Essex Senior Cup Final
BRAINTREE TOWN 2 CONCORD RANGERS 0
JOHN CHUBB at the Jobserve Community Stadium
Braintree Town, who have proved to be a surprise package in the National League South this season won the Essex Senior Cup for the second time and for the first time in 27 years, as they saw off Essex NLS rivals Concord Rangers in Tuesday night’s final.
In the fourth minute there was an early Braintree appeal for a penalty for a foul on striker Alfie Pavey, but referee Aaron Farmer saved play on before Pavey recovered to set up a chance for Matt Rush, whose shot was narrowly tipped over by Concord goalkeeper Mitch Beeney.
The Iron were having all of the play in the early stages, and a Kyron Farrell free kick found Pavey who came close, before Angelo Harrop’s side went in front in the 11th minute, Rush outpacing the Beach Boys defence before firing the ball to Beeney’s right and into the bottom corner to give his side a 1-0 lead.
With 18 minutes gone Chris Regis looked as though he could be about to double Braintree’s lead, but was foiled by a superbly timed challenge by Concord defender Jack Thomas.
As the the half hour mark approached, the Iron were very close to scoring once again and only a good fingertip save from Beeney prevented this, as Braintree continued to dominate.
But a few minutes later at the other end, Rush went down in the box and appealed for a penalty, although it looked an innocuous challenge and referee Farmer once again saved play on.
A rare Concord corner in the 38th minute resulted in Thomas glancing a header just over the bar, which was as far as the Canvey-based men had come to scoring at that point.
With not long left until the break Pavey found the net for the Iron from Rush’s cross, but was adjudged to be offside and the score remained 1-0 at the interval.
Ten minutes after the restart Braintree were awarded a penalty, much to the shagrin of their opponents when Pavey was adjudged to have been fouled inside the edge of the area, and once the forward was back on his feet he sent Beeney the wrong way to make it 2-0.
Concord continued to try and press forward, Mo Camara having a curling effort that wasn’t far away but they weren’t creating many meaningful chances.
Once the game had entered the final ten minutes, the Iron weren’t far from scoring a third when the lively Pavey caught Rangers on the break, teeing up Jack Turner whose shot went over.
So it finished 2-0 to Braintree, who have had a remarkable season and were good value for their victory, as they largely played a more organised game of football – especially in the first half – whereas Concord, for all their endeavour often gave the ball away and never really looked like finding their way back into the match, something manager Rob Small and his players will need to urgently address if they are to be playing at non-League step two again next season.
BRAINTREE TOWN (Manager: Angelo Harrop): Jack Sims, Chris Regis, Kyron Farrell, Baris Altintop, Leon Davies, Kyran Clements, Jack Turner, Alfred Pain, Alfie Pavey (Luke Papple 90), Lamar Reynolds (Alfie Matthews 67), Matt Rush (Thomas Wager 90).
CONCORD RANGERS (Manager: Rob Small): Mitch Beeney, Tosan Popo, Jack Thomas, Aron Pollock, Harvey Beckett, Alex Hernandez, Mo Bettamer, Nana Kyei (Harrison Day 90), Mo Kamara (Joe Burton 73), Lewis Manor, Ricky Modeste.
Referee: Aaron Farmer