Essex boys snatch exciting win
15:38 02 December 2015
Bedfordshire 3 Essex 4
Essex under-16s twice came from behind to seal an entertaining win in their East Anglian Counties opener at AFC Kempston Rovers as a superb last-minute strike from Charlie Arnold eventually settled a rollercoaster of a game.
The home side had levelled the contest just a minute earlier and it was an impressive response from an Essex side who had already battled back from being 1-0 and 2-1 down in tricky, windswept conditions.
Bedfordshire grabbed the lead for the first time with only eight minutes played as George Fitter sprung on to a through ball before lobbing inside the far post.
Moments later the hosts had a chance to double that lead as Taz Andrews curled just wide from 20 yards.
But, on the quarter-hour mark, Essex were back on level terms when Tyler Richardson’s cross was brilliantly volleyed in by Joe Clifforth.
Richardson then stabbed just wide under pressure from a defender, before the hosts regained the lead on 34 minutes as Luca Stalham’s fine free kick was nodded in by Robbie Buchanan at the far post.
Essex goalkeeper Bayley Johnson was called upon to stop the hosts going two goals ahead when he kept out Andrews’ free-kick before the visitors came close to equalising again on the stroke of half time, Niall Blowers bringing a near-post save from goalkeeper Brad Heaps.
The visitors threatened again after the restart as Clifforth’s low drive was tipped onto the post by Heaps, before the stopper kept out Richardson’s effort from the resulting corner.
But Essex levelled again two minutes after the hour mark as Jimmy Montgomery latched onto a through ball and neatly clipped an angled finish into the corner to make it 2-2.
Six minutes later, Essex edged ahead as Clifforth’s close-range shot was pushed wide and the resulting Toby Barlow corner was firmly headed in by Redbridge’s Peter Eboegbulem at the near post.
That looked to have won the game but, with just a minute remaining, Fitter found space inside the penalty area to head in from 10 yards.
In one final twist, though, the gallant visitors won the game as Arnold’s brilliant 35-yard strike flew into the top corner to seal a most pleasing victory.
Essex: Bayley Johnson (Billericay), Nathan Joseph (Thurrock), Toby Barlow (Albany School), Connor Tyrrell (Ware), Josh Lamont (Thurrock), Charlie Arnold (Billericay), Tyler Richardson (Billericay), Niall Blowers (Chelmsford City), Ken Charles (Barking), Lewis Callery (Euro Dagenham), Joe Clifforth (Billericay). Substitutes (repeated): Jimmy Montgomery (Sawbridgeworth), Ibi Ugrader (Brampton Manor School), Peter Eboegbulem (Redbridge), Ben Branco (Maidstone).