Bishop’s Stortford 5-0 Woodford Town Match Report 6/7/21
Bishops Stortford’s first match in seven months ended in an emphatic 5-0 victory against Woodford Town. Playing at Ware due to pitch preparation issues at the R & D Advisors UK Stadium, the Blues opened the scoring on the stroke of half time through Frankie Merrifield, before Jonny Giles and Jake Cass both scored braces in the second half against the Essex Senior League side.
The Blues made a fast start with Merrifield and Jack Thomas both getting to the touchline on the left wing, but couldn’t produce a cross to find a teammate. Merrifield’s cross a few minutes later from the right wing did find Chris Gregan’s head, but his effort bounced over the bar, before Merrifield brought down Mark Haines’ long ball, but lost possession when he tried to turn past the defender. A high energy, high pressing style of play early on was epitomised by Charley Barker nicking the ball from a Woodford defender, but his low effort was blocked behind for a corner, from which Anthony Church headed over. Ryan Charles laid the ball off to Gregan on the edge of the box, but his shot was high and wide, before Jack Giddens was quick off his line to smother a through ball on the edge of the box, and he quickly released Giles on the right wing with a long kick, he cut in onto his left foot and forced the keeper into a near post save. Merrifield slipped Barker in behind the defence with a perfect through ball, but his left footed effort was off target. Thomas headed inches wide from Giles’ corner, and as half-time neared, it seemed the Blues would have nothing to show for the numerous chances produced. But, Merrifield found himself unmarked in the middle of the six-yard box from Giles’ corner, and side-footed home in the last minute of the half.
Four changes were made to the Blues side at half-time, with club captain Ryan Henshaw and Jake Cass taking to the field. In addition to this, chairman Ian Kettridge was tasked with running the line in the second half, with a Woodford Town member of staff doing so in the first period. Having won a free kick in a good position, Giles struck it just wide from 25 yards, but from the next attack he did find the back of the net. After a smart turn to beat the defender, he curled it beautifully into the top left corner from the edge of the box, and straight from the kick-off Cass rifled past the keeper from a tight angle after a mix-up in the Woodford defence. Giles’ second might have been better than his first, hitting with power into the roof of the net from 20 yards, and he could have had a hat-trick, but for a full length dive by the keeper to tip the next effort round the post. Three academy players came on in the second half, with goalkeeper Connor Lee making a couple of great saves to preserve a clean sheet, tipping a powerful strike behind for a corner, and getting a fingertip on an overhead kick effort to see the ball onto the crossbar, bounce on the line and Thomas cleared the danger. Cass found himself in space at the back post from Giles’ corner, only to see his header cannon back off the post, before the striker tried to go round the keeper to score, but a poor touch allowed the keeper to recover. He had no such luck from the next attack though, as the keeper misjudged the speed of the ball, Cass caught him out and rifled it home into the empty net.
The Blues’ next friendly promises to be a tougher test, travelling to National League South opposition Braintree Town.
1 Jack Giddens (Lee 70’)
4 Anthony Church (Wardle 62’)
5 Mark Haines (c) (Sankey 62’)
7 Ryan Charles (Trialist #15 46’)
8 Charley Barker (Gardner 56’)
10 Frankie Merrifield (Goal 45’) (Cass 46’)
11 Jonny Giles (Goal 55’ 63’)
14 Jack Thomas
17 Chris Gregan (Trialist #6 46’)
19 Trialist (Henshaw 46’)
3 Ryan Henshaw
9 Joe Gardner
12 Jake Cass (Goal 56’ 89’)
13 Connor Lee
18 Charlie Wardle
20 Pat Sankey