Chingford Athletic 3 Oracle Components 5
Essex Junior Cup Final
Report by Scott Lanza
Oracle Components finished off their maiden voyage in the Essex Junior Cup by lifting the silverware after a pulsating Final at Aveley FC’s Parkside Stadium. Chingford Athletic were winners of this competition in 2015/16 and were able to go into a 2-0 lead midway through the first half in Oracle met a side that refused to give up and that doggedness ultimately made the difference.
It was no surprise that this game provided eight goals as it was end-to end straight from the opening whistle with Will Gleeson crossing into the Oracle box inside the very first minute but Jamie Golledge not only intercepted the ball but then launched a counter-attack which ended with a corner being punched clear by Sidney Stojic the Chingford ‘keeper. Graeme Wiggs his Oracle counterpart was called upon to collect a ball off the feet of Will Gleeson; with five minutes gone Oracle then carved out an attack which ended with a sweeping ball reaching Marco Faria whose turn and volley was superbly tipped away by Stojic. Tom Aldrich was drilling a shot over Stojic’s crossbar moments later.
The game then settled down for a bit as both defences started getting to work to stop their opponent’s attacking flow. However in the 19th minute Faria turned and zipped past his marker, launching a run that took him into Chingford’s box where he fired off a shot that Stojic blocked.
However the first goal of the evening came Chingford’s way in the 22nd minute. It appeared initially as though a Chingford attack had broken down as Oracle had been able to clear their lines; that however was not the case at all as Harry Williams was reading a much different script as he cannoned a shot from 30 yards that screamed past Wiggs.
But Oracle picked themselves up almost immediately and went close to levelling up two minutes later when Sam Pallet flashed a header wide. Tom Kavanagh blazed a shot over for Chingford, before their ‘keeper was again pulling off heroics as he punched clear an Aldrich free kick then making a fabulous diving save to tip Pallet’s header over the bar.
A Chingford ball over the top of Oracle’s defence set Eric Kelly free but the move broke down as the Assistant Referee raised his flag. But Oracle took no heed of this because in the 34th minute Chingford doubled their lead with a similar manoeuvre. On this occasion Kelly beat the offside trap and went on to stroke the ball past Wiggs.
Even going two goals down didn’t stop Oracle immediately tearing into the Chingford backline with a Paul Stevens run being halted by a solid challenge from Jonny Hirst. And Will Gleeson took defending to the extremes as he blocked a Daryle Wakefield shot with his face!
But Oracle were able to reduce arrears three minutes before the break after Faria and Jake Hammond combined to tear up the Chingford defence, with the final ball being headed beyond Stojic by Stevens. However Wiggs went on to pull off a fantastic save, getting down low to push away Kelly’s shot in stoppage time to make sure that Oracle didn’t go in at half time two-goals down after all.
It didn’t take Stevens too long to have his first effort in the second half; inside the opening minute he was letting fly with a long range effort that dipped over the bar. Chingford retaliated almost immediately as Kelly poked a shot just wide.
Chingford had a great chance in the 55th minute as good play by Tom Collier saw him lay off Kelly but he dragged his shot wide. Three minute later and Oracle were back on level terms as Stevens latched onto a through ball and rifled a fierce shot past Stojic’s left hand that crashed into the net.
The goal not only rocked Chingford but also acted as a stirrup to Oracle as they were soon back on the attack as Martin Walters drilled a low shot that Stojic pushed away. Walters and Lynch once deployed from the subs bench set about the Chingford defence and made a complete nuisance of themselves. In the 72nd minute Lynch fired a cross shot that Stoljic kept out but Walters pounced on the rebound and fired his side into the lead.
And having now taken the lead Oracle then nearly increased it as Lynch had an effort tipped onto the post by Stojic, who then saved Stevens’ rebound. And Oracle went on to have another chance to put the game to bed in the 86th minute when Lynch again teased his way into a position to let fly with a shot that was only an inch the wrong side of Stojic’s left hand post.
The game had started end-to-end and went and finished the same way as in the 90th minute Tayo Olasanoye threaded a ball through to Kelly who side-footed the ball past Wiggs drawing Chingford level and taking the game into extra time. There were still a few minutes of stoppage time to play though and Chingford had the final say in normal time with a Murray lob that cleared both Wiggs and the crossbar.
Normal time had been frantic and non-stop at times and extra time started in the same vein as a Williams free kick for Chingford was punched clear by Wiggs; then the next moment Oracle were on a forward move. Walters and Lynch again combined, exchanging passes before Lynch chiselled a low shot that Stojic saved and then the crossbar came to Chingford’s aid to deny a Stevens header.
But Stevens went on give Oracle the lead, and completing his hat-trick with his next header in the 99th minute after Walters had delivered a pinpoint cross.
As would be expected Chingford would then rally and Olasanoye again delivered a decent forward pass that Kelly got on the end of but Wiggs charged down his shot.
But the game then took another twist as Oracle won a free kick in the 105th minute which Cassidy Igwe rifled goalwards which Stojic was able to just about keep out, but the ball then squeezed out from his grasp and Lynch was on hand to gobble up the loose ball and tighten Oracle’s grip on the game.
Igwe flashed a shot in the 108th minute and Chingford had a couple of long range efforts but there was no further drama as the clock ran down and the Harlow-based Oracle Components made it a dream debut campaign in the Essex Junior Cup as they lifted the trophy after a remarkable 5-3 victory. Chingford Athletic had certainly played their part in the thrilling Final and certainly did themselves proud – they just met a team that didn’t know when they were beaten and were not going to be denied.
Chingford Athletic: Sidney Stojic, Shane Baptiste, Jonny Hirst, Louis Bollard, Max Makaka, Will Gleeson, Gary Murray, Eric Kelly, Tom Collier (Capt), Tom Kavanagh, Harry Williams.
Subs (Repeated): Sam Gleeson, David Livie, Joe Cloake, Tayo Olasanoye.
Scorers – Harry Williams (22’), Eric Kelly (34’, 90’)
Oracle Components: Graeme Wiggs, Jamie Golledge, Tom Aldridge (Capt), Sam Pallet, Lee Hattersley, Sheldon Skeggs, Paul Stevens, Marco Faria, Jake Hammond, Daryle Wakefield, Jamie Stone.
Subs (Repeated): Martin Walters, Liam Adams, Ellis Lynch, Cassidy Igwe.
Scorers – Paul Stevens (42’, 58’, 99’), Martin Walters (72’), Ellis Lynch (105’)