HULLBRIDGE Sports were crowned the Essex Senior League champions after sealing a 2-1 win over Stanway Rovers.

Darren Manning’s side went into the clash knowing that three points would assure Sports of claiming the title.

And Adebola Sotoyinbo’s second half brace enabled Hullbridge to come out on top at the Ryan’s Heating Stadium.

Sports made a blistering start, with George Whitby seeing a header cleared off the line inside two minutes.

Stanway felt they should have been awarded an early penalty after Mike Turner appeared to be tripped, but referee Peter Newman waved away the appeals.

Hullbridge responded with Yemi Adelani seeing a goalbound effort blocked after Emmanuel Okunja’s mistimed volley had found its way to the frontman.

Joe Wright was the next Sports man to try his luck, but Stanway goalkeeper Daniel Beeson was equal to his strike.

Adelani should have broken the deadlock five minutes before the break as Beeson spilled an Sotoyinbo shot into his path, but the frontman’s close range strike – with the goal at his mercy – went over the top.

Just two minutes after the resumption, Hullbridge thought they had taken the lead when Whitby latched onto a dangerous free-kick and fired home. But the goal was ruled out as the central defender was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

Stanway hit back with a goalbound header having to be cleared off the line – via the crossbar – by Sports soon after and Turner was denied by a fine George Marsh save.

The opener came with 20 minutes remaining as Sotoyinbo found himself through on goal and the midfielder calmly slotted home, sparking wild celebrations on the pitch along with in the stands and home dugout.

Matt Baxter then forced Beeson into action after good play by substitute Luke Hornsley as the hosts looked to kill the game off.

Hornsley was denied by Beeson after trickery had allowed the frontman to get a shot away, but the ball found Sotoyinbo on the edge of the penalty area and the midfielder fired home to complete his brace late on.

Stanway halved the deficit in injury time, but Hullbridge can now look forward to Isthmian North football next season.