Hello and welcome to a bonus blog on the full Essex Senior programme that took place on Saturday 22nd January, as big results affected both ends of the table. The lead image above is from St Margaretsbury v Little Oakley yesterday, the match I attended. Thanks for reading this round-up.
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League Writer
Essex Senior League Round-up- Sat 22 January
We begin with the showdown at the top of the table, as Walthamstow got a added-time winner in a 2 – 1 success against Enfield at Wadham Lodge. Tim Ogunrinde put his new club ahead just past the half hour, though David Cowley levelled from twelve yards three minutes after the interval. Callum Ibe sent the majority of the three hundred fans attending wild with a late winner to fortify ‘Stow’s position at the summit as they kept their ten-point lead over Stansted. The Airportmen now have a five-point cushion in second after a 3 – 1 home win against Cockfosters. Brad Russell gave Paul Pittuck & John Watters’ side an early lead, but a crucially timed leveller from ‘Fosters stalwart George Beattie came two minutes before the break. However, second half goals from Michael Salako [66’] & Connor Hammond [84’] made sure that the ‘Blue Brazil’ made the most of other sides faltering around them.
One of those sides who debatably dropped points were Stanway Rovers, who were held to a goalless draw with West Essex at Hawthorns. The Stags are now only four points adrift of the top ten. Redbridge got a narrow 2 – 1 triumph over Takeley at Oakside with two goals in three minutes from Michael Pindy and Robbie Norris enough to give them the points. Charlie Allum got the solitary reply for Marc Das’ side but they fell to twelfth spot. The Motormen remain in fourth but are now seven points clear of Athletic Newham after Newham lost the ‘Terry Mac’ derby 0 – 2 to Clapton, who are now five points clear of the bottom three.
Elsewhere, Saffron Walden Town were denied a morale-boosting win as they drew 3 – 3 with White Ensign at Catons Lane. Scott Piggott struck twice for Jason Maher’s team, with Gavin Cockman adding their other goal. However, the crowd of around 250 got their share of goals here as Luke Woodward’s fine treble ensured Carl Conway & Jack Maleary’s side got a point, which lifts them up to eighth and stay only a point off Walden in sixth. Hoddesdon Town got a vital win in their battle of the bottom seven sides, as they edged to a 4 – 3 success over bottom side Sporting Bengal Utd at Lowfield. Harrison Cage struck twice for the hosts, with Jack Lee and Josh Stevens goals also proving decisive. Bengal gave it everything and had strikes by Yaha Djau , Quincy Roberts and Gianfranco Mici to thank staying in the match but ultimately they fell to another loss and their need to win matches gets that bit higher.
Two more matches this weekend and Woodford Town got a narrow 1 – 0 win at Southend Manor, with ex-Redbridge winger Ayub Kadiri getting the only goal there for Shane Baptiste’s side, who remain 14th. Also, FC Clacton set aside a bad loss in midweek as they won 4 – 0 at Sawbridgeworth Town. Kyle Ferguson and Mekhi McKenzie gave the Seasiders a comfortable lead at the interval, with late strikes by Harry McDonald and substitute Jordan Lartey adding further pain to the Sawbo side. This result meant that Clacton stay in the top ten, a point clear of fellow North East Essex side Oakley.
Dominant performance sees ‘Fosters off to a super start at Chalk Lane
Cockfosters 6 – 1 Woodford Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Additional Photo by Peter D [@Twitter: @ped1980]
The second match of the opening weekend saw me return to the characterful Chalk Lane to see a side in Cockfosters that I felt may surprise a few in the top part of the Essex Senior table. Player-Manager Ryan Wade’s side faced Woodford Town, who are still managed by joint-managers Dee Safer & Julian Charles and will shortly move into their much-talked about new ground at Ashton’s. The incessant rain we’ve had in the South East of England this week continued before kick-off but it didn’t affect the quality of the game.
The hosts line-up included a number of players who impressed last season. New goalkeeper, former Enfield Town stopper Matt Nolan started behind a defence of skipper Luke Marshall at right-back, with Danny Haigh and Michael Okafor at centre-back with Prince Madu at left-back. The forward line was led by Billy Healey and new signing Charncey Dash, with chief support coming from the flanks from Reece Mosanya and George Beattie. A youthful bench included the likes of Taylor Wild, Billy Blackwell and forward Jack Hockney. Woodford also named a new stopper in Lee Haylock, with Abdus Salami and Bailey Brown as centre-backs. Skipper Jaydon Charles looked to build attacks from midfield, with Ramiah Mills and Luke May May-Parrott supporting forwards Rasheed Salau and George Thompson, Their bench included rapid forward Richard Asamoah and midfielder Tyriq Alexander.
Right from the opening minutes, Cockfosters started with clear desire to gain the adavantage. The first of several fine passing moves involved winger Reece Mosanya, midfielder Kaidyn Michael and left-back Prince Madu led to a decent strike by forward Billy Healey which visiting custodian Lee Haylock did well to deny. With eight minutes on the watch, a good threaded pass by Madu down the left to winger George Beattie who then found Mosanya well before the latter’s fierce strike which powered off the crossbar. Nervy moment for the Town defence averted. Unfortunately for Woodford, they would concede just after the quarter-hour. Moments after Haylock pulled off another good save from Kaidyn Michael’s initial effort, the hosts kept possession and Healey’s looping centre found strike partner Charncey Dash who easily headed the ball in from mere yards out. Haylock was in action again a couple of minutes later as Mosanya broke past the Woodford defence again though the Town stopper again denied Mosanya’s decent strike.
Mosanya continued his fine performance as midway through the half, another surging run down the right side ended with a well-placed centre, to which Beattie latched on to at the far post and stroked home past the unfortunate Haylock to double the hosts’ advantage. Woodford had a decent five-minute spell with the half-hour approaching, as forward George Thompson’s effort was well-blocked by ‘Fosters centre-back Michael Okafor and then, a good mazy run by winger Luke May-Parrott on the edge of the penalty area ended with his strike tipped wide by home goalkeeper Matt Nolan.
Unsurprisingly, this stirred the hosts into a reaction and they extend their lead on the half-hour. Another fine long pass by Michael found advancing right-back Luke Marshall who in turn found Beattie who sent home another good low finish to give his side a three-goal lead. Four minutes afterward, tall forward Dash evaded his marker in Town defender Bailey Brown before bringing another good save out of Town stopper Haylock, who simply kept his side in the match in the first half with a number of good saves. Cockfosters did notch a fourth goal though on 37 minutes as Mosanya finally got a deserved goal with a fine finish into the left-sided corner.
Half-Time: Cockfosters 4 – 1 Woodford Town
After an impressive first-half, you may have thought the hosts would move into a slightly more defensive mode after the interval. This wasn’t the case although Woodford did have more of the ball in the early stages as winger Ramiah Mills nearly forced an error by Nolan. The hosts responded and after a good move involving Mosanya and Dash led to another strike on goal by Healey but it fizzed over the goal frame. Ryan Wade & Tony Faulkner’s side did add to their goal tally on fifty-eight minutes as George Beattie was well played in again and again, fired home a crisp strike into the left corner to complete a super treble, much to the delight of his team-mates (pictured) & fans.
Only a minute later, it was six for the home side as a fine finish from Billy Healey found the net. The tiring Woodford defence were unable to stop the rapid wave of Cockfosters forward attacks, and on 71 minutes two substitutes combined as as forward Jack Hockney found Billy Blackwell but the over-worked Haylock did well to deny another well-hit strike. The hosts would’ve been a little frustrated as Town did get on the score-sheet three minutes later through a well-taken finish by Rasheed Salau into the right corner of the net.
The hosts were still keen to add to their goal-scoring haul though Hockney was unable to beat Haylock on two occasions, the second occasion Hockney was well found by Michael who had beaten two defenders for pace. All in all though, the hosts will be very happy with the result & performance and it was really good to see it first-hand. Woodford will need to be stronger defensively and start matches better but you had to feel for the players and the management team on what was a tough afternoon for them.
Full-Time: Cockfosters 6 – 1 Woodford Town
To summarise the match, the hosts really did make a statement of intent from early on in this match. They were very impressive and although one-sided matches aren’t always great to see, the ‘Fosters could have scored ten here. Woodford were simply unable to stem the flow of attacks the hosts mustered in the first half, though they did have more joy after the break. For Cockfosters, George Beattie had an excent match and was hungry for goals and it showed with three good goals, as well as his movement and pace. Winger Reece Mosanya was hugely influential as well and was too strong for the opposite with his passing, energy and speed. Billy Healey led the line well alongside new recruit Charncey Dash, they both deserved to get on the score-sheet as they did. Dynamic midfielder Kaidyn Michael’s passing, speed and energy also made a telling contribution to a day they won’t soon forget.
Woodford were very grateful to goalkeeper Lee Haylock who made no less than six good saves and he can be very pleased with his performance today. Winger Luke May-Parrott was also a good outlet down the flank showing good dribbling and movement to ensure the home defence kept their focus. Right-back Jack Murray-Sharpe showed decent composure as well in looking to build attacks and substitute Richard Asamoah also did well to stretch the tiring defence late on in the match. Finally, I’d like to say thanks to the hosts for their assistance and best wishes to both teams for the rest of the campaign.
Cockfosters | Player-Manager: Ryan Wade | Assistant: Tony Faulkner
Starting XI: 1 Matt Nolan (GK), 2 Luke Marshall (Capt) (15 Matt Thomson 79′), 3 Prince Madu, 4 Zivonimir Lopes, 5 Danny Haigh, 6 Michael Okafor, 7 Reece Mosanya, 8 Kaidyn Michael, 9 Billy Healey (16 Jack Hockney 61′), 10 Charncey Dash (14 Billy Blackwell 71′), 11 George Beattie
Goal-scorers: Charncey Dash [16′], George Beattie [21′, 30′ & 58′], Billy Healey [59′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Wild, Wade
Woodford Town | Joint-Managers: Dee Safer & Julian Charles
Starting XI: 1 Lee Haylock (GK), 2 Jack Murray-Sharpe, 3 Jonathan Makaku, 4 Jaydon Charles (Capt), 5 Abdus Salami, 6 Bailey Brown, 7 Ramiah Mills (15 Luke McElroy 69′), 8 Joshua Gravesande, 9 George Thompson (12 Tyriq Alexander 50′), 10 Rasheed Salau, 11 Luke May-Parrott (14 Richard Asamoah 56′)
Goal-scorers: Rasheed Salau [74′]
Booked: Salau & 1 more (unknown) | Subs Not Used: Lewis, Bayo
Referee: James Keane Assistants: Daniel Smith & Joshua Evans
Hoddesdon: White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Youthful Hoddesdon out-work Woodford to claim Cordell Trophy Plate
Woodford Town 0 – 3 Hoddesdon Town
Match Report by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
Additional Photo by Jack Hayman, Non-League Chronicles team (@NLChronicles)
The 2020-21 Season ended (for me at least) on the late May Bank Holiday weekend with a return to the Cup Finals Day experience with two matches at Redbridge FC’s Oakside. This first match was the Len Cordell Cup – Plate Final between Woodford Town and Hoddesdon Town. Woodford are still a youthful set-up, marshalled by joint-bosses Dee Safer and Julian Charles and were skippered by centre-back David Agboola, with Harvey Simson between the sticks and a front three of Ramiah Mills, Rasheed Salau and Jaydon Charles. A slightly depleted bench featured Eren Muti and Ramzi Mahmoudi among the options there. Hoddesdon were also missing ten players though injury or unavailability so Simon Riddle’s side also had a youthful complexion but they could still field Connor Bolton as left-back, veteran centre-back Kardan Campbell as skipper and the talented front line of Harrison Rookard, Cyrus Babaie and Harry Andic in attack. Among their options from the bench were Alfie Little, Mark Stevenson and Shaun Barwaah.
The first thing to notice really as the match got underway was the buzz of the returning crowds for this Finals day. More than seventy people were spread out through the sides near the pitch and as you’d expect, the Woodford Towners were there in good numbers providing their usual mix of atmosphere and songs, good on them. Hoddesdon definitely settled the quicker of the two sides on-the-pitch, with the opening ten minutes seeing a firm strike by Cyrus Babaie which he skewed off-target with only Woodford custodian Harvey Simson to defeat. Full-back Connor Bolton then did force Simson into a decent save moments later, as the goalkeeper parried a fierce strike wide for a set-piece. Woodford didn’t need those warnings though as soon after they fell behind. On the quarter-hour, Babaie broke away from the Woodford defence again but this he fired home a cool finish with Simson to bypass and put Simon Riddle’s side in front.
The Lilywhites so nearly doubled their advantage barely a minute later as Babaie was again the architect, involved in a good passing move with midfielder James Mays and fellow forward Harrison Rookard which allowed the later to strike at goal, forcing Simson into an acrobatic save. Hoddy kept up the pressure at this stage of the match, as Woodford were unable to retain possession for any length of time, but skipper David Agboola did make a number of well-timed interceptions in the first half. Another cross from the left by Bolton needed the intervention of the central defender on twenty minutes. You sensed at this point that Woodford were in danger of falling further behind and but for Simson, they may have been as he pulled off another good save to deny as Mays were again one-on-one with the Town stopper.
Hoddesdon did get the second goal their play merited just shy of the half-hour as Cyrus Babaie turned provider by making a good run down the right flank, before his centre found Rookard who helped himself to a close-range goal. Woodford did emerge from their half towards the latter stages of the first period but found Hoddy stopper Alex Reed in decent form as a lofted goal-bound effort from substitute Reece DaCosta was well-tracked and gathered by Reed. So at the break it was an important team-talk for the Woodford side, whereas Hoddesdon had to be mindful of concentration lapses in defence.
Half-Time: Woodford Town 0 – 2 Hoddesdon Town
If the travelling Hoddesdon contingent were concerned about ‘sitting back’ after the break to protect their lead, they needn’t have done so as two minutes after the resumption, a well-hit overhead kick by Rookard tested Simson before the latter made a good save to clear his lines. In fairness though, Woodford did have more of the play in the second half though they found the Hoddesdon defence eager and enjoying the contest, particularly well-travelled centre-back Kardan Campbell who made a number of good interceptions throughout and was in no mood at all to give the opposition forwards any glimmer of hope of getting back into the match.
If there was one over-riding critique of Woodford up to this point, it was that they really didn’t test Lilywhites stopper Alex Reed enough, despite their customary decent approach play. On fifty-six minutes though, Town forward Jaydon Charles nearly found his radar as a well-struck effort was only narrowly wide of the far-left corner. Not surprisingly, this seemed to lift the ‘hosts’ as midway through the half, a rare blemish in work-rate by the well-drilled Hoddesdon defence allowed forward Ramiah Mills to make a good run and his pass found the advancing Shaye La-Rose, pushed forward from full-back but Reed again was well-placed to deny him with a good save.
During the latter stages, the chances fell away somewhat as Hoddesdon maintained their miserly defending despite the growing heat in the nice blue skies surrounding the ground, but in added-time, Cyrus Babaie grabbed his second of the contest with another cool finish past the unfortunate Simson to add further gloss to the score-sheet and secure the Plate for his side, which on balance was entirely deserved.
Full-Time: Woodford Town 0 – 3 Hoddesdon Town
So in summary, Woodford were not at their best here but it is worth adding that Hoddesdon did not allow their opposition to really settle into the game, through determined defending, good organisation and a high work-rate.
In-terms of stand-out performances, for the victors Hoddesdon, they were indebted to another excellent match for two-goal star Cyrus Babaie who really gave the Woodford defence a hard afternoon. Strike partner Harrison Rookard also had a good game for the Lilywhites, giving a whole-hearted performance with pace and running plus he took his goal well. Skipper Kardan Campbell marshalled the defence well and was a key figure in his side’s efforts, assisting the youngsters in the team. Connor Bolton also showed his experience well and could’ve got on the score-sheet as well.
For Woodford, it goes without saying that goalkeeper Harvey Simson had an impressive afternoon, making at least five important saves to keep his team in it. Skipper David Agboola also had a good game and Shaye La-Rose also made good runs on the left side to assist his side’s forward line.
All that’s left to say is I wish both sides well for next season. Both have talent but as the cliché says, it is about getting results and Hoddesdon got that result here.
Woodford Town | Joint-Managers: Dee Safer & Julian Charles
1 Harvey Simson (GK), 2 Cameron Lyttle (16 Reece DaCosta 33’), 3 Shaye La-Rose, 4 David Agboola (Capt) (12 Eren Muti 74’), 5 Abdus Salam-Salami, 6 Evangelos Empochontsif, 7 Tyriq Alexander (15 Jack Murry-Sharpe 81’), 8 Joshua Ron Gravesande, 9 Ramiah Mills, 10 Rasheed Salau, 11 Jaydon Charles (14 Ramzi Mahmoudi 83’)
Booked: None | Sub Not Used: McAvoy (GK)
Hoddesdon Town | Manager: Simon Riddle | Assistant: Jeff Cross
1 Alex Reed (GK), 2 Ben Fox, 3 Connor Bolton, 4 Archie Lockie, 5 Kardan Campbell (Capt), 6 Sam Cross (14 Alfie Little 71’), 7 Ollie Finch, 8 James Mays (12 Mark Stevenson 25’, himself replaced by 15 Shaun Barwaah 81’), 9 Harrison Rookard (17 Liam Nugent 81’), 10 Harry Andic, 11 Cyrus Babaie
Goal-scorers: Cyrus Babaie [15’ & 90’ +1], Harrison Rookard [29’]
S Manor: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Woodford : Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Manor grab crucial win late on with an Allen stunner
Southend Manor 2 – 1 Woodford Town
MatchReport & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The second match of the Essex Senior season saw me return to Southchurch Park to see Woodford Town’s visit to Southend Manor. Dee Safer’s side were beaten at Hadley on the opening day and their line-up here had the forthcoming FA Cup Prelim Round tie at Waltham Abbey in mind as there was only four survivors from that Hadley game in the starting line-up, James Scammell retained his place in goal, Conor Boon came in to skipper the side at centre-back, with Marcus Painter on the right flank. Zain Moreea was the support to centre forward Rigert Rama. The likes of Andrea Montovani and Jerry Luwero were options from the bench.
Manor also had a tough day as they lost at home to Sawbridgeworth and they named French goalkeeper Klinton Makayabo, with a back four of Joe Elliott, Billy Harrison, Jack Frost and skipper Reece Latimer. The front two were Ronnie Edwards and ex-Hullbridge forward Luca Frankis with Billy Rungay, Darnel Bromfield and Ben Allen on the substitute’s bench.
Onto the match itself, and Woodford were marginally the stronger side, with forwards Rigert Rama and Zain Moreea both having early looks at goal, the latter of which kept home stopper Klinton Makayabo alert. As we entered the midway point of the half, Manor gradually wrestled more of the ball and tentatively went forward, with winger Gianni Frankis sending in a fine centre from the hosts’ right flank to which left-sided winger Deividas Sertivietis’s shot at goal but was blocked by stern Town defender Rob Banfield. Fellow forward Ronnie Edwards also sent a looping header narrowly wide for Manor moments afterward.
Woodford responded as their characteristic pacey breaks down the flanks were aided by crisp long passes forward. Zain Moreea broke past the home backline and crossed in but it took a deflection which allowed Makayabo to gather. This ended up being a warning which Manor did not heed as on the half-hour, Moreea again sped past the Manor midfield and his right-sided run ended with a fine cross which Rama took a touch and fired home from close range. Manor did finish the half quite well as with six minutes left until the break, Gianni Frankis’ header when well-placed was collected by Woodford custodian James Scammell.
Then, three minutes before the interval, Manor did level the match as midfielder Matthew Keiller’s smart, looping header was well guided past Scammell and into the far corner, much to the delight of his team-mates.
Half-Time: Southend Manor 1 – 1 Woodford Town
Into the second half, Woodford once again started to build their passing game as they sought to regain the momentum and the lead, as ever noisily backed by the Towners’ faithful who once again sang throughout. Barely a minute after the half began, the impressive Moreea again showed his pace and trickery down the right channel, but his strike didn’t seriously trouble Makayabo in the Manor goal.
From this point, the visiting defence steadily became more and more active as Craig Waters’ team searched for the advantage. Town centre-back Conor Boon did well in marshalling his defence to clear crosses into the 18-yard box. Manor forward Luca Frankis had a header from close range saved by Scammell and brother Gianni Frankis also struck wide of the left-side post either side of the hour mark.
As we entered the latter stages of the game, the tension rose as it appeared both sides just wouldn’t be able to create the moment of magic to win the game. Home skipper Reece Latimer did drive his side forward and with five minutes left, they got their reward. Substitute Ben Allen had found his way into the right-sided channel outside the penalty area before lashing home and unstoppable strike which Scammell was powerless to stop going into the top-left corner. The hosts still had to hold on in the last few minutes as Rama sent a drive from about 15 yards but Makayabo was equal to it. After a few nervy minutes of added time, the final whistle blew and the Southend side got their first points of the season.
Full-Time: Southend Manor 2 – 1 Woodford Town
In my view, this was a tight match which both sides could have won. Manor maybe just edging it because of their second-half display here. But you also have to note how Woodford did well despite a number of changes in this game, which in turn highlights the philosophy of how they play, a big credit to manager Dee Safer and his coaching team. In terms of stand-out performers, Manor were indebted to right winger Gianni Frankis who showed himself to be a willing runner and had pace and crossing ability. Skipper Reece Latimer, midfielder Matthew Keiller and forward Ronnie Edwards also deserve a mention for being part of the spine of the side that showed urgency to get the win.
Woodford also had a number of players that stood out, with tricky forward Zain Moreea growing in confidence with his pace and crossing, forward Rigert Rama also was a quick threat throughout. Mentions also go to winger Marcus Painter who played his part in the Town attacking moves, along with centre-back Conor Boon and full-back David Ola who also sent in a few telling long balls forward during the match. As ever, I wish both sides well for this long season.
1 Klinton Makayabo (GK), 2 Joe Elliott, 3 Billy Harrison, 4 Jack Frost, 5 Liam Jarrett (13 Billy Rungay 69’), 6 Reece Latimer (Capt), 7 Gianni Frankis (15 Ben Allen 74’), 9 Ronnie Edwards, 10 Luca Frankis (14 Darnel Bromfield 67’), 11 Deividas Sertvietis
Goal-scorers: Matthew Keiller [42’], Ben Allen [85’]
Booked: Bromfield | Subs Not Used: Rogers, Acquah (GK)
Woodford Town | Manager: Dee Safer | Assistant: Wayne St Louis
1 James Scammell (GK), 2 Joseph St-Luce Moynihan, 3 David Ola, 4 Aaron Matomisa (15 Dimi Kapsokostas 77’), 5 Conor Boon (Capt), 6 Rob Banfield, 7 Marcus Painter, 8 Harry Markatis, 9 Rigert Rama, 13 Zain Moreea (17 Alex Awobimpe 77’), 11 Cameron St Louis (14 Jerry Luwero 12’)
Goal-scorer: Rigert Rama [30’]
Booked: Rama, Luwero | Subs Not Used: Empochonstif, Montovani
Referee: Kirk Edwards
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Horne & Robert Collins
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.
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
Hello and welcome to the first of a two-part blog looking back at the Essex Senior League 2019-20 season, as part of my Non-League ‘Season Review’ series.
In this first part, I look back at the top ten sides in the division from the dry statistics perspective and my own thoughts on seeing them in action during the campaign, followed by the stats on ‘Clean Sheets’ this season. Thanks for reading.
Essex Senior League (as of season cut-off point of March 14th 2020)
As with most Football at or below Step 3 (Isthmian Premier Division in the local area), the season was halted in mid-March 2020 before eventually being curtailed several weeks later.
We start off the Top ten rundown at the summit, where Saffron WaldenTown led having grabbed sixty-six points from their 29 matches. Jason Maher’s side had another very strong campaign, with a much-admired strike force featuring the likes of Charlie Cole, Nathan Scarborough and highly-rated prospect Tyger Smalls breaking into the team in the second part of the campaign. The ‘Bloods’ hit 69 goals this term (at a Goals per game (GpG) average of 2.38) and had the fourth-best defence in the division (marshalled by the likes of Scott Pethers and club stalwart Spike Bell), conceding twenty-eight times in the league. They have all the hallmarks of a top side, being gritty when they need to be but also having searing pace going forward and can score goals almost at will when I watched them in-person. I also must give a special mention to determined forward Gavin Cockman, who struck sixteen league goals to lead his side in attack and personally he had a superb campaign.
Still from Errington Cup match: Saffron Walden v Cockfosters 28.12.19
Still from Errington Cup: S Walden v Cockfosters 28.12.19
Another still from Hashtag Utd v Redbridge ESL 18.1.20
In second place are Hashtag Utd, who memorably won the Eastern Senior League South in their debut campaign in 2018-19. It was another very positive season for Jay Devereux’s side, having accrued sixty-five points from their 26 matches prior to the season being halted. The ‘Tags’ were the most in-form side in March, with six wins from their most recent eight matches. Overall, they scored sixty-six times (a GpG of 2.54) and conceded 27 goals, the third-best defensive record in the division. Their home record was right up there but it was away from their temporary home of Chadfields that they excelled, winning eleven of their thirteen matches away from home. Striker George Smith was a superb addition to the team, firing home nineteen league goals, but canny signings during the season like centre-back Luke Wilson, goalkeeper Louis Hawes and midfielder Tom Anderson added to their momentum. I saw them in their opening ESL match where they surprisingly lost to Southend Manor, though after that they won their next ten matches on-the-reel. Then in January, an inspired spell after half-time saw them bypass Redbridge and at that point you knew they would take some stopping. For all the hype that follows them around, they are a very promising side and will expect to be right in the tussle for promotion again next season. They are on the move once again, having agreed to ground-share at Bowers & Pitsea’s Len Salmon Stadium next season, which will only add to the optimism going forward.
Image from Walthamstow v Stansted ESL 17.8.19
Still from Ilford v Walthamstow ESL 29.1.20
Walthamstow resided in third place, with new manager Max Mitchell taking the reins in late January. The East Londoners gained sixty-three points from their 26 games, winning twenty of them. They netted seventy-three times (a GpG of 2.81) and yes, Dwade James got 27 of those himself to end up the league’s top scorer for the second season in succession, you also have to applaud the stats at the other end of the pitch. Notably, they shelled only seventeen goals, the league’s best this term (a GpG of 0.65) and custodian James Bransgrove also gathered 16 clean sheets (see below), which speaks for itself. Previous gaffer Ryan Maxwell has to take some credit for assembling the team he did, and therefore was largely responsible for his side losing only one of their twelve away matches this term. I saw them since back in August where they just outshone Stansted and battle to a point at Ilford in late January though with Mitchell settling in well since his appointment, the ‘Waltham Rabble’ will be fired up once again next term for another good season at Wadham Lodge.
Hadley crest (Image: Hadley FC)
Still from Takeley v Hadley ESL Oct 19
Next in the table were league newcomers Hadley in fourth. They garnered 57 points from their twenty-six matches and have the esteem of scoring the most goals this term, with eighty strikes (a GpG of 3.07) and letting in only twenty-four goals, the second-best record in the division this term. I saw them back on the opening day where they comfortably defeated Enfield though the best thing I recall about that day was the good atmosphere at the club, not forgetting the intriguing ‘Tennis Ball Challenge’ game which is a rather unique half-time spot of entertainment. I saw them again in October where they had to play well to win at Takeley. Forward Solomon Ofori was arguably their star player this term with eighteen league goals to his name, though I’d also mention Luke Jupp, Cameron Ferguson and Manny Hammond who also were right up there in the goal-scorers chart and for their importance to the team. I doubt I’m the only writer who hopes they remain with the league next season as they certainly played their part in it for the football they played and the good people at the club. They were the only side unbeaten at home, winning 13 of their fourteen matches at Brickfield Lane, with only Saffron Walden Town holding them to a draw in the ESL in January. Finally, who could forget the FA Cup run to the Third Qualifying Round where they lost out at National League South side Havant & Waterlooville in early October.
Stansted club badge
Still from Stansted v Clapton ESL 23.11.19
Still from Stansted v Clapton 23.11.19
In fifth spot are Stansted, who got fifty points from their 27 matches this term. A mixed start to the campaign was swiftly nullified from the memory banks during mid-season as they achieved a new club record of twelve straight league wins which shot them up into the top six. They were in good nick towards the ‘end’ of the season as well. Having scored fifty-five goals in all this term (a GpG of 2.04) and their form at Hargrave Park was to be envied, with ten wins from their 14 matches at home. Paul Pittuck and John Watters’ side also made the last 64 of the FA Vase, and had a grand away day at Thurlow Nunn Premier high-flyers Stowmarket Town to show for it. Connor Hammond ended up their top scorer with eleven league goals, though in fairness the goals were well spread out this term. These two canny managers are known for having determined sides and that was certainly the case again this season. I saw them narrowly lose out at Walthamstow early-doors before besting Clapton in November. You wouldn’t be surprised if the Airportmen are competitive once again next season.
Takeley were once again in the upper echelons of the table in sixth place, garnering forty-three points from their 24 matches, as the indecent weather in the winter heavily affected their fixtures. Interestingly, their form away from Station Road was slightly better than at home, as Marc Das’ side won seven of their 13 matches away, with only three losses. They struck 46 goals this term, whilst the familiar steely backline remained, conceding thirty-four goals (a GpG of 1.42) – the fifth-best record in the ESL. Bryn Thorpe deserves a mention for being top scorer with nine league goals (15 in all competitions) and stopper Matt Gill also racked up six clean sheets as well. When I saw them back in late October, they were beaten by the better side in Hadley and their form toward the season’s halt wasn’t super with two wins and three losses in their last eight matches though it is a testament to the reputation that Das & co have built that you can’t rule out his side from having a good season, even if they are not the most spectacular.
That thought remains with the next club in seventh which was filled by Hoddesdon Town, having won 41 points from their twenty-seven matches. The solid nature of the previous season was maintained, with the Lilywhites conceding 35 times (a GpG of 1.29) and notching a half-century of goals too. Isaac Marfo-Jacobs was their top goal-getter with twelve goals, prior to his departure for Isthmian North side Witham Town. Jordan Halls got six league goals as well to help cover during the latter part of the campaign. Goalkeepers Simon Dent and Aaron Bull got ten clean sheets between them as well and you would feel Simon Riddle’s side are well-placed for another top-half finish at least in 2020/21.
Redbridge club crest
Still from Sporting Bengal v Redbridge ESL 28.9.19
Still from S Manor v Redbridge ESL 5.10.19
Redbridge are next in eighth spot, having recovered from a mid-season lull to notch thirty-eight points from their 25 games. Weather also affected the improving Oakside stadium, though the fact that they scored 57 league goals (a GpG of 2.28) says a lot for manager Micky Wetherall and his coaching staff. They also shelled 56 goals in defence which arguably held them back a bit but you also have to credit the manner of how they play. Their high-scoring draw at Sporting Bengal Utd in late September was one of my matches of the season, just for the attacking intent shown by both sides. Then in early October, they showed a more gritty side as they won at Southend Manor. Finally, a rare Friday night outing at Oakside in early November saw them just lose out to Woodford Town in another highly-competitive game. Incredibly, eight of their 12wins this came on-the-road and overall, I believe Micky will be happy enough with their campaign.
Woodford Town Badge
Image from Redbridge v Woodford Town ESL 8.12.19
Still from Redbridge v Woodford ESL 8.11.19
In ninth place were Woodford Town, after claiming thirty-four points from their 28 matches. Their season could ably be labelled as inconsistent though they did end up finishing well, with four wins from their last eight matches. Remaining at the Harlow Arena this term, they got six wins from their fourteen home games while having their struggles on away days, with four wins and nine losses from their fourteen matches away from home. I saw them lose out at West Essex in September before winning at Redbridge in early November. If they have a more settled squad next term, you would think they will finish higher next term, given they have some talented prospects in the young side. Finally for this part, in tenth spot are Cockfosters, another new side to the division. Ryan Wade’s team gathered thirty-four points also from their 26 matches and ended below Woodford on goals scored. Their Chalk Lane base saw them win six of their twelve matches and going forward, they are an enterprising side to watch, with Billy Healey and Ned Clarke among those impressing. I watched them narrowly defeat West Essex in late October and as some of my peers have said on radio this season, on that occasion they showed how much of a welcoming club they are and they should be congratulated for that. I also saw them make the most of a first-half blitz to win at Southend Manor in November before they ground out a win at Tower Hamlets in early December. All in all, they are a god side to watch and much like Hadley, I hope they remain in the ESL as they have added to the division this term.
Woodford got their second win inside four days as they defeated ten-man Stansted late on at the Harlow Arena. The Airportmen had a setback to contend with when playmaker Ashaan Siddik was sent off with 18 minutes remaining. The Towners soon took advantage as Yemi Adelani opened the scoring on 75 minutes, and got a second six minutes from time to give Joe Gadsdon & Roy Darbo’s team a comfortable lead. Eddy Mombanza made the points safe with a third for the hosts, two minutes from the end to see Woodford go up to 11th in the table. Stansted’s incredible 12-match winning run may be over though they are in 6th spot, level on points with Takeley just above them.
Saturday 15 February – Essex Senior
Enfield 2 – 2 Tower Hamlets | Woodside | Att: 71
The E’s were pegged back late on by a resilient Hamlets side at Woodside. Things started positively for Matt Hanning’s side as Rob Hodgson put Enfield ahead on 19 minutes. Ben Bradbury doubled that advantage with 52 minutes on the watch with a well-taken finish. Hamlets finished the stronger and halved their deficit thanks to replacement Suaibo Balde’s spot-kick from 12 yards with 15 minutes yet to play. Bishop Lutula then promptly levelled five minutes later to claim a hard-earned point for John Jatto’s side. In reality, the point does neither side much good, with Enfield second-bottom and Hamlets remaining a point above them in third-bottom, having played a game more.
Fellow Non-League writer Matt North was at the match & here is his report: mattnorthfootball.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/match-report-enfield-fc-2-2-tower-hamlets-esl-19-20-15-02-20/
Sporting Bengal Utd 3 – 4 Sawbridgeworth Town | Mile End | Att: 35
Sawbridgeworth got a big win at Mile End with victory over Sporting Bengal in what was an extraordinary match. Sawbridgeworth broke the deadlock through loanee Cabham Clarke, who was playing as a forward rather than his usual goalkeeping spot. Fair play Cabham. Bengal did level before half-time through hotshot Curtley McIntosh though the drama hardly ended there. Substitute Adil Haque put Imrul Gazi’s team ahead eight minutes into the second-half. Newcomer Leroy Hlabi equalised again for Sawbo, before Haque smashed in a 30+ yard free-kick to make it 3 – 2 to Bengal. Hlabi got his second to make it level-pegging again before the crucial winner for Town was struck by substitute Kasper Borowicz who reacted first after a penalty was saved by Bengal custodian Ataib Khan.
All in all, Sawbo ended a twelve-match winless run with this morale-boosting triumph whilst Bengal sit in 14th spot, four points above the top three.
Hadley P – P Walthamstow
Hashtag Utd P – P Hoddesdon Town
Redbridge P – P Cockfosters
Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & Essex Senior Writer
Hello and welcome to this week’s round-up of the Essex Senior League action, which includes matches from the nine league matches on this Remembrance weekend of Saturday 9th November. Thanks for reading.
Friday 8 November
Essex Senior League
Redbridge 1 – 2 Woodford Town | Oakside | Att: 78
Woodford emerged from a tough battle with Redbridge at Oakside with all three points on Friday night. Andrea Montovani put the driven visitors ahead on 27 minutes. Town had more chances to go further ahead and they paid for those misses as Taylor Tombides [68’] levelled things up, though it was substitute Lance Ledgister who got a late winner for the Towners with three minutes to spare. I attended this match and if you’d like more, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2019/11/09/match-report-redbridge-1-2-woodford-town-fri-8th-nov-esl/
Saturday 9 November
Hadley 8 – 0 Clapton | Brickfield Lane | Att: 45
Hadley maintained their brilliant home record as they crushed the Tons at Brickfield Lane. The Bricks were four goals up at half-time and had an ensemble cast of Alfie Bartram, Solomon Ofori, Cameron Ferguson, two from Luke Jupp plus Shaz Anwar and substitute Jason Rice to thank for this hugely dominant score-line. As a result, Hadley go into third after their sixth win in succession. Clapton’s fourth loss in their last five sees them remain second-bottom.
Hashtag Utd 5 – 2 Enfield | Chadfields | Att: 222
The Tags went through the gears to claim another big win, this time over out-of-form Enfield at Chadfields. Rapid winger Joshua Osude put Jay Devereux’s side ahead with 34 minutes gone, to which ex-West Essex forward Samraj Gill plundered a second with a great strike four minutes before the interval. Gill then teed up Jesse Waller-Lassen ten minutes after the restart. The E’s managed to get on the score-sheet thanks to skipper Ben Bradbury with twenty minutes remaining. The match had an entertaining finale as first, Harry Honesty made it 4 – 1 nine minutes from time, before Aundre Spencer got another one back for Matt Hanning’s side five minutes afterwards. Then at the death, Ross Gleed struck from 25 yards out in added-time to add a reminder of the threat Utd pose in the Essex Senior title race as they now extend their lead at the summit to six points, though all the rest of the top four have games in hand on them. Enfield’s third straight defeat sees them drop to 14th.
St Mags fought to a decent win over Ilford at Cricklefield. Ray Bartlett & Tony Wild’s side saw goal-hungry forward Kyle Roberts move to Ware this week, though had defender Dan Palmer to thank for putting them ahead here on eleven minutes. Ryan Reed then showed his ability once again with a fine free-kick two minutes from time. St Mags go back into the top ten while Ilford sit 16th.
Cockfosters made the most of a superb start to claim the points over Southend Manor. Billy Healey put the visitors ahead after only three minutes, and continued to dazzle the slow-starting Manor side as Ned Clarke doubled that lead with six minutes played. Healey then got a third for Ryan Wade’s side with fourteen minutes gone and they were well on top. Despite Manor picking it up after the break, substitute George Beattie made it four five minutes from time after good work by fellow replacement Ceykan Karagozlu. I also attended this match, my report is here: https://survivor16b.wordpress.com/2019/11/10/match-report-southend-manor-0-4-cockfosters-sat-9th-nov-esl/
Stansted 3 – 2 Hoddesdon Town | Hargrave Park | Att: 62
The Airportmen retained their recent good vein of form as they resisted late pressure by the Lilywhites to grab the points at Hargrave Park. Ashaan Siddik joined the club from Sporting Bengal this week and he got the opener with 26 minutes on the watch. Two goals either side of the break from Connor Hammond [40’] and Daniel Cheema [47’] put Messrs Pittuck and Watters’ side in control. Though as ever, Hoddesdon do not ‘throw in the towel’ and gave their hosts a nervy finish as strikes by Isaac Marfo-Jacobs [77’] and Sam Cross with four minutes to play showed their typical resilience. Stansted held on for their third straight win which saw them rise to 12th, while Hoddy drop to eighth.
Takeley got anther three points as they edged this battle with Sporting Bengal at Station Road. George Powell netted on ten minutes to put Marc Das’ side ahead, before two minutes after the restart, Jason Todd made it two. Bobby Redwood responded for Bengal five minutes after that on the eve on manager Imrul Gazi’s birthday. The hosts held on to rise stay fifth.
Tower Hamlets 3 – 2 West Essex | Mile End | Att: 35
Hamlets made a stirring comeback to deny West Essex a much-needed victory at Mile End. Suaibo Balde struck twice for Hamlets here, with Anthony Folkes also on the scorer’s sheet, while Hakim Medfai and Cameron Gray goals had put the Stags ahead. Hamlets rise to 11th while West’s blip continues as they drop to seventh.
Finally, ‘Stow were held by Walden in this top-of-the-table clash at Eadham Lodge. Both sides may be happy with a point given the difficult the conditions though Town remain second, six points adrift of leaders Hashtag with Walthamstow dropping to fourth though retain their unbeaten record after ten matches.
Redbridge : Royal Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
Woodford: Yellow Shirts, White Shorts, White Socks
Redbridge club crest
Woodford Town Badge
Image from Redbridge v Woodford Town ESL 8.12.19
Woodford strike late to grab win in entertaining battle at Oakside
Redbridge 1 – 2 Woodford Town
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
This Essex Senior weekend first saw me head to Oakside on Friday night to see Redbridge entertain Woodford Town in a battle of two mid-table sides. Redbridge fielded Jake Larkins between the posts, with centre-backs Dean Hall and recent acquisition Eamon Payne, and a front three of skipper Tom Harvey, Taylor Tombides and Tony Martin. Daniel Gilchrist, Rujorn Tuitt and James Barlow were all options from the bench. Woodford, now under the stewardship of boss Ross Weare, had Eli Benoit and Morgan Seaman as their full-backs with skipper Tola Odedoyin at centre-back alongside Joshua Steele and Lauric Diakiesse leading the line. The likes of Lance Ledgister, Chinua Archer and Tyler Fowles were options from the sideline.
Woodford certainly started the match on a strong footing, with forward Lauric Diakiesse powering a strike which flew back off a post with only four minutes gone. Minutes later, after a corner by skilful midfielder Andrea Mantovani, an initial effort by Diakiesse was blocked, which led to centre-back Joshua Steele hitting wide though the hosts would consider themselves warned at this point. After 18 minutes, tricky winger Anis Mehmeti got in on the efforts on goal as he fizzed an effort wide too, while moments later, the Motormen’s first real sighter of goal saw forward Tony Martin blast a drive into the side-netting.
As the rain lashed down on the ground, Woodford were showing all of their energy, pace and passion and were testing the home backline, with anchor midfielder Harvey Brown making two good interceptions in the first half. Eventually though, Town would not be denied and they broke the stalemate short of the half-hour as Mantovani curled in a low drive into the right-side corner after an initial effort was repelled by the Redbridge defence. Unsurprisingly, the already fired-up Woodford fans were revved up by the opener and Town had the ball in the net nine minutes before the break, though it was chalked off for an off-side.
Half-Time: Redbridge 0 – 1 Woodford Town
The second-half began with Steele again getting up from the back for the visitors and drilling an effort wide. The likes of Mehmeti and rapid winger Dion Lewis-Kirwan was really adding to the home side’s headache as they were too fast for defenders to stick tight to. That said, the Motormen did break back into proceedings as the hour mark approached as Martin played in the ever-threatening Taylor Tombides though he failed to beat visiting custodian Alex Reed, who gathered his effort well. Woodford were also dealt a blow as Diakiesse was shown a second yellow for an apparent tussle in the opposition area just past the hour mark.
At the other end, home stopper Jake Larkins also denied Town superbly twice, with the latter occasion being from Steele, after being put in by Mehmeti. The amount of chances Town had to put the game away did cost them somewhat as midway through the second half, Martin unselfishly played in Tombides following a counter-attack, and the goal-hungry forward made no mistake from close range. As we entered the last twenty minutes of the contest, it was the hosts’ turn to not make the most of chances as substitutes James Barlow and Dan Gilchrist were unable to bypass Reed in the Woodford goal. Redbridge substitute Rujorn Tuitt also had a strike deflected when well-placed in the latter stages though it was Town who ultimately got the points with three minutes remaining. A super run down the right channel ended with a pinpoint cross to substitute Lance Ledgister, who buried it in the corner past Larkins.
Full-Time: Redbridge 1 – 2 Woodford Town
In the end, Woodford’s pace and energy made life hard for Redbridge who created several chances themselves though ultimately fell to that late winner by substitute Ledgister. Considering the tricky conditions, this was a good marker for two good attacking sides & therefore a good ‘advert’ for the Essex Senior.
In terms of stand-out performances, for victors Woodford I must pay a special mention to livewire wingers Anis Mehmeti and Dion Lewis-Kirwan. Mehmeti was a constant threat with his trickery, pace and directness. Lewis-Kirwan also had a really good game and you have to respect his persistence having recently returned after a long spell out injured. Fair play to you, Dion and your club. Creative midfielder Andrea Mantovani had a real influence on his side’s forward play while left-back Morgan Seaman also put in a good energetic shift as well tonight.
Finally, I’d like to wish both sides well for the remainder of the campaign and given that both teams are attack-minded; it was good to see both sides in action here.
Teams (with shirt numbers)
Redbridge | Manager: Micky Wetherall
1 Jake Larkins (GK), 2 Jordayne Henry, 3 Jack Blackledge, 4 Harvey Brown, 5 Dean Hall, 6 Eamon Payne, 7 Connor Okus (18 James Barlow 46’), 8 Darnell Bromfield (12 Daniel Gilchrist 57’), 9 Taylor Tombides, 10 Tom Harvey (Capt), 11 Tony Martin (15 Rujorn Tuitt 70’)
Goal-scorers: Taylor Tombides [68’]
Booked: Larkins | Subs Not Used: Edmunds, Raymond
Woodford Town | Manager: Ross Weare
1 Alex Reed (GK), 2 Eli Benoit, 3 Morgan Seaman, 4 Joshua Steele, 5 Tola Odedoyin (Capt), 6 Frankie Naidoo (8 Georges Kebi 74’), 18 Chris John, 11 Anis Mehmeti, 7 Dion Lewis-Kirwan (14 Lance Ledgister 64’), 10 Andrea Montovani, 9 Lauric Diakiesse
Goal-scorers: Andrea Montovani [27’], Lance Ledgister [87’]
Sent Off: Diakiesse (two bookings) | Subs Not Used: T Joseph, T Fowles, Archer
Thanks to ESL reporter Matt North (Twitter: @MattNorth_) for image.
Hello and welcome to this weekend’s round-up of Essex Senior League action on Friday 18 & Saturday 19 October, here on my blog. Thanks for reading.
Friday 18th October
Woodford Town 3 – 1 Sawbridgeworth Town | Harlow Arena [3G] | Att: 87
Woodford came out on top as they defeated Sawbridgeworth at the Harlow Arena, in front of a decent crowd on Friday night. Lauric Diakiesse got the first home goal on the half-hour before adding another two on 35 minutes and eight minutes from time to complete his treble for his new side. Harry Bushell got the consolation for Lee Mackman’s team who battled hard though their extended winless run goes on.
Saturday 19th October
Enfield 1 – 0 Southend Manor | Woodside | Att: 64
The E’s got a much-needed win over fellow lower-half side Southend Manor at Woodside. Daniel Chambers got the only goal after just six minutes and this result makes it one loss in their last five in the league as they rise to 14th. Manor’s fourth game without a win sees them drop to fourth-bottom.
Hadley 1 – 0 Hoddesdon Town | Brickfield Lane | Att: 93
Hadley got back to form with a gritty win over Hoddesdon at Brickfield Lane. The only goal came from the penalty spot, on the hour from Alfie Bartram. The Bricks are ‘building the wall’ results-wise as their third win on-the-bounce means they rise to sixth. The Lilywhites drop to eighth, only a point behind their opposition here.
Saffron Walden Town 2 – 0 Cockfosters | Catons Lane | Att: 175
Saffron Walden got back to league action with a routine win over Cockfosters at Catons Lane. Two goals either side of the break were enough to win this one as an own goal gave Walden the lead three minutes before the interval. Ryan Fleming doubled that advantage on 48 minutes to see Jason Maher’s team to their fifth straight league success and keep the heat on leaders Hashtag Utd. ‘Fosters are in a bit of trough at present with this being their fifth loss in their last six league matches.
The Airportmen put in a fine performance to end a recent dreary run at Hargrave Park. Daniel Cheema sent the hosts ahead after just seven minutes, before strikes by John Clark [27’] and Jack Mitchell [34’] put Paul Pittuck & John Watters’ side comfortably ahead at the interval. Luke Hirst added a fourth goal for the hosts with 57 minutes on the watch to end a run of four back-to-back defeats. Bengal fell to their third consecutive loss here though they will have better days this term.
In a match supporting Breast Cancer survivors at Station Road, Hashtag edged the contest in front of another bumper crowd to extend their winning run in the league to nine matches. Joshua Osude got the only goal on 72 minutes, to which the hosts couldn’t find a response and therefore saw their unbeaten mini-run end at four league matches. Hashtag remain a point clear at the summit, with Saffron Walden their nearest challengers.
Hamlets got the better of the Tons at Mile End as they recorded their fourth win of the season. An OG plus one from Marcus Castano were enough to extend their visitors’ winless run to four matches now.
In a match reversed to Wadham Lodge on Thursday, ‘Stow still got a stern test by improving Redbridge as the hosts won 2 – 1. You can barely keep Dwade James off the scorers’ sheet at present and he put Ryan Maxwell’s side ahead from the penalty spot nine minutes into the contest. That lead barely lasted a minute though before the visitors were awarded a spot-kick of their own, which Dan Gilchrist duly converted to level things up. Just when you felt a draw may have been on the radar, Ben Crilley’s strike ten minutes from time gave the hosts their fourth straight league triumph.
West Essex 0 – 0 St Margaretsbury | Mayesbrook Park | Att: 28
West were held to a goalless stalemate by St Margaretsbury as both sides had a rare match without scoring. Interestingly though, it extends both teams recent records in that they have only lost one of their last six matches now.