Sunday, December 4, 2022

Football: Red mist descends as Millermen lose it.

Ryman Div One North

Cheshunt 4 v 2 Grays Ath

By Scott Hately

Courtesy of

AVELEY’S return to league action ended in their third straight defeat after a 4-2 defeat at Cheshunt that saw the Millers end the game with eight men.

A red card for Scott Curley in the first half, followed by reds for Marc Sontag and Ellis Sands in the second curtailed what had been an encouraging display from the Millers, but one which ultimately ended in defeat.

Cheshunt didn’t finish the match with their full complement of players either after Courtney White saw red in the same incident that saw Curley sent off, but with the two man advantage Cheshunt recorded their first win in seven matches and left Aveley boss, Justin Gardner, seething.

Based on the opening half an hour of this game you would be forgiven for thinking that the match would have ended with goals in the double figures, with the match wide open and being played at a rapid pace.

The home side started much the stronger and would feel that they should have taken the lead inside the first minute, when a free kick from David Hicks wide on the right was whipped in towards the far post and headed wide by Danny Gudgeon, who was in acres of space.

However, it wasn’t long until Cheshunt made their fast start count as they opened the scoring after seven minutes through Tony Burke.

Courtney White picked the ball up on the right hand side after an over-hit cross from the left. The striker played the ball inside to Burke who shifted the ball to hit right foot to create some space from his marker before striking the ball into the top corner, giving Dave McCartney no chance.

The lead was thoroughly deserved by the home side, but lit a fire underneath the Aveley players who set about overturning the Cheshunt lead and just past the quarter hour mark the away side found themselves in front after two goals in as many minutes: first from Shane Oakley, then a wonderful second from Paul Burnett.

A corner from the left was cleared, but only as far as Junior Dadson who had time and space to play in a cross towards the centre of the penalty area where Oakley was located. Aveley’s leading goal scorer met the header perfectly, sending a looping effort over the stranded goalkeeper and in for the equaliser on 14 minutes.

Two minutes later and Aveley were awarded a free kick which Paul Burnett stood over confidently. From at least 30 yards Burnett connected with his free kick perfectly, sending the ball swerving powerfully over the goalkeeper and in off the underside of the bar to give the Millers the lead.

The quick double strike from Aveley did not deter the home side who continued to work hard. Cheshunt could have been forgiven for folding, considering that they had lost their last five matches and were without a win in six, but with so much time left to play there was still plenty of life left in the match, and less than ten minutes after Aveley had taken the lead, Cheshunt were back level, but in controversial circumstances.

An intricate pass played between two Aveley defenders found White in the penalty area with only McCartney to beat. White’s effort across the face of the Aveley ‘keeper was palmed away, but straight to Ryan Wade who was on hand to bundle the ball into the net for the equaliser on 25 minutes.

The Aveley bench were incensed that the goal was allowed to stand, however, as they were adamant that White was offside when he was played through and were even more certain that Wade used his hand to bundle the ball in, which from our vantage point it appeared he had. Regardless, referee Norcott let the goal stand and Cheshunt were back level.

With four goals in the opening half an hour and with no sign of the action abating we were in for a thoroughly entertaining contest, but the match took a turn for the worse with just over ten minutes of the first half to play when the first of four red cards were dished out by Norcott.

After Aveley had successfully defended a corner from the home side, Millers defender, Scott Curley, got into an altercation with Wade resulting in the defending pushing Wade to the ground. In the ensuing melee White got himself involved a little too physically and both Curley and White saw straight red cards leaving both sides with 10 men.

Despite both sides missing a player, what had been a very open contest up until that point tightened up, despite the newly found space left in the wake of the dismissals with the sides going in level at the break.

The second half started much like the first half had ended, with both sides creating nothing noteworthy, but just five minutes into the half Aveley found themselves missing another player as a third red card was brandished.

Wade was involved once again and was seen backing into Marc Sontag as Cheshunt set up to attack from a free kick that had been given just inside the Aveley half. Whatever Wade was doing clearly aggravated Sontag as he appeared to punch Wade who instantly went down with the incident being seen by the linesman on the far side. After drawing the referee’s attention to the matter, Sontag found himself back in the dressing room and Aveley were left with nine men.

With the extra man advantage and with Aveley missing two of their starting back four Cheshunt set about stealing a priceless three points.

With 68 minutes played McCartney was forced into making a smart save, tipping over an effort from Burke, but from the resulting corner Cheshunt retook the lead. The corner was initially cleared, but only as far as Michael Deane, who played his cross over to the far post when Hicks was lurking. Hicks, who was completely unmarked, smacked the ball back across goal on the volley and into the bottom corner to put the home side back in the ascendancy and on the verge of grabbing all three point.

Five minutes later and the win was all but confirmed when Cheshunt extended their lead to two, thanks to a superb strike by substitute, Lee Brennan. The midfielder picked the ball up near the left hand touchline before charging inside and unleashing a fierce strike that whistled past McCartney after 75 minutes.

With Aveley being two behind and with a man down it became damage limitation for Gardner’s men as they accepted it wasn’t going to be their night, but the away sides misery wasn’t over there as Aveley lost yet another defender to the referee’s notebook and ended the game with eight men.

Ellis Sands, went in with a strong tackle on one of the Cheshunt midfielders. The tackle arguably warranted a free kick, but certainly not a booking, but the referee had other ideas as he gave Sands a yellow card. However, the Aveley defender voiced his opinion of the official too vehemently, resulting in him getting a second yellow card straight away and he was off.

The match cantered to a finish with Cheshunt recording the win that leave them fifth in the league, with Aveley sitting in 11th, but the performance of the referee was by far the biggest talking point, leaving Gardner furious after the display of the match official. So much so that Gardner did not want to do his usual post match interview with the club.

Aveley XI: Dave McCartney, Marc Sontag, Ellis Sands, Scott Curley, Marcus Rose, Jay Leader, Billy Holland (c) (Sheldon Sellears 38’), Alfred Kamara (Jack Stevenson 61’), Shane Oakley, Paul Burnett, Junior Dadson (Rashid Kamara 58’)


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