BBC Essex Premier Cup Final
Venue: New Lodge (Billericay Town FC)
2018-19 Season – Match 68
Wednesday 10th April 2019 – 7.45pm KO
Catholic Utd: Green & White Hooped Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks
Buckhurst Hill: Navy Blue & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Hill power past Super Hoops to lift the Essex Premier Cup
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On a chilly Wednesday night at Billericay Town’s New Lodge, I joined colleague Pete Dudley for this BBC Essex Premier Cup Final between Essex Olympian League (EOFL) heavyweights Catholic Utd & Buckhurst Hill – with the latter riding high on the back of sealing the EOFL Premier Division title a matter of days previously. Catholic Utd named a strong team with Louis Godwin-Green between the sticks, a forward line of Aaron Baldwin, Tom Hollingsworth and Tony Jacobs with player-boss Dan Trenkel and Mark Baptist among those on the bench. For Hill, their front four of Sam Sollosi, Nathan Sollosi, Steve Townsend and Suleyman Zuhdu have chipped in with goals this season in the league, with skipper Billy Wells in the heart of the defence. Sonny Shilling and Fehinti Falola were among the options on the bench.
The match got underway with Utd pushing forward and having the bulk of the forays going forward. Hill had a nervous moment five minutes in as a under-hit back pass to ‘keeper Daniel Blockley was half-cleared though it cannoned off Super Hoops forward Tony Jacobs and before it trickled over the goal-line, centre-back Josh Addinall had the awareness to clear. Hill responded sharply as captain Billy Wells 20-yard curling drive sailed just wide of the right-side post. Moments later, it was the Olympian League champions who took the lead as from a super cross from the right flank, full-back Keaton Moore rose highest to power a header into the net.
Jacobs was the biggest threat for Utd at this point, ghosting all over a fluid Catholic forward line to give the Hill defence a headache, Jacobs also had an effort which sailed over the woodwork. At the other end though, Buckhurst were getting into their stride as prolific forward Steve Townsend was in on goal, one-on-one with Utd stopper Louis Godwin-Green, though the stopped did well to deny Townsend’s low drive. Just before the half-hour, former Bowers & Pitsea midfielder Jamie Salmon blasted a drive from 18 yards which Blockley did well to scout and tip over the bar.
On that half-hour mark, Utd fell further behind as a errant clearance from Godwin-Green looped up in the air but didn’t get the distance as it fell to forward Suleyman Zuhdu who back-heeled it to winger nathan Sollosi who slotted home into an unguarded net. Hill knew they couldn’t concede before the break though Utd had other ideas, with Jacobs once again testing the palms of Blockley with a decent effort on goal. In fairness, Utd were finding the sheer pace, energy and crossing of the Hill front four (the Sollosi brothers, Townsend & Zuhdu) difficult to cope with. After Hill had two half-chances for Townsend and Addinall denied, they did make it 3 – 0 a minutes before the interval.
A rapid counter-attack from Mark Williams’ team saw Nathan Sollosi repay the favour from earlier as his pass found Zuhdu who controlled the ball smartly before beating Godwin-Green on its way into the corner of the net with a well-taken finish. At this point, the score-line was slightly flattering to Hill given the impetus Catholic had shown going forward. Sometimes you get teams ‘slowing down’ after the break, though there wasn’t a bit of it here.
Half-Time: Catholic Utd 0 – 3 Buckhurst Hill
So, the second-half got going and the chances continued to flow. Moments after the restart, Townsend’s first-time strike cannoned off a post for Hill and Utd hit back soon afterward, as Jacobs was denied yet again by watchful defending on the line by full-back Liam Foster. Mike Sammut’s drive and forward Tom Hollingsworth’s cross-shot couldn’t find the target those misses proved semi-costly.
Two goals in three minutes sealed the win for Hill. On 64 minutes, a loose ball found Zuhdu who sprinted past centre-back Bradley Vaughan and buried a strike past Godwin-Green to make it four and then two minutes later, from a corner arrowed into the near-post by winger Sam Sollosi, Nathan Sollosi rose almost unchanged to nod it high into the net. The goals didn’t end there as Utd got one back with 71 on the watch as a rash punch out by Blockley fell to to Salmon who rifled hop a sweet lob from fully 25 yards out to give his side something to shout about.
That said, that goal seemed to further gee up the Hill forward line who soared back the other end asUtd ‘keeper Godwin-Green prevented further embarassment making good saves to deny the unfortunate Townsend and midfielder Josh Banfield. With all respect to Utd, Hill could’ve had three or four more goals than the scoreline showed as going forward they were relentless – another shining example of why they have scored a high amont of goals in the Olympian League this term. Six minutes from time, Foster blasted a stinging drive just wide though Hill had done more than enough to win this match and do the double – a far cry from the sinking feeling of relegation from the top-tier two seasons ago.
Full-time: Catholic Utd 1 – 5 Buckhurst Hill
Utd are by no means a bad side, though they were made to look more ordinary than they are here by a very driven Buckhurst Hill outfit.
In terms of stand-out performances, for Hill it is quite difficult to pick out individuals given the sheer team performance though the front two of Steven Townsend and Suleyman Zuhdu plus wingers Sam & Nathan Sollosi really harried the Utd backline and barely gave them much peace at all. Josh Addinall also did a stern job at the back as well. For Utd, goalkeeper Louis Godwin-Green pulled off a number of good stops to dampen the number conceded here by his side. Forward Tony Jacobs shone as well, being his side’s chief threat in attack while Jamie Salmon also provided a characteristic presence in midfield.
Finally, congratulations to Buckhurst Hill who retain the Essex Premier Cup while Utd are runners-up for the fourth time in five seasons.
Catholic Utd | Player-Manager: Dan Trenkel
Louis Godwin-Green (GK), Patrick Kearney, Max Kent (Capt) (Dan Trenkel 60′), Louis Robinson, Bradley Vaughan, Jamie Salmon, Mike Sammut, Tom Hollingsworth, Thomas Kearney, Aaron Baldwin (Mark Baptist 60′), Tony Jacobs (Franklin Craik 70′)
Goal-scorer: Jamie Salmon [71′]
Booked: Kent, Robinson | Subs Not Used: Sands, Ebbles
Buckhurst Hill | Manager: Mark Williams
Daniel Blockley (GK), Liam Foster, Keaton Moore, William Wells (Capt), Josh Addinall, Alfie Harris, Josh Banfield, Sam Sollosi (James Sacre 81′), Steven Townsend (Sonny Shilling 83′), Suleyman Zuhdu, Nathan Sollosi (Frank Glock 85′)
Goal-scorers: Keaton Moore [9′], Nathan Sollosi [30′ & 71′], Suleyman Zuhdu [44′ & 64′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Falola, Gregory
Referee: Artyon Hursey
Assistant Referees: Craig Charles & Rob Collins
Fourth Official: Kevin Nicholson