Linton double kills off Millers

Two goals from Malachi Linton made the difference on Saturday as we claimed a spectacular 2-0 win against Aveley at Parkside.

The forward’s brace came in the second half, both of which were as a result of defensive errors from the hosts.

The goals had been coming, following a series of end-to-end football in the first half which saw both goalkeepers make a string of impressive saves.

Saturday’s result marks a clear sign that we have begun to turn our fortunes around, with us now being three unbeaten after losing the preceding three games.

More importantly, our win now leaves us 15th in the National League South table, NINE points clear of the relegation zone.

Bobby Wilkinson made two changes from our 1-1 draw at home to Torquay United last time round.

Joel Rollinson, who had recently returned from Beaconsfield Town, replaced Nazir Bakrin, who himself was returning to parent club Charlton Athletic.

Harry Parsons was also back in the line-up, replacing the suspended Tom Bearwish.

Wilkinson said before the game that we were heading to a “very tough ground” against a “great unit.”

Yet, despite our gaffer’s words of praise, it would be our players with the first notable chance of the game.

We would have perhaps taken the lead after just four minutes, had it not been for a magnificent save by North.

Parsons picked out Ezio Touray in the box with a low cross, before Touray fired towards goal.

The Aveley shot-stopper, however, managed to tip the ball behind for a corner-kick.

Wiles-Richards would then have work to do just a minute later, when he dived to his right to push away Kenny Aileru’s strike.

We would see the next major opportunity eight minutes on, thankfully in our favour.

Linton found himself through on goal following Rollinson’s through-ball.

The forward cheekily lofted the ball over North, and was unfortunate to see his effort end up just wide.

But, despite his miss, Linton’s close-call would be a sign of things to come.

In classic end-to-end fashion, Wiles-Richards would be tested again just two minutes later when his awkward bending shot flew towards goal.

Eduino Vaz would then try his luck just before 20 minutes following a corner-kick.

North then once again kept his side in the game after Brandon Goodship was one-on-one with the Millers’ keeper.

However, unsurprisingly, our shot-stopper would be tasked with keeping the hosts at bay almost immediately afterwards, this time diving to his near-post to make a crucial save.

Aveley would have the more clear-cut opportunities as the half was nearing its end, with Wiles-Richards again producing an important save after Arjanit Krasniqi tried his luck from long-range.

However, his best stop of the half was still yet to be seen.

It would occur in added time, when Ikechi Eze’s bending shot flew towards goal.

Thankfully, though, another piece of goalkeeping heroics kept the ball out, and ensured that the two sides headed down the tunnel all-square.

With both teams looking menacing with a number of dangerous chances, it suggested that the supporters would shortly see the opening goal.

They did.

It was a mere seven minutes after the break when Goodship punished Aileru by disposessing the midfielder, before laying the ball off to Linton.

The in-form forward, already with three goals since his arrival in January, scored his fourth when slotted past North, who was finally undone by our attacking threat.

But, despite us now being 1-0 ahead, the hosts continued to look as minacious as they did in the first half.

It took another piece of goalkeeping masterclass from Wiles-Richards to deny Charlee Hughes, before a heroic piece of defending denied Jaden Jones on the line.

Corey Panter would be our next player at the back to hold firm, producing a number of vital blocks and challenges to protect our lead as the half ticked on.

Unsurpisingly, it wouldn’t take long for some more end-to-end football to entertain the crowd.

After Wiles-Richards denied hughes with another super save from close-range, we began to break down the pitch.

Rollinson then fed substitute Dan Roberts through on goal, who may have doubled our lead had it not been for Vaz, who made a crucial recovery challenge.

With the abundance of chances still flowing for both sides, the game suggested that the scoreline would soon change.

Thankfully, it did so in our favour.

Roberts won a flick-on, before sending the ball into Linton’s path.

After the ball was missed by both Jalen Jones and Frankie Terry, Linton only had North to beat.

Luckily, Linton was able to grab his second of the game with a powerful finish beyond the Aveley keeper to make it 2-0 with just 15 minutes left of regular time.

The goalscorer was then just whiskers away from a hat-trick three minutes later, only for North to, once again, keep the ball beyond the white line.

But, with the game now drawing to a close, clear-cut chances for both sides began to dry up, as a Weymouth win looked more and more inevitable.

The Eze brother did link up via a corner kick, with Ikechi Eze heading towards goal.

However, did chance did little to trouble our defence as we ended the game with all three points.

Match report
By Jack Webb

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