Millers battle through extra time for Trophy triumph

Aveley Secretary Craig Johnson at Parkside.

Aveley 5, Marlow 3

MANAGERLESS Aveley ended a nine year wait for a win in the Buildbase FA Trophy with a thrilling victory at Parkside on Monday evening that nets the Millers £3,000.

With chief executive Craig Johnson at the helm the Millers started well and came close to taking the lead inside the first minute as Nathan Koranteng’s cross almost fell to Jordan Watson who was a foot away from connecting with the ball.

But they were in front a minute later when Paul Preston crossed from the right and Jordan Watson managed to get in front of his marker and nod home.

Aveley continued to dominate, with Koranteng denied by a sharp save by Simon Grant. It wasn’t until the  20th minute that Grant’s Aveley counterpart Rhys Madden was called into action, making two saves in quick succession.

However, he was powerless in the 25th minute when Evo-Stik South East side Marlow grabbed an equalizer, the ball sitting up nicely for Jordace Holder-Spooner who found the bottom corner. The visitors grew into the game after the equaliser and made it a fantastic game for the neutral!

Jordan Brown’s snap shot forced Rhys Madden into making another fine save but Aveley weathered the storm and the sides went into half time on level terms.

Aveley were again quickest out of the blocks on the restart and Koranteng hit the crossbar with a cross-cum-shot and then Jordan Watson saw his effort was cleared off the line by Curtis Chapple.

The goal was coming and it arrived on 51 minutes when a searching ball forward found Jordan Peart who controlled with his chest dribbled past Junaid Bell and finished with.

The one-goal lead could have possibly been extended as Jordan Watson raced through on goal and was taken out by the keeper, which left Grant being taken off injured after the collision. However, home hopes of a possible penalty were dashed when the assistant’s offside flag was finally spotted.

Marlow came back into it and hit the post through Holder-Spooner’s free kick on 61 minutes. As the clock ticked down and Marlow continued to press Millers’ nerves were clearly on edge but just when it looked as if they had survived a comeback – and almost settled it with two of six added minutes played but sub Jerimiah Maja was denied by the post – Marlow got an equaliser with just moment left. From a free kick Marcus Mealing’s strike hit the Aveley wall but rebounded kindly to him and at the second opportunity he fired in an unstoppable drive which found the bottom right corner.

Extra time brought another good start from Aveley and they regained the lead six minutes into it when Maja pulled the ball back to Koranteng who controlled and beautifully smashed it into the top corner to score his first goal since re-joining the club.

Yet Marlow showed their resilience by drawing level three minutes into the second period when a free-kick was delivered into the box and amid a scramble of players somehow ended up in the back of Aveley’s net, with Jordan Lee-Brown claiming the final touch.

With the game seemingly heading to penalties Millers struck gold. Preston, who just didn’t stop working all game, came up trumps. He latched onto a ball over the top, raced through and showed great composure to put his side ahead for a fourth time on the night.

And with two minutes left, as Marlow chased the game, the ball fell for Michael Osei who poked it into the net to finally send the Millers through to the next round where they will meet Bostik Premier Burgess Hill Town away on Saturday, 28 October.

Afterwards Johnson, who will continue his search for a manager from more than 50 applicants following the sacking of Terry Spillane, paid tribute to the players for gaining the goalless away draw on Saturday and winning the replay, saying: “Thank you to each and every one of the lads. They did everything I asked and more. It would have been all too easy to have reacted negatively over the past week but they have given me their all and that I respect. Exciting times lies ahead!”

Other FA Trophy First Qualifying Round ties on Saturday, 28 October: Cray Wanderers v Grays Athletic, Kingstonian v Thurrock.