Saturday, April 1, 2023

Football: Aveley back on the goal-fest trail

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 5 v 1 Chatham

By Scott Hately
Courtesy of

IT was double trouble for Chatham Town as the Millers scored a resounding 5-1 win thanks to a double from Junior Dadson and a double from Jordan Cox.

A brace a piece from Dadson and Cox ensured a league double over The Chats at Mill Field but the score-line was somewhat harsh on the visitors who found themselves two goals down early on.

Matt Newman turned the ball into his own net after good work from Junior Dadson down the left, before Dadson himself made it two after 10 minutes.

Lee Hales reduced the arrears shortly after and Chatham will feel unfortunate to have not at least been level going into the break as the away side were on top for most of the first half.

Aveley were much more resolute at the back in the second period and Dadson’s second of the game killed the game off before Jordan Cox showed his predatory instincts to score two in two minutes to add some gloss to the final score.

Off the back of their impressive 3-2 win away at Sudbury last weekend, Justin Gardner and his charges were aiming to secure their second league double in a week and the match against Chatham had a sense of deja vu from the two side’s previous meeting in October.

The win against Sudbury last Saturday came off the back of three straight league defeats, and when the two sides met in October The Millers had just stopped a poor run of form in league and cup with smash-and-grab win at Waltham Abbey, before heading to The Sports Ground where they recorded a 2-1 win over The Chats with goals from Paul Burnett and Jordan Cox.

This match was never likely to be that much of a repeat performance, especially when the scores were 2-1 again after just 16 minutes.

Junior Dadson was imperative to almost everything that Aveley produced as an attacking threat, and a searching run down the left hand wing allowed him to get into the Chatham box and produce a cross. The winger’s low cross, towards Jordan Cox, deflected off Chatham captain Matt Newman and beyond Tony Roberts to make it 1-0 after eight minutes.

Almost straight from the restart the Millers doubled their advantage through Dadson as the provider turned scorer, although Dadson could claim that he assisted the goal himself.

After being played down the middle Dadson was clear of the Chatham backline and one on one with the goalkeeper. His first effort was brilliantly saved by Roberts but the Chatham stopper could do nothing about the rebound which fell fortuitously for Dadson who smashed home after ten minutes.

The way the match was going it was looking like the Millers were going to run away with the match before Chatham could even really get started, but just past the quarter hour mark the away side got themselves back into it through Lee Hales.

A corner swung in from the right was headed towards goal by Austin Gacheru. With Andre Foster rooted to his line Hales made sure by flicking the ball over the line from close range to reduce the arrears.

From that moment on it was all Chatham as they began picking holes in the Aveley back line all too frequently, giving Bradley Thomas on his debut alongside Jay Leader at centre back plenty of problems.

Chatham almost found themselves level within a couple of minutes of Hales’ effort when Ryan Laker was played in, shooting across the face of Foster and wide.

Kes Metitri saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Billy Holland and two chances in injury time almost brought the visitors level before the break.

Garry Tilley latched onto a poor pass out from the back by Thomas and his curling effort with his left foot went narrowly wide. Moments later and Hales took the ball under control on the edge of the area before striking his shot off target when he should have done better, leaving Kevin Watson and his staff with their heads in their hands.

The Chatham players will feel like they should have at least have gone into the break level but the Millers had reached the half time interval with the lead but were in need of a drastic improvement in the second half.

And an improvement is what Gardner got from his side they restricted their opponents to long shots and half chances, in no small part thanks to a cool and calming performance from Leader, as the Millers dominant the second period.

But with the scores at 2-1 the fourth goal in this match was going to be the most important so the Millers set about getting the goal that would secure them all three points.

Dadson was continuing to be a constant menace down the left hand side and more good running from the Aveley winger got him in a good crossing position, but his cross missed Cox and Holland couldn’t get enough on his header to cause Roberts any problems.

The introduction of Jack Stevenson in the centre gave the Millers some vim and vigour in the heart of midfield and he almost grabbed that all important third for Aveley with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Dadson once again was involved playing the ball into Stevenson on the edge of the area. The centre midfielder turned well to create space for the shot but his low effort didn’t have the necessary power to beat Roberts who saved comfortably.

After half an hour of knocking on the door the Millers finally got their just rewards and it was poetic that Dadson should get that game-clinching goal, but he has Holland to thank for a beauty of a pass that put him through.

From just inside his own half, Holland spotted the run of Dadson down the left, lofting a pass over the top of the Chatham back line to set the winger clear on goal. Dadson composed himself to prod the ball into the bottom corner after 75 minutes to all but win the game for his team.

Week in week out the Millers continue to show their scoring prowess, scoring in every single game this season, and there was still time for Aveley to notch up two more goals with Cox not wanting to be outdone by the outstanding Dadson.

From a central position Stevenson played the ball out wide towards an unmarked Sheldon Sellears. The second half substitute was able to then pick out a cross finding Cox in the six yard box. His first effort was brilliantly saved from point-blank-range by Roberts, but Cox was on hand to head in the rebound.

Two minutes later and Cox’s persistence paid dividends as a long ball out from the back from Ellis Sands was being marshalled back to Roberts by Newman, who was under pressure from Cox. The Millers top-goal-scorer kept fighting and got in front of Newman, beating Roberts to the ball, and poking it inside the near post to make it three goals in nine second half minutes and finish off the scoring for the home side.

Gardner didn’t have too many complaints after the match saying “like last week I thought the first half was poor. Second half, last 35 minutes we were different class.”

Speaking about man of the match, Dadson, Gardner was full of praise saying “I thought Junior Dadson was unplayable today.”

He continued by saying “No disrespect to other players but Junior Dadson is way, way above this level. The only criticism I have of him would be his consistency, if he finds that form every week he wouldn’t be playing at this level and he just needs to keep playing like that and the team will benefit and he will benefit from it.”

Dadson himself said of the performance that “we scored two in 10 minutes and then we had a period of 20-25 minutes where we had to dig in deep in the first half. Second half it was pretty much all us really. It was hard in patches but once the goals came it turned into a convincing win.”

About his own personal performance, Dadson said “yeah, I’m trying to claim that first one to try and get that hat-trick, my first here, I’m happy with the first two goals anyway that I scored. The first one, really, Jordan (Cox) should have got it but if I get it I get it, if I don’t I don’t.”

Aveley: Andre Foster, Ellis Sands, Teddy Nesbitt, Jay Leader, Bradley Thomas, Danny Hopkins (Sheldon Sellears 75’), Rashid Kamara (Jack Stevenson 60’), Billy Holland (c), Jordan Cox (Gbenga Sonuga 84’), Junior Dadson, Junior Appiah


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