Chadfleet United 0-2 Rayleigh (Sunday Junior Cup Final)

Goal in Each Half Seal Sunday Junior Cup for Rayleigh

Chadfleet United 0-2 Rayleigh, Sunday 7th April 2024, Kick-Off 10:30am, Bowers & Pitsea FC, Essex Sunday Junior Cup Final.

Rayleigh were the winners of the 2023/24 Essex Sunday Junior Cup Final after a two-goal victory over Chadfleet United at Bowers & Pitsea FC.

Prolific goalscorer Henry Shields netted in the first half and Joey Hardingham added another in the closing stages of the second period at the Len Salmon Stadium.

Chadfleet went close after 20 minutes when Captain Ryan Budd’s free kick was headed onto the top of the bar by joint top scorer Drew Klessa-Smith. But the deadlock was broken four minutes later through Shields, who nodded home Taylor Turner’s cross.

That’s how the score stayed at the half time interval, and it was a tentative start to the second half. But, in the 63rd minute, Rayleigh’s Tommy Dixon volleyed just over the top after the ball bounced around in the penalty box.

There was a chance at each end just beyond the mid-way point of the half, Klessa-Smith sliding a shot inches wide of the near post for Chadfleet, then Rayleigh’s skilful winger Dixon burst through on goal, though he also fired narrowly past of the upright.

The crucial deciding moment arrived with 77 minutes on the clock. It amounted to a second for Rayleigh through Hardingham, who smashed the ball high into the net from ten yards and confirmed Martin Shields’ team as the Sunday Junior Cup champions.

Chadfleet United: Matthew Bearman, Ryan Budd (C), Henry Crawford, James Harvey, Louis Hopkins, Drew Klessa-Smith, Liam North, Dan Petts, Luke Quinton, Callum Ratcliffe, Harry Barness. Substitutes: Paul Elliott, Luke Mulraney, Ashley Wylde, Jack Rogers. Player-Manager: Callum Ratcliffe.

Rayleigh: Luca Albon, Billy Carter, Samuel Carter, Tommy Dixon, Archie Ellis, Joey Hardingham, Cameron Harris, Joseph Hunter (C), Henry Shields, Craig Smith, Taylor Turner. Substitutes: Nathan Burrell, Matthew Carpenter, Liam Henderson, Bertie Reade, Charlie Sullivan. Manager: Martin Shields.

Referee: Oliver Townsend (Southend-on-Sea).

Assistant Referees: Rui Baptista Almeida (Waltham Forest) and Allan Eldridge (Basildon).

Fourth Official: Sarfraz Idrees (Harlow).

Attendance: 183.

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