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Catholic United Reserves Manager, Eamonn Kearney, claimed their Essex Saturday Junior Cup Final victory over Belle View Social Club was “brilliant for the team and the club” as they recovered from a goal down to win 3-1 thanks to goals from Dominic O'Kane, Joe O'Kane and Dan Williams.
Ryan Ellis had put Belle Vue in front early in the second half, but Catholic’s devastating late response saw them lift the silverware in front of a buoyant crowd at Concord Rangers FC. “I am extremely proud of the side,” Kearney reacted. “Every one of the squad has contributed to this cup run. We set our targets at the start of the season to win the Junior Cup and get promotion.”
“So to achieve both is brilliant for the team and the club. We really tried to target the Junior Cup this season after it not taking place last year as we felt we had developed into a side capable of winning county silverware. With eleven of the squad playing first team football this season, some of these will make the step up to play regular first team football.”
It was an incredibly quiet first half, with the only real chance coming from Catholic in the 8th minute. Williams teed up Franklin Craik, whose effort was well saved by Belle View goalkeeper Jack Thorndike at the near post. Then Belle View started the second half on the attack.
This resulted in a right-wing corner which picked out the head of Ellis, who nodded the ball past goalkeeper, Dan Boosey. Kearney noted: “After an edgy first half, conceding straight after the break was disappointing, especially after we defended set pieces so well in the first half. I thought we recovered well from that setback and got a better foothold in the game, creating chances.”
Catholic then ramped-up the pressure, looking for an equaliser. On the hour mark, an excellent long-range shot from Joe O’Kane bounced off the crossbar. Five minutes later, Ryan Morgan’s strike was tipped over the bar by Jack Thorndike.
And their efforts paid off on 72 minutes as substitute Dominic O’Kane slid in a low effort to level. With only seven more minutes played, United turned the game around. This time, Joe O’Kane sent a driven shot skidding along the floor and into the bottom left-hand corner.
Catholic managed to seal the win in the 90th minute as Joe O’Kane’s free kick was delivered into the danger zone, where Williams headed it home to make it 3-1. “The last 20 minutes were excellent for us and we really threatened in most attacks,” Kearney reflected. “Once the first goal went in, the momentum was with us to kill off the game.”
“On the balance of play, I think we were fully deserving of the win. I thought, on the whole, we defended well, apart from the goal. But that was a wake-up call to kick on and create more chances. After we conceded, we also hit the crossbar before we really kicked on and scored the three goals. Credit to Belle Vue, though, who made it difficult for us.”
“It's not often we don't score until the last quarter of the game. To get the chance to win this cup together means everything to the players. You can also see what it meant to the supporters, who were brilliant on the night, pushing the team on to win the cup. After getting promotion this year, we move into the Premier Cup next year and look forward to testing ourselves in that.”
Belle Vue Social Club: Jack Thorndike, Joseph Davis, Alex Drennan, Tom Brannon, Dylan Francis, Sam Cripps, Ryan Ellis, Jack Urwin, Ryan Debenham, Jack Webb, Shaun Hazlewood. Substitutes (repeated): Ryan Martyr, Wesley Henry, Tom Halls, David Weir, Stuart Russell.
Catholic United Reserves: Dan Boosey, Dan Trenkel, Angelo Lewis, Joe O’Kane, Tom Elliott, Dan Williams, Franklin Craik, Tobias DeSouza, Ally Grant-Browning, Mark Baptist, Ryan Morgan. Substitutes (repeated): Alec Bateman, Richard Sharpe, Matt Creevy, Dom O’Kane, Jimmy Morgan.
Referee: George Barker.
Assistant Referees: Stephen Vieira and Robert Watson.
Fourth Official: Adekola Adeyemi.