No reward for Essex under-18s
PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 April 2017
Essex 1 Norfolk 4
A clinical opening 30 minutes saw Norfolk race into a 4-1 lead as they sealed the East Anglian Counties Under-18s Championship with victory over Essex at Coggeshall Town.
Connor Ingram scored a hat-trick for the visitors, who raced out of the blocks at The Crops and, while the remainder of the game was goalless, had already done enough to seal a fourth East Anglian title.
Very early chances were exchanged by both sides, with Ingram’s shot blocked by Essex goalkeeper Jai Lewis before the rebound was nodded off the line by Sam Mvemba.
Essex’s Harry Hart had a low, angled effort held by visiting ‘keeper Billy Johnson, but it took just seven minutes for Norfolk to take the lead as Ben Fowkes’ corner drifted to the back post, where Ingram stabbed home.
Three minutes later the lead was doubled, with Fowkes darting into the area and smashing into the roof of the net.
But Essex pulled a goal back on 18 minutes through Solomon Ogunwomoju, who nipped between a defender and Johnson to coolly side-foot into the net.
However, a ruthless Norfolk side, who only had to avoid defeat to lift the title, added a third with 23 minutes played as Ingram neatly controlled the ball and arrowed a low drive into the opposite corner.
Then with just 28 minutes on the clock, Ingram completed his treble, latching onto Will Sainsbury-Logan’s knockdown and poking home.
Essex were a little stunned by that start, but they did look for a way back into the game and a free kick from Hart saw Kieran Gore’s header tipped over the top by Johnson before, from the resulting Ogunwomoju corner, Mvemba nodded just wide at the far post.
An excellent run from Essex’s Toby Aromolaran then brought a good block from Johnson, with Godfrey Kambaza firing the loose ball over the top.
Three minutes prior to the break, Gore headed just wide for the home side following another Ogunwomoju corner and Mvemba nodded against the post and the ball was scrambled to safety.
But as is often the case with a high-scoring first period, the second half didn’t quite hit the same heights.
Aromolaran, on his 17th appearance for Essex, chipped a shot inches over the top on 65 minutes, before the last chance of the night saw midfielder Hart’s fierce drive nestle into the side netting.
It was a disappointing night for Essex, but the majority of the side has a swift opportunity to put it out of their minds as they travel with Essex Schools to take on Durham in nine days’ time to compete for the English Schools’ Inter-County Trophy at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena.
Essex: Jai Lewis (Rowhedge/Brightlingsea Regent), Tyler Richardson (Shenfield School), Sam Mvemba (Hornchurch), Kieran Gore (Thurrock), Olamiji Ayoola (Hornchurch), Harry Hart (Hullbridge Sports), Jayde Abraham (Hornchurch), Misha Djemaili (Hornchurch), Solomon Ogunwomoju (Thurrock/Aveley), Toby Aromolaran (Tilbury), Godfrey Kambaza (Hornchurch). Substitutes (repeated): Tom Dance (Hullbridge Sports), Ibrahim Ugradar (Hornchurch).
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