Football: Millers back to winning ways

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 3 v 1 Chatham

Report by Scott Hateley

Courtesy of www.pitchero.com/aveley

48 HOURS on from their first league defeat of the season to VCD and Aveley are back to winning ways beating Chatham Town 3-1 at Mill Field.

Goals from Sosthene Yao, Shane Oakley and debutante Nurudeen Kallon ensured that Aveley manager Justin Gardner got the reaction he was looking for following that defeat to VCD on Saturday.

But they had to come from behind yet again to notch up the victory as Billy Bennett gave the visitors an early lead.

Along with Kallon, Aveley also gave debuts to Adam Flanagan and Kadir Jama as Gardner rung the changes from Saturday, and it had the desired effect as Aveley moved up to second.

Gardner said that he would be forced into making changes after Aveley’s defeat on to VCD and changes he certainly made.

Adam Flanagan, Junior Appiah, Brian Okwera and debutante Nurudeen Kallon came in in place of Michael Begg, Luke Wilson, Ross Wall and Marlon Boateng.

Billy Holland was a surprise inclusion after Gardner said he “wouldn’t be able to walk for a week”, but the inclusion of his captain didn’t stop the Millers from going behind for the fourth time in as many league games as Billy Bennett gave the visitors the lead after just four minutes.

A cross from the right was headed up in the air by Bradley Thomas, under pressure from Austin Gacheru, with Bennett swinging a left foot half volley that dribbled past the flat-footed Jack Giddens.

It was the worst possible start for the Millers and they looked all at sixes and sevens, and when Bennett’s cross almost deceived Giddens it looked like Gardner’s side were in for a long evening.

It took quarter of an hour before the home side looked to threaten when a floated ball from Holland set So Yao free, but his shot was well blocked by Taylor McDonagh.

Two minutes later and the Aveley number 10 went one better and brought the two sides level finishing off a brilliant team goal.

A neat one two between Yao and Danny Hopkins had the striker the wrong side of his marker before Yao calmly slotted the ball in at Lee Kidman’s near post.

The goal gave the Millers the impetus and it was another lovely first time pass from Hopkins that opened the door for Shane Oakley to put the home side in front in the 21st minute.

After a Chatham attack had broken down, Appiah came away with the ball before playing it inside to Okwera. Okwera slid the ball to Hopkins whose first time dink over the top had Oakley in a scoring position as he slotted the ball through the legs of Kidman to make it 2-1.

This game was looking like it could become a bit of a rugby score as Gacheru almost made it 2-2 but he headed his free header wide from an Alfie May cross.

But as the half drew to a close the chances dried up with Aveley making it to half time with the lead for the first time this season.

In the opening 10 minutes of the second half there was some controversy when Oakley launched a shot past Kidman that thundered off the underside of the crossbar. The ball appeared to bounce over the line before bouncing out, but neither the referee nor his linesman awarded the goal as the score remained 2-1.

Kieron McCann threatened an equaliser just after the hour mark but his dragged shot couldn’t be turned in by Gacheru, and from the resulting corner May was unable to keep his shot down as it rebounded to him at the far post.

Moments later and Aveley had just as good a chance to extend their lead when Yao clipped a ball into the area and Appiah tried to side foot volley the ball towards goal, but he couldn’t get any contact on it as it was cleared.

With just over 20 minutes remaining Gardner gave a debut to Kadir Jama as he and Ross Wall replaced goal-scorers Yao and Oakley as the Millers boss looked for a decisive third.

And it was one of those two that had the chance to all but wrap up the game for the Millers. After a delightful reverse pass from Wall put Hopkins through, a last ditch tackle saw the ball fall for Appiah. The winger dragged his shot terribly wide but straight to the onrushing Wall who just had to direct it on target to score but he sliced wide.

But with 10 minutes left to play in what was a tense second half, Aveley found that decisive goal and it was two debutantes who created and scored in Jama and Kallon.

A Chatham corner was cleared by Flanagan with Appiah judging the bounce well to come away with the ball. The Aveley number 11 played the ball out wide to Jama who cut inside to chip a cross to the far post where Kallon volleyed towards goal with his side foot, seeing the ball go in off Kidman to win the points for Aveley.

A happier Justin Gardner said afterwards “It was a bit disappointing to conceded so quick. I thought here we go, like Saturday, but to the credit of the boys they’ve rolled their sleeves up and bounced back well.”

“It’s good to get the points on early doors” said Bradley Thomas after the match.

“We were lacking confidence massively after that defeat (to VCD). There’s nothing better than getting those three points straight after that and these points will be really important come the end of the season.”

Looking ahead to their next game at home to Romford on Saturday, Gardner described it as the “hardest game of the season” before going on to say “we have to be at our best, without a shadow of a doubt.”

Aveley: Jack Giddens, Nurudeen Kallon, Teddy Nesbitt, Adam Flanagan, Bradley Thomas, Danny Hopkins, Brian Okwera, Billy Holland (c) (Anton Stephenson 83’), Shane Oakley (Ross Wall 67’), Sosthene Yao (Kadir Jama 67’), Junior Appiah

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