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A tense sudden-death penalty shootout was required to separate Santos and Theydon Green in the final of the Essex Sunday Junior Cup, but it was Santos who ultimately emerged victorious to return home with the silverware.
Sener Suavi netted twice for Santos, once in each half, as they took the lead and also had to recover from a goal down in a competitive encounter, with Ben Harris and Danny Heartey netting for Theydon either side of the half time interval.
It was a very even and well-contested first 25 minutes between the sides, with chances for both. Santos had the first real opportunity of the game, with Suavi avoiding a tackle just outside the box before hitting a thunderous shot which clipped the outside of the right post.
The pressure from Santos then resulted in them taking the lead as Suavi, again, made a run from outside the box, smacking the ball well with a right-footer into the bottom left-hand corner. However, Theydon managed to equalise in the 33rd minute.
A corner was played in, which one Theydon player managed to head towards goal. The Santos goalkeeper parried it away, but only to Harris, who was there to put it away and equalise ahead of the half time break.
Theydon emerged back out on the attack and they grabbed the lead in the 54th minute. The ball was laid off by Harry Barrett to Heartey, who made an excellent five-yard run to the centre of the edge of the box and hit a powerful strike into the top right-hand corner.
Santos levelled the scores in the 63rd minute when the ball was delivered in to Suavi from the left and he controlled it before curling home from the edge of the box. Theydon registered another effort on goal seven minutes later following George Johnson’s through ball to Barrett, whose strike was hit straight at, and saved by, the Santos custodian.
The sides remained level at full time, resulting in extra time being played. The first real opening came in the 102nd minute as Santos’ double-scorer Suavi had an impressive right-footed shot saved by the ‘keeper. The only major event in the second half of extra time was a red card for Santos’ Max Jessop after receiving two cautions.
With the teams still tied at 2-2 at the end of the additional 30 minutes, a long and tense penalty shootout followed. Some excellent spot kicks took the game even further into sudden death and Santos eventually won 10-9 to see them gleefully lift the cup.
Santos: Albert Anderson, Chris Gentry, Ciaran O’Donnell, Conor Cobb, David Carter, Dom Goggin, Grant Frances, Jack Sharp, Luke Smith, Mike Carrington, Nick Strachan, Ralph Overill, Scott Walsh, Scott Wilkinson, Sener Suavi, Thando Moyo, Tom Honeysett.
Theydon Green: Joe Busby, Joe Jessop, Will Paveley, Joe Johnson, Sam May-Parrot, Josh Steele, Harry Boyd-Walker, Max Jessop, Noah Friend, Ben Brookes, Harry Carter, Harry Barrett, Sam Barrett, Frankie Licheri, Luke Steele, Bill Johnson, George Johnson, George Pigram, Danny Hearty, Ben Harris, Tommy Redhead, Oliver Allen.
Referee: Stuart Nixon.
Assistant Referees: Edward Smith and Michele Rinaldi.
Fourth Official: Kadir Nazif.