Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Football: Thurrock players shine in Essex match

Hertfordshire 2-2 Essex, Thursday 9th February 2017, Kick-Off 7:45pm, The County Ground, East Anglian Counties Under 18s Championship.

Essex Under 18s were left to rue missed chances as Hertfordshire fought from two goals behind to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw at the County Ground in Letchworth.

The visitors had more than deservedly led 2-0 at the interval thanks to a debut goal from Emmanuel Banahene and a header from Kieran Gore. But, despite hitting the post three times as well as Gore finding the crossbar with another header, second-half strikes from Callum Steed and Tolo Shoewunmi claimed an unlikely share of the spoils for the home county.

In fact, it could’ve been worse for the away side as Hertfordshire’s Tariq Bakkali sprinted clear deep into stoppage time only to find the side netting with his finish. Following a bright opening, Essex hit the upright for the first time through Max Watters’ low drive.

They took the lead on the half-hour as England Schools international Watters cut a cross back for Banahene to stab in. Within a minute of grabbing the advantage, Banahene could’ve doubled the lead as he capitalised on a defensive slip to wriggle his way through, but saw his shot blocked. Gore nodded against the bar following a Watters corner, then made no mistake on 42 minutes when he headed in, this time from a Solomon Ogunwomoju flag kick.

On the stroke of half time, Essex goalkeeper Jai Lewis made his first real save of the evening as George Denman’s header was kept out. Seven minutes after the restart Essex struck the post again as Ogunwomoju twisted and turned before firing against the bottom of the far upright. However, on 55 minutes, the hosts pulled a goal back. The ball slipped from the grasp of ‘keeper Lewis and Steed slotted into an unguarded net.

It was Jayke Welch’s turn to hit the post next as he steered a Watters cross against the upright while, at the other end, Hertfordshire’s Bakkati ended a good run with a zipped shot just past the far post. Essex’s Ogunwomoju later burst into the area only to see his drive well blocked before the hosts levelled the contest on 83 minutes, Denman heading in from a Shoewunmi corner.

Into stoppage time, home ‘keeper Josh Mollinson made a good save to tip Watters’ shot wide and Toby Aromolaran saw an effort blocked before Harry Hart arrowed just wide. It was five minutes into the additional time that Bakkali found himself through on goal, but he fired off-target, saving Essex from falling to defeat in a match they’ll have felt they should’ve won.

Essex: Jai Lewis (Rowhedge/Brightlingsea Regent), Tyler Richardson (Shenfield High School), Sam Mvemba (AFC Hornchurch), Tom Dance (Hullbridge Sports), Kieran Gore (Thurrock), Harry Hart (Hullbridge Sports), Emmanuel Banahene (Tilbury), Toby Aromolaran (Tilbury), Solomon Ogunwomoju (Thurrock/Aveley), Godfrey Kambaza (AFC Hornchurch), Max Watters (Thurrock). Substitutes (repeated): Jayke Welch (Aveley), George Cox (Great Wakering Rovers), Reece Latimer (Hullbridge Sports).

Hertfordshire: Josh Mollinson (Hitchin Town), Dan Newton (St Albans City), Dan Heald (St Albans City), Rob Banks (Hitchin Town), Liam Huckle (Letchworth Garden City Eagles), Morgan Trotman (St Albans City), Callum Steed (Cheshunt), George Denman (Letchworth Garden City Eagles), Adam Perry (Hitchin Town), Tolo Shoewunmi (St Albans City), Cody-Lee Spavins (Hitchin Town). Substitutes (repeated): Lewis Castle (Hitchin Town), Archie Wilkinson (Hitchin Town), Tariq Bakkali (Hitchin Town).

Bookings: None:

Referee: Stewart Beekman (Bushey)

Assistant Referees: Tony Albon (Letchworth) and Grant Mulcahy (Stevenage).

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