A 38th minute goal courtesy of CJ Eseka was all that was needed, as the UEA Men’s first team won a hard-fought victory over Hellesdon in the Second Round of the Senior Cup.
In a fiery first-half, bookended by yellow cards for away team Hellesdon, UEA number 10 Eseka had the best of the chances, having an early shot blocked by a recovering defender after breaking into the box and a half-attempted bicycle kick saved by the keeper later on.
It took until the twilight of the half for the breakthrough; a defence splitting ball from Alf Sylmeta in midfield played Eseka through again. This time he did not spurn it, and slid his low shot past the opposition keeper.
Hellesdon had few chances of note and were repeatedly broken up by the UEA full backs Jordan Cornes and Henry Clark.
The U’s were well on top at half time, but their work was not finished.
Hellesdon came out fighting after the break with a flurry of good chances.
UEA were temporarily reduced to ten men after a Tomasz Siemenczuk sin bin for dissent, and the subsequent free kick squeezed through the wall, but was well parried by keeper Tom Smith.
It took the home team until past the 65-minute mark to register any serious foray into the opposition half in a period which saw Smith make four more strong saves, including a smart one down at his near post.
The U’s struggled to create many chances as tempers flared late on. Both sides committed numerous fouls, as the home team struggled to break out of their own half.
The highlight for UEA was a dribble from winger Luke Young, taking the ball past four defenders before having his shot blocked by a fifth.
At the end of the game the U’s celebrated, continuing their march toward the cup final.
Many will be hoping they can repeat their feat of the 2017/18 season where they lifted the Senior Cup at Carrow Road.
The Men’s Reserves also won 1-0 against St. Andrews Reserves, a late Robbie Hunter goal breaking the deadlock against another physical opposition, with a man of the match performance from Christian Ariwa.
The win pushes them up to 5th in their division.