Essex Under 18s completed their South-East Counties Championship Group B campaign in style as they secured a comfortable 6-0 win over the Amateur Football Alliance at Bowers & Pitsea FC’s Len Salmon Stadium.
An early goal from Torgbor Torto-Tetteh set Essex on the way after just 10 minutes before Callum Fitzer and Tom Troubridge earned the hosts a three-goal interval lead, with an own goal adding a decisive fourth after the break before a Sonny Dutton brace sealed the win.
Unfortunately, despite the dominance of Essex’s performance, their hopes of reaching a second successive championship play-off hang in the balance as Hertfordshire’s 1-0 win over Middlesex on the same afternoon means Herts need only to avoid defeat to the Alliance in April to progress to the decider with Kent.
Essex’s 10th-minute lead arrived when AFC Hornchurch full-back Torto-Tetteh completed a good move by springing onto a through ball before clipping a fine finish beyond goalkeeper Harry Hauserman. It was then 2-0 with 36 played as Fitzer’s excellent curling free kick found the far top corner from 20 yards.
A third for Essex put the side well on the road to victory as Troubridge rifled an excellent shot into the right-hand corner. Shortly before half time, Alliance ‘keeper Hauserman made a good save to push away Sofian Maghouz’s free kick.
In testing conditions, which brought virtually all the seasons into 90 minutes, Essex literally continued the storm as they kicked-on in the second half. Maghouz’s deflected shot from a Jay Bacon dead ball zipped just wide of the post before the fourth arrived on 62 minutes. Obi Molefi’s cross was diverted in for an own goal.
Dutton made an immediate impression from the bench, taking the ball past Hauserman, but firing just wide from a tight angle before making it 5-1 on 71 minutes, getting through on goal and drilling a firm drive inside the near post.
Amateur Alliance’s substitute stopper Max Day made a good save from another low Dutton drive and, from the resulting corner, Bacon’s cross was headed wide by Troubridge at the far post. But the scoring was wrapped up six minutes from time as Adetokunbo Sotoyinbo teed-up Dutton, who slotted his second into an empty net.
Essex: Billy Le Ferve (Barking Abbey College), Torgbor Torto-Tetteh (AFC Hornchurch), Jay Bacon (Romford), Thomas Duffy (Billericay Town), Jack McQueen (Barking), Tom Troubridge (Bowers & Pitsea), Louis Young (Concord Rangers), Sofian Maghouz (Romford), Peter Oyetunji (Romford), Callum Fitzer (Bowers & Pitsea), Obi Molefi (AFC Hornchurch). Substitutes (repeated): Tyler Cavener (Southend Manor/Billericay Town), Sonny Dutton (AFC Hornchurch), Adetokunbo Sotoyinbo (Hullbridge Sports/Grays Athletic).
Amateur Football Alliance: Harry Hauserman (Old Owens), Cameron McAdam (Old Finchleians), Ben Bellman (Old Finchleians), Finn Harvey (Old Owens), David Ola (Old Owens), Ryan Murphy (Norseman), Fabio Ramirez (Old Owens), Liam Mulligan (Old Stationers), Mekeal Williams (Old Finchleians), Ekow Coker (Old Finchleians), Justin Dumfeh (Old Owens). Substitutes (repeated): Jeremy Ebelebe (Alexandra Park), Danny O’Leary (Norseman), Jaden Madimba (Alexandra Park), Max Day (Nottsborough).
Referee: Joe Burgess.
Assistant Referees: Daniel Keeble and Glenn Baker (replaced by Neil Troubridge).