After weeks of splendid weather, bright skies and dry match days, the autumn bared its teeth last Saturday in Essex. As we arrived in Aveley, a mile from the Dartford bridge, heavy rain was sweeping across the ground under dark grey skies. The gloom didn’t lift all afternoon!
It was always going to be a stern test for Ian Chapman and his team against one of the heavy weights of the Ryman Premier league.
Their 10th position at the start of play was misleading as they had games in hand and hadn’t played many of the bottom teams yet. Trust me these guys will be in the play offs or even better come late April 2016. Perhaps the only hindrance to their progress could be playing at Aveley Fcs ground Mill Field. Its not the best stadium to be honest and the pitch can best be politely described as ‘bobbly’. The one redeeming feature is the old fashion but cute main stand made of wood offering a great view of the action.
In keeping with the weather both teams produced a really insipid opening 45 mins. The action flat and devoid of any free flowing football as 148 fans huddled under any shelter they could find. It was the hosts that provided one key move on around 35 mins.
As ‘Kacca’ (Lee Harding) drove into their box he lost it, with us on the move up field their right back thumped it long to their right winger who striped Will Miles for pace before squaring to an on rushing mid fielder who shined it over Josh in goal. One nil at half time.
Hill were much more industrious during the 2nd half especially down the right. Scott Kirkwood is returning to full fitness and to me was the Hill MOM. He made some crunching tackles in mid field and switched play left and right with ease. On the hour mark Hill carved out their best chance of the match.
A vicious Kirkwood cross found the head of Joe Keehan, it seemed for all money that the net would bulge but instead the ball scraped the left upright. The game was effectively up for Hill moments later when their big centre forward powered home a towering header
Immediately after the final whistle Ian was chatting to fans clearly down in the dumps that we didn’t take our chances. He’s right, we didn’t and game lost. One major positive was the form of young Luc Doherty at right back a lad who has come through the youth ranks at the club.
Many thanks to my driver, Steve, who negotiated the Dartford crossings with ease and getting us back to B/H for 6.30 pm. Not an occasion to live long in the memory to be honest. Hopefully the trip to Aveley will be the low point to our debut Ryman Premier Division season.
I on back on the Crawley Town trail on Saturday as they head to Exeter in League two. Its another new ground as the 92 Club is chased down this season.
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