Essex boys lose title grip
PUBLISHED: 09:32 06 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2015
East Anglian U16s: Essex 3 Hertfordshire 4
Essex surrendered a 3-0 lead and, with it, hopes of retaining the East Anglian Counties Under 16s Championship as they were defeated by Hertfordshire at Maldon’s Wallace Binder Stadium.
The home side had built up their lead inside 22 minutes thanks to a goal from Obina Obi and two from Sam Warwick, but the visitors had pulled two back by half time before completing a remarkable victory in the second half.
The result meant Bedfordshire claimed the title, with Hertfordshire leap-frogging Essex into second place.
Essex led on seven minutes as Obi neatly lifted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Louis Clifford, and the hosts doubled their lead six minutes later when Warwick tapped in Alex Clark’s low ball.
Warwick then notched his second to put Essex 3-0 ahead on 22 minutes, knocking in Sam Smith’s corner at the far post.
With Essex well on top, the visitors might have feared the worst but they began to battle back valiantly and Morgan Trotman teed up Cameron Currie to fire home on 29 minutes.
Essex could’ve put the game beyond reach when Godfrey Kambaza’s low effort defected inches wide but, on the stroke of the interval, the home side’s lead was cut to one as Currie’s free kick was converted by Aiden Critchley.
And it took just five second-half minutes for Hertfordshire to haul themselves level, with Conor Laurella firing home from Critchley’s centre.
Now looking to grab the advantage back, Essex skipper Jake Brocklebank’s free kick was stabbed just wide by Ola Ayoola before Hertfordshire edged ahead with just five minutes remaining as Erin Emutu took the ball past ‘keeper Will Gibbon before slotting home.
The home side could have grabbed a leveller in the dying stages, but visiting stopper Clifford made a fine save to deny Kambaza and preserve an impressive comeback.
Essex: Will Gibbon (Thurrock), Charlie Seaden (Hullbridge), Toby Armolaran (Thurrock), Jake Brocklebank (Hornchurch), Ola Ayoola (Barking), Ally Grant-Browning (Great Wakering), Godfrey Kambaza (East Thurrock), Sam Smith (Buckhurst Hill), Obina Obi (Woodford), Sam Warwick (Burnham), Alex Clark (Hornchurch). Substitutes: Kacper Fraszczak (Great Wakering), George Cox (Great Wakering), Frank Craik (Great Wakering), Mark Omotobora (East Thurrock).
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