Shenfield Association and Wakering Sports Reserves battled it out in a fiercely contested BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup Final, which saw Shenfield come out on top with a 3-1 win.
It was just after the ten minute mark that Wakering Sports Reserves had the first real chance of the game. Good perseverance from Watson down the wing led to him nicking the ball on the byline, but his dangerous cross was parried by Shenfield ‘keeper Durrant and eventually cleared.
Just 4 minutes later, Shenfield took the lead. A long and high free kick into the Wakering Sports box was misjudged and it bounced over ‘keeper King, leaving Thompson to head home into an empty net and put Shenfield one up. Wakering Sports Reserves nearly fired back right away, the ball falling to Rowledge just inside the box but he saw his shot go just wide of the post.
In the 26th minute, Rowledge had another chance for Wakering Sports Reserves, but his goal-bound effort was blocked superbly, leading to successive corners. From one of the resulting corners, Wakering Sports got themselves back on level terms. The corner caused a bit of chaos in the Shenfield box and the ball eventually rolled back to George Penfold, who smashed a left footed shot into the bottom left hand corner.
The game quietened down for a period after the goal, until the 44th minute. A Wakering Sports throw from the left was flicked to Clifford, who hit a half volley from just outside the box, but his brilliant effort was matched with a fingertip save from Shenfield ‘keeper Durrant, who tipped the effort onto the bar.
The second half started frantically, with an early chance for Wakering Sports Reserves. Good work down the right side saw a ball rolled across the box to Fardyga, but he saw his shot flash wide of the post.
Shenfield quickly fired back with a chance of their own. Some neat work in the middle of the pitch saw a shot from just outside the box force a save from Wakering Sports ‘keeper King. The resulting corner caused a goalmouth scramble but somehow the ball stayed out and was eventually cleared. From the clearance, Wakering Sports countered quickly and Watson was played through on goal, but Durrant was quick off his line and smothered the shot well.
In the 58th minute, Shenfield found themselves with a freekick on the edge of the box, slightly towards the left hand side. Blackmur stepped up but his effort was just wide of the post. At the hour mark, Wakering Sports Reserves were reduced to ten men, after receiving a red card.
Shenfield quickly hammered home their man advantage, scoring in the 62nd minute. Tredgett received the ball on the edge of the box before turning well and slotting a shot into the bottom left hand corner, leaving Shenfield 2-1 up, with just under half an hour to play.
Wakering Sports had the chance to equalise from the spot in the 72nd minute, after the referee had awarded them a penalty. Sweeney stepped up but his penalty was saved by ‘keeper Durrant down to his right and the rebound was scrambled clear.
Despite the one man disadvantage, a spell of Wakering Sports pressure followed. In the 82nd minute, they had a big chance to level the game up. There was some great work down the right side, before the ball fell to Beji just inside the box, but he fired his shot over the bar.
Even with some more half chances that followed, Wakering Couldn’t break down the Shenfield defence with any of their attacks and the game was settled in added time. A long ball over the top evaded Wakering Sports ‘keeper King, and Fealty ran through and tapped home into an empty net to make it 3-1 and cue jubilant celebrations from the Shenfield squad.
Minutes later, the referee Joseph Gray blew the full time whistle, confirming Shenfield Association as the 2022/23 BBC Essex Saturday Premier Cup Champions.
Shenfield Manager Kevin Williamson was delighted with his sides triumph in what was a very competitive match. "I think it was a very good game and both teams played very well. I'm delighted for the boys and it is an honour to manage these players. It's all about those 22 plus players on the pitch and if they enjoy it, I enjoy it!"
Shenfield Association Squad: Joe Durrant, Tom Blackmur, Sam Bubb, Luke Williamson, Marlon Stratford, Alfie MacKay, Sam Lock, Ben Absolon, Marc Holland, Elliot Thompson (15’), Alex Tredgett (62’), Harvey Clarke, Harvey Cadd, Arran Lang, Frankie Fealty (90’).
Wakering Sports Squad: Tom King, George Penfold (27’), Liam Clifford, Alex Jenkins, Charlie Smith, Connor Fardyga, Ciaran Sweeney, Ashley Sexton, Tanar Dagyaran, Eben Rowledge, Dave Watson, Billy Cottrill, Jack Hanger, Ollie Greene, Adem Beji, Steve Valente.
Referee: Joseph Gray
Assistant Referees: Kadir Zazif & John Caunt
Fourth Official: Andrew Wheaton