IT IS the ending of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. On Saturday, Aveley FC played their last Saturday game at Aveley FC.
There has been a tear or two but the good news is that the team are moving across the road to a brand new ground called Parkside.
YT’s Mike Jones went down to the Mill Field to interview Aveley secretary, Craig Johnson as well as a host of royal fans and gave them the chance to reflect on the past and look to the future.
Aveley 3 v 0 Heybridge Swifts
Ryman League North
Report by Scott Lanza
IT was free entry at Mill Field on Saturday as Aveley played their penultimate game at Mill Field; or if you prefer their final Saturday game at the ground they have called home since 1951. By the time the new season starts the Millers will have moved into their new Parkside base. CBES Construction Solutions, who have built the new stadium, sponsored the game allowing free entry; the club’s youth teams acted as mascots and a bumper crowd of 303 turned up to mark the occasion. It’s a shame that two back-to-back home draws had ended Aveley’s play off chances or else this game could have had even more significance.
Seeing as Swifts are not totally free from relegation turmoil means that they started the game in attack mode, forcing a series of corners in the opening five minutes. A Reece Grant cross to Adam Yusuff required Lamar Johnson to beat the ball away and then recover quickly to block George Cole’s shot on the rebound. There was little threat beyond that as Tommy Spillane and Hussain Jaffa dealt with anything that came through the middle meaning that Johnson spent the rest of the half as a spectator.
The Millers took until the 11th minute before they mustered a chance. A free kick swung its way to Mason Bloomfield who dragged his shot wide. The Millers then spurned a good chance in the 20th minute when a Ross Gleed header set Adalberto Pinto free, but he lashed at the ball and blazed it high over the crossbar.
It had taken a while for them to get going but Aveley were starting to click into gear and Pinto was soon on a mazy run that was only halted by a timely intervention by Marley Andrews, knocking the ball away for a corner; the resulting in-swinger was nodded just wide by Bloomfield. The Millers were now fully awake to the task and Jordan Peart sent over a couple of teasing crosses that tested the Swifts defence. Gleed was also starting to pepper the Swifts box with dangerous balls and when one of them fell to Bloomfield, who then charged towards goal, it looked like the Millers had found a way to break the deadlock. Lewis Moore, the Swifts custodian, had other ideas and sped off his line and bravely dived at Bloomfield’s feet to claim the ball.
Swifts were able to muster another chance when George Cole had a long range effort that landed well off target. Aveley had created a few half chances but then created their best effort of the half when Peart sped down the left flank and set up Gleed, his powerful shot was superbly tipped away by Moore, Bloomfield pounced on the rebound and lobbed Moore but Alieu Njie was able to get back to the line just in time to swoop the ball clear. Moore also had to get down low to cut out a Bloomfield grass cutter.
Aveley were regularly testing the Swifts backline as the half progressed but it was looking like they were going to go in at half time goalless. That was until Lewis Godbold fouled Michael Toner by the left touchline. The resulting free kick from Toner darted towards the far post where Jaffa was waiting, heading the ball beyond the grasp of Moore.
In his programme notes manager Terry Spillane mentioned how not taking chances has cost Aveley dear in a few recent matches. Two minutes from the restart and the Millers took heed and doubled their lead. Toner, who had set up the opening goal, received the ball twenty-five yards out, looked up to see Moore off his line and detonated a missile that crashed into the net, leaving Moore rooted to the spot. Aveley were on course for a win on this historical day; but they had to be on guard straight away as Swifts almost grabbed a goal back moments later. Right from the restart Godbold delivered a through ball to Yusuff, who maybe should have done better, as he fired his shot straight at Johnson. Yusuff was also the recipient of another ball over the top in the next Swifts attack; however he was outrun by Jaffa who cleared the ball out the Aveley half.
Gradually the Millers retook control of the game and Bloomfield saw his looping header pushed around the post by Moore; while another Toner long ranger was blocked by Nije. The Millers then added some polish to the win when Bloomfield, who had done so much to warrant a goal, finally provided one in the 61st minute, bursting the net with a sublime effort. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Bloomfield then turned and delivered a powerful shot that screamed past Moore.
Aveley failed to make it 4-0 when they were awarded a penalty after Peart was upended in the box by Nije. Billy Coyne’s penalty was saved by Moore and the Swifts custodian also had to tip away a Bloomfield header after some tricky play down the right by substitute Jeremiah Maja had carved up the Swifts defence. By now the game was more or less sowed up by Aveley but Swifts almost scored a consolation in the closing stages when Luke Hornsley connected with a deep cross, volleying his shot narrowly wide.
Aveley ended up winning their final Saturday fixture at Mill Field at a canter. Their final home game is on Monday 17th April when they welcome play-off bound AFC Hornchurch. Kick Off is 6.30pm.
Aveley: Lamar Johnson (Capt), Harry Gibbs, Joe Clark, Billy Coyne (Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair 81′), Tommy Spillane, Hussein Jaffa, Ross Gleed (Jeremiah Maja 68′), Adalberto Pinto, Mason Bloomfield, Michael Toner, Jordan Peart (Joshua Luther 79′).
Scorers – Hussein Jaffa (45′), Michael Toner (47′), Mason Bloomfield (61′).
Heybridge Swifts: Lewis Moore, Marley Andrews, Guillem Ramon, Harry Morgan, Jack Cawley, Alieu Nije, Louis Yuill (Luke Hornsley 59′), Lewis Godbold (Taylor Tombides 79′), Adam Yusuff (Amar Lewis 84′), George Cole (Capt), Reece Grant.