Thursday, September 28, 2023

Football: Victory for Millers on final day at Aveley

Aveley 1 v 0 AFC Hornchurch 0

Ryman League North

Report by Scott Lanza

AVELEY brought the curtain down on their Mill Field home with a slender 1-0 win over AFC Hornchurch in front of 413 spectators that saw Jeremiah Maja scoring the last competitive Aveley goal at the ground that has been their home since the 1951/52 season.

AFC Hornchurch came into the game already in the play-off mix but needed to be party poopers and win the game if they wanted to remain in third spot. It seemed that the Millers were trying to give their visitors a helping hand as twice in the opening ten minutes they presented the Urchins with opportunities caused by defensive lapses. The first one involved a mix-up between Dan Odatio and Keeper Lamar Johnson who failed to clear a routine ball; perhaps thinking the other was going to deal with it and almost allowing Martin Tuohy the chance to capitalise. Then another ball wasn’t properly dealt with which allowed Leon McKenzie to steal possession before wasting the opportunity as he put his shot wide of the target.

Slowly Aveley settled down and they had a couple of chances themselves as Michael Toner and Maja both fired shots over the crossbar. However Aveley were perhaps fortunate that Tuohy didn’t open the scoring when in the 19th minute his shot was tipped onto the post by Johnson. The Millers keeper also had to save an Abs Seymour free kick, while Hussain Jaffa worked tirelessly to head away a succession of crosses and through balls. Jaffa had used his height to good effect at the back and then managed to get his head onto a corner midway through the half that was saved by Sam Mott.

Most of the play took place in the midfield and there was little at times to ignite the bumper Easter Monday crowd. That almost changed when Maja sped down the left wing and found Ross Gleed with an accurate cross which Gleed volleyed just an inch too high. It had been the best chance Aveley had created and it didn’t take them long to launch another attack which ended up in the back of the Urchins net. Maja headed a ball past the Urchins defence before running onto it and slotting beyond the reach of Mott. It certainly had been a cheeky goal due to the audacity of Maja, who set himself up before finishing the job off. It was 2-0 just before the break – or so Aveley thought. Maja turned and fired at the Urchins goal which Mott knocked away; Maja then saw his shot blocked before Mason Bloomfield finished the move by hitting the back of the Aveley net. Celebrations were curtailed as the goal was disallowed due to offside.

Johnson had to get down low to keep out a Sam Bantick shot right on the stroke of half-time and then in the opening stages of the next period had to twice tip away Tuohy efforts. Joe Clark blocked a Jed Chouman effort and then a decent delivery by Seymour just failed to be met by an advancing McKenzie

The Millers were not pressing their visitors too heavily, with Adalberto Pinto’s drive from thirty yards being straight at Johnson. Aveley really needed to go for another goal as their play-off bound opponents were pushing out to get an equaliser. In the 71st minute Tuohy cut inside and drilled over a cross that narrowly missed reaching McKenzie. Aveley were reduced to ten men in the 85th minute when Joe Clark received his marching orders and then right at the death Johnson maintained Aveley’s lead when he pulled off a full-stretch save to deny Elliot Styles.

Aveley were able to hold on and close their account at Mill Field with a win, at the same time doing local rivals Thurrock a favour as the result pushed AFC Hornchurch down to fourth. Aveley look like they will miss out on the play-offs themselves this year but there is a renewed optimism around the club now that they are finally ready to move to their new Parkside ground in time for the 2017/18 season. The Millers finish their season with a trip to Romford on Saturday.

Aveley: Lamar Johnson (Capt), Dan Odatio, Joe Clark, Michael Toner, Tommy Spillane, Hussain Jaffa, Matt Mitchell (Gaz Dauti 45+4′), Adalberto Pinto, Mason Bloomfield, Jeremiah Maja (Michael Noone 45+4′), Ross Gleed (Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair 77′).

Scorer – Jeremiah Maja (36′).

AFC Hornchurch: Sam Mott, Gary Cohen (George Purcell 73′), Teddy Nesbitt (Nathan Cooper 73′), Kenzer Lee, John Easterfold, Elliott Styles (Capt), Sam Bantick (Abs Thompson 65′), Jed Chouman, Leon McKenzie, Martin Tuohy, Abs Seymour.


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