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Harold Wood Athletic edged out in cup final

PUBLISHED: 12:29 31 March 2017

Harold Wood Athletic face the camera at the Saturday Premier Cup final (pic ponderosapics.photoshelter.com)

Harold Wood Athletic face the camera at the Saturday Premier Cup final (pic ponderosapics.photoshelter.com)

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Catholic United 1 Harold Wood Athletic 0

Action from the Saturday Premier Cup final between Harold Wood Athletic and Catholic United (pic ponderosapics.photoshelter.com)Action from the Saturday Premier Cup final between Harold Wood Athletic and Catholic United (pic ponderosapics.photoshelter.com)

A goal on the stroke of half-time from Brad Vaughan sealed a first BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup title for Catholic United as Harold Wood Athletic were narrowly beaten in a cagey final at Thurrock’s Ship Lane ground.

Vaughan’s poacher’s finish meant Southend-on-Sea-based Catholic, from Division One of the ProKit UK Essex Olympian League, could finally eradicate memories of defeat at the final hurdle two years ago.

They lost 2-0 to Kelvedon Hatch that evening and boss James Paviour, who was also in charge in 2015, was delighted his side went on to lift the trophy this time around, saying: “We’re really buzzing at the moment!

“Nights like this don’t come around too often and we have a few lads involved who were with us two years ago, so it’s particularly pleasing for them.

“The club is doing well on all fronts right now and we want to win everything we enter. But for us the Premier Cup is the one we really want each year.”

Vaughan swept home the winner at the far post after the ball was flicked into his path and it proved decisive in a game of very few clear chances. “It was a set-piece goal in the end,” added Paviour. “But we battled hard, we were disciplined and I think we got what we deserved. We have some experienced heads in there and they really helped us through.”

While opportunities were at a premium, Catholic owed a debt of gratitude to goalkeeper Louis Godwin-Green, whose excellent second-half block from Danny Gillard kept his side in the lead.

“Our goalkeeper made a great save,” said Paviour, who was also quick to praise his opponents. “I thought they were superb. They were always a threat and that’s the case even more so when it’s only a 1-0 game and they were always in it. This is a great win for us.”

Wood remain without a Premier Cup title following their first final since 2006, when they lost on penalties to a Witham Town Reserves side containing singer Olly Murs.

And they may be left to reflect upon an early injury blow to playmaker Jordan Tolan who had to make way after only six minutes, but tricky forward Gillard remained a threat throughout.

Before being denied by Godwin-Green when through on goal in the second half, Gillard had already seen a fine, dipping first-half effort tipped over before twice coming close towards the end of the game, firstly testing the Catholic ‘keeper with a free kick before bending an effort off-target.

Brad Foley fired at Godwin-Green after a through pass from Liddiard but Catholic hit the angle of post and crossbar midway through the first half courtesy of David Collins’ rasping shot.

Catholic United: Louis Godwin-Green, Patrick Kearney, Mike Dean, Kevin Cole, Brad Vaughan, Dan Trenkel, Mike Sammut (Aaron Comerford, 90+2), Ellis Sands, Dan Williams, Thomas Kearney (Mark Reddaway, 73), David Collins (Carl Read, 75). Unused Substitutes: Craig Roberts, Ronnie Bridges.

Harold Wood Athletic: Greg Forster, Matthew Donovan, Johnie Offei, Jordan Tolan (Brad Foley, 6), Sean Crossley, Brian Suchley, Danny Driscoll, Stephen Reynolds (Charlie Liddiard, 58), Danny Gillard, Reiss Kingsley, Ade Onileyan. Unused Substitutes: Adam Dalby, Julian Ashby, Tom Rice.

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