Monday, February 26, 2024

Football: Asante double sparks key away win for Millers

Ryman Div One North

Chatham 1 v 2 Aveley

Report courtesy of Scott Hatley at Aveley website

TWO goals from Kyle Asante saw Aveley record their first back to back victories since August with a gutsy 2-1 win away at Chatham Town.

A goal in each half from Asante ensured that the Millers built on their win over Wroxham from last weekend as they continue to search for some much needed consistency.

It took just 10 minutes for the visitors to open the scoring when Nathan Koranteng forced Lee Kidman into a smart save only for Asante to react quickest to tap home the rebound.

But despite dominating the first half the Millers failed to add to their lead with Asante seeing his penalty brilliantly saved by Kidman just before the break.

With that let off Chatham came out firing in the second half and within 10 minutes of the restart Chatham were level when Ade Yusuff beat the offside trap to round Jack Giddens and equalise.

And after soaking up a lot of pressure from the home side the Millers snatched it late on when Ade Osifuwa kept a cool head to play the ball across to Asante to smash home the winner.

The celebrations that followed Asante’s winner late on hit home how vitally important the three points were after months of inconsistency from the Millers who currently find themselves well off the play off pace.

And after coming from behind so remarkably against Wroxham it was imperative that Justin Gardner’s side built upon that victory with another win on their travels.

After an early morning pitch inspection confirmed the game down in Kent was on Aveley set about making a quick fire start and opened the scoring with their first attack.

Anton Stephenson made the most of a loose ball in the centre of the pitch to set the Millers on their way forward, playing in Asante who linked well with Nathan Koranteng on the left.

The winger cut outside before flashing a shot across goal which was saved initially by Lee Kidman, but Asante was on hand to stroke home the rebound to give the visitors the lead.

It was the perfect of starts for Gardner’s side who all too often have failed to come out of the blocks in the opening half of matches. But this was the polar opposite as the Millers looked to press home their advantage quickly.

Asante had the ball in the back of the net shortly after opening the scoring but he was flagged offside and Kidman did just enough to force away a Sam Holloway free kick which was heading towards the top corner.

Aryan Tajbakhsh will feel he should have at least hit the target with his effort at the far post and Asante again was desperately unlucky not to have doubled his tally after flashing wide having taken the ball down so well on his chest.

Thanks to Aveley’s dominance the hosts were struggling to carve out any meaningful efforts on Jack Giddens’ goal, with Kieran McCann’s curling effort from distance not troubling the Millers net.

And as the half headed towards a close Aveley were awarded the chance to deservedly extend their lead when Ade Osifuwa was brought down in the area by Corey Holder.

Despite Chatham’s protestations that Osifuwa had handled in the build-up the penalty was awarded but Kidman did brilliantly well to tip Asante’s penalty onto the post, before getting up quickly to smother the rebound.

Asante, who was at the centre of everything that Aveley were creating, then blazed over seconds after missing his penalty and then right on half time the striker went close with a volley that just went over Kidman’s bar.

After failing to press home their utter domination of the first half the hosts remained in the match and came out firing in the second half, with Ade Yusuff curling one just wide of Giddens’ right hand post.

But he didn’t have to wait much longer to find the net after the striker was played in by McCann, beating the offside trap to round Giddens and score into an empty net to make it 1-1.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the visitors who should have put the game to bed way before half time, but now the bit was between the teeth of Chatham who looked to punish the Millers for their profligacy.

If it wasn’t for a latch ditch block from Jay Leader Luke May would have put the Chats ahead when the ball ricocheted to him inside the area.

And from the resulting corner Yusuff met the delivery perfectly with his head but could only direct it straight down the throat of Giddens.

Aveley’s defence though was holding firm and they almost nicked the lead again against the run of play when Tajbakhsh’s low cross was diverted onto his own post by Brad Potter.

Yusuff was becoming the scourge of Gardner’s side as his jinked his way past three Millers defenders before flashing a shot over the bar. Matt Soley then made Giddens show good hands as the hosts were really ramping up the pressure.

But after surviving a bit of a second half onslaught Aveley snatched what had looked, at the time, an unlikely winner when Osifuwa had stormed forward to help Tajbakhsh on the right.

The right back tried delicately chipping over Kidman before calmly passing the rebound across to Asante who had nothing but an empty net to aim at, putting Aveley back in front with just six minutes remaining.

With the goal coming so late there was little time for the hosts to carve out many goal scoring opportunities. But they did create one late, late chance when McCann cut in on his left foot to curl an effort inches over the bar with Giddens completely stranded with the Millers holding on for the win.

“They showed a lot more character, a lot more fight, a lot more passion for the way they’re playing football and the belief is starting to come into it” said assistant manager Mickey Leslie.

“We were really disappointed at half time because we should have gone in with more goals. That was the only downfall.

“In reflection of the game the 2-1 doesn’t reflect the full game.”

Man of the match, Ade Osifuwa, was delighted with his contribution and praised his defensive team mates for their resolute performance saying “I thought Jay (Leader) and Sam (Holloway) on the left done really well.

“Me and ‘S’ (Gbenga Sonuga) on the right, I thought we were decent. This team, we’ve got so much quality if we put the work in it will always come through.

“We’ve got every chance of winning every game from now but we have to keep together, keep fighting and keep going strong.”

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