Friday, December 9, 2022

Football: Grays Ath go down fighting in the Essex Senior Cup Final

Essex Senior Cup Final

AFC Hornchurch 2 v 1 Grays Athletic

CONFERENCE South outfit, AFC Hornchurch produced a classy performance to beat Ryman Div One North champions Grays Athletic 2-1 in the 120th Essex Senior Cup final.

The first chance of the half came to Grays. In the 4th minute, Danny Bunce sent in a cross, Jack West turned neatly in the box but former Thurrock keeper Joe Woolley did well to smother the ball.

From the start, Kenny Beaney, dominated possession in the middle, like he has done for the whole season.

Grays forced the pressure with early corners and free kicks but Hornchurch seemed to have them contained, which was understandable as they were two leagues above Grays (for now).

But certainly, the footwork and speed of players such as Chris Bourne and Michael Spencer showed the difference.

In the 20th minute, Lewis Smith impressed as he cut in from the left in the area but his shot went wide.

And at the other end, Grays produced great one touch play which produced a fine shot from Danny Bunce that also whistled over.

Hornchurch started to dominate. Spencer shot towards goal and Martin Tuohy was unlucky not to make contact from a few yards out.

But Grays held their nerve. Again, despite corners and shots, Joe Wooley looked hardly threatened.

Grays came out for the second half knowing that they had to be sharper and faster.

Tambeson Eyong looked very sharp as he started to produce his rampaging runs. Martin Tuohy was thankful the assistant referee flagged him offside after a dreadful miss from two yards.

What was being highlighted was how good a keeper, Lamar Johnson was. Not a tall keeper but he was dominating his area and showing perfect timing.

Grays went into the lead on the hour when Danny Bunce sneaked a ball into the six yard box and Jared Small, stabbed the ball home.

Hornchurch reacted immediately and a strong run by Lewis Smith saw him fire the ball hard and low into the net.

The game was starting to open up but the Grays flanks started to look a little bit stretched.

Tuohy shot point blank at Johnson as it looked like just a matter of time.

Boss Hakan Hayrettin became very frustrated with Danny Bunce and replaced him with Joe Sweeney. But in the 78th minute, Louis Smith showed he was the difference between the two teams as he again cut in from the right and struck the ball past Lamar Johnson.

Hornchurch held on and deservedly won the cup. Grays boss was magnanimous in defeat and knowing Hakan he will have gone home thinking of what needs to be done to not only survive but thrive in the Ryman Premier.

Att: 1,053

Grays Ath: Johnson L, Pope C, Kirby R, Baker J, Flynn L, Carlos J, Lalite L, Beaney K, (Bunce D 75) Sweeney J, Small J (Subola D 80), West J ( Moses B 80)

Subs not used: Kamurisi G, East D

AFC Hornchurch: Woolley J, Love J, Bentley A, Noel R, Styles E, Spencer M, Eyong T (Glover S 80), Curley F, Tuohy M (Gray W 85), Smith L, Bourne C.

Subs not used:, Sawyer L, Piper J

Referee: Keith Yeo (Aveley). Assistants: Anthony Pope (Braintree), James Whittaker (Harlow).
4th Official: Adam Crysell (Braintree).

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