Football: Thurrock player shine in Essex victory in English schools final

Essex FA

Essex 2-1 Durham, Saturday 29th April 2017, Kick-Off 4:00pm, Ricoh Arena, English Schools Under 18s Inter-County Trophy Final.

Goals from Solomon Ogunwomoju and Godfrey Kambaza sealed national success for Essex Schools as Durham were defeated in the Under 18s Inter-County Trophy Final at Coventry’s City FC’s Ricoh Arena.

Kambaza’s winner came just two minutes into extra time after the tie had been locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Durham grabbing an equaliser through Jayven Redman five minutes from time after Essex had led from the 4th minute. It was a first Inter-County Trophy win for long-standing boss Graham Hall’s side since 2012, who reached the final following wins over Sussex, West Midlands and Hampshire.

In what proved to be a keenly contested encounter, Durham’s Tom Joyce had already tested Essex goalkeeper Ibrahim Ugradar with a header before Ogunwomoju handed his side the lead on just 4 minutes. An excellent run from Toby Aromolaran found the Barking Abbey forward, who turned sharply and fired a slightly deflected, angled shot inside the far post.

With the game still in its early stages, a corner from Essex’s Jayde Abraham saw Kieran Gore head just wide, then another Abraham flag kick found Ogunwomoju, who stabbed an effort into the gloves of Durham ‘keeper Kieran Stoker.

Durham’s Nathan Kett then fired wide from range and an accurate cut back from Essex’s Sam Mvemba enabled Ogunwomoju to loop a header which was tipped over the top by Stoker. From the second ensuing Abraham corner, Gore headed just over the top.

Essex goalkeeper Ugradar made a sharp reaction save after Andrei Ardelean’s strike was diverted towards goal by Dan Maddison, but the last opening of the first half arrived as a good ball from Ogunwomoju found Max Watters, who flashed his strike too high. Two similar chances went Essex’s way early in the second period.

Firstly, Aromolaran burst into the penalty and slipped a shot into the side netting at the near post, then Watters won the ball on the halfway line before running 50 yards and arrowing his across the face of goal. As they looked to level the final, Durham’s Aaron Duell saw a dipper drop just over the top after Redmen’s corner was only half cleared.

But Essex were keen to settle the game. A decent Stoker chance brought a fine save from Kambaza’s header following a Watters centre and then two more opportunities presented themselves inside a matter of moments. A good Ogunwomoju run culminated in Tyler Richardson seeing his effort blocked prior to an excellent Watters run seeing a low ball zip across the face of goal and just evade Ogunwomoju at the far post.

Durham perhaps sensed a let-off and took full advantage as they levelled on 85 minutes. A ball forward was flicked into the path of Redman, who steadied himself before finishing well past Ugradar to take the tie to extra time.

Only two minutes into the additional period, Essex galvanised themselves to find a winner as Misha Djemaili’s neat pass found Kambaza, who rifled home from 25 yards. A resolute Essex rearguard restricted Durham after that and they could’ve added a third, with Ogunwomoju’s angled attempt well held by Stoker as Essex saw out victory.

Essex: Ibrahim Ugradar (Barking Abbey), Nathan Douglas (Barking Abbey), Sam Mvemba (Barking Abbey), Kieran Gore (Shenfield), Olamiji Ayoola (Barking Abbey), Harry Hart (Plume), Jayde Abraham (Barking Abbey), Misha Djemaili (Barking Abbey), Solomon Ogunwomoju (Barking Abbey), Toby Aromolaran (Harris Academy), Max Watters (Shenfield). Substitutes (repeated): Jai Lewis (Colne Community College), Tyler Richardson (Shenfield), Jesse Amoh (Harris Academy), Godfrey Kambaza (Barking Abbey), Darnell Bromfield (Barking Abbey).

Durham: Kieran Stoker (Sunderland College), Fraser Colling (Sunderland College), Callum Webster (Carmel College), Nathan Kett (QE College), Tom Joyce (St Thomas More RC), Dan Mitchell (St Aidan’s Catholic Academy), Billy Hall (St Bede’s RC), Adam Little (St Bede’s RC), Andrei Ardelean (New College), Jayven Redmen (Sunderland College), Dan Maddison (St Joseph’s Catholic Academy). Substitutes (repeated): Jak Hanson (Gateshead College), Kyle Davidson (Carmel College), Sam Steele (Sunderland College), Aaron Duell (Monkwearmouth), Callum Smith (East Durham College).

Bookings: Durham: Steele (80, foul).

Referee: Alex Harris.

Assistant Referees: Dan Andrews and Alex Perkin.

Fourth Official: Connor Jukes.

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