Saturday, March 2, 2024

Football: Aveley let it slip against ten-man Aveley

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 1 v 2 Heybridge Swifts

Report by Scott Hately courtesy of

Aveley’s inconsistency was again their downfall as they threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 against 10-man Heybridge Swifts.

Having taken the lead from the penalty spot through Petrit Elbi, Justin Gardner’s side failed to push on against a Heybridge side that were playing their fourth game in a week.

Danny Barber saw red for stopping Glen Golby’s goal-bound effort with his hand which resulted in Elbi’s penalty, but the Millers then capitulated.

From an Aveley corner the Swifts counter-attacked to level, with Go-Dumaka Dumebi applying the finishing touch with just over 10 minutes remaining.

And with a few minutes left of normal time Jody Brown’s side completed their remarkable turn-around when Stevie Sutton fumbled a low cross from the right, straight into the path of David Wareham to smash home from close range.

After the match a disconsolate Gardner said that he was “bored of hearing” his player’s apologies and now must pick his side up for their trip to Barkingside on Monday night.

Coming off the back of their fantastic win last Monday night against local rivals Thurrock, Gardner was looking for his side to kick on and keep their outside chances of a playoff place alive against a Heybridge side who had to be tiring after a busy week.

But despite instructing his side to start quickly and go at Heybridge from the outset, the Millers failed to click, giving the ball away too often to cause the visitors any discomfort.

In truth the first half as a whole was not one for any neutrals attending Mill Field, but it was the visitors who were looking the most likely to take the lead.

Reece Harris should have done better with his effort when free on the left, only to send the ball out of the ground. Chris Bryan’s low cross was almost put into his own net by Brian Okwera. And Jamie Guy tested Stevie Sutton with a snap-shot that was well held by the Millers goalkeeper.

Aveley had to wait until almost the 40th minute to create a goal-scoring opportunity of their own which Paul Burnett was unable to convert.

After Kyle Asante’s header deflected to the winger Burnett failed to test Ashley Harrison, dragging his effort wide of his near post.

And it was the visitors who ended the half the stronger, creating a couple of half chances that they couldn’t convert.

Bryan almost caught out Sutton with his chip to the far post which floated just wide, and Reece Morgan then started to wish he was an inch or two taller as he was unable to get his head to a cross from the right as the sides went in level.

Having failed to spark in the first half, Gardner would have been desperate for his side to react in the second, but they almost went behind when Kevin Dobinson flashed a volley across the face of goal which was met by the head Frank Everett who was unable to divert his header on target.

As the match went on you expected fatigue to set in on the visitors and for Aveley to create more chances of their own, and they were unfortunate not to break the deadlock when Burnett smashed the underside of the cross with his effort from outside the area.

That looked to have been the turning point, but moments later and Heybridge had their clearest chance of the match fall to Michael Toner who was unable to hit the target with his free header from less than six yards out.

It was a huge let off for the hosts and less than two minutes later they made Heybridge pay by finally taking the lead from the penalty spot. Not only that, but the Swifts were down to 10 men as Danny Barber was given his marching orders.

A corner from Burnett was headed back towards the centre by Petrit Elbi, finding Glen Golby to head towards goal from close range. The centre-half’s header was stopped from going over the line by the hand of Barber who was shown a straight red card and a penalty was awarded.

Elbi confidently stepped up to dispatch the penalty and it looked like everything now was pointing in the direction of a fourth win in their last six for the Millers.

But despite the man advantage Aveley failed to capitalise and Kyle Asante had Aveley’s two best chances to put the game to bed.

After being slipped in down the right, Asante was caught in two minds over whether to shoot or cross, eventually flashing the ball across the face of goal but behind Lee Weemes. Minutes later and the striker tested Harrison with a low shot that was parried away to safety.

But having not drilled home their advantage, Aveley were punished as with just over 10 minutes remaining Heybridge equalised with a classic counter attacking goal.

From an Aveley corner, the Swifts broke down the right with Go-Dumaka Dumebi sending Bryan off down the wing. Dumebi then sprinted half of the length of the field to re-join the attack and apply the finishing touch when Bryan found the substitute who in-turn found the bottom corner.

It was arguably what Heybridge deserved, but it would have been a bitter pill for Gardner to swallow considering the situation. But it all went from bad to worse for the Millers as with three minutes remaining they found themselves behind.

In Monday’s win against Thurrock it was a goalkeeping error that won them the match when Andy Walker let Nathan Koranteng’s bouncing effort underneath his body.

On this occasion it was a goalkeeping error that lost them the match as Sutton was unable to hold onto a low, bouncing cross from the right from Bryan with, another substitute, David Wareham having the simple task to score from a yard out to steal the points for Jody Brown’s side.

A clearly upset Justin Gardner spoke after the match and said that he was “bored of hearing” his player’s apologies, and when asked if he felt that performance summed up Aveley’s inconsistent season he reacted by saying “yeah, I suppose you’re right.”

“Losing to mistakes again it’s hard to take. I don’t mind losing to a team like when we went to Dereham and they ripped us to shreds and beat us 5-1 fair and square. You can live with that.

“But, we’ve got a corner 10 minutes to go and we’re playing short. We’ve put it in the box the whole game, our centre backs are gone in. They break from that and score.

“I’m heartbroken. They’ve had 10 men for 30 minutes and we’ve thrown it away.”

Aveley: Stevie Sutton, Adetayo Osifuwa, Karl Blake, Brian Okwera, Glen Golby, Mathias Bakare, Petrit Elbi, Billy Holland (c) (Joseph Tabiri 65’), Nathan Koranteng (Michael Begg 80’), Paul Burnett (Lee Weemes 70’), Kyle Asante


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