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Millers end run of defeats in style
Aveley 5, Barkingside 0
JUNIOR Appiah stole the show with a sublime piece of skill as Aveley ended a run of five straight defeats and eased the pressure on manager Justin Gardner.
His Millers thumped Barkingside with an explosion of pace and class in the last 20 minutes of this Ryman Division One North fixture.
Petrit Elbi - on his return to Mill Field following a short spell at Brentwood Town - Isa Hussein and Rashid Kamara all contributed to the 5-0 score line but it was Appiah’s phenomenal piece of improvisation which proved to be the highlight.
Yet it was the result which pleased Gardner the most. This was a big win for him and ended a desperately poor run of five league defeats on the trot.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “I’ve been under a lot of pressure in the last two weeks, pressure that I put on myself. I dedicate the win to Craig [Gardner, the secretary] and Graham [Gennings] the chairman, who have been as good as gold, they haven’t put me under any pressure. I’ve never been through a period like that as manager. So I just hope this is a turning point.”
The first half was dismal, with both sides lacking energy, desire and belief in a half where the excitement peaked at a speculative Ross Wall shot.
But the second period was a lot more like the Aveley we have come to know in Gardner’s 19 month spell as boss: pace, width and, of course, goals. There were five in the second half but it took a penalty to break the dead lock.
Elbi was felled in the box in the 58th minute but he dusted himself down and smashed the ball into the top right hand corner.
Danny Callaway, booked for the foul on Elbi in the box, was given his marching orders 17 minutes later for a second yellow card.
A little over three minutes later, Millers went in for the kill. Hussein, with his first touch, headed home Appiah’s cross from the right to make it two.
Then came Appiah’s moment of genius. He picked up Tajbahksh’s pass into the box, turned the Barkingside full back before bringing his right foot around the back of his standing leg to flick the ball over Craig Clark.
His team mates celebrated as if he were a magician who had just pulled off a mind-bending trick.
Elbi bagged his second to make it 4-0 with a rasping 25 yard strike which flew into the top corner, before Kamara, another Millers substitute, went on a smart run down the left before cutting inside and hitting the ball low into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Millers skipper Spencer Harrison, making his return from a knee injury, said: “A lot of us have been poor recently, so we needed that today. A lot of strong words were said after the game against Thurrock where we more or less threw it away. We just needed a bit of luck and we got it today. This will be a catalyst.”
The former East Thurrock United centre half added: “I’m not properly fit yet. But that’s my first 90 minutes since April so it’s good to get some minutes under my belt.”
Aveley: Giddens; Tajbakhsh, Nesbitt, Leader, Harrison; Okwera, Atkins (Hussein), Hopkins, Appiah (Kamara); Elbi, Wall (Stephenson).
Gazette MoM: Petrit Elbi
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