TOM Richardson lauded Aveley’s mental strength after they came from behind to secure a derby day victory over Grays Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday.

Following the Millers FA Cup exit on Saturday, they faced a tough home encounter against Blues at Parkside but goals from Shad Ngandu, Andy Freeman and Alex Teniola handed them three more points in the Isthmian North.

Richardson joined the club in February and has started this season well, netting three times in four games to date.

And the 24-year-old said the manner of the victory against their nearest rivals will stand Aveley in good stead in the weeks to come.

“We are happy but we know there is a lot of work to be done,” said the striker.

“After what happened on Saturday to do what we did on Monday takes real character. We conceded after 30 seconds against Potters Bar (in the FA Cup) and that killed us as they could control the tempo after that.

“But although they are a division higher we controlled the game for large periods and it shows how far we have come. We came away disappointed having been beaten by a team in a division higher.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere against Grays and that is the good thing about this level as there is always a game around the corner to put it right and we did.

“We weren’t that good but we still got the win and that says a lot about us.”

Aveley are currently second in the league having won both of their league matches. Richardson captained the Millers against Grays and is set to be a big player this term following his switch from East Thurrock United.

And, with a tricky run of fixtures ahead, including clashes against Heybridge Swifts and Bowers & Pitsea, Richardson is excited at the challenge.

“I think we have got to be pleased with our start,” said Richardson, who adds his time at East Thurrock made him a stronger character.

“We sent out a statement in the first game with a 6-0 win against Dereham and we backed that up with a win in the Velocity Trophy. To win on Monday after Saturday’s defeat was brilliant.

“We need to play each team twice so I am pleased to play them early and get the points. I have been in the league for a few years and it’s one of the best I have competed in.

“Personally, I have scored a few already and there is nothing more important than getting that first goal as a striker. I am happy and I want to kick on now.”

It looked as though Grays were set to take the points after Dennis Oli finished calmly past debutant David Hughes in the Millers goal shortly after half-time.

But Ngandu and Freeman finished coolly to turn the game on its head towards the closing stages.

Teniola wrapped up the points in the final moments to leave Grays - who also play their football at Parkside - empty handed at the final whistle.

Aveley: Hughes, Kelly, Mvemba, Love, Gibbs, Cross, Milner (Sampayo 78’), Ngandu (Doyle 90’), Richardson, Freeman, Akrofi (Teniola 89’)

Grays Athletic: Anderson, Mahal, Carlos, Finneran, Okonkwo, Muguo, Hahn, Cole, Oli (Jones 78’), Gordon (Mignot 49’), Adeniji (Curtis 74’)