Ryman Div One North
Romford 2 v 1 Great Wakering Rovers
Report by Gary Redwin
Taylor at the double!
A Chris Taylor brace, his second in successive home games gave Romford three points as Lady Luck smiled brightly on the Boro. Romford started strongly against a nervous Great Wakering defence and in the second minute a poor clearance fell to Taylor, but the striker could not shift the ball out from between his feet quick enough to get a shot away. Kai Bichard had already fired over the bar before, in the fifth minute Chinedu McKenzie received the ball from Ryan Boswell and his sharp turn and shot was beaten away at the near post by veteran keeper Ashley Harrison. Scott Pethers fired just wide for Rovers with a long range effort before back at the other end McKenzie raced through, but his left foot shot was well blocked by the keeper who was quick off his line in the ninth minute. To complete the action packed opening fifteen minutes Rovers striker Neil Richmond raced through but rather than shoot, tried to pass to Jake Gorden; he was offside but Callum Chafer made a fine save anyway.
Greg Akpele shot just over while at the other end Pethers twice went close from distance. In the twentieth minute McKenzie did well down the right wing and his cross from the byline took a deflection and nearly looped in at the far post. Five minutes later there was another great chance for Romford when Bichard did well down the left wing and pulled the ball back to Jonathan Adebayo on the edge of the box; the powerful midfielder then used his quick feet to dance past three players and shoot but the keeper pulled off another great save. McKenzie forced another save, then Chris Taylor headed wide before suddenly it was Romford who were on the back foot. After failing to clear the ball and then a slip in the box allowed Pethers another chance; luckily Chafer made a great save. It had been a hugely entertaining match up to now which had only lacked a goal, but one came at last in the thirty-seventh minute when a poor Boro clearance allowed Harley Kee to slide the ball to Stephen Butterworth to race through, round Chafer and slip the ball into the net. Rovers were piling forward and only a goalmouth scramble stopped Romford going two down, but then at the other end from a Romford free kick Ryan Mallett headed down to McKenzie, but this season’s twenty-five goal man took too many touches to get his shot away and the ball was cleared.
Romford knew they needed a big half and got back into the game four minutes after the break when McKenzie raced down the right wing and his low cross was neatly flicked in at the near post by Taylor who had anticipated well to steal in ahead of his marker. The home fans may have hoped this goal would demoralise the visitors but the team second from bottom were fighting for their lives and Chafer had to be alert to tip wide a free kick and then on the hour, Rovers almost equalised but how they did not surprised everyone in attendance. Richmond raced through and his low shot was well saved by Chafer but Gorden was on hand to tap the ball home or so it would seem; out of nowhere Boswell managed to get his foot on the ball and turn it against the inside of the post and it rolled across goal. Once again another Rovers man looked like he had a simple tap in but Chafer slid across to knock the ball away. Even now it was still not cleared properly and from another shot a combination of Chafer and Boswell deflected the ball over.
After having to defend for their lives, the ball then went up the other end and Akpele had a good chance to put Romford in the lead. Akpele tried to go around Harrison, the keeper just got enough of a touch on the ball and it was cleared off the line. McKenzie was inches away from turning in a Mallett cross while at the other end Romford twice cleared headers from corners off the line. Then Adebayo was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after only receiving a yellow card when he pulled back Kee who looked clean through.
With fifteen minutes left Rovers did have the ball in the net but the offside flag was up early. Both teams had had penalty shouts in either half although none looked too convincing but then with only three minutes left Danny Cossington won the ball out wide and passed forward to Taylor, who on the turn saw the keeper coming, then stopping and lobbed the ball beautifully over him and into the net to give Romford the win.
Boro stay in sixteenth place but now move on to forty-eight points and no team has been relegated with that amount since they have been in the Ryman North. Great Wakering can now only equal the number of points Romford already have and alongside Wroxham look favourites for relegation; however on this showing will not be going down without a fight.
Romford: Callum chafer, Ryan Boswell, Akwasi Marfo, Danny Cossington, Ryan Mallett, Jonathan Adebayo, Kai bichard, Greg Akpele (Ayo Olukoga 81′), Chinedu McKenzie, Chris Taylor (Nick Reynolds 88′), Abdeen Abdul (Jack Browne-Sykes 73′
Scorer – Chris Taylor (49′, 87′)
Great Wakering Rovers: Ashley Harrison, Jason Ring, Jimmy Nottage (Kye Jude 71′), Harley Kee, Elliot Warren, Nikki Beale, Stephen Butterworth, Ricky Evans, Jake Gordon (Franklin Craik 77′), Neil Richmond (Michael Ogboin 89′), Scott Pethers.
Scorer – Stephen Butterworth (37′)