Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Football: Aveley slump to fourth defeat in a row

Ryman Div One North

Soham Town Rangers 4 v 3 Aveley

By courtesy of Scott Hately at www.pitchero.com/aveley

AVELEY suffered a fourth successive defeat after two goals in two minutes saw Soham come back from 3-2 down to win 4-3.

It now means that Justin Gardner’s side has conceded 14 goals in their last four games, but there were some positives to take from the match, especially in the attacking department.

The Millers had their backs against the wall within 19 minutes of the start as they found themselves two goals behind through Luke Stanley and James McCabe.

But after Rashid Kamara had reduced the lead after half an hour with his first goal back at the club Aveley kicked on in the second half, turning the game around with goals from Jay Leader and debutant Aryan Tajbakhsh from the penalty spot.

The lead, though, was short lived as just four minutes after going ahead the sides were level again when Michael Simpson rifled one past an unsighted Jack Giddens.

And just two minutes later it was the host’s turn to complete a turn around when Stanley drilled one in inside Giddens’ near post to send Aveley home with another defeat.

Overall it will be defensive worries that will be concerning manager Gardner most as he tries to pick his side up ahead of their next league game away at Thurrock on Tuesday night.

The Millers were forced into changes due to a lengthening injury list with Sam Holloway returning to the club to play at left back and Teddy Nesbitt being pushing into a more advanced role.

Andre Gumbs – on loan from Hornchurch – slotted in at right back for the missing Nurudeen Kallon but all the chopping and changing didn’t appear to have the desired effect as Soham took the lead after nine minutes.

After dealing with a corner, the ball was sprayed back towards goal by Martin Bromwich into the feet of Luke Stanley. The striker’s first touch superbly took him away from Spencer Harrison with his second touch finding the bottom corner.

The Millers had an immediate chance to get back on terms when Harrison saw his header at goal well tipped over the bar by Daniel Bircham, but it was another long ball that was the undoing of the Millers back line as Soham grabbed a second.

Connor Wood was found on the left by a long ball forward and after flicking the ball past Harrison, Wood played a low cross across the face of goal with James McCabe popping up at far post to tap in.

Up until now Aveley had not been in the game and it looked like a fourth straight defeat was almost certainly on the cards until Rashid Kamara popped up to get the Millers a foothold in the contest.

A cross from Aryan Tajbakhsh – making his debut for the club having joined from Potters Bar – wasn’t dealt with by the Soham defence and after one failed clearance after another the ball eventually feel to Kamara who side footed in to reduce the arrears.

Aveley were right back in the match thanks to that goal and could so easily have brought themselves level when Ross Wall found himself in a scoring position about eight yards out, but could only side-foot his effort straight into the grateful hands of Bircham.

And in injury the hosts had the chance to restore their two goal advance as Buster Harradine was found unmarked at the far post but the Soham number 11 was unable to direct his header on target.

Chasing an equaliser in the second half, Aveley’s Wall had the ball in the back of the net only for the goal to be ruled out for offside and Soham then went and hit the post as Harradine’s cross deceived Jack Giddens in the Aveley goal only to come crashing off the woodwork.

Gardner’s side were beginning to take charge of the play but were continuously vulnerable to the aerial ball and almost went two behind again when Stanley directed his free header wide.

It was a missed opportunity he would come to regret as Gardner’s side restored parity through Jay Leader from a corner.

After a short corner between Kamara and Holloway came to nothing, a resultant corner was this time swung in by Tajbakhsh and met by the towering Leader at the far post to put the Millers on level terms.

Gardner’s side were now well and truly on the front foot and there was still time to go for the win and they were awarded that opportunity three minutes after Leader’s leveller when Junior Appiah was brought down in the box for a penalty.

Tajbakhsh stepped up to send Bircham to wrong way as the number eight marked his debut with a goal and put the Millers in front for the first time in the game.

With quarter of an hour remaining Aveley were heading towards a vital and morale boosting victory, but before they could settle into defending their lead Soham scored their third to level matters through substitute Michael Simpson.

After the ball fell to Simpson on the edge of the area, the substitute caught his half volley sweetly and past the unsighted Giddens who was left motionless as the ball hit the back of the net.

The equaliser spurred the home side on, whilst the heads of the Aveley players dropped after losing yet another winning position. And it only went from bad to worse as just two minutes after equalising Soham got the decisive seventh goal of this topsy-turvy encounter.

A free kick from the right was whipped in towards the back post and only cleared as far as Stanley. The striker cut onto his right foot before drilling his shot low and inside Jack Giddens’ near post to ultimately secure the points.

There was still time for either side to add a final twist to this one as a wonderfully worked team goal from Soham was only thwarted by the toe of Giddens as he stopped Harradine adding his name to the score sheet.

And in the final seconds a long ball over the top was picked off by Appiah. Bircham got just enough on the ball to divert it from goal, but only into the path of Kamara who just had to lift the ball up and over the stranded goalkeeper to equalise, but the midfielder popped it straight into the hands of Bircham to ensure the home side recorded the win.

Justin Gardner said after the match “going forward I thought that was probably our best performance of the season…but individual errors are costing us at the back.”

“We’ve just got the stick together – we are in a bit of a rut at the moment.”

“I don’t think we’re having the rub of the green, I think every decision is going against us but that’s what happens when you’re losing games. We’ve just got to dig deep.”

Aveley: Jack Giddens (c), Andre Gumbs (Michael Begg 27’), Sam Holloway, Jay Leader, Bradley Thomas, Spencer Harrison (Brian Okwera 46’), Teddy Nesbitt (Aaron Gayle 62’), Aryan Tajbakhsh, Ross Wall, Rashid Kamara, Junior Appiah


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