Hertfordshire Under-18s will go into their big FA County Youth Cup third-round tie next month full of confidence after they ended Essex’s unbeaten start to the season on Sunday.
Queens’ Academy pupil Ezekiel Bademosi got the opener and Welwyn’s Jarvis Nutt scored twice in the second half as Herts, featuring seven players from Watford schools and clubs, beat Essex in the East Anglia Counties League at Harlow Town FC.
Already buoyed by the cup win away from home against Wiltshire in the last round, Herts will take huge heart from now beating an Essex side who stuck nine past Somerset recently.
“A very good win in the end by all Herts players involved who showed good determination and resilience against a very strong Essex rep team,” said manager John Bitting.
Herts broke the deadlock after 19 minutes when Bademosi latched on to a knock down from Lanre Ladipo, the hat-trick hero of the win over Wiltshere, to score under pressure from the Essex keeper.
The lead didn’t last long as Essex, who have counted David Beckham, Tony Adams and John Terry among their former players, equalised when Oliver Hanlon converted at the second attempt after his initial effort was blocked by goalkeeper Tim Whitehouse.
Herts suffered a double blow at the break when Ladipo and Bademosi were forced off and replaced by Jeffrey Gyamed and Hakim Nyariki. This prompted Biting to tweak the formation, a trick that worked immediately when Nutt burst through to make it 2-1 just 20 seconds after the restart.
Again, their advantage was wiped out swiftly, Joe O’Hare rounded Whitehouse to notch his fifth of the campaign.
With Sun Sports’ Daniel Griggs on for Reggie Ross, Herts established a grip on proceedings and it was Griggs who set up the winner. The Sun Sports winger won the ball back in an advanced position and drove forward to play in Nutt who drove in from a difficult angle for what turned out to be the winner. Alfie Barker and Scott Batchelor had chances to give the visitors some breathing space but, in the end, it took a fantastic save from Whitehouse to deny Matt Bentley the equaliser.
Hertfordshire: Tom Whitehouse (EDSV Academy), Feliz Ahorlu (Queen’s Academy), Luke Foster (Boreham Wood), Phil Ball (Welwyn Garden City), Lawrence Bearman (Welwyn Garden City), Josh Numbhard (Sun Sports), Lanre Ladipo (Queen’s Academy), Reggis Ross (Welwyn Garden City), Jarvis Nutt (Welwyn Garden City), Alfie Barker (Welwyn Garden City), Ezekiel Bademosi (Queen’s Academy).
Substitutes: Daniel Griggs (Sun Sports), Scott Batchelor (Welwyn Garden City), Jeffrey Gyamed (Welwyn Garden City), Katchi Njoku (St Albans City), Hakim Nyariki (Queen’s Academy).
Herts U18 fixtures
Sunday, December 6: FA Counties Youth Cup v Staffordshire (A)
Sunday, December 13: East Anglia Counties League v Cambridgeshire (H)