The Len Cordell Memorial Cup is almost upon us as clubs prepare to take to the pitch for the first time in competitive action since December. Here’s a preview of the first group game fixtures this weekend;
DTFC vs Cockfosters – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
DTFC will have a tough introduction to Essex Senior League football as they face Cockfosters in the Len Cordell Cup on Saturday. DTFC play their football in the Essex Alliance League and were heading to a title in the Senior Division. After 8-games, they had remained unbeaten, having the maximum points after those games and had games in-hand on the teams below. Cockfosters were fourth in the Essex Senior League when the season was halted having played 11-games. Of those 11-games, they had won 8, drew 2 and lost 1 but had 1-4 games in-hand on the teams around them. Cockfosters will be favourites to win their opening game because of their league position and the strength of the squad but DT will hope they can cause an upset.
St Margaretsbury vs Hoddesdon Town – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
The other game in Group A will see St Margaretsbury welcome Hoddesdon Town to the Recreation Ground on Saturday. St Margaretsbury were 13th last season after 11-games, having won 3, drew 3 and lost 5 but with games in-hand on the teams around them while Hoddesdon Town had a better season, finding themselves 7th after 13-games. The Lilywhites had won 6, drew 1 and lost 6 of those 13-games, putting them on 19-points and 4-points off 5th-place with 2-games in-hand. They didn’t get the chance to play each other during the season so it will be interesting to see who will win their opening fixtures. Based on league positions, Hoddesdon will be the favourites.
Redbridge vs Clapton – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
The main focus of the competition will be Redbridge, where Len served as a matchday secretary, as they host fellow East-Londoners Clapton. The hosts were 11th when the season curtained having played 9-games. Of those games, they won 4, drew 1 and lost 4. Clapton were 9-points off their opponents but found themselves bottom on goal-difference behind Woodford Town. The Ton’s had played 11-games, with a record of drew 4 and lost 7. Clapton hosted the Motormen back in October with the visitors coming out on top in a narrow 2-1 win. Clapton hadn’t won a game during the regular season whereas Redbridge had won four, meaning Redbridge will go into this game as favourites, coinciding with their league positions.
Woodford Town vs Barkingside – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
Woodford Town will face the lowest ranked side in Group B as they take on former Essex Senior League side Barkingside. The Woods were 17th in the league after 13-games, having won 1, drew 1 and lost 11 but didn’t find themselves bottom of the league by a matter of a +7 goal-difference. Side’ were relegated from the ESL to the Eastern Counties League Division One South at the end of the 2018/19 season. Last season in the Step-6 division, Barkingside had found themselves 10th after 9-games, having won 4, drew 1 and lost 4. On paper, Woodford would be the favourites to get the win in the first game of the competition but the young Woods side struggles for form last season and may struggle after such a long break, giving Side’ hope going into the competition.
Billericay Town Reserves vs Holland FC – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
The only Reserve side taking part in the senior side competition is Billericay Town Reserves as they host Holland FC. Billericay Reserves were the top side in the ESL Reserve Division, sitting top-of-the-table after 10-games and holding a 4-point lead over Witham Town Reserves, Hullbridge Sports U23’s and Barkingside Reserves. Of those 10-games, the Reserves had won 6. drew 2 and lost 2. Holland come into the competition also representing the Eastern Counties League. The Tangerines were 14th last season but had only played 7-games, with a record of won 1, drew 3 and lost 3. Having played the second least amount of games behind May & Baker, Holland had plenty of games to rise up the table. As the senior side, Holland FC will be the favourites for the game, but Billericay Reserves will hope they can cause an upset in the opening game.
FC Clacton vs Stansted – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
FC Clacton will welcome Stansted to the Austin Arena on Saturday. FC Clacton play their trade in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division and found themselves 10th last season after 10-games. Their record of won 4, drew 3 and lost 3 put them within touching distance of sides above, with games in-hand. Their opponents, Stansted, of the Essex Senior League, were right in the mix for the title. After 15-games, they found themselves 2nd and 2-points behind Hashtag United with a record of won 9, drew 2 and lost 4. Although Stansted are one of the strongest sides in the ESL and will be one of the favourites to progress to the next stage, Clacton are not strangers to beating sides in the league, having beaten both Hoddesdon Town and Hadley last year in the FA Cup.
Frenford vs Barking – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
Frenford face one of the toughest opponents in the competition as they welcome Barking to the Drive. Frenford play in the Eastern Counties League Division One South and found themselves 6th after 11-games. Of those 11-games, Frenford won 5, drew 2 and lost 4. Barking, of the Isthmian League South Central Division, were 12th when the season was halted. After 10-games, they had won 3, drew 1 and lost 3. The gap between the two-sides, Step 6 to Step 4, is the one of the biggest of the competition but Frenford will hope they can win their opening game of the season to cause a huge upset while Barking will try to avoid that very upset.
Hackney Wick vs West Essex – Friday 9th April, 7.45pm
Hackney Wick and West Essex kick-off the competition as the Wickers host higher opposition in West Essex. Hackney Wick also play in the Eastern Counties League Division One South but were 11th when the season was paused after 14-games. The Wickers had played the most games in the division so may have fallen down the table had the season continued but now they will hope to progress in the cup. West Essex were eighth last season after 12-games, with a record of won 5, drew 2 and lost 5. Both sides will hope to kick-off the competition with the first win but West will be the favourites going into the tie.
Athletic Newham vs Brimsdown – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
The first fixture in the newly-added group will see Athletic Newham host Brimsdown at the Terence McMillan Stadium. Newham were one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Counties League Division One South last season, finding themselves 2nd after 12-games with a record of won 5, drew 6 and lost 1. They face a fellow Counties League side in Brimsdown, who found themselves at the other end of the table. After 10-games, Brimsdown were in the bottom two after winning 1, drew 2 and lost 7. Athletic Newham will hope to continue their good form from the season and get the first win while Brimsdown will hope to improve their form from the season and get the opening win.
Great Wakering Rovers vs White Ensign – Saturday 10th April, 3pm
Elsewhere on Saturday, Great Wakering Rovers will welcome White Ensign to Burroughs Park. Great Wakering play at Step 4 of the NLS, playing their trade in the Isthmian League North Division. After 7-games, they found themselves 14th with a record of won 2, drew 2 and lost 3. They face a side 3 divisions below in White Ensign who play in the Eastern Counties League Division One South. After 10-games, Ensign had won 6, drew 2 and lost 2, making them one of the strongest sides as they sat 3rd. Great Wakering will no doubt be the favourites but White Ensign will hope to cause an upset and pull off an unlikely win to kick-off their Len Cordell Cup Campaign.