ROMFORD 1 (1) - (2) 5 Heybridge Swifts Attendance 118 - Rookery Hill
By Gary Redwin
A 1-5 defeat looks comprehensive, but the game turned against Romford when they were on the end of bad decisions at crucial times.
With skipper Danny Cossington suspended and George Forrest leaving the club Boro had only one recognised central defender available as the match started in heavy rain that did not relent for the whole ninety minutes. They made most of the early running and had a penalty appeal of their own turned down before Tom POTTER was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul in the box, receiving a yellow card to add insult to injury. Debutant keeper Harry ALDRIDGE who had a good game in the very difficult conditions had no chance with the spot kick that was smashed home by Matthew Price. Paul Martin then had to make a couple of early substitutions as Kurt SMITH and Alfie CLEAL both went off injured to be replaced by Nathan JOSEPH and Reece HEWITT. New signing Hewitt, who had played for Boro back in season 2012/13 immediately started to show some nice touches down the left wing and after 41 minutes he cut inside and made space for himself before placing a shot across goal to score just inside the far post. The equaliser was fully deserved but right on the stroke of half time a throw in that should have gone to Romford was instead awarded to Heybridge and a Swifts man broke down the left before sending in a low cross which was converted from close range by Harrison Chatting.
Conditions had worsened considerably for the second half with puddles appearing on the pitch, but the referee was unconcerned and the visitors extended their lead in fortunate circumstances when an attempted clearance from Potter rebounded off Price and spun back over the goal line. Potter then had his luckless afternoon completed when he inexplicably received a second yellow card for a perfectly fair tackle. It was a body blow from which Boro were not to recover and although they gave everything to try to cover for the numerical disadvantage, Heybridge went on to fully exploit the gaps that started to appear in the tired Romford defence. After 76 minutes Aldridge was quick off his line to make a good block but could not hold the greasy ball, allowing Jack Adlington-Pile to knock in the rebound and 4 minutes later Elliott Ronto scored the fifth for the visitors.
So Romford's bad run continues, with everything going against them on this soaking wet day but results elsewhere mainly went their way and they are still just clear of the relegation zone with the important Boxing Day clash at Tilbury next up.
Team: Harry ALDRIDGE, Danny NESBITT, Jonathon Nzengo, Tom POTTER, Ayo OLUKOGA, Kurt SMITH (Nathan JOSEPH 24), Chris TAYLOR (c), Malaki TOUSSAINT, Nick REYNOLDS, Max BOLTON (Rodney LEMBA 72), Alfie CLEAL (Reece HEWITT 27)
Unused Subs: Max Bradford, Harry Daly
Goal: Reece HEWITT 41
Yellow Card: Tom POTTER 21
Red Card: Tom POTTER 73