A highly competitive game was won in the second half of extra time by a Charlie Arnold goal for Herongate Athletic.
Grays Athletic started the game well and went ahead within the first 10 minutes. A well worked move eventually saw the ball fall to Tom Anderson just outside the box on the right-hand side, who smashed a shot past Herongate ‘keeper Newton to give Grays an early lead.
This was then followed by a flurry of chances for Herongate in the first half. First a header over the bar coming from a lovely pass from Joe Harris in the midfield, followed by a Holland shot across goal that was well saved by Grays ‘keeper Miccoli.
Next it was Charlie Lynn to test the Grays defence, striding forward from left back and shooting from range, but it was well collected by Miccoli, as Grays stood firm and defended their 1-0 lead. Just before half time, Robinson charged forward from centre back for Herongate and unleased an effort from range, but it swirled just wide of the post, taking us into half time with Grays one up.
The second half started off with a Grays chance. Anderson looped in what looked like a cross from just past the half way line but it looped just over the bar and on to the top of the net. In the 54th minute, Herongate hit the bar. Arnold drilled a freekick from the left into the box and it was headed towards goal but it crashed off the crossbar and was eventually cleared away.
In the 73rd minute, Herongate drew level. Aaron Bennett was slid in down the left side of the box and he smashed the ball past the ‘keeper and into the roof of the net to bring us all square at one a piece. Herongate did then have a chance to win it in normal time, Arnold was played in over the top, but he got too much on his looped effort and it was over the bar.
The first half of extra time was quite with only a couple of half chances for both sides, but it remained all square until the 111th minute. Arnold was once again played in over the top and this time made no mistake, cheekily lobbing the onrushing ‘keeper and giving Herongate the lead with only nine minutes to play.
Despite trying to get back level, Grays couldn’t muster any chances of real note and the referee blow the full time whistle, crowing Herongate the Essex Sunday Junior Cup Champions!
Grays Athletic Squad: Kevin Miccoli, Sam Pitcher, Craig Josling, Jake Prosser, James Wade, Connor Hornsby, Kieron Wright, Taig Barnes, Tom Anderson (7’) , James Josling, Harry Broderick, Tommy Broderick, Connor Lemay, Jack Goyette, Keiron Judd, Ricky Maccabe
Herongate Athletic Squad: Sam Newton, Alex Bowrin, Charlie Lynn, Frank Farrington, Jack Newton, Pat Robinson, Mark Holland, Charlie Arnold (111’), Joe Harris, Aaron Bennett (73’), Pacey Breshani, Charlie Blakebrough, James Clark, Tyler Richardson, Josh Lamont, Joe Robson.
Referee: Simon Caton
Assistant Referees: Joe Wise and Liam Dawson
Fourth Official: Toby Andrews
Congratulations once again to Herongate Athletic on winning the Essex Sunday Junior Cup! To stay up to date with all the County Cup Finals, follow Essex County FA on Twitter and Instagram!