Click here to see all the official action images from this match at www.dephoto.biz/essexfa.
Two goals from Nathan Sollosi and Suleyman Zuhdu, following Keaton Moore’s opener, saw Buckhurst Hill retain the BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup with a 5-1 win over Catholic United, who grabbed an excellent second half consolation through Jamie Salmon.
It was a repeat of 2018’s final between the ProKit UK Essex Olympian League’s two in-form teams, with Hill’s 2-0 win twelve months ago meaning the side led by boss Mark Williams became the first club to win back-to-back Premier Cups since its inception in 2002.
“We live on this moment now, it’s a fantastic result and I’m very happy!” said boss Williams after the game, with his side also looking very well set for an Olympian Premier Division title to back-up last year’s Division One success.
“We’ve played two league games against them [Catholic] and they’ve been really close, with nothing between us, so to get a result like that - winning 5-1 - is unbelievable. To do a ‘double double’ is unbelievable, but it’s a case of where we can go from there.”
Four-time Premier Cup finalists, and last season’s Olympian League champions, Catholic United are a good side on the back of a long winning streak rivalling that of Buckhurst Hill’s, so boss Williams was pleased with his side’s showing after a slightly tentative start.
“I thought they had the better of the first 10 minutes,” reflected Mark. “We were quite nervous and we nearly let them in a couple of times. Then we took two chances really well and could’ve had a third, but both goalkeepers were phenomenal. I rate both of them as the two of the best in the league.”
“We know from last year’s final that [Catholic goalkeeper] Louis Godwin-Green’s such a hard ‘keeper to beat and he’s done that again tonight. Dan’s [Blockley] matched him before half time and that was crucial. At half time I knew they’d have a good spell and they had that. To be honest, when we scored our fourth it was against the run of play. But, once we settled, it could’ve been more.”
It was Catholic who came close to an early lead when Tony Jacobs blocked a clearance from ‘keeper Blockley and Josh Addinall cleared off the goal line. Buckhurst then came close as William Wells rifled inches wide. They took the lead on 11 minutes as Moore headed in Sam Sollosi’s cross.
Tom Hollingsworth shot just over the top as Catholic looked for an early leveller and Godwin-Green made a brilliant save low to his left at the other end to push Steven Townsend’s shot wide. It was then the turn of Blockley to make a fine save as he tipped over the top from Catholic’s Salmon.
Hill’s lead was doubled on 32 minutes. Sam Sollosi capitalised on a defensive slip to tee-up Nathan Sollosi, who slotted in. Godwin-Green made another good stop to block Addinall’s fierce drive, but Buckhurst Hill added a third in first-half stoppage time as Zuhdu broke clear and arrowed a shot into the far corner.
Somehow Catholic didn’t claw a goal back shortly after the restart as the ball bounced around the penalty area before Aaron Baldwin scooped just over the top. Thomas Kearney angled a shot just wide for Catholic just after the hour, but the tie was sealed with a fourth for Hill on 65 minutes, as Zuhdu sprinted through and slotted home his second.
Number five soon followed three minutes later. Godwin-Green made another fine save to tip over Townsend’s shot but, from the resulting Sam Sollosi corner, Nathan Sollosi headed in. Possibly the goal of the night was later reserved for Catholic as a headed clearance dropped to Salmon, who lobbed in an excellent finish from 30 yards with 18 minutes remaining.
Buckhurst Hill: Daniel Blockley, Liam Foster, Keaton Moore, Alfie Harris, William Wells, Josh Addinall, Sam Sollosi, Josh Banfield, Steven Townsend, Suleyman Zuhdu, Nathan Sollosi. Substitutes: Frank Glock, James Sacre, Sonny Shilling, Fehinti Falola, Jonah Gregory.
Catholic United: Louis Godwin-Green, Patrick Kearney, Louis Robinson, Bradley Vaughan, Thomas Kearney, Max Kent, Aaron Baldwin, Tony Jacobs, Mike Sammut, Tom Hollingsworth, Jamie Salmon. Substitutes (repeated): Mark Baptist, Franklin Craik, Dan Trenkel, Ellis Sands, Billy Ebbles.
Referee: Ayrton Hursey (Colchester).
Assistant Referees: Craig Charles (Harlow) and Robert Collins (Southend-on-Sea).
Fourth Official: Kevin Nicholson (Havering).