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Essex Senior Cup: Waltham Abbey 2 Hornchurch 3

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Urchins put their Conference South struggles behind them to book an Essex Senior Cup final meeting with Grays last night.

But they had to hold on during a tense finale after Abbey threatened an unlikely comeback.

Jimmy McFarlane’s men went into the semi-final tie against Ryman One North Abbey without a win in nine league matches and stuck in the relegation zone.

But they scored either side of the break to give the Bridge Avenue faithful something to cheer – and a cup final to look forward to later this spring.

McFarlane made several changes to his starting line-up, following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Staines, with Leon McKenzie and Elliot Styles coming into the side.

And both men made it onto the scoresheet to repay that faith shown in them.

Styles headed wide from a corner before Urchins took the lead midway through the first half when Joey May’s corner was nodded in at the near post by McKenzie.

Frankie Curley saw his curling shot saved by the Abbey keeper shortly before half-time. But Styles headed home from May’s free-kick just past the hour to double the visitors advantage.

And Styles, having recovered from a broken collarbone, headed home again from Chris Bourne’s cross to make it 3-0 with 14 minutes left.

The home side hit back almost immediately through captain Christian Wheeler and substitute Paul Colclough cut the gap to one with only three minutes remaining to set up a tense conclusion.

But Urchins held on to raise hopes of reclaiming a piece of silverware last won in 2007, when they beat Great Wakering Rovers at Southend’s Roots Hall.

Hornchurch: Woolley, Love, Bourne, May, Styles, Noel, Eyong (Bentley 63), Curley, McKenzie (Tuohy 70), Gray (Glover 84), Spencer.

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