Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's double sees The jammers to three points.
Despite a spirited second half fightback by Witham Town a last gasp winner for Maldon and Tiptree settled this local derby
Witham Town FC v Witham Town FC Bostik League One North Monday 1st January 2018
Reverting to a back three, Jammers boss Kevin Horlock recalled Nicholas Akoto and Harvey Brown with Ryan Clampin and Kieran Bailey taking a break on the substitutes bench.
The two in form teams produced quite a dour first half with Maldon and Tiptree certainly having the majority of the play but were rarely able to get through a strong Witham rearguard although home keeper Bobby Mason had to be alert in the first minute to keep out Ryan Gondoh's 20 metre free kick at his near post. On 18 minutes Gondoh's dangerous left wing corner was headed goalwards by Oluwole Akinsanya and Gradi Millenge, almost on the line got a touch but Mason just managed to clear the ball as it almost entered the net. The visitors Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe then saw two efforts saved before the breakthrough came on 29 minutes when a twisting run into Witham's penalty area by Ogedi-Uzokwe was only stopped by a mistimed tackle for the referee to award a penalty that few people could disagree with. Ogedi-Uzokwe picked himself up to dispatch the penalty into the corner of Mason's net. Play continued in a fairly scrappy fashion but after the visitors Johnville Renee and Gondoh had seen strong efforts just blocked Witham, at last, got an attack in against the visitors when Shamido Pedulu turned well on the edge of the penalty area before getting a first time shot away that flew just wide of the post. Just as the half was ending Witham put in their best moves of the game----firstly when Correy Davidson's 25 metre free kick escaped Jammers keeper Dominic Kurasik's (pictured) hands to rebound out to Elliot Ronto but Kurasik redeemed himself with a good block---then from the resultant corner Davidson saw his shot headed away at the near post. There was just time for strong claims for another penalty for Maldon and Tiptree when Gondoh was upended in the penalty area but the referee decided to play on.
Half Time Witham Town FC 0 Maldon and Tiptree FC 1
Straight from the kick off Maldon and Tiptree almost doubled their lead when a long ball forward put Ogedi-Uzokwe clear on goal but he was forced wide and although he rounded keeper Mason his effort from a tight angle was just headed off the line by a covering defender then from the resultant corner Joshua Pollard's header was only kept out by a fine save from Mason to tip the ball over the bar. As the half progressed Witham gained a better share of the play with their direct but effective play causing some problems in the visitors defence. Pedulu was just denied as he ran onto a through ball but Kurasik was quick off his line to claim the ball then Davidson saw his strong shot just blocked then a long high ball forward was allowed to bounce to go just past the post. The visitors still looked dangerous particularly from fast breakaways and Gondon was twice just denied from the right side as two goal bound shots were blocked then a corner from substitute Kieran Bailey found Harvey Brown who's shot was just saved by Mason. The visitors defence was then breached with Pedulu getting on the end of a close range chance but his effort was just blocked before the home side were rewarded after 83 minutes when a left wing corner was headed powerfully home by Lance Atkins as he rose well to find the target. In the closing stages it was any ones game as Witham continued to press for the winner with Maldon and Tiptree staying strong to keep their goal intact but Witham's final ball often let them down and just when everyone had settled for a point apiece up popped Ogedi-Uzokwe, deep into added time, to claim the winner. There looked little danger as he received possession on the edge of the visitors penalty area before getting what looked a tame shot away but whether there was a deflection or not it completely wrong footed Mason to leave him stuck on one side of the gaol as the ball entered the other.
Final score Witham Town FC 1 Maldon and Tiptree FC 2
Witham Town FC
Bobby Mason, Luke Mallett (Moulaye-Mansour Aidara 67), Alex Anderson (Tommy Robinson 83), Kufi Gyebi, Lance Atkins, Pat Ahern, Sam Owusu, Lewis Payne (Chindu Usadere 76), Shamido Pedulu, Elliot Ronto, Correy Davidson
Unused Substitutes John Watson, Tyler Corlett
Maldon and Tiptree FC
Dominic Kurasik, Nicholas Akoto, Joe Claridge, Joshua Pollard, Gradi Millenge, Dexter Peter, Johnville Renee, Harvey Brown, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Oluwole Akinsanya (Ryan Clampin 77), Ryan Gondoh (Kieran Bailey 63)
Unused Substitutes Ernest Okoh, Suliaman Bah, Alfie Rowland