Inter-County Trophy joy for Essex Schools
PUBLISHED: 16:58 12 May 2017
Under-18s lift silverware at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena
Goals from Barking Abbey’s Solomon Ogunwomoju and Godfrey Kambaza sealed national success for Essex Schools as Durham were defeated in the Under 18s Inter-County Trophy Final at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena.
Kambaza’s winner came just two minutes into extra time after the tie had been locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Durham grabbing an equaliser through Jayven Redman five minutes from time after Essex had led from the fourth minute.
It was a first Inter-County Trophy win for long-standing boss Graham Hall’s side since 2012, having reached the final following wins over Sussex, West Midlands and Hampshire.
In what proved to be a keenly contested encounter, Durham’s Tom Joyce had already tested Essex goalkeeper Ibrahim Ugradar with a header before Ogunwomoju handed his side the lead.
An excellent run from Toby Aromolaran found the Abbey forward, who turned sharply and fired a slightly deflected, angled shot inside the far post.
With the game still in its early stages, a corner from Essex’s Jayde Abraham saw Kieran Gore head just wide, then another Abraham flag kick found Ogunwomoju, who stabbed an effort into the gloves of Durham keeper Kieran Stoker.
Durham’s Nathan Kett then fired wide from range and an accurate cut back from Essex’s Sam Mvemba enabled Ogunwomoju to loop a header which was tipped over the top by Stoker. From the second ensuing Abraham corner, Gore headed just over the top.
Essex goalkeeper Ugradar made a sharp reaction save after Andrei Ardelean’s strike was diverted towards goal by Dan Maddison, but the last opening of the first half arrived as a good ball from Ogunwomoju found Shenfield High’s Max Watters, who flashed his strike too high.
Two similar chances went Essex’s way early in the second period as Aromolaran burst into the penalty and slipped a shot into the side netting at the near post, before Watters won the ball on halfway and ran 50 yards to arrow a shot across the face of goal.
As they looked to level, Durham’s Aaron Duell saw a dipper drop just over the top after Redmen’s corner was only half cleared.
But Essex were keen to settle the game and a decent Stoker chance brought a fine save from Kambaza’s header following a Watters centre and then two more opportunities presented themselves inside a matter of moments.
A good Ogunwomoju run culminated in Tyler Richardson seeing his effort blocked prior to an excellent Watters run seeing a low ball zip across the face of goal and just evade Ogunwomoju at the far post.
Durham perhaps sensed a let-off and took full advantage as they levelled on 85 minutes when a ball forward was flicked into the path of Redman, who steadied himself before finishing well past Ugradar to take the tie to extra time.
But only two minutes into the additional period, Essex galvanised themselves to find a winner as Misha Djemaili’s neat pass found Kambaza, who rifled home from 25 yards.
A resolute rearguard restricted Durham after that and they could’ve added a third, with Ogunwomoju’s angled attempt well held by Stoker as Essex saw out victory.
Essex: Ibrahim Ugradar (Barking Abbey), Nathan Douglas (Barking Abbey), Sam Mvemba (Barking Abbey), Kieran Gore (Shenfield), Olamiji Ayoola (Barking Abbey), Harry Hart (Plume), Jayde Abraham (Barking Abbey), Misha Djemaili (Barking Abbey), Solomon Ogunwomoju (Barking Abbey), Toby Aromolaran (Harris Academy), Max Watters (Shenfield). Substitutes (repeated): Jai Lewis (Colne Community College), Tyler Richardson (Shenfield), Jesse Amoh (Harris Academy), Godfrey Kambaza (Barking Abbey), Darnell Bromfield (Barking Abbey).