Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Football: Three off and three goals in fiery local derby

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 2 v 1 Thurrock

Report by Scott Hately courtesy of

A HOWLER from Andy Walker in the 90th minute allowed 10-man Aveley to secure their first ever league win over Thurrock in their 87 year history.

Walker allowed Nathan Koranteng’s low strike to squirm underneath his body and into the bottom corner to snatch it late on for the Millers in what had been a classic blood and thunder derby.

That was after three players had received their marching orders in the first 17 minutes, with Remi Sutton the first to go for a professional foul on Paul Burnett when he was clean through.

Then five minutes later Petrit Elbi and Charlie Stimpson were both dismissed following their part in an altercation which all started after a late challenge by Billy Holland.

After the dust had settled the nine men of Thurrock took the lead when Stevie Sutton brought down David Knight in the box, with the striker getting back to his feet to score the penalty.

Oyetunji Oyewale equalised for Aveley early in the second half after his bullet header was adjudged to have crossed the line by the official, before Koranteng won it in the final minute of normal time.

With less than a mile separating the two sides there was never likely to be much love-loss between the two sides on and off the field.

On the pitch Aveley made four changes to the side that drew with Cheshunt, with Taylor Nathaniel making his debut at left back in place of Karl Blake.

Mathias Bakare, Petrit Elbi and Oyetunji Oyewale also came in for Alfred Kamara, Kyle Asante and Nathan Koranteng, and Aveley made a bright start early on.

Inside the first minute Lee Weemes got the wrong side of the Thurrock back line before blasting harmlessly over. Then Petrit Elbi chanced his arm from distance but was unable to get his shot underneath Andy Walker’s crossbar.

Justin Gardner would have been delighted with his side’s start and they were then handed the initiative numerically when Thurrock went down to 10 men after just 12 minutes.

A beautiful cross field pass from Elbi found Paul Burnett who had snuck in around the back of Remi Sutton. With Burnett through on goal, the defender brought down Burnett by clipping his ankles with the referee having no hesitation in sending the defender off for a professional foul.

The resulting free kick from Elbi went just wide, but five minutes later the match went from 11 vs 10 to 10 vs 9 as Aveley had Elbi sent off, whilst Charlie Stimpson saw red for Thurrock.

A lunging tackle from Billy Holland on Lewwis Spence saw the red mist descend on Simpson who sprinted over to the Aveley captain to shove him to the floor when his back was turned.

Elbi then got involved by going nose to nose with Simpson in the altercation that followed, with both Elbi and Simpson seeing red.

The original offence from Holland only saw the Millers captain given a yellow which incensed the Thurrock players further, surrounding the referee trying to persuad him to show a different colour.

After all was said and done, Aveley still had the numerical advantage but despite being a man lighter than their hosts it was Thurrock who took the lead.

A one-two between Luke Stanley and David Knight saw Knight in on goal, tempting Stevie Sutton to come flying off his line. Knight got to the ball first with Sutton bringing the striker down forcing the referee to point to the spot.

Having saved a penalty on his debut against Dereham, Sutton was unable to stop this one from Knight, who had dusted himself off to take it. Despite Sutton diving the correct way Knight found the bottom corner to put the nine-men of Thurrock ahead.

With the referee clearly not afraid to get his book out both sides were now appealing for everything, and with no sign of the game settling down Lee Weemes forced Walker into a tipping his shot round the post as the 10 men went in search of an equaliser before the break.

But it was Thurrock who had the two best chances to score again before the interval. After being awarded a free kick on the right, Knight swung the ball into the box, finding Jordan Clark whose free header went just wide.

Knight then had a chance of his own, staying onside after a long ball over the top, before sending his half volley looping over Sutton’s crossbar with Thurrock on the front foot going into the break.

Having ended the first half the stronger of the two sides, Thurrock were almost given a helping hand in scoring a second when a long throw from Lewis Clark was nearly spilled over his own goal-line by Sutton before being hacked away by Bakare on the line.

It wouldn’t have been the start to the half Gardner would have been after, but minutes later his side were level as Oyetunji Oyewale scored his first goal for the club.

A long throw from Glen Golby was flicked on by Weemes towards Oyewale, who powered his header towards goal from six yards out. His effort came thundering off the underside of the crossbar, bouncing down behind Walker and back out again, with the linesman flagging to signal a goal.

With acres of space for both sides to exploit chances were going to come thick and fast, and Spence almost caught Sutton completely off guard with his effort from range which was only just tipped around the post by the Aveley ‘keeper.

Bakare then almost put the Millers in front when a free kick from the left was swung towards the near post, missing everyone only for Walker to scramble his way back across goal to keep it out.

With Thurrock’s legs beginning to tire, Kyle Asante and Nathan Koranteng were introduced to add some extra pace to Aveley’s attack as Gardner went for the jugular.

And as both sides looked to be heading for a point apiece one of those two substitutes provided a moment to remember for Gardner and his club as the Millers stole it late on.

Despite being late on in the match, Bakare still had pace to burn as he flew past Spence and took on Connor Martin down the right.

The midfielder found space to cross towards Koranteng on the edge of the area, with the winger controlling the ball before striking on the turn from the edge of the area.

His strike wasn’t the cleanest and may have even taken a small nick off the boot of Lewis Clark, but his bouncing effort should still have been stopped by Walker, who allowed the ball to squeeze underneath him and into the bottom corner to win it for Aveley.

“That’s a proper derby” said Justin Gardner after full time.

“That’s what you ask for – players committed, showing heart, hunger, everything was there. I’m proud of the boys”

“When we went in 1-0 down I wasn’t bothered because I knew we were going to score. We just needed patience.

“The subs come on and Nathan…he’s a frustrating player but then he’s gone and got the winner and that’s what he’s capable of” said the Millers boss.

Aveley’s match winner, Nathan Koranteng, said afterwards “It was a tough performance and all the sending offs made it hard, but luckily we got the win.”

Speaking about his goal, Koranteng said “it doesn’t matter how they go in, at least it just went in.

“I thought it had gone round the post. I didn’t know (it had gone in) but everyone was celebrating so I thought ‘oh ok, let me run off.’”

Aveley: Stevie Sutton, Adetayo Osifuwa, Taylor Nathaniel, Brian Okwera, Glen Golby, Mathias Bakare, Petrit Elbi, Billy Holland (c), Lee Weemes (Michael Begg 76’), Paul Burnett (Kyle Asante 69’), Oyetunji Oyewale (Nathan Koranteng 61’)


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