SOUTHEND United legend Steve Tilson bagged a brace to help Herongate AFC become national over-50 champions.

The former Shrimpers manager and player scored twice as Herongate beat Liverpool’s Copplehouse 4-0 in the final.

And Tilson was thrilled to help his side secure more success.

“It’s been a great season for the team,” said Tilson.

“We won the league title and it’s great to have finished it all off by becoming national champions too.

“It’s a great achievement by a club from Essex and we’re all delighted about it.”

Herongate, who were also over-45 national champions last season, headed to Lilleshall to play in their latest final and produced another polished performance.

Buoyed by a sensational early 25-yard strike by Alun Wood, Herongate dominated the early proceedings and deservedly went 2-0 up when Robbie Thorne burst through the Copplehouse defence and was brought down, enabling Tilson to coolly slot home the resulting penalty.

Copplehouse battled back but goalkeeper Geoff Ridgeon kept them at bay before Herongate made it 3-0 when Thorne charged through to score.

Player-manager Steve Edkins thought he had scored the fourth with a well placed header - only for an over-exuberant linesman to rule it out for a marginal offside decision.

But Herongate did soon make it 4-0 when, five minutes from time, Tilson struck a sublime free-kick into the top corner of the net to provide a fitting end to another superb season.