Football: Aveley back on track with solid victory

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 2 v 1 AFC Sudbury

Report by Scott Hately

Courtesy of www.pitchero.com/aveley

ROSS Wall’s near-post volley nine minutes from time secured the Millers a vital three points against 10-man AFC Sudbury at Mill Field.

The substitute got on the end of an Aryan Tajbakhsh corner to ensure it was a winning return to action for Justin Gardner’s side, who hadn’t played a game for 12 days.

Last time out they drew 1-1 with Needham Market back on October 14th. On that night the visitors had a man sent off and it was similar story here as Greg Crane was given a straight red for a professional foul on Petrit Elbi in the penalty area.

Elbi dusted himself off to take the penalty, giving Aveley the lead, but despite the man disadvantage Sudbury continued to threaten, bombarding the Millers back line with balls into the box.

Eventually one of those deliveries paid off as Jack Giddens, under pressure, fumbled a corner straight onto the foot of Ryan Henshaw who smashed home the equaliser, before Wall settled matters late on.

It was a much needed victory for Aveley as they looked to turn around a recent run of poor form.

But having had no game for almost two weeks following the draw over Needham Market there were question marks going into this one as to how the Millers would start.

It turned out that the break had a positive effect with Aveley looking the fresher and starting the brighter of the two sides, with Junior Appiah forcing goalkeeper Alex Archer into tipping his effort around the post early on.

From the resulting corner Aaron Gayle almost scrambled the ball in at the near post, but the game’s turning point came five minutes later when the visitors were reduced to 10.

A cross field ball from Gayle to Petrit Elbi saw the Aveley striker through on goal. Under pressure from Greg Crane, Elbi went down in the box with the referee awarding the penalty and sending Crane off for being the last man.

It was an easy decision for the referee and there were no complaints from the Sudbury players. Elbi duly dusted himself off to take the penalty, sending Archer the wrong way to give the Millers the lead.

With a numerical advantage on the scoreboard and in personnel for Aveley it was looking like an uphill battle for Sudbury.

But to their credit they continued to look threatening and had a clear game plan of launching the ball into the box at every opportunity.

Ben Lewis’ long throws in particular were causing the Millers problems with the visitors also having a succession of corners in the first half.

The Millers remained resolute, however, and were inches away from increasing their lead when Elbi smashed the face of the cross bar just before the break.

With the rain starting to fall the slick conditions began to cause some problems, and Jack Giddens would have been relieved to see Ross Watson’s effort early in the second half squirm through his hands but over.

Elbi missed the chance again to extend the Millers lead as they broke from the resulting Sudbury corner, with Archer equal to his effort.

Brian Okwera forced Archer into a diving save as he chanced his arm from distance and from the following corner Ryan O’Rawe was unfortunate not to hit the target with his half volley as the Millers went in search of a decisive second.

All the time the score remained at 1-0, Sudbury still were in with a chance of nicking something and after Elbi, Okwera and O’Rawe all failed in attempts to put the game to bed, Sudbury then went and found an equaliser.

O’Rawe conceded a corner despite claims he was fouled by Matt Daniels. Giddens came to claim the cross but the challenge from Josh Carus saw Giddens drop the ball straight onto the feet of Ryan Henshaw who smashed in the volley to level it up.

Aveley appealed in vain for a foul on the goalkeeper, with Giddens appearing to have two hands on the ball, but it was to no avail as the goal stood with just over half an hour left to play.

The goal gave the visitors some impetus as they looked to defy their numerical disadvantage and go for an unlikely winner.

But, with the extra man, Aveley saw to it that they didn’t drop another two points against 10-men with top-scorer, Ross Wall, being introduced.

And the striker almost made an immediate impact after some quick thinking from Aryan Tajbakhsh saw Wall goal side, but his effort was blocked by Henshaw.

Aerial balls into the box were always going to be Sudbury’s main threat and they were unfortunate to see Sam Clarke’s header go wide.

But, eventually, Wall’s introduction had the desired effect and the striker scored what turned out to be the winner in the 81st minute.

A corner was Tajbakhsh was drilled in low towards the near post where Wall met it, and on the volley the striker diverted to ball between the near post and Archer to give Aveley a precious lead.

With less than 10 minutes remaining of normal time, Sudbury carved out a golden chance to level things up again when Watson skied his effort over the bar from eight yards out.

Wall could have sealed victory after the ball fell to him on the edge of the Sudbury box following Archer’s failed attempted clearance, but he couldn’t find a way past the recovering goalkeeper.

And with literally the last kick of the game, Dave Cowley opened his body up and curled an arching effort past a motionless Giddens and off the joint of crossbar and post as the Millers held on.

Head coach Adam Flanagan said after the match “It was a determined performance similar to the Needham game.

“I think we were a little bit jittery when we scored and that’s somewhere where we’ve got to start relaxing.

“Hopefully now this win will mean that we’ll kick on a little bit more and the players will feel more comfortable, and we can start to get back to playing some good football and killing teams off.”

Aveley: Jack Giddens, Danny Hopkins, Teddy Nesbitt, Jay Leader, Ryan O’Rawe, Ibrahim Manasary (Jason Twum 64’), Aryan Tajbakhsh, Brian Okwera, Aaron Gayle (Ross Wall 68’), Petrit Elbi (c) (Rashid Kamara 85’), Junior Appiah

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