Concord Rangers sealed back-to-back County Cup successes as they sealed a 4-2 win over AFC Hornchurch (Blacks) to lift the Essex Andrews Under 14s Cup having won the Cordell Under 13s Cup twelve months earlier.
There was late drama last season as the Beachboys scored twice in stoppage time to turn defeat into victory but, this time around, they led 3-0 at the interval through Charlie Bott, Freddie Hockey and Adam Pankhurst.
Hornchurch pulled a goal back just two minutes into the second half thanks to Adam Babalola, but Concord’s Hockey put the result beyond doubt with his second of the game despite Hornchurch grabbing a late consolation courtesy of Luke Hopwood.
For Eastern Junior Alliance outfit Concord, it means a second successive League, League Cup and County Cup treble and Joint-Manager Darron Polyblank was pleased with how his side quickly grew into the contest: “I didn’t think we played amazingly well in the first five to ten minutes.”
“But, once we got the first goal, we settled down a little bit and, at half-time 3-0-up, we’d’ve taken that before today. In the second half we kind of told them that in the first ten minutes to take it easy, to see first ten minutes out, and it didn’t quite go to plan!” added Darron of Hornchurch’s fast response after the restart.
“I think we caused our own problems as well, but they’re [Hornchurch] a good side; they’re quite a physical side and they’re quite quick up top as well. But the boys settled down a little, even though I think the rotation killed us a little bit. Players switching sides caused us problems, but they’re a good side.”
Concord started swiftly and led on 9 minutes as Bott finished well into the bottom left-hand corner from 15 yards and, within two minutes, Bott could’ve doubled his side’s lead but he stabbed just wide of the near post. Hornchurch then squandered a good chance to level when Babalola grabbed possession but saw his angled shot roll just wide of the far post.
Rangers’ Lucas Polyblank then curled an effort just wide before the lead was doubled with 28 minutes played. Hockey fired a low, angled shot into the bottom right-hand corner. Hornchurch’s Frankie Rogers brought a good save from Concord goalkeeper Jack Bruce but, two minutes before the break, Concord made it 3-0.
Pankhurst curled a great shot along the ground and into the corner. However, there was purpose to Hornchurch at the start of the second half and, within a couple of minutes, they’d pulled a goal back. Daniel Areola teed-up Babalola, who forced home a finish from close range.
Concord’s Jack McCarthy then had to clear off the goal line following a corner from Hornchurch’s Frankie Rogers, but Concord regained control and made it 4-1 on the hour as Hockey broke through and finished into the far corner.
A minute into stoppage time, Hornchurch grabbed their second. Hopwood bundled home from Zak Hussien’s corner, but there wasn’t enough time for the Urchins to stage a comeback. Concord’s other joint-boss, Jay Hockey, was just as pleased with the win afterwards as his counterpart.
“At half time we asked to be low risk - defend, defend, defend and turn them around. Then you concede in the first minute of the second half and it goes out of the window a little bit! It was backs to the wall for next five to ten minutes, but we managed to get the fourth goal which killed it.”
“For these boys that’s the ‘double treble’ now, and two years in a row for the County Cup, and the League and League Cup double again. They just have a habit of winning and they just find a way of winning. Even when we’re not eight, nine or ten out of ten, we still find a way of winning.”
“This is our fourth final with this group and every other final has been close, really close. So, to be able to have it under control pretty much for the whole game, was pleasing. Last year we said they find a way and today it was nice to go in 3-0-up!”
AFC Hornchurch (Blacks): Jay Canty, Daniel Glavin, Frank Landerkin, Callum Sewell, Frankie Rogers, Teddy Kinsley, Adam Babalola, Harry Pask, Albert Bell, Zak Hussien, Xhejson Paqa. Substitutes (repeated): Joe Gray, Luke Hopwood, Daniel Areola.
Concord Rangers: Jack Bruce, Ruben Vapiwala, Callum Dilliway, Bobby Brayley, Callum Knowlden, Sam Nagle, Vincent Clarke, Charlie Bott, Lucas Polyblank, Freddie Hockey, Rayhan Senankya. Substitutes (repeated): Jack McCarthy, Liam Wagstaff, Tommy Snell, Adam Pankhurst, Freddy Crowe.
Referee: Matthew Pointer (Castle Point).
Assistant Referees: Daniel Ripton (Southend-on-Sea) and Haydn Seaman (Castle Point).
Fourth Official: Joseph Turnpenny (Basildon).