Monday, March 27, 2023

Football: Millers let lead slip to lose out to Romford

Ryman Div One North

Romford 2 v 1 Aveley

Report courtesy of Scott Hateley from

AVELEY slip to third after falling to defeat away at Romford, despite having chances to kill the game off before the half time interval.

Petrit Elbi’s 11th minute goal had given the away side a deserved lead with the Millers firing out of the blocks in the first half.

However, missed opportunities in the opening period allowed the home side to stay in the game and a good spell at the end of the half resulted in Romford grabbing an equaliser deep into first half injury time through Billy Hunt.

Whereas the first half was all Aveley’s, the second was all Romford’s as they pressed for a winner which duly came after 72 minutes.

A free kick was flicked onto the bar by Nick Reynolds, rebounding kindly for Matt Toms who headed into the empty net to give the home side the points.

Prior to the game a minute’s silence was held for Carlton Rose, the brother of Aveley right back, Marcus Rose, who tragically passed away on Friday after a battle with a long term illness.

No doubt wanting to get a result for Marcus and his brother the away side came flying out of the blocks in the opening exchanges creating a number of chances to take an early lead.

As early as the second minute a corner from the left, whipped in by Sheldon Sellears, was flicked towards the far post by Jay Leader. The ball looped agonisingly past the far post with Alfred Kamara unable to apply the finish from close range.

A minute later and Shane Oakley cushioned a header into the path of Sellears who had continued his run down the right. The header allowed the Aveley midfielder to be one on one with the goalkeeper, but Sellears could only find the legs of Chris Clark with his low strike.

And with seven minutes played Oakley himself had a chance to open the scoring when he turned his marker easily to find himself in acres of space on the edge of the area, only for a Romford defender to make up the ground to block Oakley’s effort at goal, with the ball looping into the hands of the grateful Clark.

Eventually the away side’s pressure told as Petrit Elbi went one better than Oakley and Sellears before him to given the Millers a 1-0 lead after 11 minutes.

With the Romford trying to clear their lines after another Aveley attack had broken down, the hard-working Elbi stole the ball off the feat of Jamie Dicks, allowing him a free strike at goal. The Aveley front-man didn’t waste his opportunity, drilling the ball into the bottom corner past the despairing Clark who dived to his right.

The home side had hardly had a touch of the ball as was Aveley’s dominance, and when the Boro were able to get a foot on the ball the Millers restricted them to efforts from distance for most of the first half.

Aveley continued to press and created a number of half chances as well as clear chances but were just unable to add that killer second goal.

Just 20 minutes in and a rampaging run down the left from Sellears, skipping past at least three Romford defenders on his way, allowed him to play a low cross into the feet of Oakley who was in the centre. Aveley’s joint top-goalscorer was unable to retrieve the ball from under his feet before getting a strike away, seeing the ball desperately cleared.

A neat one-two between Danny Hopkins and Paul Burnett down the left hand side once more, allowed Burnett to be clear of the Romford back line, but his effort across goal went narrowly wide of the far post after 26 minutes.

And Aveley’s clearest chance to double their lead came 11 minutes before the break when Elbi struck the foot of the post. A perfectly weighted pass from Rashid Kamara split the Romford defence, finding Elbi facing up to Clark. The Aveley goal-scorer took his shot first time, but with Clark diving one way, Elbi could only hit the foot of the post before seeing the ball cleared by a backtracking Romford defender.

With the Millers wasting more and more chances to extend their lead, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Romford equalised deep in to first half stoppage time, punishing the away side for their wastefulness in front of goal.

A cross field ball pass from right to left fell to the feet of Billy Hunt, who had Jay Leader for company. The Romford striker wasn’t pressed tightly enough, allowing him to get his shot away through the legs of Leader and across Jack Giddens, with the ball nestling into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 as the sides went in to the break.

After dominating so much of the first half, it would have been a hammer blow to the away side to have gone into half time level. On the contrary the home side came out with a renewed confidence in the second half and were beginning to look the most threatening of the two sides. So it was arguably against the run of play when Aveley almost retook the lead through Oakley, who struck against Clark on the stretch, after being played in by Rashid Kamara.

From that point on it was all Romford as they created a string of chances of their own, before taking a deserved lead.

Miscommunication between Alfred Kamara and Giddens almost allowed Romford in. The confusion led to a ball being dinked across the six yard box which was cleared by a diving header by Leader, only for the ball to fall straight to Paul Clayton who flashed his shot wide from the edge of the area.

Within seconds an attack down the right hand side resulted in a low cross towards Ben Jones, but with two Aveley defenders around him the Romford striker’s effort dribbled past the post.

Jones had another chance just moments later, after Nick Reynolds brought the ball forward before striking an effort towards goal, which was well saved by Giddens. The Aveley goalkeeper parried the ball into the ground, bouncing kindly for Jones who blazed his half-volley over from inside the penalty box.

The Millers did manage to carve out a chance between all the Romford dominance, with second half sub Jordan Cox hitting the post after more good work by Sellears. The midfielder managed to bulldoze his way into a crossing position, playing the ball low into Cox whose first time effort struck the woodwork before bouncing into the hands of Clark.

It was to be a chance the away side would rue missing, as with 72 minutes on the clock the home side took a deserved lead through centre back Matt Toms.

A free kick was given away deep inside the Aveley half, which was looped into the danger area by Dicks. Reynolds rose highest to head the ball against the face of the cross bar with Giddens diving to his left. The rebound off the woodwork landed perfectly onto the head of Toms who guided the ball towards goal, with Giddens still on the floor, to make it 2-1 to Romford.

The goal meant there was an increased urgency from the away side, but despite their efforts they were not able to breakdown a stubborn Romford back line.

The closest the Millers came to an equaliser was through Burnett, who went on a marauding run down the left which saw him have a chance on goal, but the wingers effort looped off James Ishmail before going harmlessly wide.

Deep into stoppage time Giddens will think himself fortunate not to have been sent off after clashing with Reynolds. A through ball saw Reynolds clean through but the flag went up for offside. Reynolds had already looked across at the flag before the whistle went but carried on anyway to the frustration of Giddens who came off his line to block Reynolds shot but followed through with his hands before the two men stood nose to nose to each other.

The referee who from Leeds – he was down visiting family and asked to be given a game – separated the two men before issuing them both with yellow cards, which was to be the final action as the home side secured all three points.

Aveley fitness coach, Gary Nisbett, gave a frank and honest assessment of the team’s performance today saying “we started the game very well, for the first 30 minutes we played some good football, some of the best we’ve played this season in patches. Unfortunately the game’s 90 minutes not 30 minutes.”

He continued by saying “the last 10 of the first half we completely took our foot off the gas. At 1-0 they get a goal and they’re straight back in the game. We had enough chances to kill the game off. If we’d been two or three-nil up a couple of minutes before half time then it’s not so big a deal, but they get a goal back, it’s 1-1, second half we just come out and didn’t get going.”

Nisbett also had some words to say for Marcus Rose and his brother who had passed away, saying “Marcus is a great lad, he’s come in and the boys love him. He’s been captain, standing in a couple of times, and we knew his brother wasn’t well and obviously hearing the news today was very upsetting for a lot of the boys. Best wishes to Marcus, we all send our hearts out to him. We’re disappointed to lose a game of football, but at the end of the day it’s meaningless compared to what Marcus is going through. Best wishes to Marcus and his family.”

Aveley: Jack Giddens, Alfred Kamara, Teddy Nesbitt, Jay Leader, Ellis Sands, Danny Hopkins (c), Rashid Kamara (Junior Appiah 77’), Sheldon Sellears, Shane Oakley (Jordan Cox 60’), Paul Burnett (Junior Dadson 70’), Petrit Elbi


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