Essex Under 16s finished their South East Counties Championship with a defeat to London, but they enjoyed an entertaining contest at Aveley FC’s Parkside home.
London led through Tafari Jalil despite an even first half, but Essex levelled after the break thanks to Tayeeb Elegushi. The visitors scored twice in four minutes to go two goals clear - with Mo Deen and Jack Gemmal on target - but a fine finish from Toki Hassan pulled Essex back into the contest. London held on to record a second straight win.
Early openings went the way of the home side. Two debutants combined as Louis Hunt’s free kick was turned just wide by Sonny Dutton before Elegushi’s dipping shot was well held by London goalkeeper Tommy Kemp.
Kemp then made a good save to keep out another Essex debutant, Torgbor Torto-Tetteh, before Kemp’s twin brother Harry made a good run down the left flank and saw his centre flash across goal, just evading Deen. The away side then grabbed the lead on 23 minutes, Jalil twisting and turning inside the six-yard box before curling a shot into the far corner.
Deen also fired inches over the top for the away side as they looked to extend their advantage before the break. 15 minutes into the second period, Essex grabbed an equaliser. Elegushi ran into the area and finished well into the corner.
London quickly restored their lead, though. Essex ‘keeper Ted Cattini had already beaten away Josiah Jones’ effort at the near post prior to Jalil’s shot bouncing off the upright and falling perfectly for Deen to fire in the rebound. On 61 minutes, it was 3-1. Gemmal found space and chipped a good finish in off the far post.
Perseverance from London’s Deen saw an angled shot zip inches wide before an Essex throw-in was flicked on to Elegushi, who drilled a half-volley into the side netting at the near post. Essex pulled a goal back with eleven minutes left when Hassan curled an excellent effort into the top corner from long range. However, the last chance went to London as Palace Francis brought an excellent save from Cattini. The visitors came away with the victory.
Essex: Ted Cattini (Thurrock), Donnell Ofori (Palmer Catholic Academy), Peter Monkwenye (St Bonaventure’s School), Marlon Stratford (Billericay Town), Thomas Duffy (Billericay Town), Aaron Harney (Kingsford School), Torgbor Torto-Tetteh (AFC Hornchurch), Sonny Dutton (AFC Hornchurch), Josh Junaid (Brampton Manor Academy), Louis Hunt (Belfairs Academy), Tayeeb Elegushi (St Edward’s School). Substitutes (repeated): Josh Okpa (Barking), Toki Hassan (Chelmsford City), Jack Hauser (Billericay Town), Byron Humbles (Billericay Town).
London: Tommy Kemp (Cray Valley), Harry Kemp (Cray Valley), Ernest Turay (Bromley), Ben Marus (Carshalton Athletic), Josh Crispin (Glebe), Cole Glazebrook (Cray Valley), Palace Francis (Total Development), Kai George (Glebe), Tafari Jalil (Fisher), Josiah Jones (Cray Valley), Mo Deen (Cray Valley). Substitutes (repeated): Jack Gemmal (Fisher), Ladi Ogunmekan (Cray Valley), Kareem Gbajabiamila (Dulwich Hamlet).
Referee: Sam Wigington (Stanford-le-Hope).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Crossley (Upminster) and Mihai Dan (Ilford).