Ryman Div One North
Aveley 0 v 2 VCD Athletic
Report by Scott Hately courtesy of www/pitchero.com/aveley
TWO defensive errors from Aveley allowed a clinical VCD Athletic to come away from Mill Field with three points to send them back top of the league.
After being relatively untroubled in the first half, Sherwin Stanley opened the scoring, capitalising on a short back pass by Adetayo Osifuwa to round Jack Giddens two minutes into the second half.
Aveley had two glorious chances to level go a begging when Petrit Elbi saw Nick Blue toe-end his effort wide, before Joseph Ellul was unable to direct his header on target from six yards out under pressure from Jay Leader.
And with the visitors restricting Aveley to just those two clear attempts on goal, the points were sealed when James Duckworth sent one screaming into the top corner after the Millers failed to clear their lines with just five minutes left.
It was to be a disappointing end to a hard week for Justin Gardner’s side. With this being the Millers’ fourth game in eight days, Gardner changed things up after Saturday’s win over Waltham Forest by adding a mix of youth and experience to his starting 11 against the title chasing Vickers.
Teenager Mathias Bakare partnered Teddy Nesbitt in central midfield with another teenager George Whitelock making his first start for the club on the right, and Petrit Elbi replacing Kyle Asante up front.
The opening 15 minutes of the match resembled the early stages of a boxing match – both sides trying to find chinks in each other’s armour whilst at the same time not wanting to let one through the gate as each side defended resolutely.
The referee was also allowing the game to flow at every opportunity not calling on the use of his whistle – other than to start the match – until the 17th minute.
And it wasn’t until midway through the half before we had our first meaningful strike on goal when James Duckworth connected poorly with a volley that Jack Giddens comfortably saved to his right.
Again Duckworth had a speculative effort just before the half hour that Giddens saved as VCD were patiently trying to pass their way through a thus far solid Millers back line.
Gardner had purposely set up his side to soak up pressure and allow VCD time on the ball and as we approached half time it was the visitors who were looking the most likely to break the deadlock as Aveley struggled to get the ball to stick to front man Elbi long enough to bring his wingers into play.
And it was former Miller Sherwin Stanley who had the Vickers’ next goal-bound effort with a half volley from distance, but once against Giddens was more than equal to it.
In the final seconds of the half Elbi was finally allowed to turn and face towards the VCD goal and carried the ball seamlessly past Joe Matthews before the centre back brought him down for a free kick 25 yards out.
Sam Holloway stood over the set piece and went for goal, but failed to hit the target as the two sides went into the break level.
Having defended so well in the opening half Gardner would have been livid with what he saw less than two minutes into the second half as a defensive error led to the opening goal.
Under little pressure, Adetayo Osifuwa went to play the ball back to Giddens but played it square enough to allow Stanley to get to the ball before the goalkeeper.
Giddens managed to get a hand on the ball as the Vickers striker went round the Millers number one, but not enough of a hand to stop it wriggling away for Stanley to slot into an empty net.
It was a disaster of a start to the second half for the Millers, but despite the set-back Aveley responded well and had their best chance of the match by a distance through Elbi.
The Millers number nine who had been working tirelessly the whole match playing as the lone striker got the wrong side of Matthews to get a strike in on goal, only to see it put wide by the toe of Nick Blue in the Vickers goal.
You felt that if Aveley were going to get anything from this match they needed to take what few chances were presenting themselves.
But it was VCD who thought they had gotten the game’s vital second goal when Stanley’s long throw from the right went all the way, with the linesman disallowing the goal as it hadn’t got a touch on the way.
Another Stanley long throw – from the left this time – almost undone Aveley again with this latest attempt being deflected towards goal only to be cleared off the line by Holloway.
Nathan Koranteng and Kyle Asante were brought on for Whitelock and Paul Burnett with just over a quarter of the game remaining as Gardner tried to get his side back into the match.
With Koranteng and Asante’s direct running the Millers were beginning to look a threat and Asante forced a corner with a drilled cross that was cleared.
From the corner Joseph Ellul, with Jay Leader just behind him, was allowed a free header six yards out that he was unable to direct towards goal under pressure from Leader, leaving Gardner hopping mad in the dugout.
Gardner’s last throw of the dice was to replace Ellul who had been playing in front of the back four for Brendan Cavalier who slotted in at centre back alongside Glen Golby, allowing Leader – Aveley’s joint top goal scorer – to go up front.
But there was hardly any chance for Aveley to see if that change would work as Duckworth scored a brilliant drive five minutes before the final whistle to all but secure the points that would send the Vickers back top of the league.
After failing to clear his lines with his first touch, Cavaliers clearance fell invitingly for Duckworth who opened fire, sending one like a bullet into the top corner, giving Giddens absolutely no chance.
Gardner was delighted with the effort shown by his side, but bemoaned that fact that his side had gifted VCD the win with two defensive errors.
The Millers boss said afterwards “we tried to do a job on them the way we were set up tonight. Let them have the ball in their half which I think was working perfectly.
“This is out fourth game in a week so I didn’t want us to go gung-ho and start chasing the ball from the front as they are a really good footballing team and I didn’t want us getting tired
“I tried to be clever with it and I believe that if we would have stuck at it for the first 15 minutes of the second half I’d have put on fresh legs and would have got something out of today, but mistakes again are killing us.”
Aveley: Jack Giddens, Adetayo Osifuwa, Sam Holloway, Jay Leader, Glen Golby (c), Joseph Ellul (Brenden Cavalier 84’), Paul Burnett (Kyle Asante 71’), George Whitelock (Nathan Koranteng 62’), Petrit Elbi, Mathias Bakare, Teddy Nesbitt