Heybridge Swifts U23s and Sandon Royals needed extra time to be separated in the Essex Saturday Junior Cup Final.
The conditions were difficult throughout the game, with rain pouring down and the two teams needing time to adjust, which may have contributed to the quiet opening 15 minutes. The first real sight of goal came in the 17th minute, a long kick from Swifts ‘keeper Bland giving Lynch a chance inside the box, but he blazed his shot over the bar.
Just a few minutes later in the 24th minute, some nice work from Heybridge inside the Sandon final third led to a shot from Ifenanyi David from outside the box, but Sandon ‘keeper Boyden saved well down to his right.
Sandon had a couple of corners whipped in in quick succession before Compoccio had their first real sight of goal. He found himself played in down the left-hand side and took the ball into the box, but the resulting shot was dragged just wide of the post to keep the scores level heading into half time.
The second half started much like the first, with plenty of sparring between the two teams but no real clear-cut chances for either side. Heybridge Swifts ‘keeper Whitney, who was bought on at half time did well to punch a couple of Sandon crosses clear under pressure.
Sandon had a chance to win it late on in normal time, a quick counter attack saw Riley played in down the left and cutting in on his right foot, but the resulting shot was over the bar. In the 90th minute, Sandon were shown a red card and would have to play out the remainder of added time and the entire period of extra time with 10 men.
The first half of extra time started quickly as Heybridge were awarded a penalty for handball. David stepped up from 12 yards, but his effort was saved by Boyden down low to his right to keep the score level. The second half of extra time started just as quickly, with Heybridge having two shots cleared off the line in quick succession after Boyden had come out his box to win a challenge.
With just seven minutes left of extra time, Heybridge made the breakthrough. Ryan Lynch swivelled inside the box and calmly slotted the ball past Boyden and into the bottom right-hand corner. That goal was enough for Heybridge Swifts U23s to see the game out and the final whistle was blown, crowing them the Essex Saturday Junior Cup Champions!
Swifts U23s Manager Mark Carroll was delighted with his sides win in tough conditions. “It was pleasing in the end. It wasn’t the greatest of games for a final, but the weather played its part, I’ve never been so drenched in my life! It’s a typical cup final, the football doesn’t matter but the result does, and it went our way today.”
Heybridge Swifts U23s Squad: Alfie Bland, Archie West, Joe Last, Luke Moyler, Oliver Wells, Frazer Wraight, Jamie Buck, Harris Williams, Ryan Lynch (113’), Ifeanyi David, Sharavanaan Silvananthan, Joseph Whitney, Obakeng Moleefi, Jorge Barbosa Rabaca, Cedrick Asante, Abdikarim Shiekh
Sandon Royals Squad: Will Boyden, Harry Green, Dan Radford, Chris Johnson, Jamie Urch, Dan Fazel, George Robinson, Antonio Compoccio, Aaron Riley, Haydon Walters, Adam Fishpool, Martin Stanley, Ben Allen, Ben Kohler, Macenzie Maberly, Tony Warner
Congratulations once again to Heybridge Swifts U23s on winning the Essex Saturday Junior Cup! To keep up to date with all this season’s County Cup Finals, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and Essex County FA on Instagram.