Football: Thurrock claim three vital points in derby

Ryman Div One North

Aveley 0 v 1 Thurrock

Report by Scott Lanza

Aveley 0 Thurrock 1
Ryman League North

Report by Scott Lanza

When these two teams met at Ship Lane in October Aveley were in the play-off positions while Thurrock had yet to find any form and were off the leadership pace. Since then Justin Gardner has been replaced by Terry Spillane and the Millers under his stewardship have continued to pick up points, with Saturday’s 3-0 win over leaders Maldon & Tiptree showing that the Millers are very much in the promotion hunt. The Fleet have now also clicked into gear and bounced back from Saturday’s lost to Brightlingsea Regent by beating their nearest rivals.

With this being a top of the table encounter with added spice of a local derby, meant that on paper at least, this looked like being a fiercely contested encounter between two promotion hopefuls. However the game didn’t ever ignite and both teams were relatively gun-shy once they got anywhere near their opponent’s penalty box. An early challenge by Aveley’s Jack Edwards and Thurrock’s James Goode, who both gave no quarter in their attempt to win a loose ball in midfield, was an early indication of what the fans were going to see; a tight affair in which neither team were going to allow the other to settle and take control. Jordan Clark managed to bundle his way into the Aveley danger zone but was soon swamped by Daniel Odamo and Tommy Spillane, and so the Fleet attack was extinguished by some no-nonsense defending. Joseph Clarke meanwhile kept a close watch on Fleet’s Michael Pindy and several times in the first half the Fleet player found his runs on goal abruptly ended by his Millers marker. Pindy was able to get to the byline in the 26th minute to send over a decent looking cross that Spillane headed away. Aveley meanwhile had found the Thurrock defence in equally ungenerous mood meaning that Bobby Mason, along with Aveley custodian, Lamar Joseph-Johnson, were rarely called upon.

There were some nice passing moves by both sides but little end product. Aveley’s best chance of the half came on the half hour mark when the ball was played out of defence by Joseph Clark. Tunde Adawanm picked up the ball and knocked it diagonally to his right, where Daniel Odamo was waiting. Odamo controlled the ball before putting a bit too much pace on his cross, meaning that the ball sped away from Jeremiah Maja and the move, which had shown promise, petered out and the ball was easily claimed by Mason. Thurrock had a similar attack 8 minutes later when Pindy was able to use his speed to get away from his marker. He played the ball to Harry Cook who then played in Ronnie Winn on the left wing. Winn played the ball back to Cook who miscued his shot and it went horribly wide.

The second half was played in pretty much the same vein, with both teams cancelling each other out. Joseph-Johnson was perhaps the busier of the two keepers as he had to produce a top class save to prevent Fleet taking the lead midway through the half. Up until then all the Millers custodian had to do was deal with the occasional cross or corner. That all changed when Pindy charged past two Aveley players, cut inside the penalty box and then hit a fierce right footed shot that looked goal-bound until Joseph-Johnson pulled off a superb save, diving high in the air to get his hand to the ball and deflect it away for a corner. The resulting corner was aimed for the six yard box but Odamo made sure the danger was dealt with by powerfully heading the ball away.

Whilst there was little in goalmouth action it has to be said that both teams continued to string passes together. The problem was that both Aveley and Thurrock did not want to lose this game so their defences in many ways put in a master class. Jeremiah Maja, who had scored a hat-trick for the Millers on Saturday, was rarely given space to move and the Fleet frontline also found their route on goal blocked by a solid Aveley defence. Neither team’s forwards were able to feed on much more than scraps and the game looked like it was heading for a goalless stalemate. Then in the 84th minute Thurrock went on the attack with Ronnie Winn dashing into the Aveley box and setting up Mark Onyemah, who was unceremoniously brought down by Clarke. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty, which Glenn Poole dispatched to give Fleet the lead.

Moments after falling behind the Millers had a penalty appeal of their own, after Maja was brought down, but the referee waved play on. Poole had another effort in the 88th minute that just missed the near post and in the near 7 minutes of injury time it was the Fleet who ended on the front foot winning a couple of corners right at the death.

In fairness it was hardly a classic but Fleet will be happy that they were able to ground out a result at their nearest rivals, which moves them up to fourth and into the play-off positions. Aveley drop down to sixth but are still in the promotion pack despite this set-back.

Aveley: Lamar Joseph-Johnson, Billy Coyne, Joseph Clark, Daniel Odamo, Tommy Spillane, Adalberto Pinto, Jack Edwards, Gaz Dauti (James Pugsley 71), Tunde Adawanm (Arron Gordon 71), Jeremiah Maja, Michael Toner

Thurrock: Bobby Mason, Reece Morgan, Remi Sutton, Perry Dunn, Ronnie Winn, James Goode, Joe Christou, Michael Pindy, Harry Cook (Mark Onyemah 80), George Winn, Jordan Clark (Glenn Poole 67)

Scorer – Glenn Poole (84′ Pen)

The result means Thurrock jump up to fourth in the league, just two places off the top whilst Aveley are sixth.

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