Tilbury Travelled to Mill Field to face newly promoted Romford. The last encounter with these two sides ended with the Dockers taking all 3-points in a 4-1 win at Chadfields, Ben Bradbury and Kayan Kalipha scoring two a piece, with Romford’s Chris Thomas scoring a consolation goal.
Dockers Boss Graham Chester welcomed back Paul Shave from a 3-match suspension, plus Glen Golby back from a long term injury was named on the bench alongside Chris Stowe, Lee Hodges, Andy Gibbs and Joel Barnett.
Missing for the Dockers is Nathan Gordon with a hamstring injury plus Rickie Hayles who departs Tilbury and joins Ryman Premier Club AFC Hornchurch.
Romford got the game underway and from the off put the Dockers on the back foot. Andy Hall, Tilbury’s keeper was called into immediate action as he palmed the ball away from close range from a blistering effort by Ex Docker – Kurt Smith.
Romford retained possession in the early stages pinning the Dockers back into their own half and came close once more, this time Paul Kavanagh over hitting his shot which sprung over the bar.
The cold weather was further compounded by a flurry of light snow as the game fell into a midfielder tussle with neither side creating many opportunities until the 32nd minute when Bradley Barnes set off down the left hand side and whips in a delightful ball across goal which was met by the towering presence of Paul Shave whose effort is comfortably saved by Romford’s Neil Finn.
Into the second period of the game and the Dockers come close to pulling level. Ben Bradbury on a mazy run into a sea of blue shirts manages to find a yard and hits his shot goal-bound, Neil Finn down low to push the ball wide of the post and out for a Tilbury corner.
The Dockers made their first substitution, Glen Golby on for the injured Donny Barnard.
Into the 66th Minute and Romford take the lead, Kurt Smith’s effort blocked by Andy Hall, the ball rebounds out to Chris Thomas who slots homes from close range to put Romford in front.
Lee Hodges entered the field and replaced Bradley Barnes.
Romford continue to apply pressure on the Dockers defence, look to have broken through, but for Tilbury’s skipper Jamie Wallace who made a fabulous recovery sliding tackle to take the ball from the feet of Toran Senghore as the Tilbury man came away with the ball.
Third substitution for the Dockers, Chris Stowe on for Manlee Brown, who also looks be carrying a muscle strain.
Romford sitting back and allow the Dockers to pile on the pressure, Lee Hodges in creative mood, uses the flanks to open up the game, Joe Keith down the left hand side swings the ball across goal and Finn does well with a one handed save to keep his team in the lead.
79th minute and Lee Hodges once again finds space and gets within 4 yards of the Romford area is upended by a rash challenge, and wins a free kick 22 yards out.
Joe Keith lines up the free kick and crushes the ball into the top corner of the net to put the score level at 1-1 after 80 minutes gone.
Romford fight back and come close when Matt Toms effort from just inside the box hits the underside of the bar.
Tilbury looking the more hungry for the win press down on the Romford defence in the 90th minute, Lee Hodges sending a fine ball down the left to Joe Keith, Keith almost to the by-line whips in a delightful ball which was met by the glancing head of Christian Wheeler whose effort is rewarded as the ball hits the top corner of the net to start the celebrations from behind the goal as the Dockers take the lead, 2-1.
Match Official Mr. Mackay allowing 5 minutes of injury time, showed his maturity and experience as a spat (hand bags at five paces) between Romford’s Danny Jones and Tilbury’s Chris Taylor flared up in the last minute of injury time, the Match official quickly on the scene calmed the situation and gave just a yellow card to each player.
The Dockers back to winning ways were tested by a creative and hardworking Romford side. A few injury concerns will keep the Dockers physio busy as they prepare for another tough battle against Potters Bar Town at Chadfields on Tuesday 16th February, kick off at 7:45pm.
Man of the Match
Lee Hodges – Creative Midfielder, came on as a second half substitute, and changed the Game for the Dockers.
Romford : Neil Finn, Paul Clayton, Kevin Neville, Scott Truman, Matt Toms, James Gammons, Chris Thomas, Jack Barry, Kurt Smith, Toran Senghore, Paul Kavavagh Substitutes, Martin Heed, Paul Burnett, Josh Green, Danny Jones, Danny Mulrooney.
Tilbury : Andy Hall, Danny Smith, Joe Keith, Jamie Wallace (Capt) Donny Barnard, Chris Taylor, Manlee Brown , Christian Wheeler, Paul Shave, Ben Bradbury, Bradley Barnes, Substitutes, Chris Stowe, Joel Barnett, Lee Hodges, Glen Golby, Andy Gibb.
Referee: Mr R.A. Mackay
1st Assistant: Mr D. Lawson
2nd Assistant: Mr M. Wilson