Essex Under 18s sealed a place in the Quarter-Finals of the FA County Youth Cup for the first time in eight years as a brace from substitute Teejay Chiororo helped his side to a 4-1 victory over Kent.
2012 winners Essex took an early lead through James Hegarty’s header, but Kent levelled courtesy of Lois Dos Santos in the second half. The hosts responded well to hit back quickly thanks to Chiororo before late strikes from Obi Molefi and Chiororo again completed the win.
Essex will now go into an exciting first ever meeting against the Isle of Man, with the Manx Association due to visit Aveley FC’s Parkside home in mid-January.
The home side’s early lead arrived within 2 minutes as Hegarty nodded in Jess Norey’s free kick, and Essex could’ve swiftly doubled their advantage, but Rashaad Ogun twisted in the area and twice saw a shot blocked at the near post.
It was a tight affair for much of the rest of the opening period, but an opening for Kent led to Hamid Ishola breaking into the penalty area before dragging his strike across the face of goal. Just moments into the second half, Essex’s Norey used his strength to get into the area and forced a good block from visiting goalkeeper Liam Northwood.
Kent levelled on 57 minutes. Dos Santos’ low, angled effort went in off the foot of the far post, however Essex regained the lead within two minutes when a low, right-wing cross was converted by Chiororo from close range.
A good chance for Kent saw Ishola stab just wide at the near post and Essex ‘keeper Jack Allen then made a superb stop to keep his side ahead, diving to his right to keep out Luke Exall’s header from Harrison Pont’s corner. Essex then grabbed a decisive third as a brilliant long pass from Chiororo found Molefi, who finished well.
The third goal had almost certainly sent Essex through, but they made sure a minute into added time as Norey’s pass picked out Chiororo and he clipped the ball home having been played one-on-one with Northwood.
Essex: Jack Allen (Great Wakering Rovers), Archie McFadden (Concord Rangers), Billy Boag (Concord Rangers) (Obi Molefi [Hornchurch], 46), Ben Search (Concord Rangers), Tom Duffy (Hornchurch), James Hegarty (Hornchurch), Rashaad Ogun (Romford), Jess Norey (Maldon & Tiptree), Callum Newson (Barking Abbey School) (Teejay Chiororo [Bowers & Pitsea], 46), Sonny Dutton (Hornchurch) (Louis Young [Basildon United], 85), Jimi Reynolds (Aveley). Unused Substitutes: Sam Richardson (Bowers & Pitsea).
Kent: Liam Northwood (Maidstone United), Connor Cheek (K Sports), Luke Exall (Corinthian), Jacob Gilbert (Maidstone United), Cameron Williams (Maidstone United), Jamie Watson (Bromley), Callum Rollings (Maidstone United), Harrison Pont (Hollands & Blair), Hamid Ishola (VCD Athletic), Lois Dos Santos (Chatham Town), Harvey Brown (Chatham Town). Substitutes: Perri Iandolo (Bearsted), Malik Adekunle (Bromley), George Nikaj (Dover Athletic), Adam Jones (K Sports), Roman Hall (Holmesdale).
Referee: Jordan Cushen (Middlesex).
Assistant Referees: James Goodman (London) and Lucas Bomela (Army).