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Essex under-18s on cloud nine

PUBLISHED: 16:52 12 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:52 12 October 2015

Essex under-18s face the camera at Dagenham & Redbridge's Victoria Road ground (pic: essexfa.com)

Essex under-18s face the camera at Dagenham & Redbridge's Victoria Road ground (pic: essexfa.com)

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FA County Youth Cup: Essex 9 Somerset 2

Essex under-18s were comfortable winners over Somerset at Victoria Road (pic: essexfa.com)Essex under-18s were comfortable winners over Somerset at Victoria Road (pic: essexfa.com)

Essex under-18s safely progressed to round two of the FA County Youth Cup as Somerset were swept aside at Dagenham & Redbridge FC’s Chigwell Construction Stadium.

There was a hat-trick for Hornchurch’s Matthew Bentley as the home side hit nine goals en route to their second biggest win in the national knockout competition, following a 9-0 triumph over Oxfordshire 19-years ago.

The result was seemingly confirmed with only eight minutes played as Essex raced into a three-goal lead, but Somerset did respond through Charlie White before two goals late in the first half put the tie beyond doubt.

Essex added another three quick strikes after the interval with the ninth coming nine minutes from time. It was Somerset who had the last say, though, as George Atwell curled home a fine free kick in the dying stages.

The perfect start saw Essex take the lead within 90 seconds as Jamie Price fired a low effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

It was 2-0 with six minutes played when Tarryn Allarakhia’s corner was cleared and a cross swung in for skipper Lee Green to side-foot into the net from close range.

The third goal came just two minutes later as Regan Mead’s run brought a ball cut back to Bentley, who fired home via the underside of the crossbar.

Somerset goalkeeper Owen Knight then made the first of a number of fine saves to keep out Solomon Ogunwomoji before, with Essex temporarily down to ten men due to injury, the visitors pulled a goal back thanks to a fine run and low finish from White.

Knight then made another impressive stop from Ogunwomoji before the resulting corner brought a brilliant block from substitute Joe O’Hare as a header was tipped over the crossbar.

There was nothing Knight could do about Essex’s well-worked fourth goal on 39 minutes, however, as a superb passing move was finished by Bentley who curled into the bottom corner.

But moments later the keeper was on hand to deny Bentley his treble with a great diving stop.

Nevertheless, with three minutes still to play until half time, Essex added a fifth as Bentley teed up O’Hare to poke home from close range.

Ruthless Essex didn’t let up after the interval and added a sixth within two minutes as Bentley completed his hat-trick, steering the ball into the far corner from a most acute angle.

A seventh arrived on 49 minutes courtesy of another fine finish from O’Hare and Ogunwomoji then got himself on the score sheet with Essex’s eighth as he side-footed home from O’Hare’s neat pull back.

A spirited display from Knight kept Essex at bay for another 30 minutes, but a ninth arrived with 81 minutes played as substitute Tom Howe broke into the penalty area before arrowing a shot into the bottom corner.

A lot of credit must be handed to Somerset who continued to seek a way through and they were rewarded on 90 minutes when Atwell found the top corner with a sublime free kick.

The visitors could’ve added another in stoppage time only for Kofi Martin to be denied on the goalline.

Essex now face another home tie, with Berks & Bucks the visitors.

Essex: Joe Bowles (Hornchurch), Regan Mead (Tilbury), Oliver Hanlon (Tilbury), Lee Green (Halstead Town), George O’Connor (Hornchurch), Jamie Price (East Thurrock), Lewis Jaggs (Tilbury), Tarryn Allarakhia (Aveley) (sub Callum Hubble, Shenfield School 55), Solomon Ogunwomoji (Aveley) (sub Tom Howe, Shenfield School 55), Max Watters (Shenfield School) (sub Joe O’Hare, Chelmsford City 31), Matthew Bentley (Hornchurch). Unused subs: James Alborough (Brentwood Town), Adam Topley (Concord Rangers).

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