ESC FINAL: Grays Athletic vs AFC Hornchurch

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  • Grays Athletic 1 - 2 AFC Hornchurch
  • Live from the London Borough of Dagenham and Barking stadium
  • Essex Senior Cup final

9:43pm

Hornchurch lift the trophy here then! 

Bad luck Blues!

Thank you for following our coverage this evening.

9:41pm

Valiant effort by Hakan's men but they're just short here. It's been a stonking run to win the league and I think that's taken it out them

No doubt the best team won. Urchins controlled the game for large spells.

9:38pm

GRAYS ATHLETIC 1 - 2 AFC HORNCHURCH

9:36pm

Blues have it. Lalite out to Beaney, his cross finds the head of Moses, but he plants the ball on the roof of the net.

Think that's that now... Hornchurch in possession.

9:35pm

Three minutes of stoppage time, the majority of it has now been played...

9:34pm

Free kick to Blues, about 30 yards out as Subuola is taken out. Great chance for Grays, they work the ball into the box. It's cleared twice and is then turned in by West after a bit of pin-ball in the box. But the flag is up!

9:33pm

Hopeless punt straight out of play by Baker. Grays running out of time.

Hornchurch happy to win 2-1. No intention of scoring more.

9:31pm

Wayne Gray an ex-Blues player.

9:31pm

Hornchurch sub:

Martin Tuohy replaced by Wayne Gray

9:30pm

Worth remembering Blues have scored a number of late goals recently... Wroxham, Redbridge, Harlow Town... It ain't over 'til it's over!

9:28pm

Flynn with a chance to deliver for Grays. It's a low flat ball but no one can get a touch and it goes behind for a goal kick.

Five minutes remaining...

9:26pm

If they've done any scouting of Grays, they certainly won't have seen much of Moses. He's very tall and very unpredictable.

9:26pm

Blues double sub then, Small off Subuola on and West replaced by Moses. Can these changes give Grays an injection of life they desperately need.

9:25pm

Blues are looking ragged now. They're struggling to get the ball into their front men. Moses and Subola coming on for Blues now.

Simon Glover replaces Tambeson Eyong.

9:23pm

Good ball into Smith, he lets it run into the box after turning Kirby before dispatching low past Johnson from a tight angle.

9:22pm

GOOALL! Grays Athletic 1 - 2 AFC HORNCHURCH - Smith, 77'

9:20pm

Another great chance squandered. It's a corner but Smith running from inside his own half collected a through ball. Hornchurch players flooded forward but after cutting inside, Smith opted to shoot and the ball went out for a throw!

9:19pm

Joe Sweeney coming on for Grays. He replaces Danny Bunce.

9:18pm

Flag stays down against Tuohy as he bursts onto a ball down the right. Kirby just gets to the cut back aimed at Johnson.

9:17pm

End-to-end now. Small has a shot blocked as Bourne crosses into Johnson. Now Small crosses for Blues at the other end.

This is a great game!

9:16pm

Good strike from Tuohy. He watches the ball onto his right foot on the edge of the box but his well struck shot is straight down Johnson's throat.

9:14pm

Beaney being a little more productive on the ball this half which is helping Grays. Chance for Noel to put the ball into the box from a free kick.

Claimed easily by Johnson.

9:13pm

Just over from Bunce.

9:12pm

Free kick in a dangerous position for Blues now. Bunce territory, i'd say. 25 yards from goal and to the left...

9:11pm

The game's really opened up. Small and West getting more space in the Hornchurch half and Blues midfielders are looking for them at every opportunity.

9:08pm

Mad few minutes at Victoria Road.

Jared Small gets his head on Pope's cross from the right, with the ball spinning under Woolley, he then taps in the ball as it goes loose.

But from kick off, Lewis Smith picks up the ball to the right of goal, carries into the box and slips it under Johnson.

9:06pm

GOOOAAAAALL!!! Grays Athletic 1 - 1 AFC HORNCHURCH - Smith, 63'

9:06pm

GOOOAALLLL!! GRAYS ATHLETIC 1 - 0 AFC Hornchurch - Small, 61'

9:03pm

Great play from Bourne. It's a terrific turn away from Pope midway in Blues half. He then sidesteps Kirby before shooting just over from 20 yards.

9:02pm

Good ball in by Flynn after Carlos did really well to snuff out a potential Hornchurch counter. Bunce can't connect properly and it spins into Woolley's arms. Good spell for Blues.

They're hunting in packs, giving Hornchurch very little time on the ball. Another decent claim by Johnson as the ball is played in from the right by Smith.

8:58pm

Bourne with a corner from the right this time for Urchins which evades everyone.

8:58pm

Great punch by Johnson to clear a corner. It feels like a Hornchurch goal is coming...

8:56pm

Nice footwork from Small in the Hornchurch corner. He makes space for a cross, but Woolley catches low at the near post.

8:56pm

Blues survive another Hornchurch attack, Lalite putting himself in the way of a Smith shot. Good block.

8:55pm

Flynn crosses the ball in from the left for Grays but Bunce fouls as he challenges for the ball.

8:54pm

Blues just about clear a corner. Its then laid back to Eyong who shoots forcing Johnson to fling himself at it!

8:53pm

Oh wow. That's some miss from Curley!!

The ball falls to him in the Grays box. He controls it, certainly handles it in the process, but there's no flag or whistle. He shoots from seven yards - with only Johnson to beat - and it's over! Poor.

8:52pm

Great football by Blues. Smart passing between Lalite, Pope and Bunce. Lalite crosses from the left but the ball drops kindly into Woolley's arms.

8:50pm

Great stuff from Lalite and Beaney, double teaming Curley to win the ball back in the middle. Lalite's won a free kick too. Cleared.

8:48pm

Second half underway here

8:46pm

Urchins out for the second half, followed by Blues.

A big 45 minutes ahead for Blues!

Can they do the double?

8:40pm

Blues best passage of play led to a Bunce shot which was the closest they came in the first 45.

8:37pm

An entertaining half of football.

Blues started the better but couldn't test Urchins' stopper Joe Woolley. Hornchurch grew into the game, Tuohy missed the best chance, but Smith and Spencer have shot just wide of Johnson's goal.

Lalite and Baker excellent for Blues so far but Hakan's men are going to need a little more going forward.

8:33pm

GRAYS ATHLETIC 0 - 0 AFC HORNCHURCH

8:32pm

Hornchurch will have one last stab at taking the lead this half. It's crossed from the right and falls to Spencer who lashes the ball just wide of Johnson's left hand post.

8:31pm

One minute added on here.

8:31pm

30 seconds of normal time remaining, another Hornchurch free kick into the box cleared by Blues.

8:30pm

Great defending by Baker. He tracks Smith as the ball comes over the top, anticipates it and gets there first.

8:27pm

Beaney with it, again Woolley claims. Great take.

8:27pm

Good stuff from Blues. Bunce leads the attack into the corner but as it's switched Carlos can't cross.

They have a corner now though Blues...

8:26pm

West given a final warning by Yeo. Went for a ball in the air that he was never going to win on the edge of the Hornchurch box.

8:24pm

Nice from West as he finds Carlos in the box. The winger puts the ball across, but there's no one there and his cross trickles behind.

8:23pm

Long free kick into the box by Love, headed wide by Styles.

8:22pm

West is given a talking to by referee Keith Yeo following a late challenge on Reiss Noel in the Hornchurch corner.

8:21pm

It's cleared but only as far as Flynn on the edge of the box who launches a shot high over the bar. 

8:20pm

Corner now for Grays, won by Small.

Bunce to take...

8:20pm

Ball in by Flynn, but West fouls as the ball drops towards him. A rare bit of relief for Blues who have been up against it in the last 20 minutes.

8:17pm

Another ball in from the right, this time it misses everyone, including Tuohy at the back post.

8:16pm

Which is no surprise given the calibre of opposition tonight. It's a real step up this for Grays. 15 minutes to half time...

8:14pm

Bourne races down the right and his cross forces a desperate header behind by Beaney. This is as stretched at the back as Blues have looked in months.

8:13pm

BIG CHANCE missed!! Tuohy should have scored. A corner is played short, Noel scuffs a shot wide but Tuohy misses the ball as it goes between him and the post.

8:12pm

Corner played in and Lamar Johnson, usually a cat in the box - especially when the ball's in the air - follows the flight of the ball to the back post and gets caught in no man's land. Thankfully none of the three red and white shirts make contact.

8:09pm

Great football from Blues!

Jack West at the heart of it, he links with Pope who fizzes a ball towards Small on the edge of the box, he lays it off to Bunce whose well hit shot from 25 yards goes over.

8:07pm

Styles meets it at the back post but it goes high over the bar.

8:06pm

And now they have a corner...

8:06pm

Bentley plays a smart ball through to Smith for Urchins. The forward knocks it past Kirby, stays on his feet when he could of gone down, and flashes a shot just wide! Chance blown for Hornchurch who are really turning the screw now.

8:04pm

This time Bourne jinks inside from the right. He turns Pope before seeing his cross-come-shot tipped over.

Blues up against it a little now. Good pressure from Mcfarlane's side.

8:03pm

Eyong gets round Flynn and into the box, but Baker comes across to clear.

Seconds later Bourne shoots wide.

8:01pm

Lalite and Beaney working tirelessly as always. It can be guaranteed that Curley and Spencer will be afforded no time in the middle.

8:00pm

Hornchuch growing into the game now. But two great headers from Baker help keep the Urchins at bay.

It could be a question of whether Blues have the imagination to unlock this Hornchurch defence. At the moment, there's not much sign of it.

7:57pm

Blues much the better side so far. Hornchurch coping with balls into the box well thus far though.

7:55pm

Another chance for Blues to deliver from a free kick ater Curley fouls Carlos.

Beaney curls it in, Woolley gathers again.

7:54pm

Corner to Hornchurch now after they spring a decent counter attack and almost catch Blues out. Johnson rushes off his line and the ball goes out. But the corner by Smith is poor.

7:53pm

Beaney delivers, Baker just misses it. It falls to Small at the back post who twists, turns and sees his shot deflected wide.

Beaney plays in again, it's cleared at the near post.

7:52pm

Corner for Blues now. A nervous header behind by Love...

7:51pm

Chance for Flynn to deliver from the free kick wide on the right. It's played early and low, flicked on by Small but again Woolley is there to collect.

Grays have started well.

7:49pm

Nervy start. The ball's spent a lot of time in the air so far. First ball into the box by Pope, West nods down and Woolley gathers.

7:46pm

We're underway!

7:42pm

Here come the teams then! Blues led out by Lee Flynn and Hakan Hayrettin's son!

7:41pm

We're minutes from kick off then and the ground is filling nicely. It certainly won't be a capacity crowd but Blues are thought to have sold 300 tickets in advance and expect a further 100.

While Hornchurch have brought a similar amount, perhaps a little more than Grays.

7:39pm

So Hornchurch's path to the final has seen them take some impressive scalps. They beat Billericay on penalties in the third round. In the fourth round they beat holders Canvey Island, in the fifth League One - and the highest ranked side in Essex - Colchester United and in the semi-final they beat Waltham Abbey.

Grays Athletic's journey here has been slightly more understated but contains some notable Ryman Premier opponents. Including East Thurrock United in R3, Maldon and Tiptree in R4, Barking in R5 and Concord Rangers in the semi-final.

7:33pm

Here are tonight's teams.

There's a return to the starting XI for semi-final and quarter final hero Danny Bunce. Kris Newby and Jeff Hammond are cup-tied, so they miss out.

Grays Athletic:

Johnson; Pope, Flynn (c), Baker, Kirby; Bunce, Beaney, Lalite, Carlos; West, Small.

Subs: Kamurasi, Sweeney, Subuola, East, Moses.

AFC Hornchurch:

Woolley; Love, Bentley, Noel, Styles (c); Spencer, Eyong, Curley, Bourne; Tuohy, Smith.

Subs: Gray, Glover, Sawyer, Piper.

7:29pm

So this should be a cracker.

One side, Grays, on the ultimate high and able to relax a little tonight knowing their main goal has been achieved.

While the other, Hornchurch, are locked in a relegation battle and struggling for form.

7:27pm

Hakan Hayrettin, Grays Athletic:

"Three or four Hornchurch lads have played for me in the past, and I know the management and the owner, who are personal friends of mine.

"They’re made of good stock and have stabilised their squad. We’ve watched them and assessed their strengths and weaknesses so we’re in the best possible position for the final.

"This game has come at a tricky time. We’re up against two local derbies in the league - including one against Maldon & Tiptree - then it’s the cup final, then a game against Thamesmead Town who are also in the top three.

"Every game is important at the moment, and we want to win them all. We’re not here tonight to make the numbers up."
 

7:26pm

Ahead of tonight's final, the Essex FA interviewed the managers of both sides.

Here is what they had to say:

Jim McFarlane, Hornchurch:

"Our current players haven’t had much of a chance to think about this match until now because our league games have been coming thick and fast - I hope we have enough available after all the injuries we’ve had! I know they’re looking forward to it - that showed in the semi-final.

"We’ve had a hard run to the final, and that includes Waltham Abbey [in the semis].

"It was good to knock out Billericay because of the rivalry, then Colchester named about seven First Team players against us in that game.

"In the semi-final we were 3-0 up and cruising then we took our foot off the pedal a bit. We like to play football and couldn’t because it was a tough pitch to play on, though I never felt the result was in any doubt."
 

7:22pm

Since then, they've caught and overtaken Maldon and Tiptree in the league and on Saturday, they beat that very side to secure the championship title.

Today's opponents could yet be one of their Ryman Premier League opponents NEXT season. They currently sit 20th in the Blue Square Conference South and have lost their last four.

While Grays were winning their division on Saturday, Urchins lost 2-1 to already-relegated Truro.

7:11pm

We're about 35 minutes from kick off here at the London Borough of Dagenham and Barking ground, home of Dagenham and Redbridge.

A win for Blues tonight would make it 17 in a row, a run that started in the quarter finals of this competition just down the road from here at Barking.

7:08pm

Good evening and welcome to LIVE coverage of one of the biggest games in the Essex football calendar: the county senior cup final.

It's Grays Athletic - Ryman Division One North champions - against Conference South strugglers AFC Hornchurch.

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