Match Report by Allan Mitchell
This was always going to be a difficult fixture for The Tudors as they travelled to Essex to face Aveley who have found life the National League much to their liking, sitting second in the table and coming into this game off the back of four successive victories.
The first period was a dull affair with both sides cancelling each other out, the only piece of action worth mentioning was when Aveley keeper, ex Tudor Jonathan North came out to thwart Reece Grant as the Hemel forward raced in on goal, North only just got to the ball first and it spilled to Joe Icaciofano who looked set up for a tap in, but North had collided with Grant and fell to the ground. It looked as though there was little Grant could do to avoid the onrushing keeper but the referee saw differently and awarded a free kick.
The second half saw Aveley step up somewhat but there was still very little between the sides and it was difficult to see where a goal was coming from.
There was a feeling that it might be a dead ball situation that might cause Hemel problems, especially with another ex Tudor, the giant Sydney Ibie lurking and that proved to be the case.
He won his side a corner just on the hour mark after pouncing on a misplaced pass, he raced into the box and fired a shot in from the angle that Craig King did well to push wide.
The resulting kick was driven into to the box and King was unable to get a hand on it as he rose to try and clear the danger, Ibie was waiting at the back post and he powered his header home to give Aveley the lead.
The home side went further in front on 72 minutes and it was another set piece that led to the goal. A freekick was swung in from the right and Harry Gibbs rose unmarked to head home, despite King getting a hand to it, the Tudor’s keeper could only push it into the roof of the net.
Hemel huffed and puffed but Aveley have an excellent defensive record and they looked in complete control but the referee offered the Tudors a lifeline in the 88th minute when he awarded a penalty after Whittaker had turned his marker in the box. It looked a bit soft but the decision stood and ‘Mr Reliable’ Joe Iaciofano stepped up to send North the wrong way.
This prompted some late pressure and right at the death a long throw was headed across the face of goal by keeper Craig King, who had joined the attack, it arrived to the back post where Josh Hill was waiting, unmarked. He powered his header in and either side of the keeper he would have equalised but unfortunately he directed it straight into the grateful North’s arms and the game was done, with the referee blowing his whistle seconds later.
It was a case of ‘so near but so far’ but Aveley probably just about deserved to take the points on the balance of play, especially in the second period. Its another set back for the Tudors as they struggle to get a consistent run of results together. A win this evening would have pushed them into the play off positions but this defeat leaves them mid table with work to do at home to Taunton Town on Saturday at Vauxhall Road.
Tudors Man of the Match; Kyle Ajayi