Aveley 0

Harlow 1

NON LEAGUE: ALEX Read’s pinpoint free kick decided a dire encounter between Aveley and Harlow Town.

The goal led Millers’ boss Justin Gardner to question whether the former Tilbury and Aveley front man should challenge himself at a higher level.

But Gardner found himself frustrated at the inability of his own forwards to take chances – and for the second time in a week was disappointed that key decisions didn’t go his side’s way.

Gardner said: “It was a frustrating afternoon. Both teams created about three or four chances all game, and didn’t take them. “We probably had the best chance in terms of open play and to me, a draw would have been a fair result.”

The win was a big boost to Harlow’s play-off hopes – particularly with Thurrock losing, but in truth, this was a poor game not helped by a whistle-happy referee.

In the 49th minute, he decided Aveley centre half Glenn Golby had fouled winger Shane Stamp 25 yards from goal.

Read’s right footed effort was hit with such precision that as the ball sailed into the top corner, Kalin Artkiev in the Aveley goal didn’t even move – he had no chance.

It was perhaps fitting that it won the game, given it was the only moment of quality in the game.

The best chances came in the first half, all through poor defending. One was squandered by Kyle Asante after he failed to control a through ball and the other, at the opposite end – by Leon Antoine whose snap shot from eight yards was well saved by Artkiev.

After conceding, Millers never really looked like levelling the scores.

Read – who comfortably tops the league’s goal scoring charts – was top scorer at Tilbury two years ago and scored a handful of goals during Aveley’s run to the play-offs last season.

Gardner said: “He’s a goal scorer and you pay for what you get. My question of him is whether he should even be playing at this level. He should test himself. What’s he got to achieve at this level? Maybe he wants to win the league but I don’t think Harlow will.”

The defeat leaves Aveley neither better nor worse off in the league. Their remaining fixtures will see them jostle for position but Gardner is gunning for eighth.

He added: “I’ve got one eye on next season. I want to win as many games as possible and players should be playing for their futures to play for me next season.”