Monday, May 27, 2024

Football: Aveley humbled by rampant Wroxham

Aveley 1 v 4 Wroxham

By Scott Hatley of

Pantomime season came early at Mill Field as Aveley suffered a damaging 4-1 home defeat to Wroxham and finished the game with nine men.

After the Millers had edged an even first half hour, the side from Norfolk took the lead thanks to a delightful curling effort from Jamie Speller which looped over Jason Willis’ head.

Shortly after and Willis’ day went from bad to worse as he was shown a straight red card for an apparent elbow of Ross Durrant, after the goalkeeper had taken exception to the Wroxham player once again impeding him from taking his drop-kick.

The referee, Mr B Furneaux, awarded a penalty for the incident which Gavin Lemon converted, sending stand-in-goalkeeper Ellis Sands the wrong way, and shortly after Justin Gardner was sent to the stands for arguing with the opposition bench.

The game was over as a contest when Speller eked more misery on the home side just after the break, smashing home a flick on from close range before Aveley saw themselves down to nine when Jordan Cox was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark.

The Millers’ dismal afternoon was compounded when Durrant – the player who bore much of the Aveley fans’ frustrations after his hand in getting Willis sent off – notched up a fourth when his long-range effort deflected in off Jay Leader.

Aveley did manage to grab a consolation goal late on to maintain their record of scoring in every single competitive game this season, when Paul Burnett tucked in from inside the box after good work from Petrit Elbi.

After a poor performance against Romford last weekend and having the chance to avenge that defeat taken away from them when the re-arranged game with Witham was postponed again, today’s game at home to mid-table Wroxham was down as a must win for the promotion chasers.

It was Aveley created the first chance of the afternoon in the 11th minute when a quick free kick down the left hand touch-line allowed Junior Dadson to get into an advanced position.

The Aveley number 11 skipped past his marker to reach the by line before pulling the ball back across goal, with Wroxham goalkeeper Michael Hilton getting a touch. The slight deflection allowed the ball to run for Paul Burnett who looked to have the simplest of tap-ins from close range, only for the winger to strike the frame of Hilton. Jordan Cox headed the rebound towards goal, but it was easily claimed by the goalkeeper to the relief of the away side.

Centre back Luke Wilson received a contentious yellow card with not even quarter of the game played, after referee Furneaux adjudged his challenge on Ross Durrant as a bookable offence, despite the fact the Aveley number 5 cleared the ball at least 50 yards in the process.

The card heightened the temperature of the match as each set of players began appealing for everything, with Justin Gardner on the Aveley bench at his vociferous best, and it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Wroxham captain Gavin Lemon also went into the notebook after a late challenge on the returning Marcus Rose.

In between all of the animosity and appealing a game of football was actually going on, and Burnett managed to carve out a half chance for himself after receiving the ball inside the area. Burnett jinked one way and then the other before striking a left footed effort down the throat of Hilton after 27 minutes.

Hilton was once again the scourge of Burnett when a few minutes later the winger created an identical chance after receiving the ball from Rashid Kamara. Burnett once more cut inside before curling a better effort towards goal that was destined for the top corner, only for Hilton to throw a hand up and palm it over.

Apart from the odd chance created by Burnett it had been a relatively quiet half in terms of chances created as the sides approached the final 10 minutes of the half, but then a sequence of sublime and mostly farcical events led to the away side feeling like Christmas had come early.

Firstly for the sublime, as Wroxham took the lead through a beauty of a finish from Jamie Speller.

The Wroxham forward had the ball at his feet high up the pitch, but was surrounded by Aveley defenders. The number 11 got his foot under the ball perfectly to scoop a curling shot up and over the motionless Jason Willis in goal to give the away side the advantage after 35 minutes.

Now for the farcical, as Wroxham doubled their lead, Aveley found themselves down to 10 men and without their manager on the touchline.

A clipped pass over the Aveley back line had been over-hit with Willis coming off his line to collect the ball easily. Durrant followed the ball and obstructed Willis as he tried to take a quick kick forward sparking Willis to raise his arm into the head of Durrant who hit the deck. The referee, despite the initial foul by Durrant on Willis, sent Willis off for violent conduct and awarded Wroxham a penalty.

Ellis Sands came on in place of Rashid Kamara to take over the gloves, but Sands was unable to stop Lemon from dispatching the penalty to make it 2-0 after 40 minutes.

In the aftermath Cox received a yellow for dissent and manager Gardner was sent to the stands, and to make matters worse right on half time a rash challenge on Rose by Speller resulted in Rose not returning for the second half, but Speller somehow not going into the book.

Despite the man advantage to the away side you still felt that there was enough about the Aveley team to create something, meaning that the next goal in this game was potentially crucial, but a second goal from Speller extinguished any hope of an unlikely comeback early in the second half.

A throw in from the right hand side was flicked on towards the penalty spot where Speller was found running onto it. The forward caught the half volley perfectly, smashing the ball past Sands to make it 3-0 after 51 minutes.

The game was over as a contest, but the referee continued to be centre stage as Aveley were reduced to nine men when Cox received his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card –his second for dissent – right on the hour mark.

The away side continued to take full advantage of the Aveley’s misfortune as they made it 4-0 after 69 minutes when Durrant smashed a shot low and hard from distance. The strike took a wicked deflection off Jay Leader, diverting the ball past Sands who was rooted to his spot.

If Aveley weren’t already well aware that it wasn’t going to be there day, Wroxham right back Ben Lewis squared up nose to nose to assistant manager Victor Renner and still managed to avoid going into the book, but the Millers did manage to grab a consolation late on through Burnett.

Second half sub, Petrit Elbi, had the tenacity to carry the ball forward from the left hand side towards the centre of the park, riding a number of challenges from the Wroxham back line. Elbi showed that he had an end product by picking a cute pass inside towards Burnett who smashed the ball in between Hilton and the near post to make it 4-1 with eight minutes remaining.

The result leaves Aveley fourth in the Ryman North table with two huge Thurrock derbys to come against Tilbury away next weekend and Grays Athletic at home on Boxing Day.

Aveley: Jason Willis, Marcus Rose (c) (Teddy Nesbitt 46’), Alfred Kamara, Jay Leader, Luke Wilson, Danny Hopkins, Rashid Kamara (Ellis Sands 39’), Sheldon Sellears, Jordan Cox, Paul Burnett, Junior Dadson (Petrit Elbi 65’)


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