A brace from Jay Bothroyd helped Colebrook Royals come back from 3-0 down to lift the Essex Sunday Junior Trophy.
The game had a quiet start, with no real clear-cut chances for either side in the opening 15 minutes. It wasn’t until the 20th minute that Valence United converted the game's first big chance. Rowan Newland was slid in down the right side of the box and kept his cool as he coolly slotted his finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
Just two minutes later, Newland had a chance to double his and Valence’s tally, as he headed over a cross in the box from about 12 yards out. In the 40th minute, Alan McCormack had a chance to level for Colebrook. He bought the ball down well on the edge of the box but saw his show flash just wide of the post.
In added time of the first half, Valence did double their lead. A shot was parried by Colebrook ‘keeper Smith, who then brilliantly saved the rebound by pushing it onto the bar, but O’Brien was there to head home at the second time of asking.
Valence then went three up early in the second half. Newland again was played through, this time down the left and he finished sweetly to get his second and Valence’s third. Valence were then forced to make a change in goal, with Mitchell Stone stepping up.
In the 68th minute, Bothroyd had the first of several free kicks, but this one was curled wide from about 25 yards out. In the 77th minute, Colebrook found a way back into the game. A great ball from Joe Cole played in McCormack down the left, who then chopped back and crossed to Mitchell Farley, who controlled well and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left of the net.
Five minutes later, Colebrook’s pressure told again. A succession of corners finally resulted in one being inadvertently turned home in his own net by a Valence player to make it 3-2 with eight minutes remaining. Just two minutes later, Colebrook levelled the game. A whipped cross from the right was turned home by Sitki with a diving header leaving us at 3-3 with over five minutes of the game remaining.
Neither team could find a winner meaning we headed for an extra 30 minutes. Just seconds before half time in extra time, Colebrook completed the comeback. Jay Bothroyd rolled back the years and stepped up to curl a freekick from just the edge of the D into the left side of the net.
In the second half of extra time, Valence had two big chances to level the game. The first a header from Newland that looped just wide of the far post. The second in the last minute, a real scramble in the Colebrook box led to a Valence shot being palmed wide for a corner. From the corner, Colebrook countered and Bothroyd finished the game with a wonder strike from just inside the Valence half, lobbing the ‘keeper and securing the trophy for his team.
Colebrook Royals Squad: Graham Smith, Charlie Heim, Tom Sellers, Marc Dorrington, Nick Chrysanthou, Sam Fuller, Alexis Nicolas, Alan McCormack, Jay Bothroyd (105’ and 120’), Ben Sitki (84’), Paul Noonan, Mitchell Farley (77’), Ned Ozkasim, Joe Cole, Omar Mahmood, Mason Breem-Smith.
Valence United Squad: James Jacobs, Josh Russell, Aaron Legget, James Cook, Jordan Cook, Rowan Newland (20’ and 47’) Michael O’Brien (45+2’), Burt Cardy, Charlie Surridge, Sean Doyle, Ryan Knight, Scott Gillick, Tommy Abrams, Ben King, Mitchell Stone, Harry Blyth.
Referee: Adam Howell
Assistant Referees: Paul Smith and Christopher Parkinson
Fourth Official: Jonathan Sly
Congratulations to Colebrook Royals for winning the 2022/23 Essex Sunday Junior Trophy! If you want to keep up with all the County Cup Finals, follow Essex County FA on Twitter and Instagram!