Waltham Forest scored three second-half goals to come from behind and spring a surprise to lift the Essex Sunday Veterans Cup for the very first time.
Vincitori, already crowned champions of the Southend Borough Combination, looked set for a 36th consecutive victory in all competitions when they led through Mark Bellingham’s first-half goal. But Forest had other ideas as they became the first Garston Veterans League side to win the Essex County Cup thanks to Adar Turgut and a brace from Sezai Tasci.
“That’s what we do! We like coming from behind,” remarked Player-Boss Ismet Turkoglu after the game. “In the Semi-Final we did the same thing. We were 1-0 down and we came back, so it has become our team idea, our own special thing! We seem to play better after going behind. We are largely a Turkish side with a few Kurdish and one Romanian.”
“We used to play on Hackney Marshes and, a year ago, I joined this team and I’ve tried to bring my old friends in. We used to play football together at different levels,” explained Ismet of his side who have become the first from outside the Southend Borough Combination to lift the Sunday Veterans Cup. “I know we are outsiders a little from where the other teams are from, but we’ve done it and we’re pleased to be the first ones!”
It was Vincitori who enjoyed the best of the first half and Goalkeeper-Boss Turkoglu had to push a Scott Randall free kick over the top and Bellingham struck the foot of a post before Vincitori’s pressure told with a 34th-minute opener. Bellingham coolly swept a left-flank cross into the far bottom corner.
Bellingham twice came close to extending Vincitori’s lead. Firstly he lobbed a shot onto the crossbar with Randall’s rebound nodded of the goal line before Turkolglu did well to block the same player’s drive. As Waltham Forest grew in confidence, Tasco saw a dipping effort drop just over the top before they equalised on the hour mark. Captain Turgut drove forward and fired a low, angled shot inside the far post.
Forest hauled themselves ahead on 76 minutes when Tasci nodded in and the win was sealed two minutes from time as Tasci ran through on goal before clipping a fine finish beyond ‘keeper Matthew Denton. There was still time for Vincitori’s Gavin Miller to rattle the bar from range but, as the rebound flashed high, it was Waltham Forest’s time to celebrate.
There was a special toast, too. Only in October, the club’s chairman, Turgut Esendagli, suddenly passed away. Boss Ismet was quick to honour the win to their late chairman, explaining: “Each game we have been playing for Turgut, and for his memory. He was a good character and a lovely personality and every game we have played in this competition we have given to him. We’ve done it, Mr Turgut!”
Vincitori: Matthew Denton, Daniel Endean, Jacob Chilton, Carl Baldwin, Sam McCarthy, Gavin Miller, Darren Ellis, Daniel Marsh, Scott Randall, Christopher McNaney, Mark Bellingham. Substitutes (repeated): Dean Martin, Adrian Smith, David Jahngir, Andrew Waghorne, Mark Woodward.
Waltham Forest: Ismet Turkoglu, Besir Arasan, Kazim Aslam, Nic Catoun, Baki Suruk, Hehmet Balta, Unal Kuksal, Adar Turgut, Ferhat Yavuz, Hidir Aslan, Sezai Tasci. Substitutes (repeated): Levent Kocagul, Serkan Zorlukol, Ramazan Topal, Huseyin Yesildag.
Referee: Brett Grant (Castle Point).
Assistant Referees: Matthew Davis (Southend-on-Sea) and Adrian Rogers (Rochford).
Fourth Official: Kevin Curran (Southend-on-Sea).