Heybridge Swifts 3 (1) - (0) 1 ROMFORD Attendance 252 - Scraley Road
By Gary Redwin
Romford were denied what would have been a hard fought point by two late goals at Heybridge.
After last season's heavy defeat at Scraley Road Boro made a much better start to this match and whilst not creating too much in the way of chances themselves, also looked comfortable in defence against the promotion chasing hosts. However, after a quarter of an hour a curling cross from the right drew Boro keeper Harry ALDRIDGE out of his goal but he was beaten to the ball by Elliott Ronto who netted with a sidefoot volley. The visitors were now on the backfoot but Aldridge made a couple of excellent saves before on the half hour Heybridge were awarded a penalty when the ball was fired straight at Danny COSSINGTON giving him no time to get his hand out of the way. From the spot Luke Wilson smashed what would have been an unstoppable shot if it had not been straight at Aldridge and he was somehow able to turn the ball over the bar. Reece HEWITT headed off the line from the resulting corner.
Early in the second half Wilson had a headed goal ruled out for offside and a Heybridge forward missed badly when clean through, but from then on Romford upped their game and put together some excellent attacking moves forcing the home team to defend deep. New signing Joseph CHIDYAUSIKU tested the Swifts custodian with a rasping effort and Greg AKPELE finally got rewarded for some mazy runs when he was tripped in the box after seventy- six minutes with Hewitt confidentally converting the resulting penalty. Almost straight from the kick off Akpele again dribbled into the box and a couple of onrushing Boro forwards were a whisker away from reaching his cross into the goalmouth. Romford were now looking likely to at least pick up only their second away point of the season but an inspired substitution by ex West Ham legend Julian Dicks combined with a lot of help from the officials snatched the game away from them in the final ten minutes. A run down the right stretched the Boro defence and the cross was hooked in by substitute Matthew Price with his first touch of the ball. Akpele should have won a free kick just outside the box when he took a deliberate elbow to the back of his head but instead received a booking for protesting and the final cruel blow came in the ninetieth minute when a Swifts forward was allowed to continue his run despite being yards offside and then went down from the mildest of contact with Craig JEAKINS. Price stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to complete his late cameo leaving Romford to reflect that everything goes against you down at the bottom.
Team: Harry ALDRIDGE, Bathan Joseph, Reece HEWITT, Danny NESBITT, John MASKELL, Danny COSSINGTON (c) (Chris TAYLOR 79), Greg AKPELE, Malaki TOUSSAINT, Craig JEAKINS, Joseph CHIDYAUSIKU, Ayo OLUKOGA
Unused Subs: Toby Barlow, Max Bolton, Nick Reynolds
Goal: Reece HEWITT (pen) 76
Yellow Cards: Danny NESBITT 59, Greg AKPELE 84