A double from Peter Oyetunji and a late strike from Obi Molefi sealed a comfortable 3-0 win for Essex Under 18s over Hertfordshire in Round One of the FA County Youth Cup to set-up an intriguing visit to the Channel Islands in Round Two.
A first-ever meeting with Guernsey now awaits on 3rd November for Graham Hall’s side, who dominated the opening-round game throughout at Aveley’s Parkside stadium.
Skipper and central defender Jack McQueen and wide man Callum Fitzer were the Essex survivors from the side narrowly defeated by Sussex in the South-East Counties Championship Play-Off Final in May, with a new-look county side gelling from the outset.
Essex’s first opening arrived as early as 2 minutes into the game as debutant Jess Norey fired inches over the top from range before Oyetunji, a graduate from the Under 16s, brought an excellent stop from Hertfordshire goalkeeper William Sarchet with still ten minutes not played.
Sarchet made another good save to smother Oyetunji’s low drive, but he was helpless on 23 minutes as Oyetunji squeezed the ball past the custodian and inside the near post from an acute angle to hand the home side the lead.
It was an advantage Essex never looked like relinquishing and Oyetunji doubled the lead, and his tally, seven minutes after the interval, turning and firing a fine shot into the roof of the net.
AFC Hornchurch frontman Oyetunji stabbed just wide at the near post after a strong run as he just missed out on a hat-trick, but Essex weren’t denied a third as Molefi weaved into the penalty area with eight minutes remaining and slotted home to seal his side’s win.
The win means Essex travel to Guernsey for the first time, with the game set to take place at the Cycling Track, a few miles from the island’s capital St Peter Port.
Essex: Josh Harrison (Concord Rangers) (Lorcan Morrissey [Hullbridge Sports], 86), Harvey Jolliffe (Shenfield School), Jay Bacon (Romford), Tom Troubridge (Bowers & Pitsea), Jack McQueen (Barking), Tyler Caverner (Billericay Town) (Bleron Ademi [Romford], 73), Callum Fitzer (Bowers & Pitsea), Sofian Megherz (Romford) (Ramzi Mahmoudi [Romford], 79), Peter Oyetunji (AFC Hornchurch), Jess Norey (Romford), Obi Molefi (AFC Hornchurch).
Hertfordshire: William Sarchet (Pro: Direct Onslow), Connor La Pain (Real Stortford), Marcus Cesvette (Knights Templar), Joel Gubb (Real Stortford), Kucas Preston (Leverstock Green), Louis Benson (Stevenage Borough Juniors), Jack Walker (Bishop’s Stortford), Max Jessop (Bishop’s Stortford), Sharez Daley (Real Stortford), Lawrence Ajong (Ware), Freeman Nyakumbi (Hitchin Town). Substitutes: Lewis Wicker (Bishop’s Stortford), Will Skingley (Real Stortford), Louie Johnson (Bishop’s Stortford), Sam Law (Real Stortford), Harry Hunter (Cockfosters).
Referee: Joshua Smith (Tunbridge Wells).
Assistant Referees: Tommy Green (London) and Douglas Osbourne (London).