Romford 2 v 3 Thurrock
Ryman League North
Report by Gary Redwing
NICK Reynolds became the reformed Romford’s all-time leading goalscorer, but could not prevent them falling to defeat against second place landlords Thurrock at Ship Lane.
On a frosty and cold Winter night Romford and Thurrock put on an exhibition of exciting, attacking football in front of a season high crowd for the Boro; but in the end it was the promotion chasing “visitors” who just came out on top.
Both teams went for it straight from the off with Thurrock’s Mark Oneyham firing well wide in the fifth minute after racing away from his man down the left wing while all of Romford’s attacks were cleared at the final hurdle despite excellent build up play. In the twentieth minute Thurrock took the lead when a high ball forward lead to Oneyham outmuscling his marker James Ishmail in the air before skipping past Danny Cossington and firing low past Callum Chafer and it should have been two, three minute later when more strong play, this time down the left wing lead to a low cross to the far post but with the goal at his mercy Ronnie Winn did not get enough contact on the ball and sent his shot wide.
With twenty-five minutes on the clock Romford won a corner and Jamie Dicks’ centre skimmed the top of Ishmail’s head, hit the arm of Richard Halle and the defender was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball as the referee pointed to the spot. Nick Reynolds who had equalled the club’s goalscoring record against Wroxham stepped up but his effort was saved low by Bobby Mason. However, the rebound sat up kindly for the following up striker who made no mistake, volleying home to send the home crowd wild and moving one goal clear of Danny Benstock at the top of the charts. Romford were now playing with confidence and looking a constant threat to the Thurrock defence and a few minutes later James Age sent in a deep cross to Will Green who’s initial header was blocked but the ball then dropped back to the winger and his left foot drive nearly sneaked under the body of Mason who just about got enough on it to keep it out. Ten minutes before half time and a little against the run of play Thurrock retook the lead when David Cowley converted from ten yards after a slick one touch passing move.
Romford manager Paul Martin replaced Age with Ayo Olukoga during the break and after McKenzie was fouled just outside the box, the hosts saw a Dicks powerful free kick beaten away by Mason as it was heading inside the post. Thurrock then stretched their lead in the fiftieth minute when Winn did well to win the ball from Cossington and slipped in Joe Christou, who rounded Chafer and passed the ball home into the empty net.
This set back merely seemed to spur Romford on and it did not take them too long to get back into the game as substitute Ryan Mallett chipped the ball over the defence to Chinedu McKenzie, who had timed his run perfectly before slipping the ball under Mason and into the net in the fifty-eighth minute. An equaliser now looked on as twice in quick succession Mallett nearly picked out the perfect through ball but on each occasion it was just inches too far ahead of the onrushing Romford attackers.
The fast, end to end game was providing great entertainment for the crowd with Boro continuing to put the visiting defence under pressure and Thurrock with Cowley pulling the strings, looking extremely dangerous on the break. Winn twice ran through and was twice thwarted, the first time thanks to Callum Chafer who produced a fantastic one handed block as the striker tried to round him and the second time by a great Ryan Boswell block tackle. As the match was drawing to a close Romford were throwing everything forward with Mallett having a header cleared off the line while at the other end the dangerous Winn struck the outside of the post. Romford’s last big chance was probably their best but with just a touch needed in the box by either Olukoga or McKenzie they both got in each other’s way before the ball was scrambled clear.
The narrow win moved Thurrock up to within two points of Maldon & Tiptree at the top, but eighteenth placed Boro can be proud of a quality performance that came so close to denying the high flyers their seventh straight league victory.
Romford: Callum Chafer, Ryan Boswell, Jamie Dicks, Danny Cossington, James Ishmail, Kai Bichard (Ryan Mallet 53), Jonathan Adebayo, James Age (Ayo Olukoga 46), Chinedu McKenzie, Nick Reynolds (Chris Taylor 59), Will Green
Scorers – Nick Reynolds (25′), Chinedu McKenzie (58′)
Thurrock: Bobby Mason, Reece Morgan, Remi Sutton, Richard Halle, Mark Onyemah, Perry Dunn, Jordan Clark, Glenn Poole, Ronnie Winn (Harry Cook 83), Joe Christou, David Cowley
Scorers – Mark Onyemah (20′), David Cowley (35′), Joe Christou (50′)