Raad at the double
By Jamie Manktelow
A brace from Jason Raad helped the Millers to a well deserved win away at Heybridge Swifts.
The Millers recorded our first victory away at Heybridge Swifts since our 2-1 victory in the old Diadora Football League after goals from Macklin and Gilliand in 1993. Since then and eight trips back to the Swifts we have no managed to record a win until a brace from Jason Raad helped the Millers improve our points per game ratio to aid our play-off push.
We started this game well and almost went one up inside six minutes as Tom Richardson got on the end of a long pass which saw Richo beat Chris Haigh, Swifts keeper, to the ball which saw the ball go towards the goal before it was then hooked off of the line by covering defender Toib Adeyemi to deny us the lead.
From the resulting corner, the Millers and Tom Richardson almost scored again as he connected with Sam Bantick's corner, but the ball just flicked off of Richo's head and a bit wide of the right-hand post.
Sam Bantick had an attempt from a long ranged free-kick which had Chris Haigh scrambling across his goal line, but the ball went just over the crossbar.
On the 25th minute mark, we should've been awarded what looked to be a stonewall penalty, Jason Raad danced around a couple of players in the box until playing it to Sam Bantick, that saw Jason Raad taken cleanly out by the Swifts' midfielder, the ball went to Sam Bantick but he fired just over the bar.
We continued our good pressure on the Swifts goal as Jason Raad had an effort towards goal blocked and Sam Bantick saw his dangerous ball across the box but out by the Swifts keeper. Moments later Tom Richardson almost scored a brilliant goal as he got to the ball at an angle, half-volleyed it goalwards, it was going into the bottom right-hand corner before a terrific save from Haigh who got down well down to keep it out.
Five minutes before the half time whistle and against the run of play the hosts took the lead from a mistake. Lamar Johnson seemed to scuff a goal kick which went straight to Emmanuel Osei-Owusu who was in on goal and placed the ball into the bottom corner. Heybridge Swifts 1-0 Aveley.
The Millers didn't feel sorry for themselves as they continued pressing and looking for a goal. Sam Bantick was being pulled back just outside the area, the defender let go, and then pulled Bano again when he was about 5 yards inside the penalty area which then took him down, however, a free-kick was given. That didn't matter as Jason Raad stepped up and curled a ball into the back post, it hit the inside of the post, hit the keeper and ended up in the back of the net to pull us level. Heybridge Swifts 1-1 Aveley.
Half Time | Heybridge Swifts 1-1 Aveley.
The Millers started the second half well with Alex Akrofi getting a lot of the ball in good wide positions, he cut inside and had his effort well blocked by Swifts' defenders, who to be fair to them, threw their bodies in front of everything they could.
Conor Mead then had an effort goalwards which only needed a touch from one of our players with Sam Bantick an inch away from it, but it the effort, in the end, was punched away from goal by Haigh.
From a corner Conor Witherspoon connected towards goal, it was met by Adam Bailey-Dennis who turned and shot towards goal from close range but saw his shot cleared off the line by Krasniqi.
With fifteen minutes left in the game, we finally got our deserved lead, lovely cross from Alex Akrofi as he hung the ball up to the back post for Jason Raad who leapt in the air and directed his header across the keeper and into the top left-hand corner. Heybridge Swifts 1-2 Aveley.
We made a couple of changes with Bobby Vaughan, Sam Mvemba and Wyan Reid coming on and they all made an impact with all the players contributing in this game, a great team performance.
Lamar Johnson made two crucial interventions late into added on time, the first was a dangerous cross in from the right, he managed to palm the ball away which was then put wide of his right-hand post, and the second he brilliantly saved with his right leg to keep the Millers ahead.
Full Time | Heybridge Swifts 1-2 Aveley.
Millers XI | Lamar Johnson, Conor Mead, Sam Cross (Sam Mvemba 80), Connor Witherspoon, Harry Gibbs, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Jason Raad (Wyan Reid 81), James Love, Tom Richardson, Sam Bantick (Bobby Vaughan 65), Alex Akrofi.
Unused Subs | Reggie Hubbard, David Hughes.
Heybridge Swifts XI | Chris Haigh, Guillem Ramos-Carreno, Joe Claridge, Charlie Kendall, Toib Adeyemi, Luke Wilson (Kreshnic Krasniqi 10), Jack Adlington-Pile (Evans Kouassi 59), Elliott Ronto, Matthew Price, Harrison Chatting (Chris Millar 71), Emmanuel Osei-Owusu.
Unused Subs | Daniel Walker, Nicholas Brown.