Essex Under 16s made a fine start to their campaign against Guernsey, who were defeated 5-0 in the Channel Islanders’ first ever visit to Essex.
Guernsey arrived at Parkside for only their second South-East Counties Championship fixture having joined the competition during the summer, and they showed resilience during much of the first half before Essex broke the deadlock through Will Broadrick just three minutes before the break.
Having been defeated 8-0 by Kent in their season opener, the visitors will be pleased they held Essex at bay for so long, but the hosts did cut loose in the second half through further goals from Kofu Goodrum, Jermaine Kitoko, George Oakley and Oscar Thorn, which completed the win.
In a largely quiet first period, it was Guernsey who had the first shot on-target as Freddie Walker saw his free kick gathered by Essex goalkeeper Billy Lawlor. The opening goal arrived with 37 minutes played, however, when a brilliant cross from Josh Spink was headed in by Broadrick.
Beyond the interval, a good run and low shot from Essex’s Harvey Salmon brought a good save from Guernsey stopper Callum Gilson before the home side doubled their lead two minutes after the hour mark. Another fine cross from Spink was headed in at the far post by Goodrum.
The third arrived just moments later. Goodrum’s low, angled shot was pushed into the path of Kitoko, who slid the ball home. It was then four on 68 minutes, a ball from the right-hand side being flicked on by Kitoko and steered in by Oakley.
After some pinball in the penalty area, Essex’s Jameel St Hill headed just over the top prior to the scoring being completed in the final minute as Kitoko capitalised on a defensive slip and sent in a low centre for Thorn to finish from close range.
Essex: Billy Lawlor (Grays Athletic), Josh Spink (Grays Athletic), George Oakley (Bowers & Pitsea), Bishop Prempeh (Hornchurch), Stan Hooker (Bowers & Pitsea), Tyreece Cyrus (Buckhurst Hill), Pablo Pessenda (Bowers & Pitsea), Harvey Salmon (Bowers & Pitsea), Jameel St Hill (Woodford Town), Will Broadrick (Heybridge Swifts), Albert James (Grays Athletic). Substitutes (repeated): Oscar Thorn (Bowers & Pitsea), Callum McEvoy (Shield Academy), Kofi Goodrum (Bowers & Pitsea), Jermaine Kitoko (Hornchurch), Alex Traynor (Harlow Town).
Guernsey: Luke Elmy (Northerners AC), Leo Foulds (Guernsey Rangers), Lukash Lee (Guernsey Rangers), George McNeela (Northerners AC), Ben Solway (Guernsey Rangers), Fin Belnavis (Guernsey Rangers), Harry Coleman (St Martin’s AC), Finn Jeffries (Northerners AC), Freddie Walker (Guernsey Rangers), Barnaby Taylor (Guernsey Rangers), Jamie Corcoran (Guernsey Rangers). Substitutes (repeated): Callum Gilson (Vale Recreation), Elliot Mauger (St Martin’s AC), Oliver Broome (Guernsey Rangers).
Referee: Luke Woolf.
Assistant Referees: Joseph Wilby and Matthew Pointer.