I went to this Isthmian League (North Division) game on a Friday night in what has been an unseasonably warm, though very wet, October. I decided to brave crossing the Thames at Dartford in rush hour to attend my first match at the Parkside stadium.
Aveley FC moved to Parkside in 2017-18. The new stadium holds 3500 people, with 424 seated in two covered stands, either side of the pitch. Parkside is a big ground with good car parking space, effective floodlighting, an electronic scoreboard and a 3G pitch. Bar and refreshment facilities were well priced and stocked. Entry was a reasonable £10 and the Matchday programme was electronic and free of charge.
Aveley have been in the Isthmian Premier Division but since 2011 have been regulars in the North Division. Managed by Keith Rowland, who played for West Ham and QPR as a player, Aveley have made a steady start to the season and on the even of the game sit in 10th place with 12 points from 9 matches.
Maldon & Tiptree FC play in Maldon near the Essex coastline and are managed by Wayne Brown, who once played in the Premier League for Ipswich Town. Maldon & Tiptree went as high as the Isthmian Premier league as recently as 2005-6 but have been regulars at this level since. They have made a positive start to the new season, with 15 points from nine games, putting them once place below the play off positions.
Aveley FC, also known as the Millers, entered the pitch in a navy kit. Maldon & Tiptree, whose nickname is the Jammers, were in an all luminous yellow strip.
The game started with both sides pushing forward with urgency. On 12 minutes Aveley FC’s number 7, Manny Ogurinde put his side ahead, with a well finished headed goal, from close range.
Ryan Scott made it 2-0 on 17 minutes hammering home a cross from the right.
On 29 minutes Alex Akrofi smashed the ball home from the edge of the area. Aveley looked to be home and dry with the score at 3-0 after the first third of the game.
The first half continued with Aveley in control. In the background the Aveley drummers kept up their rhythm throughout!!
After the break it looked as if Maldon & Tiptree were going to force their way back into the game, when Scott Kemp made it 3-1 forcing the ball into the Aveley net, from close range.
Maldon & Tiptree pushed hard to score another goal but on 69 minutes, Aveley’s Alex Akrofi cut in from the left and curled the ball into the opposite corner, to make it 4-1.
On 82 minutes, Maldon & Tiptree’s Shomari Barnwell pulled the score back to 4-2.
Just four minutes later, on 86 minutes, George Sykes put Aveley three goals ahead again, at 5-2.
There was still time, in the 90th minute, for Scott Kemp to score a third for Maldon & Tiptree to end a really exciting game.
At the final whistle, the crowd of 322 went home having seen a great game which turned out to be a goal festival!!