlie Oakman’s strike to give the youthful Hullbridge side hope but ultimately they finish sixth this term. Meanwhile, Manford Way Ressies celebrated their runners-up spot with a 5 – 0 triumph at faltering Collier Row, with David Hornsby scoring yet another treble, plus Charlie Parish and replacement Joe Marjason also netted here.

Hutton Reserves may have more points but their inferior PPG to Manford Ressies was really costly in the end, and ended their season with a huge 8 – 2 victory at Buckhurst Hill Res. Matthew Price netted a hat-trick, along with doubles for Jack Shaw and substitute Dayne Wood. Carl Dutton also got on the score-sheet again as Bill Stratford’s side commendably played twenty games this term, just two short of a ‘full’ season. Buttrint Lecaj got both goals  here for Hill Reserves but they finish ninth, four points clear of the bottom two.

Uncontested:
Toby Res A – W Basildon Town Res   | Away Walkover

EOFL Division Four Results    

Catholic Utd  Res   4 – 2   Canning Town Res  | Prittlewell Chase 

Uncontested:

Ongar Town Res    H – W  Chingford Athletic Res  |  Home Walkover

EOFL Division Five Results

Fixtures 29 May

Collier Row Res  1 – 1   Wakering Sports A   | Forest Row Cen (Pitch 2)

Old Barkabeyans 4 – 3  AS Rawreth Res   | Barking Abbey Sch

Uncontested:

Epping Town Res  H – W  Herongate Ath Res   | Epping UC Rugby Club (4pm KO)

Runwell Sports Res  A – W  Roydon   |  Away Walkover

Shoebury Town Res  A – W    Newbury Forest Res   | Home Walkover

Thank you for reading this season. That’s you’re lot of these until the new season which is predicted to beginning in August (Source: EOFL website) 2021. When the new constitution is released, I may write something on that, as I might about the Full PPG-enhanced tables & Statistics for this season plus clubs talking about this campaign just finished (ala last season’s “Club In-Focus” blog series), so keep tabs on this site or my Twitter for updates.

For now though, I wish you all a good summer break. Best wishes, Scott

S 20-21 Match Report: Redbridge 2 – 1 Holland (AET) (Sat 29 May) [LCC Finals Day 2021 30.5.21]

Len Cordell Cup – Final

Venue: Oakside

Attendance: 162

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

Both sides observing a minute’s applause pre-match [Image: Scott W]

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

Teams

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

S 20-21 Match Report: Woodford Town 0 – 3 Hoddesdon Town (Sat 29 May) [LCC Finals Day 2021 30.5.21]

Len Cordell Cup – Plate Final

Venue: Oakside

Attendance: 72

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.

Still of the match with Hoddy boss Simon Riddle (left) looking on [Image: Scott W]

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.

Essex Senior officials Lee Dorling & Carl Whay with the momentos for both teams & Officials (in middle) [Image: Scott W]
Campbell (#5) lifts Cordell Plate & celebrates with his Hoddesdon team [Image: Jack Hayman]

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.

Teams

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

S20-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 22 May) [EOFL 20/21 23.5.21]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello all and welcome to another edition of my round-up articles, looking the action in week ten of the ‘mini-season’ in the  Essex Olympian League divisions on Saturday 22nd May, plus a mention of the action in midweek as the champions were confirmed in the Premier Division. As ever, the focus is on the top four divisions despite several matches being uncontested this week.

EOFL logo

EOFL Premier Division 

In the Premier Division, Basildon Town secured second place after a 3 – 1 triumph at home to Old Southendian. Strikes from player-boss Marcus Bowers, Grant Cumming and replacement Michael Clark were enough to earn a good tangible reward for the change of fortunes under Bowers this term. Basildon Town have also announced this week that they will ground-share at Gardiners Close with Step 4 side Basildon Utd next season, ahead of the heavily-rumoured new ground that Utd will build in the near future. Os will likely finish the season bottom but with relegation looking most unlikely, they will have some room to re-build ahead of what will be a tough division next term.

Elsewhere, Springfield got their second win in their last four with a 2 – 1 success at Rayleigh Town. A Shaun Gittleson power strike was not enough for the hosts to avoid defeat here. Dan Williams’ visiting side have secured a tenth-placed finish after this win. That is the case as Shenfield AFC lost their final game of the season, as Harold Wood Athletic won 2 – 1 at St Martins Sch 3G. Strikes from Max Shepherd and Tom Ward secured a second consecutive away win for Alex Goldstone’s team and a win in their final match next weekend could see them sneak into the top six.

Also, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts came from behind to draw 1 – 1 with Catholic Utd at Silver Leys. Aaron Baldwin put the visitors ahead on the hour, but substitute Gabriel Odili’s third league goal in his spell at the club ensured the points were shared. The Hoops have finished their season now and they remain third, but the form Billy Cove’s side has shown since the restart continues – they are nine league games unbeaten now.

Sungate’s match with Kelvedon Hatch was uncontested and the ‘Gate got the points, with Hatch also unable to compete next week too.

Finally, Buckhurst Hill were given a scare before securing a 4 – 3 success at Hutton. A brace from Max Nicholson plus goals by Tyler Dolan and Jack Griggs were enough to give Mark Williams’ side the points but the hosts responded through Josh Brocklebank and a brace from substitute Ben Stanton made it a nervy end for the Champions, who were presented with the Trophy shortly after the match, which I had a chance to see first-hand as I was at this match & my in-depth report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/05/22/s-20-21-match-report-hutton-3-4-buckhurst-hill-sat-22-may/

 Hill can pass the fifty-point mark with a win at Sungate next weekend, whereas Hutton need to defeat Springfield to at least secure fifth spot.

Buckhurst Hill celebrate their Premier Division title win [Image: Scott W]

EOFL Division One 

Moving now into Division One, with two matches uncontested (see listing at end of this section), the action was restricted to two matches this weekend. Firstly, Toby got a fine 2 – 0 win at Chingford Athletic to go up to fifth in the table after their third win in a row. Chingford drop to ninth and a rebuilding job awaits in the summer though full respect to Chairman Lee Bowers who has stepped in as manager for the last several weeks. Also, Manford Way defeated Herongate Athletic 4 – 0 at Jo Richardson Sch to give them hope of overhauling rivals Galleywood to secure the runners-up spot next weekend. Charlie Heatley scored twice here after coming off the bench, with James Clarke and Tyrone Scarlett also netting for Trevor Grace’s side. Fellow Non-League writer Aaron Moore was there & here’s his look at the game: https://footballreview.net/match-report-manford-way-4-0-herongate-athletic/

Next weekend, Manford have to win in the reverse match at Herongate whilst Galleywood have to win at champions Ongar Town. Intriguingly poised I’m sure you’ll agree.

Uncontested:

Ramsden Scotia   H – W   Snaresbrook   | Home Walkover
Ongar Tn   H – W   Rayleigh Tn Res    | Home Walkover


EOFL Division Two

Division Two is also not all ‘said & done’ either in terms of the promotion spots. That being said, Champions Leigh Town endorsed their growing reputation with a 5 – 1 win away at Ryan in Leigh’s farewell match of the season. Jack Pearman’s side remain third in the conventional table, though have won the title thanks to their superior PPG ratio. Ryan have two matches left and maximum points from those matches will see them pinch eighth spot.

Elsewhere, Harold Wood Athletic Res gathered a third win in succession with a 1 – 0 triumph at Laindon Orient. James Pottle got the only goal from twelve yards as their campaign ended on a high at Markhams Chase. Laindon must win next weekend to have any chance of pinching fifth spot but all in all, it’s been a decent season for Neil Blackburn’s side.

Beacon Hill Rovers are still in the box seat for the crucial runners-up position in the division after a nerve-jangling 4 – 3 win over May & Baker A at Wickham Bishops Sports Ground. Strikes from Bradley Morgan, Josh Perry, George Davis and player-boss Stephen Bennett were enough to secure a fourth win in five matches. Their job next week is simple, win against Wakering Sports and the job is done. Bakers were in the game for long periods through a brace from Tolouwa Dada and one from Jeese Martin ultimately wasn’t enough and they need four points from their last two matches to have any chance of a top-ten finish.

Finally, Wakering Sports secured a top-five finish with a 2 – 0 win over AS Rawreth at Cupid’s. Aaron Clark and Ben Rowe goals made it six wins in their last seven matches for Mitchell Gleeson’s side. This result also makes sure Rawreth will finish bottom of the standings.

As far the promotion picture stands, Epping Town have a chance of overhauling Beacon Hill if the latter fail to win, but Stuart Hoskins’ side also have to defeat Corinthians at home on the final day after they got another three points without playing, as did the Stambridge side.

Uncontested matches:

Corinthians  H – W Rochford Town    | Home Walkover

Epping Tn  H – W  Old Southendian Res   | Home Walkover

EOFL Division Three

Finally for this week, in Division Three ACD Utd cemented their position as Champions with a walkover win against Toby Res. The race for second is somewhat more complex, as Hutton Res played twice this week again. Firstly, on Thursday night they edged to a 4 – 3 win over Hullbridge A at a very windy Lower Road. Matthew Price struck twice for Bill Stratford’s side here, with Thomas Price and Jack Shaw also on target to make Joe Ives’ fine treble for Hullbridge semi-redundant with regards to the points.

Then on Saturday, the Hutton second-side were held 4 – 4 by Basildon Town Ressies at Basildon Sports Club in the late kick-off. Jack Shaw struck another treble to take his tally to nineteen league goals this term, with James Gardner also netting. But Town responded through the ensemble cast of Keith King, Garron Leatherbarrow, Tom Clayton and replacement Jamie Simpkins to gain a point which means they will finish at least sixth.

The knock-on effect of the above now means that Manford Way Res can secure the runners-up spot with another win next weekend after they won 2 – 1 at Lakeside Utd in the lunchtime kick-off this weekend. David Hornsby took his tally to 24 this term with another brace here, in a match that Aaron also watched – his report is here: https://footballreview.net/match-report-lakeside-united-1-2-manford-way-reserves/

Daniel Stokes responded for Lakeside but this defeat means they will finish the season in eighth spot. In the other matches, Hullbridge A defeated Collier Row 2 – 1 while Wakebury secured a top-four finish with a 3 – 1 success at Buckhurst Hill Res, with Charlie Little’s 15th league goal of the campaign plus Jack Smith and Billy Bonham-Dare goals were enough for Matt Cardy’s team to secure the win

.

EOFL Division Four Results    

Laindon Orient Res 0 – 3   Shenfield AFC Res   |  Peagsus Club

Wakering Sports Res  1 – 1   Galleywood Res  |  Cupid’s CC (Pitch 1)

Uncontested:
Sungate Res    H – W    Leytonstone Utd   |  Home Walkover

EOFL Division Five  Results


AS Rawreth Res   0 – 10   Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res  | The Warren

Springfield Res   1 – 0  Leigh Ramblers Res   |  Arun Park

Uncontested:
Epping Town Res   H – W  Shoebury Town Res   | Home Walkover

Herongate Athletic Res   A – W   Roydon   |  Away Walkover

Runwell Sports Res   A – W   Collier Row Res   |  Away Walkover

Wakering Sports A   H – W   Newbury Forest Res   | Home Walkover

Thank you for reading, the final edition of this season’s EOFL Round-up will be available in about ten days time to round out the campaign. It’s been a pleasure to write about the Essex Olympian League this term once again and my thanks to all the clubs, managers & players that have assisted these articles this season.

S 20-21 Match Report: Hutton 3 – 4 Buckhurst Hill (Sat 22 May) [EOFL 20-21 22.5.21]

EOFL logo

Essex Olympian League – Premier Division

Venue: Polo Fields

2020 -21 Season – Match 37

Saturday 22nd May 2021 – 2.30pm KO

Hutton: Red Shirts, Red Shorts & Red Socks

Buckhurst Hill: Blue & Navy Blue Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Hutton line-up ready for kick-off, with boss Singh on the left [Image: Scott W]

Buckhurst Hill deny spirited Hutton comeback to claim the win

Hutton  3 – 4  Buckhurst Hill

Match Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

The penultimate weekend of my Non-League season saw me head to Polo Fields for this intriguing contest between Hutton, seeking a top-four finish and Champions Buckhurst Hill who were playing their second-to-last match as a Step 7 side before being elevated to the Eastern Senior League South next term. Matt Singh’s Hutton side were missing several players here with Alfie Cerulli, Stephen Judge, Kyle Linzell and forward Will Marlowe among those unavailable. They did field regular stopper Adrian Faherty between the sticks, with their centre-backs being Jonathan Hilliard and Tarik Moore-Azille. Jamie Moore and Joshua Seal provided the ammunition from the flanks, with Brad Freeman leading the line. Their options from the bench were also limited, with forward Ben Stanton and player-assistant boss Robert Lorkins being said options. Buckhurst Hill were also missing a few here with Nathan Sollosi, Josh Banfield, Zachary Davidson and Louis Wynter all not part of their 13-man squad. Daniel Blockley was the goalkeeper as usual, with a central defensive pairing of Henry Day and Jonah Gregory. The forward line was spearheaded by talisman & 20-goal forward Suleyman Zuhdu, with Max Nicholson and Daniel Whitehead in chief support.

This writer was hoping for a good battle, given it was likely also my last Essex Olympian League match of the 2020-21 campaign. The visitors were switched on in the opening minutes as a enterprising run by Hutton winger Joshua Seal ended with Buckhurst defender Henry Day denying him a firm effort at Dan Blockley’s goal. Minutes later, a really good run by visiting forward Suleyman Zuhdu was well rebuffed by home centre-back Tarik Moore-Azille down the right-sided channel. The first real chance of note came on eight minutes as a fine pass down the right by wing-back Liam Foster found winger Daniel Whitehead who then sent a fierce drive at goal, which was well tipped over by Hutton custodian Adrian Faherty. The hosts responded just short of the quarter-hour mark as a fine run by right-back Tom Stephens didn’t quite get the end it deserve as his effort on goal fizzed wide of Blockley’s far post.

Buckhurst were starting to gather momentum and gave their hosts another warning on 27 minutes as influential winger Sam Sollosi struck a first-time effort but Faherty could gather at the second attempt. Said warnings were up as just past the half-hour, midfielder Tyler Dolan weaved past two defenders well before slotting home calmly but inside the penalty area to finally break the stalemate in the game. Zuhdu nearly doubled his side’s advantage five minutes later after another searing run was too strong for the home defence and after evading Faherty, the declining angle saved the hosts as his strike cannoned off the left-side post. Whitehead also fired wide moments after as Mark Williams’ side looked to really gain a foothold. That second goal did arrive four minutes before the interval as after turning his marker inside-out, winger Max Nicholson fizzed a great strike past Faherty and into the net.

Zuhdu (Hill #10) & Foster (#2) involved in an attacking move [Image: Scott W]

Half-Time:  Hutton 0 – 2 Buckhurst Hill

Straight after the restart, it was the hosts who had to be alert as Sollosi again was well-placed but his chance was snuffed out by the well-placed Josh Brocklebank. The visitors were building their rhythm going forward at this stage of the match, as substitute Alfie Harris made a searing run down the right flank, and his centre was cleared almost off the goal-line by energetic right-back Tom Stephens, with fellow replacement Callum Ibe ready to pounce for a tap-in. This did prove important as with an hour played, a good free-kick from the edge of the penalty area by Seal managed to get past the Buckhurst defenders and find the on-rushing Brocklebank who helped himself to a goal from a few yards out. Looked simple but it was well-worked. Unfortunately for Hutton, Buckhurst soared up the other end on a counter-attack and Jack Griggs got past the home backline and his strike just escaped the clutches of Faherty before trickling home into the corner of the net, much to the custodian’s derision. This gave Buckhurst their two-goal cushion back and to be fair, on another day Buckhurst should have been ‘home & hosed’ in this match in the following fifteen minutes of the contest.

Midway into the half, forward Ibe made another of his trademark enterprising runs before his fierce strike was well clawed over the crossbar by the impressive Faherty. Hutton responded with twenty minutes to play as another Seal free-kick was on-target but lacked the power to bypass Blockley, who pushed it over the goal frame. From that resulting corner, substitute Ben Stanton narrowly nodded wide of the right-side post. Buckhurst again counter-attacked as Ibe was in a promising position again and a well-thought out chip was parried up by Faherty before needing to be cleared off the goal-line as well by more committed defending from the hosts. In truth, it wasn’t Ibe’s day as he and Sollosi was both denied on at least three more occasions through a combination of good blocks and wayward finishing.

Just as you were starting to suspect the hosts were tiring, they roared back into the match as a fine cross in from deep found Stanton who arrowed in a fine header at the far post to make it 2 – 3 with ten minutes remaining. Again though, Hill responded two minutes later as Nicholson’s well-taken strike again found the net, moments after Faherty pulled off another fine save in the previous attack. But the scoring was not done yet as the tension was rising before Stanton’s low finish bypassed both the defender and Blockley to find the net on 87 minutes and give the Champions some more nervy moments.   

Hutton’s Lewis Scott (#8) challenging for possession [Image: Scott W]
‘Keeper Faherty (in Green) joins his side’s attack in the closing moments! [Image: Scott W]

The visitors did hold out and the final whistle came without further incident as Mark Williams’ side could celebrate and without delay, they were presented with the Essex Olympian League Premier Division trophy.

Buckhurst boss Williams (r) lifts the Trophy with skipper Zuhdu post-match {Image: Scott W]

Full-time: Hutton  3 – 4  Buckhurst Hill

In summary, Buckhurst Hill took a little while to reach their destructive best and arguably spurned several chances after the break to score a hatful of goals before the dramatic late goal surge here. Every credit to Hutton though as well who showed the gritty attitude that has served them well this season, particularly in the second half of the match. The only thing they were lacking if you were being really critical was more of a goal threat as hard-working forward Brad Freeman was slightly isolated at times, though he was well-marshalled by the adept Buckhurst defence in fairness.

In terms of stand-out performances, for the Champions Buckhurst Hill – it’s hard not to mention two-goal star winger Max Nicholson who took his goals well and importantly gave his side a decent lead at the interval. The Influential Sam Sollosi also kept his side ticking in attack and although he should have been on the score-sheet, he is excellent at creating moves with well-thought out passes. Ball-playing centre-back Henry Day also had another fine afternoon with several good interceptions and right wing-back Liam Foster also deserves a mention for giving the visitors an outlet making gallivanting rapid runs down the flank too.   

For Hutton, I felt right-back Tom Stephens had an excellent match, covering a huge amount of ground all over the pitch, making good passes, showing good energy levels and making crucial clearances in the nick of time to aid his fellow defenders and crucially, keep Hutton in the match. Centre-back Tarik Moore-Azille also showed good tackling, good pace to keep up with Hill’s star forward Zuhdu and looks a good prospect. Winger Joshua Seal was a threat from set-pieces and gave everything here, plus goalkeeper Adrian Faherty who may feel he should’ve done better with one of the goals, but that is outflanked by the four really good saves to deny Buckhurst a thumping win.

All that is left for me to add is that is a been a delight to cover the Essex Olympian League again this season, and it would be remiss not to thank all the clubs and managers of all the matches I’ve written about this season. Thank you also to the League and it was a nice bonus to see Buckhurst presented with the Premier Division trophy post-match, which is a fitting reward for boss Mark Williams sticking with the club for as long as he has done. Best wishes to both Buckhurst Hill and Hutton for next season.

If you’d like to have a read of the wider action in the Essex Olympian League divisions, this week’s round-up is available here:

Hill’s squad & club officials pose with the EOFL Premier Division Trophy [Image: Scott W]

Teams

Hutton    | Manager: Matt Singh  | Assistant: Robert Lorkins

Starting XI: 1 Adrian Faherty (GK), 2 Tom Stephens, 3 Josh Brocklebank, 4 Jack Lelliott, 5 Jonathan Hilliard, 6 Tarik Moore-Azille, 7 Jamie Moore, 8 Lewis Scott, 9 Brad Freeman, 10 Sean O’Callaghan, 11 Joshua Seal

Goal-scorers: Josh Brocklebank [60’], Ben Stanton [80’ & 87’]

Subs On: 16 Ben Stanton [70’], 17 Robert Lorkins [70’]

Booked: None     | Sub Not Used: None

Buckhurst Hill   | Manager: Mark Williams

Starting XI: 1 Daniel Blockley (GK), 2 Liam Foster, 3 Bradley Gayer, 4 Henry Day, 5 Jonah Gregory, 6 Jack Griggs, 7 Sam Sollosi, 8 Tyler Dolan, 12 Max Nicholson, 10 Suleyman Zuhdu (Capt), 11 Daniel Whitehead

Goal-scorers: Tyler Dolan [31’], Max Nicholson [41’ & 82’], Jack Griggs [60’]

Subs On: 9 Callum Ibe [46’], 15 Alfie Harris [46’]

Booked: Gayer, Zuhdu | Subs Not Used: None

Referee: Adekola Adeyemi

Assistant Referees: Martin Smith & Maragrit Tsekov

S20-21 Round-ups: Len Cordell Cup/Trophy (Fri 14/Sat 15 May) [LCC 2021 16.5.21]

ESL crest

Written by Scott W   [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – ESL & Non-League Writer

Hello and welcome to my round-up of the weekend’s Quarter-Final ties in the Len Cordell Cup, plus a look at the second semi-final of the Len Cordell Trophy which took place on Friday night. 

After the round-up, we’ll have a look at the updated draw for the Cordell Cup Semi-Finals and a run through of the matches that will also be played on Finals weekend on Saturday 29 May & Sunday 30 May. Thanks for reading.

Still from Redbridge v Athletic Newham this weekend [Image: Scott W]

Len Cordell Cup – Quarter-Finals

Redbridge  1 – 1 Athletic Newham  | Oakside  | Sat 15 May – 2pm KO

The Motormen edged through to the last four by way of defeating Athletic Newham 5 – 4 in a the necessary penalty shoot-out. Josh Sykes had put the hosts ahead on 21 minutes from twelve yards, before Jeff Idemudia levelled for Newham on 56 minutes as they finally made their growing rhythm in the game pay. The visitors couldn’t take the chances they had soon after the equaliser and found Redbridge stopper George Martin in good form in the shoot-out as he made three penalty saves.

I was at this match & my report is here: survivor16b.wordpress.com/2021/05/15/s-20-21-match-report-redbridge-1-1-athletic-newham-sat-15-may/ 

Stansted  0 – 1  Clapton | Mayesbrook Park [3G]   |  Sat 15 May – 3pm KO

The Tons booked their place in the last four by edging this battle with the Airportmen at Mayesbrook Park, in the live-streamed match this weekend. Eleftherios Metso got the only goal of the game just the quarter-hour. The visitors held on despite seeing skipper Hussein Jaffa dismissed with about an hour left to play. Fellow Non-League writer Peter Dudley was at this match on co-commentary duties & here’s his report: http://pedroslocalfootiefix.blogspot.com/2021/05/stansted-0-clapton-1.html

These results mean that Redbridge will again face the Tons in the Semi-Finals, after beating their fellow East London side in the group stages. But their next meeting has rather more hanging on it – a place in the final in a fortnight’s time.

Len Cordell Trophy  – Semi-Final

Barkingside Res  2 – 0  Grays Athletic U23  | Lakeside Sports Ground | Fri 14 May

Barkingside Reserves saw off a decent Grays Under-23 side to make the Cordell Trophy Final on Friday night. Goals from Robert Adams [66’] and Manraj Phagura two minutes later were enough to defeat Michael Walther’s side and secure a tangible reward for a fine competition so far. They will face Harlow Town Res in the final (see below)

Updated Draw for the Cordell Cup Semi-Finals:

Clapton v Redbridge   |  Date & Venue TBC

Barking/Holland (Match played on Tuesday 18 May)  v  FC Clacton  

Cordell Trophy Final: 

Harlow Town Res  v  Barkingside Res  | at Oakside | Sunday 30 May 4pm KO

Other competition Finals

Cordell Cup – Plate Final

Hoddesdon Town  v  Woodford Town | Oakside | Saturday 29 May 12pm KO

Cordell Trophy – Plate  Final

Walthamstow Res   v  Sawbridgeworth Town  | Oakside  | Sunday 30 May 12pm KO

S 20-21 Match Report: Redbridge 1 – 1 Athletic Newham (Re won 5 – 4 on pens) (Sat 15 May) [LCC 2021 15.5.21]

Len Cordell Cup – Quarter-Final

Venue: Oakside

2020 -21 Season – Match 35

Saturday 15th May 2021 – 2pm KO

Redbridge: Red Shirts, Red Shorts & Red Socks

Newham: Blue & White Shirts, White Shorts, White Socks

ESL crest
Oakside pitch pre-match [Image: Scott W]

Redbridge deny spirited Newham on penalties at Oakside

Redbridge  1 – 1  Athletic Newham (Redbridge won 5 – 4 on pens)

Match Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Photos by Scott Lanza (@lanza_sport) & Scott W

This weekend saw me return to the Cordell Cup with this Quarter-Final, which saw Redbridge host Eastern Senior League South side Athletic Newham, who have had a great run in the competition thus far. The hosts were beset by injuries but still named George Martin in goal, a centre-half pairing of Alamiji Ayoola and ex-Romford & Aveley defender Harry Gibbs, with Jack Roult skippering the side in central midfield. Forward Josh Sykes led the line, with support from Abdishakur Farah and Gayene Sanderson. The options on the sidelines for George Christou’s side included forward Tony Martin, plus James Barlow, Sonny Fish and tricky winger Ayub Kadiri. Athletic Newham continued with the attack-minded side which has won them matches in this tournament. Captain Joel Appiah was joined in attack by Richard Kone, with support from Mauricio Rui Carlos and Anderson Baro. Their substitutes’ bench included forward Tony Cookey, plus the likes of Nnamdi Harold-Egole, Blessing Adomah and Simon Bamidele.


The match was about two minutes old when there was a concerning injury to Newham’s tricky support forward Anderson Baro, who had come off worse from a challenge by Ayoola. Much to his credit though, Baro did return to the pitch after several minutes’ treatment. Newham were keen to get their pass & move game going and an early sighter of that emerged on six minutes as Mauricio Rui Carlos got down the left flank and was well intercepted by Redbridge full-back Chikosi Basden. Visiting skipper Joel Appiah was denied a chance at goal on the quarter-hour by Alamiji Ayoola who stuck to his task well. Redbridge went up the other end and countered through pacy forward Abishakur Farah who weaved his way past two defenders before centre-back Christopher Ndoji got in and cleared. Newham burst forward in the next phase as a fine deep cross from the right channel found forward Richard Kone but his header was off-target.

Sykes converts the spot-kick [Image: Scott Lanza]

One of the many telling moments in this match arrived on twenty-one minutes as referee Alex Kyriacou adjudged a handball in the Newham box, and pointed to the penalty spot. Josh Sykes stepped up and his low strike into the left-side corner opened the scoring, somewhat against the run of play at that stage. As we approached the half-hour, Newham were posing a question or two again to the home defence as Alvaro Guerrero’s free-kick was sent in to the near post and home custodian George Martin passed that test of alertness there. The Motormen missed a good chance just moments later as a fine centre from the left side by full-back Jack Blackledge found Sykes but his powerful header was narrowly wide of the near post. Chris Davis’ side deserved that let-off really given the chances they had created and they weathered this passage of play as a good challenge in the 8-yard area by full-back Louis Hiobi ended Farah’s progress of setting up another attack. From the resulting corner, Ayoola lost his marker but couldn’t guide his header to threaten Wilkinson Boateng’s goal.

As the interval was fast approaching, Rui Carlos made a good run into the danger area and managed to get his strike away which did draw a save out of Martin. Newham were looking the stronger side in terms of building attacking moves but also needed to find a bit more rhythm and composure. Redbridge would definitely have been aware of how slender their lead was at the break.

Half-Time:  Redbridge  1 – 0  Athletic Newham

Image: Scott Lanza

In the early minutes of the second half, Athletic Newham needed to stay alert defensively as a decent move involving winger Gayene Sanderson found Farah again but his tame strike didn’t unduly trouble Boateng in the Newham goal. It was the hosts’ turn to have a let-off on 49 minutes as Appiah’s low strike was also gathered by Martin. The visitors were definitely building their attacking rhythm at this point and soon levelled on fifty-six minutes. Kone’s initial effort was partly blocked by Martin but a combination of being unable to gather and his defenders unable to clear left Jeff Idemudia enough time to strike home, much to the delight of the visiting side.

Newham should really have struck again in the next seven minutes. First, Kone somehow couldn’t finish from a narrow angle as the ball agonizingly trickled across an unguarded goal-line, before full-back Carlos Indjai was denied a goal after being adjudged to have strayed into an off-side position. But, the game stayed level and the hosts needed to retain possession better to prevent the waves of energetic attacking moves by the visitors. This energy was displayed well on sixty-nine minutes as a fine fifty-yard run by centre-back Ndoji ended with him finding Idemudia but this time the latter fired narrowly wide.

The Motormen looked to finish the half strongly but despite good running shown by skipper Jack Roult, their main chance came with a minute of normal time remaining as a powerful header by centre-back Harry Gibbs cannoned off the far post and away from danger.

Full-Time (after 90 minutes): Redbridge  1 – 1  Athletic Newham

So the hosts had denied the more enterprising visitors after normal time and we went straight into the shoot-out. It was Redbridge who went first and they scored their first two spot-kicks, thanks to Jack Brocklebank and Tony Martin. Newham scored their first kick through Louis Hiobi but saw Alvaro Guerrero’s strike saved by Martin. The hosts’ narrow lead looked even more precarious as Harry Gibbs blazed his spot-kick over the woodwork.

Richard Kone successfully blasted high into the net to make it two-two but more drama soon followed. James Barlow’s penalty was adjudged to have crossed the line after coming back off the upright, before Blessing Adomah’s penalty was well-saved by Martin. Newham goalkeeper was then equal to Adbishakur Farah’s penalty, punching it away, before Christopher Ndoji’s low strike made it 3 – 3. Ayub Kadiri for the hosts and Jay Jimali for Newham made no mistake and netted their respective kicks so at 4 – 4, it was down to ‘sudden death’. Skipper Jack Roult blasted his penalty high into net past Boateng and then the experienced Tony Cookey stepped up, but it wasn’t his day as Martin pulled off another good save to his left and parried Cookey’s spot-kick to seal the narrowest of victories for the home side.

Result:  Redbridge  1 – 1  Athletic Newham (Redbridge won 5 – 4 on penalty kicks)

This match is difficult to summarize, but I think even the hosts will feel like on another day they could have been beaten here. Newham were unfortunate to not seal the tie in normal time, as their second-half performance was probably enough to win the match. That and they had several good chances as they had the better of the second period. However, you have to also credit Motormen custodian George Martin for making three penalty saves in the shoot-out and that was the difference at the end of the day.

There were a number of good performances from the visitors today, who showed enough to display why they have a very good record of scoring goals and would be a threat to any side in Step 5 or 6, whichever league they are in next season, but that’s all up to the FA now. Forward Richard Kone had another fine game, showing his pace, passing and movement and was unfortunate not to get his name on the score-sheet here. Wing-back Jeff Idemudia gave it his all and added to the forward line when he took that position later in the match, with centre-back Christopher Ndoji making several key interceptions in the Newham defence. Skipper Joel Appiah again had a good game as well, building the attacking moves that gave the home backline a hard afternoon.

For Redbridge, as mentioned earlier George Martin deserves a lot of credit for his saves in the shoot-out, though forward Abdishakur Farah also had a good afternoon I felt and his pace and trickery was a good outlet for George Christou’s side. Centre-back Harry Gibbs and right-back Chikosi Basden also deserve mentions for showing good energy levels and awareness in both boxes.

Redbridge go through then to the last four, where they will face Clapton, likely to be next weekend but its TBC at present. My best wishes to both sides going into next season as well.

Also, my thanks to Essex Senior Media official Scott Lanza for some of the pictures (all credited) from the match today.

Teams

Redbridge    |  Manager: George Christou

13 George Martin (GK), 2 Chikosi Basden, 3 Jack Blackledge (16 James Barlow 60’), 4 Jack Chawner (14 Sonny Fish 80’), 5 Alamiji Ayoola, 6 Harry Gibbs, 7 Jack Roult (Capt), 8 Sam Dickens (12 Jack Brocklebank 73’), 19 Josh Sykes (9 Tony Martin 60’), 10 Abdishakur Farah, 11 Gayene Sanderson (15 Ayub Kadiri 80’)

Goal-scorer: Josh Sykes [pen 21’]

Booked: Sykes     | Sub Not Used: Bennett, Harris, D Hall

Athletic Newham    | Manager: Chris Davis

1 Wilkinson Boateng (GK), 2 Carlos Indjai (12 Jay Jimali 80’), 3 Louis Hiobi, 4 Christopher Ndoji, 7 Jeff Idemudia (9 Tony Cookey 88’), 8 Alvaro Guerrero, 14 Akin Akinola (6 Blessing Adomah 90’ +4), 18 Mauricio Rui Carlos (20 Nnamdi Harold-Egole 53’), 15 Anderson Baro, 10 Joel Appiah (Capt), 17 Richard Kone

Goal-scorers: Jeff Idemudia [56’]

Booked: Kone, Hiobi, Jimali  | Subs Not Used: Mpalampa, Bamidele, Purdon

Referee: Alex Kyriacou

Assistant Referees: Martin Quinn & Nick Reece

Guest Blog: Essex Alliance League Cup Round-up (Wk 5 – Sat 8 May) [EAL 20-21 12.5.21]

Hello and welcome to a guest blog, going through the action in the Essex Alliance League Cup groups on Saturday 8th May, My thanks to Rob Parker from the EAL. This round-up is posted with the author’s permission, with additional reporting by Scott W. Thanks for reading.

Guest Blog written by Rob Parker for EAL  [EAL Twitter: @EssexAllianceFL]

Essex Alliance League – Saturday 8 May

GROUP A

FC Petrocub have moved to within a point of securing the Group A title as they came out on the right side of a five-goal thriller at home against Lymore Gardens at the weekend. Karel Francis and Dylan Roberts both netted for Lymore but a brace from Valentin Siciov in reply plus a Ghenadie Moisei effort for the hosts gave them a crucial 3 – 2 win.

DTFC remain the only other side in contention and they warmed up for their showdown next Saturday with a home victory against Rapid Chingford, less than twenty four hours after their previous fixture (in the Essex Senior Len Cordell Cup Last 16). Jermaine Francis scored twice with Alex Paraskeva netting the other to help them to a 4 – 1 victory.

GROUP B

It remains very tight in Group B with two rounds of games left to go with Kit Out London sitting in pole position with a key game coming up this weekend. Darnell Kithambo scored twice for KOL with Sami Bessadi and Lewis Jacobs also on the scoresheet as they saw off Chadwell Heath Spartans, 4 – 2. Jordan Malick and Niru Hunwicks both grabbed consolation goals for the Spartans.

Woodford East will hope for results to go their way but ensured they remain in the mix following a big 9 – 2 win on Saturday against CSM London. Robleh Xasan and Plamedi Kinkela both netted for CSM but East braces from Jay Stavri and William Letchford, plus single goals from Kai Law, Matthew Stacey, Callum Maltese, Frank Glock and Jake Tibbitts were more than enough.

GROUP C

The Group C battle came to a conclusion over the weekend as we congratulate Frenford A on taking the title, securing the win they needed against London Park City to move into a winning position. Damilola Olaiya, Gouly Djikalou and Isima Iguisi netted the goals that confirmed the silverware, the Ilford side beating their local rivals 3- 0 on the day.

Kwanzas London Sport have moved into second place in a group dominated by draws and they added to their account in this respect, earning a 3 – 3 draw at home against Belfry. The in-form Antonio Semedo scored a hat-trick for Kwanzas with two Patrick Macdonald goals and a Sam Paterson effort ensuring a share of the spoils.

GROUP D

The Group D action came to an exhilarating conclusion on Saturday with the two group favourites both stalling in their efforts, allowing Cowley Community to sweep to a 3 – 2 victory at Dagenham United. Chris Wright scored twice once again with Mark Farinha netting the other to see their side put last season’s county cup knockback to the back of their minds by picking up this silverware.

That result was also made possible as Royal Forest earned a hard-fought point against Unitey to end the visitor’s own quest for the title. Nathan Lupumba scored a brace and Eddy Litambolo also netted for Unitey but their efforts weren’t quite enough as the game ended at 3 – 3.

The group’s remaining game came from Waltham Abbey where Chingord Athletic A hosted Barkingside A with both sides looking to finish their campaigns with some momentum. Chingford will be the happier of the sides in this regards after they completed a 5-2 home win with Eric Kelly scoring a hat-trick and Sam Matthew notching too.

GROUP E

Fairlop Rovers celebrated securing the Group E title last week with a hard fought win at Glendale on Saturday, racing into an early first half lead. Wesley Kangi and Mouhamed Gueye goals in the second half for the Dales kept things interesting but Rovers did enough to hold on to win 3 – 2, thanks to goals from Dylan Bruns, Harry Oliver and Logan Simmonds and pop the champagne corks at full time.

Loughton Lions ensured their runners-up spot in the group as they edged a tight contest away at Old Esthameians in Newbury Park. Lions were 2 – 1 winners on the day to end what has been another good season on a high for the Hainault-based side.

GROUP F

The race for the title in Group F went right to the wire with Royal Forest Reserves ending as champions at the weekend with a victory away at Chingford Harriers. Tom Alexander and Thomas Meggs goals were the difference as they came through 2 – 0 winners in Walthamstow to secure their first silverware as a team.

Custom House United will of course be disappointed having come through the group unbeaten but they will at least finish as runners-up, aided by a win by the odd goal in their clash away at Lymore Gardens Reserves. Lymore put up a good fight as Errol Dinnal-Treasure and Kye Austrie-Alexander both netted but the Dockers came through thanks to strikes by bobby Devlin, Jamie Wooster and Robbie Wooster to win 3-2.

Moving into a final third place finish, Emerson United Reserves ended their campaign on a high as they beat Eastern Avenue on the final day, 6 – 0. Joshua Gibbins was on fire in Loughton with a four-goal haul as Paul Brady and Harry Butler efforts completed a stunning victory for the Upminster-based side.

GROUP G

Together United’s title tilt will go down to the final fixture in the group after both of the top two sides won their clashes. Together were 4-2 victors away at Dagenham United Reserves over at Castle Green with Stanley Kweya grabbing a treble and Remel Green also notching and anything barring a very large defeat in the remaining fixture will assure them of title glory.

Collier Row A made sure of at least a second place finish with an away win at Brentwood United Reserves on Saturday. Row were on the right side of an eight-goal thriller, winning the tie 5 – 3 to move level on points with the leaders and hoping for a miraculous result in the final game. Collier had braces from Tommy Mottram and Connor Brown and one from Peter Adeleye to thank for their goals. Utd Ressies responded through a brace from Bradley Jackson and one from Joseph Cadman-Ithell but ultimately they fell to defeat in this one.

COUNTY CUP

It was London Junior Cup day for one of our clubs as North East Lions made the trip south of the river to take on Wimbledon Casuals with a place in the last sixteen at stake for the winner. In a tight game, it was a Casuals victory as they scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 result.