Dave Strachan Knockout Cup
Harold Hill F.C. complete treble
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Spartans Claim Saturday Junior Trophy Crown
Goals in each half from Eddie Hart and Wes Bocking sealed Essex Saturday Junior Trophy success for L MAC Spartans at Mill Field.
Having formed only last summer, Spartans’ first season has been a memorable won. Challenging for honours in Division One of the Romford & District League, boss Chris Fyffe has led his side to County Cup glory at the very first attempt.
A perhaps impromptu discussion amongst friends during a trip to Portugal last year brought about the idea of creating Spartans, but even boss Fyffe has been surprised at the instant success. “We definitely didn’t think we’d go this far,” he smiled after the game. “We’ll certainly have a good night and we’ve really stepped up to the big occasion and I’d say this was the best we have played all season.”
For Stanford-le-Hope-based St Clere’s, the defeat was unfortunately a third in the Junior Trophy Final, but they pushed Fyffe’s team all the way on a slick surface at Aveley’s home. “We won every tackle tonight and, at times, I think we wanted it more,” said Fyffe, adding: “We looked really organised and there was some really good football, especially for our first goal. It couldn’t have gone better, really.”
Anyone amongst the healthy 214 crowd would agree with Fyffe’s sentiments on the quality of the contest which, for large parts, was pretty even, despite clear cut chances being at a premium. Spartans threatened first as Lance McDowell’s free kick was picked up by Hart at the far post, who saw an angled shot blocked wide.
Spartans took the lead on 17 minutes as Henry Bantick’s shot was pushed out by St Clere’s’ goalkeeper Charlie Fitt and Hart fired home a fine half volley from the rebound. McDowell’s corner led to St Clere’s’ Christopher Nolan heading clear off the goal line before Spartans ‘keeper John Rawlings made a fine block to deny Michael Archer at the other end.
St Clere’s stopper Fitt made a smart second-half stop to keep out Bocking’s downward header from another McDowell set piece, but St Clere’s came close to a leveller as a goal line clearance kept out Lewis Allen’s header from a Stuart Knowles corner.
With just two minutes to play, Spartans completed the win with their second. A chipped through ball from Hart set Bocking free and the quick forward lobbed the ball over Fitt before slotting home into the unguarded net.
L MAC Spartans: John Rawlings, Billy Ellis, Taylor Mills, Mark Kelly, Paul Smith, Scott Smith, Lance McDowell, Ben Sitki, Eddie Hart, Wes Bocking, Henry Bantick. Substitutes (repeated): James Bellemy, Fred Parsons, Mitchell Collett, Joe Goodspeed, Tom Benson.
St Clere’s: Charlie Fitt, Ryan Shepherd, Lewis Allen, Jordan Stevens, Darren Nolan, Christopher Nolan, Sean Jackson, Stephen Aitchison, Harry Hearn, James Haydon, Michael Archer. Substitutes (repeated): Stuart Knowles, Christopher Hales, James Knight, Sam Madden, Laine Taylor.
Bookings: L MAC: Bantick (40, foul), Bocking (63, foul). St Clere’s: Jackson (38, foul).
Referee: Jack Willmore (Clacton-on-Sea).
Assistant Referees: Stuart Hannam (Walton-on-the-Naze) and George Sleigh (West Bergholt).
Fourth Official: Chris Fountain (Clacton-on-Sea).