Football: Dockers steal it with late pen in derby with Aveley

Ryman Div One North

Tilbury 2 v 1 Aveley

Report by Scott Hateley
Courtesy of www.pitchero.com/aveley

THE Millers threw away a one goal lead in the final nine minutes of their local derby with Tilbury to come away pointless following a 2-1 defeat.

Two goals from Danny Francis – the first in the 86th minute and second in the 95th minute from the penalty spot – ensured that the Dockers were victorious over their local rivals, seeing the Millers succumb to their second defeat of the season.

Aveley had earlier taken the lead through Jay Leader who headed home a Danny Hopkins corner to end a frantic two minutes where Ross Wall crashed a shot against the crossbar moments after Harry Cook had hit the post at the other end.

Four minutes before the end of normal time Francis brought the home side level after the Millers had initially quelled a counter attack.

And in the fifth minute of injury time the referee awarded Paul Vaughan’s side the chance of victory when Cook’s miss-hit bounced up and onto the hand of Kallon Nurudeen with Francis dispatching the spot kick into the roof of the net.

The performance of the hosts belied their lowly league position going into this Thurrock derby, with Tilbury lying in 20th place prior to today’s meeting with Justin Gardner’s Millers.

“Form book goes out the window” is what Gardner said following last Saturday’s F.A. Cup mauling of Waltham Forest, and it was Tilbury who had the first opening of the game when Harry Cook’s dipping long-range effort just eluded the underside of Jack Giddens’ crossbar.

Ross Wall was the first to test debutante Chico Ramos in the Tilbury goal with a left footed effort that was tipped up and away for a corner by the Docker’s ‘keeper, who was making his first appearance since signing from Billericay.

Ramos done well to not be distracted by diving defenders in front of him to hold onto Jason Twum’s low drive, but he wasn’t required when Teddy Nesbitt had a good chance laid off to him by Twum before the left back blazed his effort over the bar.

Tilbury’s best chance of the half by far came off the back of some quick thinking by Cook. Whilst the Millers were still setting up, expecting a swinging cross, Cook chipped the ball into the gap behind the wall where Lee Weemes was all alone. But Weemes’ cross-come-shot didn’t get the final touch it required to open the scoring with Giddens going ballistic at his sleeping defence.

Following on from his hat-trick last week if there was one guy Gardner would have wanted Aveley’s best goal-scoring chance to fall to it would have been Shane Oakley.

The Millers striker latched on to a short back pass from Francis Babalola to round goalkeeper, Ramos. Oakley’s touch took him wide of the target but he cut inside to carve out a shot which he curled off the foot of the far post.

In a half packed full of chances for either side, Tilbury’s Sam Cutler was thwarted by some good defending by Jay Leader, Wall’s mazy run in the penalty area came to nothing and Oakley’s free kick was tipped around the post by Ramos in a gripping half of football but it remained goalless.
The second half started in much the same vain as the first half had ended with Twum having a half chance in the opening seconds of the second half before flashing a shot just wide of Ramos’ near post minutes later at the end of a counter attack.

Despite all the chances you were starting to wonder if either side would break the deadlock. A thought emphasised when the woodwork was struck twice in a minute, once for either side.

A free kick from Cook had Giddens well beaten, but he was saved by the foot of the post, and after the danger was cleared Wall then curled a delightful effort which crashed off the face of the crossbar before being dug away for a corner which eventually did lead to the breakthrough.

Danny Hopkins from the Aveley left finally got a corner to beat the first man and was rewarded instantly when Leader rose highest to head in from inside the six yard box to give the away side the lead.

The way the match had gone you just knew that one goal was not likely to be enough and so the Millers sort after a decisive second and came closest when Anton Stephenson was denied by the foot of the post after turning well in the area.

A further inch inside and it would have been curtains for the hosts, but instead it turned out to be the catalyst for a remarkable comeback as Tilbury equalised with just four minutes of normal time remaining.

After an Aveley attack had broken down a long ball over the top left the Millers scrambling as Tilbury counter attacked. Luke Wilson misjudged the flight of the ball allowing Danny Francis in down the right leaving Tilbury in a three on three situation in the Aveley third.

Francis held the ball up long enough to allow Aveley to flood the box with defenders, but when the ball eventually came in Joe Christou was completely unmarked at the far post. His header down was only cleared as far as Francis whose volley was hit into the turf, bouncing agonisingly past Giddens despairing dive to nestle in the bottom corner.

The equaliser rocked Gardner’s side and had spurred Vaughan’s side into looking for an unlikely winner and at the end of a minimum of four additional minutes they were awarded that chance from the penalty spot as Kallon Nurudeem was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area.

A corner from the Tilbury right was headed back towards Cook on the edge of the area. The Tilbury number 11’s half volley was poorly struck, but bounced up and on to the hand of Nurudeen who had turned his back on the effort with the referee pointing to the spot.

Francis stepped up against his former side to deal the killer blow to Aveley’s chances of taking anything from this game, dispatching the penalty into the roof of the net with only enough time left for Aveley to kick off before the full time whistle blew.

A visibly upset Aveley manager, Justin Gardner, said after the game “I’m lost for words to be honest with you. I think it’s very hard on us.”

“It went 1-1 and at that stage I’m thinking ok, away from home maybe a draw isn’t the worst result.”

“I think it’s a terrible for the referee to give a penalty away in the last minute. The boy’s turned his back. Granted maybe he shouldn’t have turned his back in the box but what is he supposed to do, chop his arms off if he turns his back? I don’t understand it. Last kick of the game. For love nor money I don’t understand how he gave a penalty for that.”

Aveley: Jack Giddens, Kallon Nurudeen, Teddy Nesbitt, Jay Leader, Luke Wilson, Danny Hopkins, Ross Wall, Billy Holland (c)(Mathias Bakare 81’), Shane Oakley (Anton Stephenson 63’), Jason Twum (Kadir Jama 76’), Junior Appiah

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