A brace from Shane Oakley
was the only highlight of the match for the away side, who were second best against the Essex Olympian League’s newest members, with their misery only being compounded by conceding the decisive winning goal just moments before the final whistle.
Disjointed would be the best way to describe the match and the occasion as a whole. With manager Justin Gardner
having to leave due to family reasons before a ball had even been kicked, it was left up to fitness coach, Gary Nisbet
, to steer the ship with a number of trialists on show throughout the game.
The majority of the side that started and won the game just two days previously against Corinthian were either left out or started on the bench, with Ronny Worster, Carl Patten, Jay Leader
, Ricky Edwards and Michael Begg to only ones to start both matches.
Despite the changes, Aveley started the brighter and took the lead in the second minute thanks to a penalty from Shane Oakley
Oakley was brought down just inside the box thanks to a cynical foul by the Bari defender and the referee had no hesitation in giving the away side the spot kick. The striker then dusted himself off to score, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to give the away side the most perfect of starts.
The game looked like it was going to be somewhat of a thriller from that point on, with three more goals scored before a third of the game had even been completed.
Firstly, Bari equalised after a through ball down the heart of the Aveley defence fell to the London side’s number 9, who had the composure to take a touch before looping a perfectly flighted half volley over the advancing Worster.
Within a minute Aveley almost found themselves back ahead. Oakley found himself one of one with the Bari ‘keeper after a similar through ball to the one that led to Bari’s equaliser. Taking his shot early the ‘keeper made a fine one-handed save to his right to deny Oakley, palming the ball wide and away for a corner.
However, it wasn’t long before Aveley had retaken the lead, once again through Oakley. Michael Begg received the ball on the left, and with no pressure being applied, he played a slide-rule pass behind the defender into the run of Oakley who with his first touch smashed the ball into the net to make it 2-1 after 18 minutes.
Two minutes later the game had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous as Bari were back level thanks to a howler from Aveley goalkeeper, Worster.
A free kick from the left around 20 yards from goal was looped over the wall, straight down the throat of Worster, but thanks to what can only be described as a slip in concentration, the Aveley man allowed the ball to go through his fingers and dribble over the line to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
From here on in the madness tailed off with neither side looking overly threatening, but the best chances before the interval were both for the away side. Oakley saw a chance to seal a first half hat-trick go begging after his shot was blocked unintentionally by Junior Appiah
after the half hour mark, and Carl Patten saw his shot go inches past the post as the half came to a close.
The second half was reminiscent of a game of ‘hot-potato’ with neither side wanting to take control of the ball, constantly giving it away to one another. Aveley looked most threatening from set pieces and had a number of corners, but were unable to capitalise on any of them with neither goalkeeper having to make a save until later on in the half.
Both sides had made a raft of chances at half time and throughout the second period which made the already disjointed affair that little bit worse, and it wasn’t until the closing stages before the second half come to life.
With ten minutes remaining, Willis – who had been brought on for the injured Worster in the first half – made a fine save low to his left at his near post from Bari’s number 18, but his fine work was undone just minutes later when Bari scored what turned out to be the winner.
After finding the ball at his feet following another period of sloppy possession play, Bari’s number nine took on two Aveley defenders, skipping past the both of them with consummate ease, and with only the goalkeeper to beat he slotted the ball between the legs of Willis and into the net to win the game for the home side.