Essex Under 18s came from behind to seal a first FA County Youth Cup Semi-Final slot for eight years as the Isle of Man were beaten 3-1 in the first ever meeting of the two counties.
The Manx side led midway through the first half through Jack Camarda’s penalty, but Essex finally cracked the well-organised visitors with two quickfire goals shortly before half time from Obi Molefi and Callum Newson. Molefi’s second five minutes after the break gave the hosts breathing space.
The win sees Graham Hall and Andy Tickner’s Essex side travel to either Norfolk or West Riding in the last four, with the county side looking to repeat their 2012 success.
There was a tight start to this quarter-final clash at Aveley FC’s Parkside, with Essex creating the first notable chance as Rashaad Ogun stabbed inches wide of the near post.
Essex’s Jack Glennister then saw his deflected 18-yard shot drop just over before the Islanders took the lead on 24 minutes from the penalty spot following a mix-up in the home defence. Camarda took his spot kick well, slamming home in off the inside of the left-hand post.
In response, Essex’s Archie McFadden ran forward but shot just wide from 15 yards with the equaliser then arriving on 40 minutes. A brilliant McFadden free-kick was stabbed in by Molefi from close range. Two minutes later the home side were ahead, Newson breaking into the area and finishing well inside the near post.
Essex’s third early in the second half was a near repeat of the equaliser as another McFadden set piece was turned in by Molefi at the near post. The two-goal cushion proved to be enough. The Isle of Man’s Lucas James fired just over the top from range, but Essex had already done enough to seal their place in the penultimate stage.
Essex: Jack Allen (Great Wakering Rovers), Archie McFadden (Concord Rangers), Jimi Reynolds (Aveley), Ben Search (Concord Rangers), Sam Richardson (Bowers & Pitsea), Ben Steward (Bowers & Pitsea), Rashaad Ogun (Romford) (Billy Boag [Concord Rangers], 71), Jack Glennister (Hornchurch) (Sonny Dutton [Hornchurch], 75), Callum Newson (Barking Abbey School) (Sultan Sarni [USP College (Palmer’s Campus)], 83), Dan Hawkes (Barking), Obi Molefi (Hornchurch). Unused Substitutes: Lia Oliver (Witham Town).
Isle of Man: Harry Horbury (Douglas Royal), Adam Cooil (Rushen), James Callow (Douglas Royal), Charlie Gibson (St George’s), Callum Sherry (Douglas Royal), Sam Baines (Douglas Royal), Will Bergquist (Laxey AFC), Jack Camarda (Peel AFC), Taylor Andrews (Douglas Royal), Lucas James (St George’s), Jacob Crook (St George’s). Substitutes: Kyle Watson (Douglas Royal), Harry Walters (Laxey AFC), Joao Maruez (Braddan), Jamie Agnew (Douglas Royal), Ben Woser (St George’s).
Referee: Michael Smith (Middlesex).
Assistant Referees: Dani Mansour (Middlesex) and Tommy Breen (London).