ROMFORD 1 (0) - (0) 0 GRAYS ATHLETIC ATTENDANCE 124 - SHIP LANE
Romford secured their passage into their first Essex Senior Cup Semi Final since the club reformed in 1992 with a 1-0 victory over Grays Athletic.
The Boro maintained their winning run in 2018 thanks to a seventh minute strike from Connor HAMMOND when the winger turned and scuffed home Jonathan NZENGO’s low cross from the right and this turned out to be the winner. Even before the goal Romford had looked dangerous with Ola Giwa beating three men down the left before his vicious cross was flicked clear just as Hammond looked in a great position to head home. Both teams were trading blows and Grays had Romford on the ropes midway through the first half when at first a goalmouth scramble was finally cleared despite at least three shots forced towards goal before a free kick was curled agonisingly wide of the post for the visitors.
Danny COSSINGTON thought he had doubled Romford’s lead in the twenty-fourth minute, turning the ball home after playing a one-two with the crossbar but the centre back was correctly ruled offside while at the other end, debutant keeper James MAY made a smart save when the ball was headed towards goals after a nice build up down the left. As the play kept switching from end to end so did the drama and it was once again Romford’s turn to go close with Nzengo firing straight at the keeper and Nick REYNOLDS screwing the ball wide when they were both set up by Giwa. Sandwiched in between this was another good stop from May denying the Athletic forward.
The second half continued where the first left off and Romford nearly grabbed the all-important second goal when Nzengo pulled his shot wide of the far post after being set up by Hammond. Grays responded with their best move of the match, the ball coming in from the left to the striker who’s shot was saved by May before Michael FINNERAN made a goal saving block on the line. A minute later and another chance for the visitors went begging thanks to another save from May before a volley flew just wide. A string of changes for both sides temporarily stopped the momentum of the game until recent Boro signing Jay Knight was introduced. The busy forward did well down the right in the closing stages and on one occasion pulled the ball back to Nzengo but the little winger’s effort hit the upright before landing safely in the keeper's arms. Romford endured six minutes of injury time before the referee finally brought the game to an end, giving them the opportunity to beat the high flying Billericay Town and set up a final at the Colchester United stadium in March.
ROMFORD (0) 1 Connor HAMMOND 7
GRAYS ATHLETIC (0) 0
ROMFORD: James MAY, Ayo OLUKOGA, Hugo ATKINSON, Danny COSSINGTON, Michael FINNERAN, Kai BICHARD (James ISHMAIL 70), Harry DALY, Jonathan NZENGO, Nick REYNOLDS (JAY KNIGHT 84), Connor HAMMOND, OLA GIWA (Sam MVEMBA 78) SUBS NOT USED STEPHEN REYNOLDS & CHRIS TAYLOR
YELLOW CARD OLA GIWA 78