ROMFORD 2 (1) - (0) 1 Tilbury Attendance 133 - Rookery Hill
By Gary Redwin
Romford moved to the top of the league with a hard fought victory against Tilbury.
With injuries from Sunday taking their toll, the Boro were forced into three changes from the team that won their FA Cup game. It was still the hosts who started brightly and took the lead in the third minute when keeper Rhys HUGHES spotted full back Jonathan NZENGO free down the right and he in turn found Rodney LEMBA who held off his man before firing the ball home via a slight deflection. Hughes kept Tilbury at bay just a few minutes later, saving a header before a nasty challenge on Lemba went unpunished forcing the big man to leave the pitch with suspected ligament damage. A long kick forward from the Tilbury keeper nearly caught Romford sleeping as a forward raced into the penalty area and rounded keeper Hughes but the defenders did well to get back and managed to block the shot on the line and then clear the ball. Hughes again was called into action in the sixteenth minute producing a fantastic flying save to deny the Tilbury winger before Rofmord could have doubled their lead with Danny COSSINGTON unable to turn in Nzengo’s low cross. Both teams battled out the first half without causing any problems to each others goal until deep into first half injury time when Tilbury won a free kick that looked to be heading into the top corner until Hughes acrobatically tipped it away.
Romford once again started the second half quick and on the front foot. Danny Jones’s low shot was saved and from the resulting corner Nzengo’s ball in nearly sneaked inside the near post. In the fiftieth minute Romford produced the move of the match with some slick passing as Greg AKPELE slipped in Khadean CAMPBELL but his cross was just too far in front of Chris TAYLOR who could only poke the ball wide when stretching. Three minutes later and Romford had a penalty when Campbell raced clear and was rugby tackled to the ground. Despite no attempt to play the ball the Tilbury defender not only escaped a red card but also any punishment whatsoever. Youngster Max BOLTON kept his nerve to bury the ball low into the back of the net.
Tilbury grabbed a goal back on the hour when Siju Odelusi turned the ball in after Hughes saved a low shot and it was the Romford keeper again making two more excellent saves to keep the Dockers at bay. In injury time Tilbury produced a good move but once again Hughes was alert and saved the danger giving Boro all three points and moved them unexpectedly to the top of the table after last season's narrow escape from relegation.
ROMFORD (1) 2 Rodney LEMBA 3, Max BOLTON 54 PEN,
TILBURY (0) 1 ODELUSI 60
ROMFORD: Rhys HUGHES, Jonathan NZENGO, Toby BARLOW, George FORREST, Nathan OKOYE, Danny COSSINGTON, Chris TAYLOR, Greg AKPELE, Rodney LEMBA (Khadean CAMPBELL 15), Max BOLTON (Nathan JOSEPH 68), DANNY JONES (Golden IGBINEWEKA 78) SUBS NOT USED TAYLOR TOMBIDES & STEPHEN REYNOLDS