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"There are positives" as Millers crash out of FA Cup
Aveley 1, Margate 4
JUSTIN Gardner, the Aveley boss, insisted there were positives to take from a game that saw his side dumped out of their second cup competition in a week.
It was always likely to be a tough afternoon as Millers did battle with Ryman Premier League table-toppers Margate and despite giving a good account of themselves in a close first half and starting the second half on the front foot, Aveley were lacklustre in possession and hesitant to fight in midfield.
In the end, the visitors barely needed to come out of second gear to get the result that will put them in the draw for the next round of the FA Cup.
Ryan Dolby tormented the Aveley defence for much of the game and although he missed two excellent first half chances, on the stroke of half time he headed the Kent side into the lead from a corner.
In the second half, he turned provider exhibiting some clever footwork down the left flank and playing in a cross that wound up at the back post for Sam Long to tap home after 62 minutes.
Five minutes later, Mark Corneille, who had replaced the injured Long only moments before, headed home Tommy Murphy's cross to make it 3-0.
Following the arrival of Shane Oakley, who came on for the largely ineffective Jordan Cox midway through the second half, Aveley got a goal back in the 72nd minute when Alfie Kamara finished Millers' finest move of the game.
A smart break saw Junior Dadson released down the left. He got into the box and his shot-come-cross was turned in by Alfie Kamara.
But any promise of a comeback was quashed when another Margate sub Alex Rhodes converted a cross from Matt Bodkin to make it 4-1 in the 82nd minute.
Aveley and Gardner were frustrated that they had two goals disallowed, both for what the referee deemed to be unfair aerial challenges in the build-up. Twice Dadson had the ball in the net, in the 42nd and 59th minute but both were ruled out.
The first appeared to be the correct decision as Cox was penalised for a foul on Margate's Phil Starkey but the second, as Billy Holland flicked on Marcus Rose' long throw, looked harsh.
Millers' focus now returns to the Ryman North league with a trip to Cheshunt on Tuesday. It is disappointing for the club, though, that they have been knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy suffering emphatic defeats in both.
Just last weekend, Millers were beaten 5-1 at Royston Town in the FA Trophy.
Speaking post-match, Gardner said: "Obviously it's upsetting to lose 4-1 at home, but I think there are a lot of positives. We scored two goals and the ref ruled them out for some reason.
"We had a few players missing today, it was a patched up defence and you could see that towards the end.
"I thought we did well in the first half but at the end of the day, Margate aren't sitting top of the Ryman Premier League for nothing, they're obviously a good team.
"But there are positives so i'm not too down. We just need to be stronger as a team defensively.
"The league is the bread and butter and we've got to be prepared for Cheshunt now and try to improve."
Gardner agreed that the team seemed to lack a bit of fight in the middle, adding: "I've chopped and changed it around in there and people i've brought in to fight in there aren't doing that. That's something i'm working on but it's not easy to find the right sort of player.
"They don't seem to make them these days or if they do, they're on too much money elsewhere and you can't entice them in. But we are a bit soft in the middle."
Aveley starting XI: Dave McCartney; Marcus Rose (Jamel Willer 88’), Paul Burnett, Jack Stevenson (Sheldon Sellears 58’), Jay Leader (c); Ellis Sands, Mark Sontag, Alfred Kamara, Junior Dadson; Jordan Cox (Shane Oakley 71’), Billy Holland
Gazette MOM: Ryan Dolby (Margate)