Saturday, October 1, 2022

Football: Aveley go to top of the league with second victory

BRYAN Ifeanyi’s opportunist second half goal, his second in successive matches, ensured a second win at the start of Aveley’s Isthmian League Premier Division campaign on Monday evening – a win all the sweeter in a local derby watched by a crowd of 746.

At the start of last season the two sides were two divisions apart but Billericay were relegated from the National league South in May – while the Millers stormed to the Isthmian North title.

Both started the new campaign with a win on Saturday but it was last night’s (15 August) Parkside hosts who came out on top with a victory they deserved for their pressing attitude to the match right from the off. Not even the late dismissal of Garrett Kelly, Millers second red in the closing moments of a match following Ryan Scott’s dismissal at Hastings, could dampen celebrations.

The Millers made a positive start and pushed the visitors onto the back foot in the opening stages, with Billericay resorting to some roughhouse tactics to disrupt Danny Scopes’ side’s style of play.

Ilfeany was one of the quickest out of the blocks and made a great early run, firing the ball across the box but no one was on hand to get a vital touch and it was scrambled away for a corner, from which Ryan Scott headed over.

Aveley’s Connor Witherspoon found himself on the end of one poor challenge in a clash with Alfie Cerulli with both players requiring treatment. Millers then felt they had a good shout for a penalty when Benas Vaivada appeared to be felled in the penalty area.

Aveley were the dominant side and the frustration for Billericay was exemplified when coach Ash Goss was booked on the visitors’ bench for dissent but the Millers, who were largely untroubled at the back with keeper David Hughes almost a spectator, were unable to find a breakthrough before the break.

Hughes did find himself in gainful employment as Billericay upped their game at the start of the second half. They showed much more attacking intent and just before the hour Hughes was finally tested as he kept out a free kick from Cerulli, then produced a good save to deny Eze Ebuzoeme who shot from distance.

Billericay rang the changes with a couple of substitutions and a change of shape but that was only a prelude to the opening and winning goal which came on 66 minutes. Billericay keeper Harry Seaden could only parry Harry Gibbs’ long range free kick and Ifeanyi pounced and showed great calmness to guide the ball home from an angle.

The visitors might have been expected to raise their game in search of an equaliser but they were unable to as it was the Millers who stepped up a gear. Tom Stephen surged forward on a great run and again it looked as if Millers should have had a penalty as he was challenged in the box but appeals were waved away.

With ten minutes to go George Sykes showed great control before shotting, only to see his effort come back off the post but in the end Ifeanyi’s goal proved enough.

There was a clash between players at the final whistle and Kelly found himself red-carded, one of the few negatives on a night to remember.  

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