Smith double gives Urchins Essex Senior Cup glory
- Credit: Archant
Essex Senior Cup Final: Grays Athletic 1 AFC Hornchurch 2
Lewis Smith’s double helped Hornchurch claim Essex bragging rights as the Urchins got their hands on the Essex Senior Cup for the first time since 2007 with a 2-1 victory over Ryman One North champions Grays Athletic.
Smith was the villain on Saturday as he saw red for a two footed lunge in the first half of their 2-1 home defeat to Truro but turned matchwinner tonight in front of a strong 1,053 crowd at Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road ground.
The game took a while to get going but exploded into life in the second half with Jared Small firing Grays in front on 61 minutes before Smith levelled a minute later.
Chris Bourne looked the liveliest threat for the Urchins all night down the left and he firstly shot well wide after 17 minutes before forcing Grays goalkeeper Lemar Johnson to tip an effort behind.
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Slowly the game began to up in tempo and Lewis Smith fizzed a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar, while Hornchurch goalkeeper Joe Woolley watched Danny Bunce’s 25 yard strike sail over the bar.
Martin Tuohy almost put the Urchins in front when he just failed to get a touch on Reiss Noel’s fluffed shot from Michael Spencer’s short corner.
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After the break things began to liven up and Tuohy wasted another good opportunity after 49 minutes when he beat the offside trap but blazed over from 10 yards out with just Johnson to beat.
Bourne once again showed too much pace for Grays right back Craig Pope on the hour mark and he bore down on goal only to see his effort go just over the bar.
And three minutes later the Blues took the lead when Craig Pope’s ball into the box was headed goalwards by Jared Small and despite the best efforts of Woolley it crept into the net.
The response was almost immediate though from the Urchins as a throughball found Smith in space on the right hand side of the area and he drilled an effort past Johnson.
Hornchurch were definitely enjoying much more of the ball and it was no surprise when they took the lead as Tuohy found strike partner Smith who fired low across goal and past Johnson again with 12 minutes left on the clock.
In stoppage time Grays thought they had levelled when substitute Joe Sweeney tapped in but was adjudged to have been offside and with it went the Blues hopes.
AFC Hornchurch: Woolley, Love, Bentley, Noel, Styles, Spencer, Eyong (Glover 82), Curley, Bourne, Smith, Tuohy (Gray 88).
Unused substitutes: Sawyer, Piper.