Essex Saturday Veterans Cup Final.
Heath Park 1 v 2 Little Thurrock Dynamos,
By Mark Wallis
A late strike from Paul Cobb clinched the Essex Saturday Veterans Cup for Little Thurrock Dynamos as Heath Park were narrowly edged-out, 2-1, at Heybridge Swifts FC’s Scraley Road home.
After many of the Little Thurrock squad having also won the competition with Ockendon twelve months earlier, Cobb’s intervention proved a timely one as his team mates were left to celebrate a second successive title.
The victory was particularly sweet for boss Micky Phillips who, having taken charge of the side part-way through the campaign, was savouring his first triumph as Manager. He was understandably pleased afterwards reacting: “I’m well chuffed! All trophies are good, but to win one as manager is even more special.”
“We knew Heath Park would be a decent side, and they certainly had the better of the first 15-20 minutes where they were first to everything. I thought they ran out of puff a little as the game went on, which saw us create a lot of chances. But not everything fell for us. We were really pleased to grab it at the end and Paul Cobb is adamant he’s claiming that goal! I thought we deserved it in the end, though. We’re all delighted with the result.”
There was a bright start to the evening for Heath Park, who play two divisions beneath Little Thurrock in the Essex Veterans League. Vinnie Webster’s superb 35-yard effort required a fine save from Little Thurrock goalkeeper Marc Baker, who pushed over the top. Moments later Baker was on hand again to knock Danny Henwood’s low effort around the post.
Two quickfire chances in response for Little Thurrock saw a good interchange between Dave Moran and Micky Arnold denied by a fine Billy Wilson block before Cobb hit an angled shot against the outside of the near post.
Moran squandered the best opportunity of the first half for Little Thurrock when he overran the ball into the grateful gloves of Heath Park ‘keeper Paul Mundy having been played clean through on goal before a further let off for Park saw the post keep out a Tony Munden cross which took a wicked deflection off Lee Fulling.
The deadlock was broken six minutes after the interval, Little Thurrock taking the lead after a free kick was half-cleared into the path of Mick Mills who drove a deflected effort into the bottom corner from 15 yards. Heath Park levelled within seven minutes, however, as Webster’s free kick was spilled by Baker and Sam Marks slotted home the loose ball.
Derek Wood’s spectacular half-volley then cannoned off the underside of the crossbar for Little Thurrock before ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man Cobb grabbed the crucial goal four minutes from time. He volleyed beyond Mundy with the ball crossing the line before being eventually scrambled into the net to make sure.
Heath Park: Paul Mundy, Neil Homes, Lee Riley, Allen Wilkins, Billy Wilson, Trevor Riley, Daniel Imray, Danny Henwood, Lee Fulling, Paul Hayes, Vinnie Webster. Substitutes (repeated): Robbie Carrington, Darren Galvin-Law, John Roberts, Sam Marks, Paul Phipps.
Little Thurrock Dynamos: Marc Baker, Tony Munden, Gary Lynch, Paul Cornthwaite, Micky Arnold, Paul Cobb, Terry Hornsby, Mick Mills, Terry Epstein, Dave Moran, Jason McNaney. Substitutes (repeated): Tony Brown, Lee Jolliffe, Terry Foy, Derek Wood, Paul King.
Referee: Martin Osborne (Leigh-on-Sea).
Assistant Referees: Keith Ross (Braintree) and Nicholas Hodges (Hornchurch).
Fourth Official: Thomas Bullard (Chelmsford).