* Report courtesy of the Essex County FA
CONCORD RANGERS will return to the Essex Senior Cup Final bidding to be the first club to retain the trophy in a decade following their Semi-Final success over AFC Hornchurch.
The Beach Boys grabbed the trophy from the grasp of 2013 winners Hornchurch last season and will now look to emulate Thurrock – winners in 2003 and 2004 – when they take on either Aveley or Billericay Town in the Final. For Hornchurch, the defeat meant a second successive exit at the penultimate stage having been overcome on penalties by Braintree Town twelve months ago.
Following a tightly-contested first half, the Vanarama Conference South side sealed their win courtesy of second-half strikes from Matt Fry and Gary Ogilvie at Bridge Avenue, leaving the hosts to concentrate on their bid for Ryman League Premier Division survival.
Much of the first half play actually went the way of the home side, with the first opportunity seeing Martin Tuohy turn and fire just wide from the edge of the area before a fierce Billy Coyne free kick dipped inches over the top. As the visitors grew into the tie, a fine Steve Cawley ball found Sam Collins, whose fierce shot was well blocked by Joey May while a good chance soon fell to Fry, who screwed an effort wide from six yards following a low cut-back.
The last chance of the half went to Hornchurch, though, with Billy Coyne?s tempting centre nodded just over the top by Tuohy. The Urchins were to rue that miss when Concord grabbed the lead with 59 minutes played. Collins? excellent right-flank dead ball was flicked inside the far post by the head of Fry.
Within a minute it could?ve been two for the away side as Lewis Taafe?s pull-back saw Cawley volley just wide. Hornchurch looked to capitalise on that let-off, but their perseverance couldn?t break the Concord rearguard, and the visitors sealed the tie in the final minute. A loose ball found its way to substitute Ogilvie who ran half the length of the field before advancing past goalkeeper Sam Mott and tapping into an unguarded net.
AFC HORNCHURCH: Sam Mott, Courtney Homans, Billy Coyne (Joe Scott, 86), Elliot Styles, Danny Johnson, Tobi Joseph, Kieran Bishop (Thomas Gogo, 75), Joey May, Martin Tuohy, George Purcell, Junior Luke (Nnamadi Nwachuku, 62). Unused Substitutes: Sam Burton, Callum Chafer.
CONCORD: Josh Vickers, Jeremy Walker, Jack Lampe, Alex Woodyard, Steve King, Matt Fry, Joe Gardner (Taylor Miles, 88), James White, Lewis Taafe (Gary Ogilvie, 81), Sam Collins, Steve Cawley (Tony Stokes, 63). Unused Substitutes: Callum Buckley, Jay Dowie.
Bookings: Concord: Stokes (73, dissent), White (89, foul).
Referee: Rick Bloy (Basildon).
Assistant Referees: Stuart Franklin (Wickford) and Edward Smith (Hornchurch).