Essex raise title hopes

PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 February 2015

Essex under-18s beat their Suffolk rivals at Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue home (pic:

Essex under-18s beat their Suffolk rivals at Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue home (pic:


East Anglian U18 Championship: Essex 2 Suffolk 1

Action from Essex under-18s win over Suffolk (pic: from Essex under-18s win over Suffolk (pic:

Essex ignited hopes of an East Anglian Counties Under-18s Championship title as a goal in each half from Ruben Duarte and Connor Hogan sealed a hard-fought win over Suffolk at Hornchurch’s Bridge Avenue home.

The win saw Essex avenge an FA County Youth Cup defeat for the second successive season against their opponents from across the border and, at the same time, they propelled Graham Hall’s side to joint top of the table with two games to play.

Duarte’s deft header from Rauri McIntyre’s delivery earned Essex a 12th-minute early lead, but that was quickly cancelled out two minutes later by Suffolk’s Kyran Clements, who headed in from a left-wing corner.

Elliott Johnson saw a flicked header drop just over the crossbar from Malaki Toussaint’s free-kick before Duarte made an angled run into the box but was denied by some brave goalkeeping from James Bradbrook.

A fine, rising shot from Suffolk’s Connor Ward then brought a fine save from Hornchurch’s Callum Chafer, who tipped the ball over the top. But the hosts went close again prior to half time when Toussaint’s corner was nodded goalward by Duarte, only to be hacked off the line.

Essex’s McIntyre flashed an angled drive just wide and just short of Duarte at the far post after the restart and Remi Awosanya picked out Charlie Little, who fired into the side netting.

But the crucial winner arrived on 63 minutes as Hogan’s curling free-kick found the bottom corner from 25 yards.

An impressive save from Essex substitute ‘keeper Ellis Holiday kept out Will Gardner’s dipping effort before Hogan saw red for a second booking.

The 10 men held out well, though, with Holiday keeping out Jack Newman’s shot in what proved to be Suffolk’s only meaningful effort of the closing 17 minutes.

Essex: Callum Chafer (Hornchurch), Connor Hogan (Brentwood), Rauri McIntyre (Great Wakering), Kye Jude (Burnham), Jamie Price (East Thurrock), Elliott Johnson (Tilbury), Malaki Toussaint (Great Wakering), Paulius Ditkevicius (Hornchurch), Owen Edobor (Hornchurch), Jamie Carney-Chand (Hornchurch), Ruben Duarte (Tilbury). Substitutes (repeated): Lee Green (Braintree), Ellis Holiday (East Thurrock), Sean Hobbins (FC Clacton), Charlie Little (Hullbridge), Remi Awosanya (Brentwood).

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