S 2020-21 Round-ups: Essex Senior League Round-up (Fri 25/Sat 26 Sept) [ESL 20-21 27.9.20]

Sawbo v Hashtag image (Image by Matt North)

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

Hello and welcome back to another of my of round-up’s looking at the Essex Senior League for the Season 2020-21, which will appear here on a semi-regular basis. This piece also includes the results from the Eastern Senior League South action this weekend. Thanks to Matt North (@MattNorth_) for the Image & Thanks to you for reading.

Essex Senior League


Friday 25 September

West Essex  2 – 3  Walthamstow  | Mayesbrook Park [3G]  | Att: 88

Walthamstow fought back to claim a good three points at Mayesbrook Park, in a match which simply exploded into life in the early-goings. West wasted no time in breaking the deadlock as Cameron Gray’s goal gave them the lead after just two minutes. ‘Stow fell further behind as Michael Mignot extended the hosts’ lead four minutes later. However, before the match had passed the quarter-hour mark, the match was levelled as first Callum Ibe [9’] and then Connor Scully strikes had Kwame Kwateng’s side’s lead disappear almost as soon as it had been created.

Jon Clements finished off a pulsating half to give Max Mitchell’s side the lead for the first time ten minutes from the interval and the Stags were unable to level things again so it was ‘Stow who took their second league win this campaign.

Woodford Town  0 – 2  Redbridge  | The Harlow Arena [3G] | Att: 56

The new era at Redbridge gathered momentum as they won 2 – 0 at Woodford Town. Goals from Craig Hall and Terry Amoufo did the business for George Christou’s new side and in doing so they got their first league win this term.

Saturday 26th September

Hadley  1 – 0  Takeley   | Brickfield Lane  | Att: 141

Hadley edged a contest with another strong side in Takeley, with Luke Alfano getting the only goal on 28 minutes as Anthony Clark’s team got their second win of the league season. The Bricks are trying to lay the foundations for another season of superb form at home, while Takeley are yet to win this season.

Hoddesdon Town  5 – 3  Enfield  | Lowfield  | Att: 121

Hoddesdon surged to an important 5 – 3 win over Enfield at Lowfield. The action didn’t take long to get started as the Lilywhites broke the stalemate thanks to Craig Tulley’s goal on ten minutes. The E’s, under the tutelage of interim player-boss Jamie Cureton, levelled the game ten minutes afterwards through Sammy Leonard-Mould’s goal. The sides couldn’t be separated at the interval as Liam Mulligan had given the hosts the advantage again with 35 minutes played. Cureton himself netted five minutes later to make it 2 – 2 at half-time.

However, Hoddesdon made the most of the strong second-half with three goals in thirteen minutes. Mulligan got his second of the match on 63 minutes, before Blue Gallagher [70’] and Aiden Critchley [75’] adding to the visitors’ pain to make it 5 – 2. Alex Warman struck in the last few minutes to lessen the damage but Enfield’s tough start to the campaign continued.

Ilford  1 – 1  Saffron Walden Town  | Cricklefield  | Att: 85

Ilford held Walden to a draw at Cricklefield. Dimitri Christou gave the Foxes the lead four minutes before the break, and held on until well into the second period but the Bloods managed to grab a point as centre-back Luke Wilson struck twelve minutes from time. Adam Peek’s side are showing promise with four points from their opening three matches, while Walden have five points from their first four matches.

Sawbridgeworth Town  2 – 4  Hashtag Utd  | Crofters  | Att: 106

Hashtag had to put their exploits in the Cup competitions to one side as they staged another fine comeback to overwhelm Sawbridgeworth at Crofters. Sawbo opened the scoring after just six minutes through Horace Ormsby’s strike though the Tags responded five minutes later through Joe Gregory. Tom Anderson put the visitors ahead on the half hour though the evident fighting spirit of Lee Mackman’s side in recent weeks showed itself again as Conor Clarke netted from the penalty spot just before the hour to make it 2 – 2.

But, Hashtag are known for finishing games strongly and that showed itself again here as Gregory got his brace with 17 minutes left to give Jay Devereux’s side the lead for the second time and then Harry Honesty sealed the match with five minutes remaining to give the visitors’ their fourth consecutive league win.

Sporting Bengal Utd  0 – 2  Cockfosters   | Mile End  | BCD

Cockfosters retained their 100% winning start to the league season with a decent win over Bengal at Mile End. Carl Mullings got both goals [2’ & 21’] in the first half and held on to that advantage to their fourth win this season. There was no comeback this time for Imrul Gazi’s side as they fell to their first loss in the league since the opening day.

St Margaretsbury  3 – 3  Clapton  | The Rec   | Att: 35

St Mags clawed themselves back into this contest to claim a point against visitors Clapton at the Rec. The Tons started superbly and were three goals ahead at the break, thanks to goals from Ridwan Hussein, an OG and one from Matthew Bentley right on the stroke of half-time. Ray Bartlett’s side responded with some vigour after the break though, as a brace from Kyle Roberts, first on 65 minutes and then from twelve yards with 78 minutes on the watch, got them back into the match. The Tons were unable to hold on as Jake Hayden-Eley struck eight minutes from time to complete a sterling comeback. Both sides have now drawn three of their opening four league matches so they will need wins soon.

Stansted  5 – 0  Southend Manor  | Hargrave Park  | Att: 63

The Airportmen continued their unbeaten league start as they won decisively against Manor at Hargrave Park. First-half goals from Greg Moore [4’] and Michael Salako seven minutes before the break had given Paul Pittuck & John Watters’ side the impetus at the interval. Billy Coyne made it three on the hour and Craig Waters’ side simply had no answer to get back into the contest. The ‘Blue Brazil’ turned on the style with late goals by Moore, who got his second of the afternoon with 85 minutes gone and Ryan Ramsay rounded out the scoring two minutes later.

Eastern Senior League South Results

Friday 25th September  –  May & Baker   1 – 1  Harwich & Parkeston  | Parkside [3G]

Saturday 26th September

Benfleet  1 – 1  Holland  | Park Lane

Burnham Ramblers  3 – 1  Brimsdown  | Leslie Field

Frenford  4 – 0  Coggeshall Utd  | The Drive [3G]

Little Oakley  1 – 3  Athletic Newham  | Memorial Stadium

Newbury Forest  2 – 1  Hackney Wick  | Oakside

White Ensign  2 – 1  Barkingside   | Burroughs Park 

Wormley Rovers  1 – 3  Wivenhoe Town  | Wormley Sports Club

S20-21 Match Report: Southend Manor 0 – 1 Cockfosters (Sat 19th Sept) [FAV 20-21 19.9.20]

The FA Vase – First Qualifying Round

Venue: Southchurch Park

Attendance: 46

2020-21 Season: Match 9

Saturday 19th September 2020 – 3pm KO

S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Cockfosters: Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red & White Socks

Cockfosters win a hard-fought contest at Southchurch to progress in the FA Vase

Southend Manor  0 – 1  Cockfosters

Report & Photos by Scott W ([Twitter: @ScottMHC14] with additional photos by Andy Wilkins (Twitter: @wilkins_media)

The Saturday game this week saw me return to Southchurch Park to see this all-Essex Senior FA Vase First Qualifying Round tie between Southend Manor and Cockfosters. Both sides were on a high after good wins in midweek league action. Manor fielded Klinton Makayabo between the sticks, with skipper Reece Latimer alongside Liam Jarrett in central defence. On the flanks were Jordan Russell and Ben Allen, with Ronnie Edwards and Luca Frankis leading the line. Among the replacements were midfielders Matthew Keiller, Gianni Frankis and Deividas Sertveitis. The ‘Fosters named a strong squad with Brad Robinson retaining the goalkeeper’s jersey, with wingers Rueben Campbell and Reece Mosanya supporting Carl Mullings and player-boss Ryan Wade in attack. On their bench was the likes of George Beattie, Harley Haag and Ned Clarke.

Both sides just before KO [Image: Scott W]



Onto the match itself then and given the wind-affected conditions, that only added to a cagey start to this Vase tie. To their credit, Manor started quite well with a free-kick from midfielder Darnel Bromfield just lobbing its way over the crossbar on six minutes. Home custodian Klinton Makayabo had to be alert twice in as many minutes as firstly on ten minutes, the French ‘keeper gathered Ryan Wade’s shot before a minute later being ever-watchful in tipping opposite number Brad Robinson’s wind-assisted free-kick over the goal frame. Manor responded moments later with a decent move involving Ben Allen and Ronnie Edwards before he passed on to winger Jordan Russell whose drive was saved by Robinson. Winger Allen showed he was up for the contest moments later by getting the better of powerful visiting centre-back Dan Odamo moments later.

Chances were at somewhat of a premium as the visitors were forced to alter their tactics, with Marcus Crowther having to revert to left-back after Prince Madu was forced off with a bad knock.  Both defences were on top for the majority of the half, with Dan Odamo and substitute Josh Fajobi clearing their lines well and Reece Latimer, Joe Elliott and Liam Jarrett doing the same at their end of the pitch for Manor. We finished the half with two half-chances. First on 39 minutes, Wade had another sight of goal quickly snuffed out as his shot was blocked at close range. Scarcely a minute later at the other end, Allen sent a well-hit curling drive narrowly over the right-side corner of goal.  

Half-Time: Southend Manor  0 – 0  Cockfosters

Thus far the game had stuttered in patches though the intrigue was still there. Cockfosters started the second half strongly, with a fine run and cross by attacking full-back Danny Haigh only just evading forward Carl Mulings’ head at the far post merely two minutes after the re-start. Tricky midfielder Kaidyn Michael also fizzed a strike off-target as assistant boss Nick Mountford was trying to get his side into the ascendancy. On the stroke of the hour mark, another good run down the Manor right by the impressive Russell ended with a wind-affected clearance by Fajobi which found its way to Manor forward Luca Frankis, with his lay-off finding strike partner Ronnie Edwards though he was unable to bypass the highly-rated glovesman Robinson.

Manor were having enough of the ball and although replacement Deividas Sertveitis had some joy down the left flank since coming on, making some good runs, Manor were unable to sorely test Robinson. As we entered the last ten minutes, the hosts were given a warning as Campbell fired another strike wide after getting past the home backline. Even so, Cockfosters were mightily relieved when they finally broke the deadlock with five minutes left. A corner from Mosanya found Fajobi and the back post and his powerful header found the net. Manor did try to force the game to spot-kicks with Robinson making a strong punched clearance in a congested 18-yard box but it would be heartbreak for Craig Waters’ side this day.

Full-Time: Southend Manor  0 – 1  Cockfosters

To summarise, it wasn’t the best of spectacles as games go, but the conditions had a part to play in that. Manor will be disappointed at the defeat, however I believe there have more positives to take from their performance today than not. If they can keep this squad together then they may be in for a better season than last term. Cockfosters will have easier matches where they are in the game a lot more than they were at times today but their back five are resolute and coped well with losing Prince Madu to injury fairly early on.

Stand-out performances for me, starting with the visitors were Danny Haigh at right-back who was a threat going forward as well. Rueben Campbell and Kaidyn Michael did well instigate moves and made good driving runs too. Finally, substitute Josh Fajobi played his part in their defensive line making good clearances well before popping up with the winner late on. For Manor, centre-back Reece Latimer had another fine afternoon, clearing crosses in effectively on a regular basis. Right-back Joe Elliott also put in a good shift, particularly in defence while Jordan Russell had a good game on the right flank, making testing runs and crosses. Also, forward Luca Frankis showed good movement and trickery to bring others into the forward moves. Credit has to go to Cockfosters for staying in the game as they did and they progress to the Second Quali Round, where they will play away at Park View in the next round.

‘Fosters ‘Keeper Robinson watches on (Image by Andy Wilkins)

Teams

Southend Manor   | Manager: Craig Waters  | Assistant: Garry Pond

1 Klinton Makayabo (GK), 2 Joe Elliott, 3 Billy Harrison (12 Matthew Keiller 75’), 5 Liam Jarrett, 6 Reece Latimer, 14 Jack Frost, 7 Jordan Russell, 8 Darnel Bromfield, 9 Ronnie Edwards (13 Gianni Frankis 70’), 10 Luca Frankis, 11 Ben Allen (15 Deividas Sertveitis 61’

Booked: Frost  | Subs Not Used: Price, Rogers

Cockfosters  | Player-Manager: Ryan Wade   | Assistant: Nick Mountford

1 Brad Robinson (GK), 2 Danny Haigh, 3 Prince Madu (17 Josh Fajobi 19’), 4 Matt Thomson (Capt), 5 Dan Odamo, 6 Marcus Crowther, 7 Rueben Campbell, 8 Kaidyn Michael, 9 Carl Mullings (14 Harley Haag 86’), 10 Ryan Wade (15 George Beattie 88’), 11 Reece Mosanya

Goal-scorers: Josh Fajobi [85’]

Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Clarke, Seymour, Murphy

S2020-21 Round-up’s: Essex Senior (Tues/Wed 15/16 Sept) [ESL 20/21 16.9.20]

ESL crest

Written by Scott W {Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to run-down of the mid-week action from the Essex Senior, which saw some thirty-seven goals scored in the following matches, which included some surprise results too. Thanks for reading.

Essex Senior Results – Tuesday 15th September             

Cockfosters  8 – 1  Clapton  | Moved to Chalk Lane

Moving directly onto the midweek action now and in the Essex Senior, Cockfosters thumped the Tons as they emerged with an 8 – 1 win. The hosts were 5-1 up at the break through a treble from player-boss Ryan Wade and one each for Marcus Crowther [15’] and Reece Mosanya six minutes after that goal. Daniel Emovon netted for Clapton but the momentum continued for Wade’s side as Kaidyn Michael made it six 20 minutes from time and Ned Clarke also netted a late brace in this huge win.

Hoddesdon Town  1 – 3  West Essex  | Lowfield

West Essex continued their strong league start with a 3 – 1 win at Hoddesdon. Michael MIgnot, skippering the Stags side here, put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time, before Callum Bloss’ free-kick made it two six minutes after the restart. Town pulled one back from 12 yards thanks to Jack Gibbs with about 20 minutes left but a unfortunate OG compounded the frustrations for Simon Riddle’s side late on as West got a fine win.

Redbridge  2 – 3  Sporting Bengal Utd  | Oakside

Sporting Bengal got a late, late victory over managerless Redbridge at Oakside. James Barlow and substitute Terry Amoafo’s goals put Redbridge in command but Joel Ramos’ first of the evening gave Imrul Gazi’s side hope. The Motormen utterly stalled in added time though as Ramos got through to add another double to complete his treble and also grab the three points for Bengal, their first win this term.

Saffron Walden Town  5 – 0  St Margaretsbury  | Catons Lane

No such drama at Catons Lane as Walden comprehensively defeated St Mags 5 – 0. Craig Calver opened his account after just two minutes and went on to grab a hat-trick with further goals on 17 and 49 minutes. The Bloods added further gloss to the score-sheet and secured their first win of the league season through goals from Alfie Hilton and Dimitri Hatzimouratis in the dying moments of the match.

Sawbridgeworth Town  3 – 2  Woodford Town  | Crofters

Sawbridgeworth pulled off another good result, winning 3 – 2 again Woodford at Crofters. Cabham Clarke put Sawbo ahead after just six minutes, but Woodford levelled ten minutes later through Jeremiah Luwero. Kieran Amos’ speculative shot put the hosts back in front moments later. Conor Clarke’s spot-kick made it three for Sawbo six minutes before the break. Marcus Painter reduced the deficit to one with a calm finish on 52 minutes but Town finished the match with nine men as Sawbo held on to claim the win.        

  Takeley  1 – 3  Hashtag Utd | Station Road

Hashtag secured their third straight league win after a hard-fought 3 – 1 triumph at Station Road. Tom Jelliman gave the hosts a good start with the opening goal just before the half-hour. The Tags responded strongly after the break though as Joshua Osude was brought down in the area and the resulting spot-kick was taken by George Smith and he made no mistake on 64 minutes to level it up at 1 – 1. Osude capped a terrific solo performance to add a brace [89’ & 90’+4] to seal another important three points for Jay Devereux’s team.

Walthamstow  2 – 3  Southend Manor  | Wadham Lodge  | Att: 109

Tuesday’s action left us with one more surprise as Manor emerged with a fine 3 – 2 victory over Walthamstow at Wadham Lodge. A see-saw encounter ended up with Darnell Bromfield getting the winner for Manor from the penalty spot midway through the second-half. Jon Clements and James Hammond got the goals for ‘Stow.

Wednesday – Enfield  0 – 1  Stansted   | Woodside

In the only Wednesday match this week, Stansted won 1 – 0 at Enfield, courtesy of a Ryan Ramsay goal on 23 minutes, being in the right place at the right time to slot home after a goalkeeping error. The Airportmen remain unbeaten in three league matches, while the E’s have yet to pick up a win.   

Season 2020-21 Round-ups: Essex Senior League (Fri 4/Sat 5 Sept) [ESL 20-21 6.9.20]

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

Hello and welcome back to the first of new season of round-up’s looking at the Essex Senior League divisions for the Season 2020-21. This piece also includes the results from the Eastern Senior League South action this weekend. Thanks as ever to the clubs and you, my readers for continuing to show interest in these pieces. Best wishes to all players, managers & officials at all Essex Senior League sides, I wish you all a good campaign.

Essex Senior

   

Friday 4th Sept

West Essex  1 – 1  Takeley   | Mayesbrook Park [3G] |

The weekend’s action kicked off with West Essex’s draw with Takeley, on a famed evening as they opened landlords Barking’s new artificial playing surface.  However, it was the visitors who took the lead through Reece Barrett before Symeon Taylor’s leveller after the interval. All in all, both sides could have won and Stags goalkeeper Jack Coker once again excelled between the posts to give Kwame Kwateng’s side a decent point against tough opposition, only 48 hours after their huge win in the FA Cup in midweek.  

Saturday 5th September

Cockfosters  3 – 1  Hoddesdon Town  | Chalk Lane  |

Into the Saturday action now and Cockfosters started their campaign on a high as they defeated Hoddesdon at Chalk Lane. Rueben Campbell opened the scoring on the quarter-hour for player-manager Ryan Wade’s team. Wade himself struck a free-kick to double the ‘Fosters lead with twenty-five minutes gone, though the Lilywhites did halve the deficit six minutes before the break thanks to Harrison Rookard’s effort. Nine minutes into the second half though, the hosts ended up securing the win thanks to a second goal in two games for new recruit Carl Mullings. It caps quite a week for Cockfosters and they back in action at Chalk Lane, taking on Enfield in midweek.

Enfield  0 – 0  St Margaretsbury   | Woodside  |

Enfield started off their League campaign with a creditable point after their FA Cup exit to Harlow in midweek. St Margs couldn’t breach the E’s defence either and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils at Woodside.

Hadley  4 – 0  Woodford Town   | Brickfield Lane  |

Hadley started their campaign off with another strong performance to defeat Woodford at Brickfield Lane. Two goals in three minutes from Luke Alfano [25’] and Solomon Ofori [27’] set the tone for a side hungry for goals. Ofori netted again thirteen minutes after the interval and a late defensive mishap opened the path for Jordan Edwards to grab a late fourth for Anthony Clark’s side.

I was at this match, my full report is here: survivor16b.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/season-2020-21-match-report-hadley-4-0-woodford-town-sat-5-sept/

Hashtag Utd  4 – 0  Ilford  | Len Salmon Stadium [3G]  |

Hashtag got their on-pitch season going in some style with a triumph over Ilford at the Len Salmon Stadium. George Smith’s spot-kick on 25 minutes put Jay Devereux’s side ahead before Toby Aromolaran made it two ten minutes after the break. Late goals from Lee Hursit and Ross Gleed added more gloss onto the score-sheet to get past an Ilford side who battled hard in the first half. Even so, the Tags showed their intent to get back into the upper echelons of the table and challenge for promotion once again.

Redbridge  2 – 2  Saffron Walden Town  | Oakside  |

Saffron Walden didn’t have it all their own way as they twice fought back to claim a draw with Redbridge at Oakside. After the hosts had missed a penalty before the break, James Barlow netted seven minutes after the interval. Former Redbridge star Lewis Francis levelled matters eight minutes later though in a fraught last ten minutes, Barlow struck again [82’] to put Micky Wetherall’s side on course for a surprise win. However, Walden had other ideas as George Pullen’s added-time equaliser ensured a share of the points for Jason Maher’s side.

Southend Manor  2 – 5  Sawbridgeworth Town  | Southchurch Park  |

Sawbridgeworth rode the crest of a wave following their FA Cup herocs in midweek to dismantle Manor at Southchurch Park. Luca Frankis netted twice for Craig Waters’ side but Sawbo overpowered them thanks to a hat-trick from Kieran Amos and goals for Cabham Clarke and Horace Ormsby. With ten goals conceded in two matches in League & Cup, Manor will need to regroup fairly quickly.  

Sporting Bengal Utd  1 – 3  Walthamstow  | Mile End  |

Walthamstow started their season with a hard-fought win at Sporting Bengal. After both sides drew ablank in the first half, ‘Stow’s new-look forward line did the damage as Charncey Dash opened his league account from twelve yards. Fellow new recruit Jon Clements struck to double Max Mitchell’s side’s advantage. Sam Jeremiah also netted to secure the points, though credit also goes to Bengal’s Joel Ramos who lashed home a free-kick to give Imrul Gazi’s side a consolation.

Stansted  2 – 2  Clapton  | Hargrave Park  | Att: 64

Finally this weekend, Clapton came from behind to snatch a draw at Stansted. Moses Carvalho’s firm header put the Airportmen ahead, a lead which stood at the break. But after the interval, substitute Shaun Gittleson got his second goal of the week to level the match. As the tension rose, that stalemate only lasted four minutes before Nick Reynolds put Paul Pittuck & John Watters’ side ahead again. The Tons were soon level again though through Ruben Kennedy’s spot-kick and from there, the sides couldn’t be separated.

Eastern Senior League South   

Sat 5th September  Results 

Brimsdown  3 – 2  Harwich & Parkeston  | Chadfields

Burnham Ramblers  0 – 1  Wormley Rovers   | Leslie Field

Coggeshall Utd   1 – 1  Newbury Forest   | West Street

Frenford  3 – 0  Holland   | The Drive [3G]

Hackney Wick  2 – 2  Benfleet   | Spa Road, Witham

Halstead Town  1 – 1  Athletic Newham   | Rosemary Lane

Little Oakley  2 – 1  Barkingside   | Memorial Stadium

White Ensign  3 – 0  Wivenhoe Town   | Burroughs Park

Season 2020-21 Match Report: Hadley 4 – 0 Woodford Town (Sat 5 Sept) [ESL 20-21 5.9.20]

Essex Senior League

Venue: Brickfield Lane

Attendance: 145

Season 2020-21: Match 6

Date: Saturday 5 September 2020 – 3pm KO

Hadley: Red Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks

Woodford: Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks

Hadley start the Essex Senior with resounding win over Woodford

Hadley 4 – 0 Woodford Town

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

After a nearly six-month break, it was great to kick off the new Essex Senior season with a trip to Brickfield Lane, as Hadley welcomed Woodford Town. Hadley have kept the nucleus of last season’s squad, which had a large amount of experience and quality. Manager Anthony Clark named a strong side featuring a front three of Solomon Ofori, Jordan Edwards and Shaz Anwar in a supporting role. Evergreen skipper Paul Wright remained at the heart of the defence, alongside stalwarts Sam Edwards  and Alfie Bartram in midfield and left-back respectively, with the likes of Cameron Ferguson, Emmanuel Hammond and Luke Jupp on the bench here.

Woodford seem to have undergone a squad overhaul but still had the known names of James Scammell between the sticks, and skipper Andrea Montovani and Samir Ali in midfield, with new number nine Rigert Rama leading the line here. Among their substitutes was last week’s FA Cup hero Luke Parrott, Frankie Litcheri and Richard Oluwatoyin.

The game began at a decent pace, with the Bricks clear in their goal to get into the ascendancy early. Hadley had a few early sighters on the target in the first fifteen minutes, with forward Solomon Ofori twice unable to get smart strikes on-target. Home centre-back Bradley Marriott also powerfully headed over the goal frame from a well-directed set-piece as we approached the quarter-hour. Woodford had one early half-chance though forward Rigert Rama was denied a clear strike at goal by the ever-stubborn home backline. Soon after that quarter-hour had passed, Town goalkeeper James Scammell did well to advance and deny Hadley midfielder Luke Alfano a clear-cut strike at goal.

As it turned out, Hadley were not to be denied the lead as on 25 minutes, a well-timed rapid run by Ofori down the right channel got the better of his marker before his centre found Alfano who made no mistake with the finish past Scammell. And before Woodford could re-focus, the hosts doubled their lead two minutes later as Solomon Ofori controlled a long ball forward well before sending a low strike past the over-worked Woodford stopper, into the net. Hadley were playing some really neat football at this point and a move involving attacking full-back Alfie Bartram and Ofori ended with forward Jordan Edwards heading over.

Woodford’s stand-out chance of the half came eight minutes before the interval, with good wing play by skipper Andrea Montovani down the right flank finding Rama though his superb drive was well-tipped over the crossbar by home custodian Luke Ward.  

Half-Time: Hadley  2 – 0  Woodford Town

The hosts had a decent lead at the break, but you still had the feel the match wasn’t over just yet. Two minutes into the second half, a rare blemish by home ‘keeper Ward saw his attempted clearance cannon back off substitute Richard Oluwatoyin and sail narrowly wide of the left-side post. To be fair to Woodford, their energy was there in tracking back defensively in the first part of the half and the sheer pace of the game started to drop a little. Just when you thought the game was fizzling out, Hadley extended their lead  just before the hour mark as again Solomon Ofori was well-picked out before lobbing Scammell well to make three-nil.

As we passed the midway point of the half, a fine lung-busting run by Woodford midfielder Oluwatoyin out of defence into the opposition half was well stopped by home midfielder Teddy Stacey. It was at this point of the match where Woodford had a bit more possession and with it, winger Dimitrios Eapsokostas was causing a problem or two down the left flank with his fleet-footed skill and pace. On 76 minutes, a rare Town corner found centre-back Empochantsif who made a well-judged leap but sent his header wide of goal.   

It wasn’t until the last few minutes that Hadley added further gloss to the score-sheet as a defensive mishap allowed forward Jordan Edwards in on goal and he struck home past Scammell confidently to end a fine performance by the hosts. It would be remiss of me not to mention the Towners fans, who as ever sang and kept singing despite the result not going their way today.

Full-Time: Hadley  4 – 0  Woodford Town

Being earnest, Woodford were just not able to conjure up the performance level they showed in their FA Cup exploits in midweek. But take nothing away from another impressive showing at home by Hadley, echoing the fine start they made in their opening game of last season, thirteen months ago now (Isn’t it good to Non-League Football back!)

On this showing, you’d be a brave soul to predict against the Bricks getting at least a top-four finish in the Essex Senior this term, alongside the likes of Walthamstow, Hashtag Utd and Saffron Walden Town. So in terms of stand-out performers, although Woodford had a ‘tough day at the office’, mentions deserve to go to midfield craftsman Andrea Montovani, centre forward Rigert Rama, centre-back Evangelos Empochantsif and energetic full-back Shaye La Rose.

For Hadley, forward Solomon Ofori will be happy to notch twice here after a fine season last term on the goals front. Fellow forwards Shaz Anwar and Jordan Edwards also deserve a mention for testing the visiting back-line, Edwards himself getting on the score-sheet late on. Lastly, a mention has to go to goalkeeper Luke Ward who made two very good saves on a fairly quiet afternoon for him. Finally, I’d like to wish both clubs the very best for the season ahead.

Teams

Hadley       | Manager: Anthony Clark  | Assistant: Junior Matti

1 Luke Ward (GK), 2 Billy Baird, 3 Alfie Bartram, 4 Paul Wright (Capt), 5 Bradley Marriott, 6 Teddy Stacey, 7 Solomon Ofori (14 Cameron Ferguson 62’), 8 Luke Alfano (17 Edward Davis 80’), 9 Jordan Edwards, 10 Shaz Anwar, 11 Sam Edwards

Goal-scorers: Luke Alfano [25’], Solomon Ofori [27 & 58’], Jordan Edwards [88’]

Subs Not Used: Buraimoh, E Hammond

Woodford Town    | Manager: Dee Safer  | Assistant: Wayne St Louis

1 James Scammell (GK), 2 Harry Barrett, 3 Shaye La Rose, 4 David Ola (15 Zain Morfea 66’), 5 Evangelos Empochantsif, 6 Jack Newbury-Neale (16 Richard Oluwatoyin 46’), 7 Samir Ali, 8 Harry Markatis (18 Frankie Licheri 54’), 9 Rigert Rama, 13 Andrea Montovani (Capt), 11 Dimitrios Eapsokostas

Subs Not Used: Parrott, C St Louis

Referee: Zack Moules

Assistant Referees: Stephen Bainbridge & Peter Jago