Disappointment for the Jammers, jubilation for Romford
Romford ensured their place in next seasons Bostik league with a solid win over Maldon and Tiptree
Romford FC v Maldon and Tiptree FC Saturday 28 April 2018
Jammers boss Kevin Horlock was down to the bare bones which meant recalls for Olu Quandri, Rhys Henry and Olakunle Akinwande and a return from suspension for Joe Ellul.
With their future in the Bostik League at stake, Romford needed little encouragement to start at a fast pace and this they did with Jammers old boy Ernest Okoh at the end of two early chances when he got down the left before firing in from a tight angle but visiting keeper Chris Haigh was able to just get a hand to the shot to turn the ball away then when well placed he could only shoot weakly straight at Haigh. Home centre forward Carlos Djalo So then went close after his quick move through was just thwarted before Kris Newby prompted Chris Taylor to get into the Jammers penalty box but his contact was poor and the chance was quickly gone. The visitors first response was Joe Ellul's off target header from Joe Claridge's free kick but they took an early 9th minute lead when the ball was worked across the field from right to left before Claridge's centre found the unmarked Lee Barnard who,despite home keeper Steven Reynolds getting a touch , put his header into the back of the net. Stung by this reverse the home side attacked strongly with Ayodeji Olukoga playing in Okoh who saw his low effort go across the face of goal and just past the far post then, from a right wing cross Nathan Okoye saw his point blank header somehow kept out by a tremendous block by Haigh. Romford were not to be denied, however, and equalised after 17 minutes when another Jammers old boy, Jonathan Nzenga, went on a fine run down the right before putting Djalo So through on goal and he finished well past Haigh. A second goal for the home side followed just two minutes later when Ayodeji Olukoga broke through the visitors defence and although Haigh blocked Olukoga's first attempt the rebound run kindly for him and he was able to fire home into an open net. The visitors tried to respond with Barnard firing in a fine 25 metre volley that Reynolds saved but the middle and latter stages of the first half saw little goal mouth action with play being confined to midfield where the visitors played the ball around well but there was no end product.
Half time Romford FC 2 Maldon and Tiptree FC 1
It only took until the 49th minute for the home side to make further progress in their relegation battle with another goal, this time when Haigh did well to come out of his goal and block Djalo So's shot but the ball eventually found its way to Chris Newby and he fired in a good shot into the corner from just inside the penalty area. Romford's Olukoga then did well down the right before playing in Newby who got a good shot away that Haigh stood up well to push the ball away then Haigh needed to be smartly off his line to take the ball off the feet of Okoh as he burst clear on goal. The Jammers were finding it hard to get through the compact Boro defence and did not really create anything of note until the 83rd minute when they made Romford's hearts breathe a little faster with a second goal for themselves when substitute Eoin McKeown got away down the left and from his telling cross Barnard threw himself forward to head home from close range. With results elsewhere going in their favour it may not have needed a further goal but Romford sealed the game after 89 minutes with a somewhat disputed fourth goal. The referee had whistled for a free kick for the home side just outside the penalty area and still appeared to be talking to the visiting players when Newby showing commendable opportunism took the kick quickly to roll the ball into the feet of unmarked Romford substitute, Greg Akpele, and he had a simple task off taking the ball on and shooting past Haigh. Into added time saw Akpele shoot from distance for Haigh to save before at the final whistle Romford were able to celebrate beating the odds to earn another season at Bostik League level.
Romford FC 4 Maldon and Tiptree FC 2
Steven Reynolds, Jonathan Nzenga, Sam Mvemba, Nathan Okoye, Danny Cossington, Ayodeji Olukoga, Khris Newby, Chris Taylor, Carlos Djalo So, Nick Reynolds (Greg Akpele 78), Ernest Okoh (Akwasi Marfo 68)
Ben Clarke, Andrew Tirvanhu, Paul Martin
Maldon and Tiptree FC
Chris Haigh, Olu Quandri, Joe Claridge, Harvey Brown, Grade Milende, Joe Ellul, George Brown (Eoin McKeown), Rhys Henry (Conor Tyrrell 73), Olakunle Akinwande, Lee Barnard, Chris Millar (Harvey Dailly 63)