KEITH Rowland hailed his side after Aveley reached the last 32 of the FA Trophy on Monday.

The Millers overcame Isthmian Premier League outfit Carshalton Athletic 2-0 in a first round replay at Parkside thanks to goals from George Sykes and Harry Gibbs.

Aveley’s triumph came just 48 hours after the initial tie ended 3-3 following a last-gasp Carshalton equaliser but boss Rowland was pleased emerge victorious at the second time of asking.

“It feels really good to be in the last 32 of the FA Trophy and I’m really pleased for the boys,” Rowland told Aveley FC TV.

“I was concerned by this one because everyone told me how good Carshalton were. We played a good team in Taunton and everyone was rating them really highly.

“We played terrifically well. Obviously, we were all a little bit down because of the 96th minute penalty but their best player was their goalkeeper and he kept them in the game.

“We came back out and continued in the same vein in shutting the spaces down and not letting them get between us.

“Obviously we went 1-0 up and then scored another goal, but there were two or three times in the first half where we would have been through one-on-one if the final pass was right.

“There were so many one-on-ones so we knew there was an opportunity in that sense.”

Aveley went ahead inside eight minutes as Sykes’ textbook header diverted Wyan Reid’s teasing cross into the back off the net.

Carshalton responded with Tommy Bradford forcing goalkeeper David Hughes into action, but the Millers put daylight between the two sides soon after the half-hour mark thanks to an unmarked Gibbs nodding Jason Raad’s corner home.

Sykes was denied by custodian Kleton Perntreou after the interval, while Reid was also thwarted.

There was late concern as Hughes was forced off late on with an injury, but the Millers had done enough to secure their passage through to the second round of the FA Trophy, where they will make the short trip to Hornchurch.

But Rowland admits he was hoping for a home tie.

Rowland added: “We’re working well at the minute.

“We go back to the league again for a few weeks which is good because we’ll have one or two players back in the group after being cup-tied.

“The draw has been a little bit unkind to us regardless of it being Hornchurch and just around the corner because it’s still an away game.

“We keep wishing for a home draw but we seem to do it second time around.

“It won’t be an easy task but the players deserve a lot of praise for how they played over the two ties against Carshalton.”

Before visiting Hornchurch on January 11, Aveley have some testing Isthmian North fixtures to look forward to, including a trip to Canvey Island on Saturday.