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Ongar Jubilee Under 21s’ fabulous season continued as ProKit UK Essex Olympian League success was backed-up with an Essex Saturday Junior Trophy Final win over Harold Hill on a busy Friday night at Aveley FC’s Parkside stadium.
A crowd in excess of 300 turned up under the lights to see goals from Joe Lilly, Josh Boxall and Jack Zielinkski seal a 3-1 victory over County Motor Works Vauxhall Mid Essex Division Two leaders Harold Hill, who grabbed a late consolation through Jamie Howe.
Having won the Olympian League’s Under 21s division six days earlier, Jubilee arrived at Parkside riding the crest of a wave, with a quadruple possible as the side remains in its league’s Denny King Cup and Divisional Cup.
“It’s two down, two to go!” beamed Jubilee boss Richard Ponsford after the game. “We’re in another semi-final second leg next Saturday and we’re already 5-2 up, so we want to do a bit more and carry on the success.”
The basis for this County Cup success was a resolute rearguard in the opening exchanges, before gaining a crucial lead from Lilly on the stroke of half time. Once Boxall doubled that advantage within 15 minutes of the interval, Ongar didn’t look back. “I thought they [Harold Hill] had a good 15-minute spell at the beginning and I thought they were the only team in it,” confessed Richard.
“But, we then tried to get the ball down a little bit and match up their midfield - when we did that I dripped Jack Zielinski back into a deeper position just behind the front man - I thought that worked really well. Then we started to see the ball and I thought, for the last 20 minutes in the first half, we were very much on top.”
It was a period which culminated in Lilly hitting a fine low shot into the bottom left-hand corner in first half stoppage time to give his side the lead. Boxall curled home a fine effort on 58 minutes. “The first [goal] game came at exactly the perfect time,” Richard reflected. “It gave us that little bit of belief that and that little bit of impetus to just to go on and do what we do.”
“The second half started a little bit scrappy, but then we got on top, got the second goal and, from that point, we dominated the game apart from the last five minutes or so. It got a bit scrappy in spells, but there was brilliant, brilliant play from us, brilliant professionalism and a lot of quality from our team. There was a lot of energy and I thought we were fantastic.”
Prior to Ongar’s opening goal, Harold Hill had been denied by goalkeeper Will Perfect who made a fine stop to keep out Archie Edwards before tipping over Howe’s header from Ben Higgs’ cushioned nod back across goal. The saves justified a tough call for the manager.
He added: “I’ve got two very good goalkeepers and that was a difficult decision for me to make today - which I did this morning in terms of who plays - but I thought Will was excellent in goal with his distribution and his talking. He made a couple of very good saves.”
After Boxall had doubled Ongar’s lead in the second period, a big chance for Harold Hill saw Howe get through on goal, but he disappointingly skewed his finish wide before a crucial third for Ongar arrived on 76 minutes. A left wing free kick was flicked in by Zielinski at the near post.
It was a well-worked strike and Richard commented: “We’ve got a lot of quality in this team and their goals come from all over the pitch. It’s not just the forwards - every single one of my midfielders knows where the net is.”
There were further chances as Jubilee’s Blair went one-on-one with Hill ‘keeper Luke Roust, but he was denied by a good block, with Roust also tipping over from Boxall. There was a scare for Ongar when a defensive slip-up allowed Harold Hill’s Howe to convert an open goal with four minutes remaining, but there was little further incident as Ongar went on to lift the silverware.
Harold Hill: Luke Roust, Ben Higgs, Albert Amass, Jamie Howe, Archie Edwards, Jake Dallison, Jack Suters, Joey Coughlin, Luke Bolton, Oscar Shelvey-Negus, Siddy Clarkson. Substitutes (repeated): Owen Edwards, Patrick Robinson, Rob Keys, Lewis Perkins, George Shelvey.
Ongar Jubilee Under 21s: Will Perfect, Paul Cox, Ali Carter, Frank Goodall, Adam Ashley, Jake Chadwick, Aaron Blair, Oswald Nyahunda, Jack Zielinski, Joe Lilly, Josh Boxall. Substitutes (repeated): Harry Herbert, Tommy Hilton, Elifrause Cabulo, Plamedi Kinkela, Tom Smith.
Referee: Leigh Ballinger (Basildon).
Assistant Referees: Ben Hughes-Day (Tendring) and Wayne Dearsley (Colchester).
Fourth Official: John Abbott (Braintree).