Saturday, June 22, 2024

Football: Crows send Millermen straight out of the FA Trophy

By Scott Hatley

Courtesy of

Aveley’s FA Trophy hoodoo continued as they were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition after losing 5-1 to Evo-Stik Central’s Royston Town.

After an even first half, the sides went into the break at one a piece thanks to goals from Matthew Standen for Royston and Billy Holland for the Millers, but within 15 minutes of the second half the tie was over thanks to four nightmare minutes that saw Royston bag three goals.

Goals scored by Standen, Ryan Ingrey and Ryan Lockett, all from almost identical positions, all but succumbed Aveley to defeat once again in the FA Trophy, with the final nail in the coffin being struck in injury time when Lockett scored his second and Royston’s fifth.

The performance left Aveley manager, Justin Gardner, saying after the game that “all I can do is apologise to everyone for the shambolic performance.”

Both sides came into the game brimming with confidence: Aveley, after smashing six past Hadleigh in the F.A. Cup last weekend, and Royston, who were sitting pretty in third place in the Evo-Stick Central league, after coming up from the Spartan league the season before.

It was the home start who started the stronger of the two, frustrating the Aveley back line and winning a number of set-piece opportunities, and it was from one of those set-pieces that the home side opened the scoring through striker, Matthew Standen.

A corner from the right was swung in by left back, Lee Wilson, and with no Aveley defender attacking the ball and Ronnie Worster rooted to his line, Standen had the simple task of getting his body in the way of the ball and diverting it into the roof of the net after 14 minutes.

The goal shook the Millers into action and they thought they’d found themselves back level just three minutes after the Royston goal, when Billy Holland put the ball in the back of the net after splitting the two centre backs, before seeing that the linesman’s flag was up as he’d been adjudged to be offside.

Aveley continued to work away and enjoyed large periods of possession without overly worrying the Royston goalkeeper, Will Norris, but the home side almost doubled their lead just past the half hour mark through goal-scorer, Standen.

A long ball over the top was flicked on, putting Standen clean through on goal. With Marcus Rose and Jay Leader desperately trying to get back, Standen’s effort was blocked by the frame of Worster who ensured the deficit stayed to one.

The away side were furious not to have been given an in-direct free kick just moments after Standen’s effort, when Norris received a backpass. Under pressure from Junior Dadson, the goalkeeper tried a Cryuff-turn to get away from the Aveley winger, but the ball got caught under his feet before the goalkeeper decided to dive on the ball, but the referee saw nothing wrong and waved away the away side’s protests to the clear frustration of the Aveley bench.

Aveley weren’t to be too downcast for long, as Holland popped up to head home the equaliser with 40 minutes on the clock.

After disputing over a throw in on the far left side, which saw Royston centre back Jack Bradshaw see yellow, the ball eventually fell to the feet of Sheldon Sellears who whipped the ball into the area and onto the head of Holland, whose glancing header nestled perfectly in the bottom corner to send both sides in level at the break.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with neither side really stamping their authority on the tie, but then a crazy passage of play saw the Millers go from seeing a golden chance to take the lead go to waste to finding themselves 4-1 down five minutes later.

After a clearance from the goalkeeper, Jack Stevenson rose to head the ball, unchallenged, back where it came from. The ball back fell nicely into the path of Holland who had held his line to be through on goal, but the striker decided to try and chip the advancing goalkeeper from 25 yards only to see his effort go harmlessly over.

Less than a minute later and Aveley were behind through Standen’s second of the game.

A free kick just inside the Aveley half, wide on the left, from Wilson was drilled into the area. The ball bounced without anyone getting any contact on it which drew Worster off his line. The goalkeeper got a glove to the ball under pressure from a Royston attacker who went down calling for a penalty, which was waved away by the referee. However, Aveley were unable to clear their lines as the ball fell to Bradshaw on the right. His low cross across the face of the six yard box found Standen unmarked at the far post, and the striker had the easy job of slotting the ball home to regain the lead in the 55th minute.

Two minutes later and the home sides lead was doubled, as Ryan Ingrey scored in a similar fashion to Standen just moments earlier. This time the cross from right to left found Ingrey unmarked at the far post as he headed in from close range to make the scores 3-1.

Aveley’s misery was compounded two more minutes later when they found themselves 4-1 behind, after Ryan Lockett was free down the left, the ball played into him sat up nicely for the striker, who cut across his half volley expertly, seeing his shot spin away from Worster and in to extend the home sides lead to three.

The onslaught on their goal completely threw the Millers, who until then had been more than worthy of being level, and they began pumping the ball forward and trying to force the play too much, but to no avail.

Holland almost grabbed a lifeline when his effort was cleared off the line after good work from Paul Burnett down the right, and Jordon Cox also had a similar effort, which beat the goalkeeper but not the backtracking defender.

Royston could have extended their lead further when Standen missed a golden opportunity to seal his hat-trick, once again down the left, but the striker dragged his effort wide, and Kaan Fehmi played in Lockett on the counter attack, only to see his dinked effort also go wide when he was clean through.

In added on time, Lockett did grab his second of the game to rub salt in the wounds of the away side, after Tom Malins played the striker through leaving Lockett to calmly stroke the ball past Worster for the fifth.

After the game, a disconsolate Gardner said: “We were shocking today and we don’t deserve anything if we don’t perform.” He continued by saying “we were good in possession, we created a few chances, but my main concern, even though we’ve been winning…is that we give away sloppy goals. Today every mistake we made cost us.”

When asked what the team will be working on in training during the week before the F.A. Cup game against Margate next weekend, Gardner had a simple answer, “defending.”

Aveley: Ronnie Worster, Marcus Rose (Junior Appiah 71’), Marc Sontag, Jack Stevenson (Ricky Edwards 62’), Jay Leader (c), Ellis Sands, Junior Dadson (Jordan Cox 62’), Sheldon Sellears, Shane Oakley, Paul Burnett, Billy Holland


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