Woodford Town 1 Stansted 2
Essex Senior League
Friday 13th August
Woodford Town finally got to play at their new stadium on Friday. They if anything have suffered perhaps a bit more than other clubs during the pandemic as their Ashtons Stadium was ready to start hosting games from November last year – then the season was curtailed meaning the ground lay dormant, ready for action but out of action du to the curtailing of football. On Friday evening they finally had their chance to play once again in Woodford, and a bumper crowd of 822, the second biggest attendance in the history of the Essex Senior League turned up to witness it. However Stansted were the party poopers as they snatched a 2-1 away win.
Things started well for the Woods as they won an early corner and from it David Kalonga was able to get his head on it and it very only a cat’s whisker too high. But Stansted returned fire almost straight away as they then won a corner at the other end which Paul Clayton headed over. Then there followed a real heart in mouth moment for Woodford when a deep cross saw Nick Reynolds beat Lee Haylock to, the Woods keeper got down to make claim to the ball but he spilled it back towards Reynolds before finally re-claiming.
After that scare the Woods then created two chances; the first one fell to Tyriq Alexander which was drilled wide, then Ramiah Mills from an acute angle rifled off a shot that tested James Dillon who dived low to keep out.
At the midway point Stansted started having more possession without really creating anything clear cut. That was soon to change and it all came about due to suicidal defending from the Woodford backline. An inability to clear their lines provided Jack Mitchell with an opportunity to have a go, but he placed his shot over the crossbar. Then the Woods defence switched off and that allowed Mitchell to nip in and have a shot that hit the post and seconds later Sahr Bongay pounced on the ball and fire of a shot that also clipped the post. Woodford were certainly riding their luck and Haylock was also called upon to get down low to keep out a Reynolds effort.
But the final action in the half was in the Stansted box as they won two corners in succession after Mills had seen a diagonal shot tipped round the post.
Stansted almost took the lead in the opening moments of the second period when Reynolds had a shot cleared off the line by Ashkan Abbasi. Then Bongay flashed a shot across the Woodford goalmouth.
However the Airportmen went on to break the deadlock in the 52nd minute when a flighted cross from Hammond was headed home by Reynolds.
The lead didn’t last long though because in the 55th minute Woodford were awarded a penalty and from it Mills levelled up by sending Haylock the wrong way.
And just after the hour mark Mills dipped a free kick over the crossbar, while at the other end a Stansted freekick was headed over by Hammond.
The visitors were able to re-take the lead in the 70th minute when the two players that had given Stansted the lead again linked up, this time Hammond providing the cross, which Reynolds hooked home.
However moments later Mills was able to connect with a cross but was unable to get the ball past Dillon who managed to smoother the ball and snuff out the threat.
The visitors had a chance to put the game to be in the 85th minute when they had a ‘how did that stay out moment’ as an in-swinging corner from Hammond fell to Reynolds whose shot ended up going wide having rolled perilously close to the Woodford goal-line. A touch and it was in, but luckily for the Woods there was no one able to provide it. In any case Stansted shut up shop for the closing stages of the game to claim an away win that sent their fans home happy and their side up to 3rd in the table. Woodford meanwhile have finally made the return home; their next quest is to now post some points on the board as they currently sit pointless down in 19th.
Woodford Town: Lee Haylock, David Agboola (Capt), Jonathan Makuku, David Kalonga, Ashkan Abbasi, Ramiah Mills (Harry Cuthbert), Georges Kebi, Jaydon Charles, Morgan Bruce (Richard Asamoah), James Bayo (Luke Parrott), Tyriq Alexander.
Scorer – Ramiam Mills (55’p).
Stansted: James Dillon, Billy Coyne (Capt), Bryn Thorpe, Joe McEvoy, Joe Clarke, Paul Clayton (Finn Gregory 30′), Samr Bongay (Charles Opoku 78′), Jack Mitchell, Nick Reynolds, Sidney Morgan (Tom Massey 72′), Connor Hammond.
Scorers – Nick Reynolds (52′), Connor Hammond (70′).