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The 2018/19 Essex Cordell Under 13s Cup Final went all the way to penalties, with Great Wakering Colts eventually edging out Concord Rangers 5-4 on spot kicks, after a 1-1 draw at the Beachboys’ Thames Road.
In a clash of two table-toppers, it was the Southend & District Junior League’s Premier Division leaders who came out on top against their Eastern Junior Alliance counterparts. In a tense tie, both goals came inside two second-half minutes as Taylor Ansell-Quinton fired Concord in front with 52 played before Wakering’s Ollie Chrystal levelled the contest again moments later.
Penalties were locked at 4-4 after the initial five kicks, but a missed Concord penalty in sudden death enabled Wakering’s Chrystal to slot home the winner. Earlier on, Wakering’s goalkeeper, Oscar Baines, had been a hero with a string of excellent saves, including one from Concord’s Ansell-Quinton with the very last kick of extra time.
“I’m absolutely buzzing!” beamed Colts boss Sam Reynolds after the dramatic climax. “We held in there and, a couple of times, our goalkeeper saved us with an outstanding performance. I thought the boys deserved it.”
With their opponents leading the way in the Eastern Junior Alliance, Sam anticipated a tough tie for his side. That’s just what they got, but he knows the timing of his team’s response was important: “Getting the goal back quickly was key.”
“It got us back in the game and the goalkeeper was outstanding, and to step up and put his penalty away as well! It is a great feeling [to win on penalties]. We got knocked out of the League Cup the other week on penalties and that felt horrible, so this was lovely today.”
Earlier, it was Wakering who worked the first opening when Will Gipson’s long-range shot was pushed wide by Concord goalkeeper Jack Nubbert before Concord’s Jaiden Owusu-Banahene chased a through ball but dragged his shot just wide.
Concord Captain Billy Hutchison then drew the first fine save from Colts stopper Baines, with the resulting Hayden Rayment corner seeing Finlay Woods head wide at the far post. The young Concord Beachboys then came close when Ansell-Quinton’s header from Harry Lindsay’s corner was cleared off the line by Finley Trampenau.
Into the second half, Concord’s Owusu-Banahene shot across goal following Ansell-Quinton’s cross before they took the lead as the ball was flicked into the path of Ansell-Quinton, who arrowed a low, angled effort into the far corner.
But Concord’s hopes of grabbing the ascendency were scuppered inside a minute. A deep free kick bounced around in the penalty area and Colts’ Chrystal controlled, turned and fired home an equaliser.
Wakering stopper Baines then denied Concord’s Lindsay, who had been played in on goal, before repeating the trick to keep Hutchison out with his legs after a cut-back from Owusu-Banahene in extra time.
Then the very last action in extra time saw Baines sprint off his line to keep out Ansell-Quinton and take the tie to penalties. Baines himself scored from the spot and, after both sides missed one kick in the initial five, the shootout went to sudden death, with Great Wakering’s Chrystal sealing the win.
It sealed a memorable win over Alliance opposition and, with Sam’s side making the transition into the Eastern Junior Alliance with Southend Manor themselves next season, it’s an exciting time for his obviously talented group of players: “It’s looking good,” he remarked.
“There’ll be a couple of boys coming in to strengthen the squad. We only had three subs today and I thought that showed and we could’ve done with five. But I think we’ll be up there as well next season, challenging with them again!”
Concord Rangers: Jack Nubbert, Max Maddocks, Oscar Bennett, Billy Hutchison, Hayden Rayment, Jaiden Owusu-Banahene, Rhys Wagstaff, Taylor Ansell-Quinton, Jack McCardle, Justin Price, Finlay Woods. Substitutes (repeated): Josh McCollom, Harry Lindsay, Alfa Baah, Sam Riley.
Great Wakering Colts (Greens): Oscar Baines, Jack Harvey, Owen Reynolds, Finley Trampenau, Diesel Bell-Bishop, Ollie Chrystal, Finley Dorrell, Connor Allen, Turner Goodwin, Isaac Pearson, Will Gipson. Substitutes (repeated): Ben Lovett, Harrison Surface, Malachy McElligott.
Referee: Daniel Prior (Maldon).
Assistant Referees: Harry Hennessey (Colchester) and Reuben Andrews (Southend-on-Sea).
Fourth Official: Morgan Davies (Castle Point).