SOUTHEND Manor’s under 16 side are celebrating winning the club’s first piece of Eastern Junior Alliance silverware in 23 years.

Manor beat Newmarket 2-0 in the EJA Invitational Cup final played at Bowers & Pitsea’s Len Salmon Stadium.

And boss David Dawson – who played in Manor’s last EJA cup winning team back in 1999 – was thrilled with the success.

“The season was looking like being a season of near misses after finishing runners up in the league by one point and reaching two cup semi-finals but the boys bounced back from those disappointments to secure the invitational cup,” said Dawson.

“It was fantastic to get the victory.”

Manor faced a strong Newmarket side in the final who had already reached the EJA Cup final and beaten EJA Black League champions Godmanchester in the semi-final.

As expected, the final was a tight contest but Manor showed extra quality in key areas to get a foothold in the game.

Goals in each half from Hutchinson and Troussaint secured the success and delighted Dawson.

“Our objective at the start of the season was to compete in all competitions and to try and win some silverware,” said Dawson.

“I played in the 1999 EJA Cup winning team so I know what today meant to not only the team but the club as a whole.

“The season has been been like no other with many ups and downs and near misses.

“But these boys have shown great character to come back and put in a very professional performance and do the club proud.”

However, a lot of hard work went into making the success possible with Manor keen to bring through more young players.

“In two years our youth set-up has grown from six to almost 200 children,” said Dawson.

“It’s going from strength to strength along with several under 16s making their 1st team debuts which has been fantastic so I hope we will not have to wait another 23 years for our next trophy.”

Manor will now be looking to build on the success and secure a bright future for the club who are based at Southchurch Park.

And Dawson is pleased to see the youth section so well supported.

“The chairman (Jerry Omango) and first team manager (James Wakeling) and lots of club volunteers and youth players were all here supporting us for the final.” said Dawson.

“A big thank you goes to everyone that has supported us today and throughout the season.”