Football: Little Thurrock go down in Veterans Cup

Essex Veterans Cup

Hutton Old Boys 4 v 2 Little Thurrock Dynamos

HUTTON Old Boys withstood a second half fight back from holders Little Thurrock Dynamos to seal a first-ever Essex Saturday Veterans Cup success at Maldon & Tiptree’s Wallace Binder Ground.

Hutton had led 3-0 at the interval thanks to goals from Leli Bajada, Michael Gonzague and Trevor Paul, but they were left to cling onto a slender advantage as two goals in as many minutes from Dave Moran and Paul Cobb hauled Little Thurrock back into the contest mid-way through the second half.

“We were certainly made to work for it in the end!” said relieved boss Jason Holloway after the game. “Little Thurrock deserve credit for the way they came back into the game, but equally I think it was the kick we needed to the second half and we repelled them well after that. We scored some great goals, and we can do that.”

“We always start matches quickly and it’s proved to be enough to see us through. The County Cup was the one thing we hadn’t won and we’ve completed our goal of completing the set – it’s taken us just five years from formation to do it and I’m delighted. I’m going to step away from the manager’s role at the end of the season on a high, now. I’ll still be involved in the background, but will let one of the boys take the reins.”

It was a game packed with impressive strikes and Holloway was delighted with the style in which his side took an ultimately unassailable interval lead. Having led their first four Veterans Cup games 3-0, 3-0, 3-0 and 2-0 at the break, it was almost expected that Hutton would race into another big half time advantage.

The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes as former Arsenal winger Michael Black pulled the ball back for Bajada to poke in from close range. Tall defender Gonzague doubled the lead with 32 played as he rose at the back post to nod Troy Braham’s free kick into the far corner. It was quickly 3-0 within four minutes courtesy of a fine move which culminated in Bajada teeing-up Paul to neatly side-foot home from 15 yards.

Little Thurrock weren’t there to surrender their crown lightly, though, and they fired a warning shot as Terry Hornsby flashed an angled effort inches over the top before two stunning goals pulled them back into the tie.

With 66 minutes gone, Moran found time and space on the edge of the penalty area before sending a fine dipping shot into the far corner. Less than a minute had then passed when Cobb smashed a superb effort in off the underside of the bar to set-up a tense finale.

The closest Little Thurrock came to forcing an extra period was another Hornsby chance but, with just three minutes remaining, he found the gloves of Hutton goalkeeper Craig Daniell who not only clutched onto the chance, but also sealed the victory for his side.

Hutton Old Boys: Craig Daniell, Darren Hall, Paul Golby, Ray Coker, Warren McPhee, Michael Gonzague, Michael Black, Paul Linger, Leli Bajada, Trevor Paul, Troy Braham. Substitutes (repeated): Stuart Hibberd, Andy Polston, Lee Berry, Kevin McTasney, Bhekilshe Mlolshwa.

Little Thurrock Dynamos: Marc Baker, Tony Munden, Terry Epstein, Paul Relf, Steve Russell, Gary Lynch, Mick Mills, Dave Moran, Jason McNaney, Terry Hornsby, Paul Cobb. Substitutes (repeated): Paul Cornthwaite, Michael Arnold, Wayne Gannon, James Lake, Gary Waters.

Bookings: Hutton: Bajada (18, foul), Linger (90+2, foul). Little Thurrock: Hornsby (16, foul), McNaney (32, foul), Cornthwaite (63, foul), Russell (71, foul).

Referee: Rob Eubel (Harlow).

Assistant Referees: Graham Dorrington (Benfleet) and Sean Burnett (Basildon).

Fourth Official: Martin Quinn (Ilford).

Attendance: 81.

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