Witham Town 2 (0) Romford (0) 0 - Attendance 76 - The Village Glass Stadium
By Gary Redwin
A brace of penalties by Witham Town's Sam Ashford condemned Romford to an eighth defeat in the last nine league games, and a fourth loss in six visits to Spa Road. Somewhat ominously, Witham's programme included photos from their most recent home game, ca
Romford welcomed back Henry FISHER after injury, but the young full-back picked up another knock and lasted only until the 74th minute before making way for Roddy Lemba. In goal, Paul Martin introduced James Scammell, who was latterly with Essex Senior League side Leyton Athletic. In truth, Scammell had little to do and could not be faulted for either of the home team's goals, but he was in action early on, tipping a fierce drive over the bar, and seeing a couple of headers clear his crossbar. Romford's attacks were few and rarely threatened the home goal. Boro's best move of the half came on 27 minutes when a long ball reached Nick REYNOLDS and he cleverly found Alfie CLEAL, whose low cross was met by Ayo OLUKOGA and his well struck effort was just wide of the post. Six minutes later a corner from the left flank was driven back in by Max BRADFORD and Nick REYNOLDS saw his effort cleared from just in front of the line.
Both sides looked content with the goal-less half-time scoreline, but within two minutes of the restart the home side had their noses in front. A ball played down Romford's right flank eluded Nathan JOSEPH, and as the Witham forward burst into the box, Joseph clipped his heels and down he went. Sam Ashford - son of Witham boss Mark - stepped up and placed his spot kick into the bottom corner. Ten minutes later and Ashford converted another penalty - for handball this time. How deliberate the handball was is moot, but there were few protests from Boro.
Romford's best second half chance came three minutes after conceding the second goal. Tom POTTER's long free-kick came off a Witham head and fell kindly for Nick REYNOLDS, but Boro's all-time top scorer could not add to his tally as his shot went narrowly wide. Alfie CLEAL fired a shot over the bar from Olukoga's pull back as Romford continued to press - albeit somewhat unconvincingly - for a way back into the game.
Ten minutes from the end Roddy Lemba appeared to be tripped just inside the Witham penalty area, but referee Rob Whitton - more normally seen in the more illustrious surroundings of the National League these days - was unmoved, as he was throughout most of the afternoon, giving a performance that had the air of someone who would really have rather been elsewhere, like shopping at Lakeside perhaps.
Witham missed a glorious opportunity to grab a third when Scammell pushed the ball too far ahead of himself outside the box and was dispossessed; fortunately for Boro, Witham managed to miss what was effectively an open goal.
In the end Romford could have few complaints about the score; a chronic lack of goals away from home - just four in nine games on the road - is a cause for concern, as is Boro's continued downward trajectory. Points on the board are crucial in the coming weeks if Boro are to avoid a repeat of last season's drama.
MATCH REPORT BY MIKE WOODS
WITHAM TOWN (0) 2 ASHFORD 47 PEN, 57 PEN,
ROMFORD (0) 0
ROMFORD: JAMES SCAMMELL, Nathan JOSEPH, Henry FISHER (Rodney LEMBA 74), Tom POTTER, Ayo OLUKOGA, Danny COSSINGTON, Malaki TOUSSAINT, Max BRADFORD (Harry DALY 82), Nick REYNOLDS, Alfie CLEAL (Chris TAYLOR 82), Connor HAMMOND SUBS NOT USED DANNY NESBITT, GEORGE FORREST