Cup cheer for Newbury Forest
11:23 24 April 2014
Essex Premier Cup: Kelvedon Hatch 1 Newbury Forest 3
“We want to come back and win it again next year” declared Newbury Forest boss Leo Connolly after watching his side win their second Essex Premier Cup final in three years against Kelvedon Hatch last night.
Forest clinched the silverware in style with two late goals, having initially trailed to Lee Cody’s 31st-minute effort.
Danny Kenny levelled the scores in first-half stoppage time, but a stunning strike from full-back Andrew Lane and another injury time contribution, this time by substitute Freddie Anderson, sealed the success for Connolly’s side.
“It was a good result; the lads worked hard,” he said.
“Kelvedon were really good in the first half, but I always knew we’d come back strongly in the second as we’re a second-half team.
“I was hoping we could finish it inside the 90 minutes, although I wouldn’t have minded extra time as we’re always confident. We know we’ve got greater fitness than most teams, but I’m glad it’s over now.”
In front of a 405-strong crowd, the two Essex Olympian League Premier Division sides produced an entertaining encounter played in an exemplary spirit.
Kelvedon started on the front foot, Reiss Kingsley forcing Mark Parker into a save from Cody’s flick-on inside the opening 60 seconds in the best of their early opportunities.
Cody was causing problems with his aerial prowess from set-pieces, but Forest attempted to establish a foothold in the fixture by attacking themselves and Toch Singh fired over from Bradley Gates’ pass in the seventh minute.
Gates himself then let fly with a 35-yard effort which cleared the crossbar by inches and Matt Connolly missed his connection in trying to convert a Jason Reynolds-Blanche centre.
Kingsley fired across the face of goal at the other end in the 11th minute and Kelvedon continued to make the pace as Chris Muir’s corner three minutes later was met by Cody. He nodded the ball down to Wayne Semanshia, who couldn’t turn it in as he found his path blocked by the Forest defence on no less than three occasions.
Forest went close themselves when Gates steered the ball wide following excellent build-up play by Alfie Egembah, Reynolds-Blanche and Singh, but Kelvedon went closer in the 27th minute as Chris Neville converted Semanshia’s pass, only for the close-range effort to be ruled out for an infringement.
Hatch finally took the lead on the half-hour mark through Cody, who drove through midfield before offloading to Muir and diverting the return pass into the roof of the net.
It looked as though they may retain that advantage into the interval, only for Forest captain Kenny to intervene, who converted a slide-rule pass from Singh.
“We weathered the storm because they were on top. I thought they had a few chances and getting the goal just before half time changed the mood in our dressing room,” added Connolly. “We felt good and we knew what we could do then.”
The second half did not immediately replicate the action-packed nature of the first, but would contain a dramatic climax.
Jon Galligan saw a deflected shot easily gathered by Michael Wakefield soon after the break and Muir almost picked out the top right-hand corner of the opposite goal shortly after the hour mark, but that just served as the prelude to a thrilling climax.
Only two minutes of the regulation 90 remained when Lane picked up possession 35 yards from goal, slightly to the left of centre.
With nobody in front of him, he was afforded the time to sweetly strike the ball goalwards and his outstanding effort gently arced away from Wakefield’s despairing clutches before crashing in off the underside of the crossbar.
Lane was then replaced in the fourth minute of injury time by Anderson, although his manager was full of praise for the wonder strike, stating: “Gatesy normally does that. I thought it was him, but then I looked up and saw it was Laney and I couldn’t believe it!
“It was a great goal; it was unbelievable. The worst thing is that we haven’t got it on camera as the film ran out!”
The action wasn’t finished yet, though, as Kelvedon went in search of an equaliser and Cody nodded Semanshia’s cross marginally the wrong side of the upright.
The open spaces allowed Anderson to cap the victory in the fifth minute of added time, controlling the ball with his first touch of the match before guiding a shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
“It was a great final,” Connolly added. “Kelvedon are a good side and I think they’re the best in the competition other than us.
“Normally they try to play more football and maybe they tried to play us a bit more, but they still could’ve been two or three goals up at half time. They’re well organised and they’ve got some good players as well; I wouldn’t want to play them every week!”
Kelvedon Hatch: Michael Wakefield, Wayne Semanshia, Jack Munroe, Bill Munroe (James Burt 70), Daniel Tapper, Chris Neville, Garry Smith, Lee Cody, Lee Newton (Michael Daniels 70), Reiss Kingsley, Chris Muir. Unused subs: Ben Gardner, Jamie Southon.
Newbury Forest: Mark Parker, Alfie Egembah, Andrew Lane (Freddie Anderson 90+4), Danny Kenny, Alex Wallis, Nick Marrable, Jason Reynolds-Blanche, Bradley Gates, Toch Singh, Jon Galligan (Scotty Emmons 72), Matt Connolly (Shaun Harris 65). Unused subs Julian Pareja-Garcia, Matt Wallis.