LEN CORDELL MEMORIAL CUP GROUP B
Saturday 10th April
Barkingside got their Len Cordell Memorial Cup campaign off to a flying start, but Woodford Town scored twice in the closing stages that could have seen them get something from a game they had been losing at a canter after 85 minutes.
The first game back after the lockdown was always going to have a bit of a pre-season feel to it as both teams took a while to get into their rhythm.
That all changed in the 11th minute when Side bustled their way into Woodford’s box, the final ball to Joe Gent saw him standing firm as he out-sped his marker before stabbing the ball past Callum McAvoy to open the scoring. Two minutes later and Side had doubled their lead after Reece Simpson lashed a loose ball past the Woodford keeper.
All of a sudden Barkingside were playing as if they had been playing throughout the lockdown. Balls over the Woodford defence were reaching their front men, and when Jack Gibbons delivered a cross into the six-yard box it may have been goal number three had a Barkingside player managed to get on the end of it. Luckily for Woodford there was no one at the back post to apply the final touch, but they did need to find a way to stop Barkingside’s momentum. Jakub Malczuk almost found it when his foray forward ended with him having a shot that clipped the crossbar. That audacious effort perked the Woods up because they were soon back on the attack with Josh Ron-Gravesande hit a shot from outside the box that took a deflection before Duncan Smith was called upon to scuttle across his box to tip the ball behind the post.
But Barkingside were soon back on the front foot with another ball setting Gent free, with his shot being deflected behind for a corner. Archie Hammond had a shot well saved by McAvoy as Side seemed settled and in control. A deep cross was fired too high by Gent, and a moment later Side were to perhaps rue that wasted opportunity as their hosts were again in their box. Josh Steele made his way from defence to get involved in an attack which saw him twist and turn his way past his marker before putting in a low cross that needed Jason Jones to put a foot in and clear the danger.
Side however ended the half brightly with Simpson drilling a shot narrowly wide; then another attack saw Gent charging into the Woodford box, but Tyriq Alexander stood firm and put in a solid tackle to get the ball away.
The Woods were offered a lifeline of sorts in first half stoppage time when Shaye La-Rose was bundled over in the box, and the Referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. It fell to Jayden Charles to make the most of the opportunity, which he did by sending Smith the wrong way and meaning that despite Barkingside having the lion share of the possession and chances, the Woods were very much going into the break with the game very much for the taking.
Woodford Town made a host of substitutions at the break and started the second period briefly in charge, managing to pepper Smith’s box with a number of crosses. But Woodford found themselves further pegged back because in the 51st minute a ball over the top was chased down by Jack Gibbons who then picked his spot and fired the ball past McAvoy.
The Woods did pick themselves up though and got straight back into their opponents. Deimar Queni had an initial shot saved by Smith, with Ramsay placing the rebound just wide. However Barkingside extended their lead even further on 65 minutes when a Gibbons cross from the right was turned in by Jacob Dingli.
Only a fingertip save by McAvoy prevented Gent adding another goal to the Barkingside tally. But Woodford Town’s head didn’t drop and they almost pulled one back when Ramzi Mahmoudi, who had looked a very skillful player from the moment he was brought into the fray, had a shot that thumped against the post.
Barkingside looked like they were coasting to victory as the clock wound down. But in the 88th minute an inch-perfect cross by Ridwan Hussein was headed home from close range by Charles. Having acted as provider, in the 91st minute Hussein then notched another goal for Woodford Town. All of a sudden Barkingside had to dig in, or would have had to had there been much of the game left to play. Instead Woodford Town had left their comeback a little too late as the final whistle went a few moments after they had get themselves right back in it.
Woodford Town: Callum McAvoy, Jack Murray-Sharpe, Jakub Malczuk (Samuel Dodoo 45′), Tyriq Alexander (Ridwan Hussein 45′), Josh Steele, David Agboola, Deimar Queni (Darnell Ramsay 70′), Georges Kobi (Emmanuel Sackey 45′), Jaydan Charles (Capt), Josh Ron-Gravesande (Ramzi Mahmoudi 45′), Shaye La-Rose.
Scorers – Jayden Charles (45+1’p, 88′), Ridwan Hussein (90+1′).
Barkingside: Duncan Smith, Jordan Cornelius (Capt), Ore Odutola, Sam Gent (Nathan Saunders 60′), Archie Hammond (Berkcan Belindir 45′), Jason James, Joe Gent (Tobias Scott 72′), Grant Francis, James Peagram (Jacob Dingli 10′), Reece Simpson (Quincy Warner 45′), Jack Gibbons.
Scorers – Joe Gent (11′), Reece Simpson (13′), Jack Gibbons (51′), Jacob Dingli (65′).
Report & Photo by Scott Lanza