Disappointing Rovers in home slump.
By Brian Jeeves
Great Wakering Rovers 2 Takeley 5
Media Grenade Brian Jeeves at Burroughs Park
Home hasn’t always been where the heart is for supporters of the Doomsday Village XI, and this summit encounter proved to be little different. Challengers Takeley became the latest side to thumb the pages of the Nike catalogue, order a pair of “Tommy Steele’s” and proverbially dance on the Rovers promotion grave.
Before the game, David Collins deservedly picked up the Rovers supporters player of the year, however, there was very little he could do to prevent a rampant visitors from taking maximum points.
In the early minutes, there was no sign of what was to follow. Takeley goalkeeper Ronnie Yates used his feet to block a strike from Jay Nash, and then Dan Williams burst through only for the on rushing keeper to force the Rovers man into hurrying his effort.
Takeley hit back. Louis Godwin-Green was forced to race from his goal to head clear a direct ball forward, and then the glovesman had to be on his metal to deny Greig Taylor.
Nevertheless, the visitors had found their feet. After seven minutes, the dangerous Taylor seized on a mix-up in the Rovers rearguard, before rounding Godwin-Green to open the scoring.
If the home side were shocked, they were soon to be stunned. Spyros Mentis sent a terrific free kick past the Rovers wall and beyond an extended Godwin Green with barely quarter of an hour on the clock Takeley had doubled their advantage.
Takeley were in complete control, perhaps some of the Rovers players had their minds on Benidorm, or wherever Essex Senior League players choose to holiday. Jay Nash tried to restore some equilibrium but was snubbed out by a combination of Yates and Vinny Murphy, while the visitors came close to a third when Alex Martin’s effort was kept out by a smart save from Godwin-Green.
However, Takeley didn’t have to wait too long. After twenty-three minutes, Ashley Grinham sent over a free kick from the right and Martin was on hand to head home with the faintest of touches.
The home side were in big trouble. Forget Roy of the Rovers, they needed Messi of Barcelona, Gascoigne of Spurs and Pele of the Viagra ads, and even then recovery would be a tall order!
Rovers play had become frustrating and somewhat ragged as Takeley turned the screw. Grinham almost headed a fourth and Reese Dobson just cleared the bar following a tormenting run at the over worked home defence.
Nevertheless, in the embers of the half, Rovers grabbed hold of a lifeline. David Collins whipped over an inch perfect dead ball for Richard Halle to head home via an upright; the healthy crowd of 90 gave a defiant roar of approval.
Clearly, the half time brew perked up the home side. James Pugsley fired just over; Halle twice had efforts scrambled off the line and Jay Nash proved to be a thorn in the Takeley side with his energy in attack.
During this period, Takeley were limited to attacking on the break. Mentis found Martin who shot wide, and then an excellent saving tackle by Lewis Sparrow denied the same player, but the visitors sensed blood. Leading sharpshooter Grieg Taylor exploded in to life and sent a crisp shot past Godwin-Green to make it 4-1. Before Rovers could find a way back, it was five. Reece Dobson walked the ball into an empty net with an exposed Godwin-Green in No Man’s Land.
Rovers had the last say on what had been a pretty awful night. Substitute Joe Skeels beat Yates with a stunning hooked volley but Takeley saw off any late surge from the home side.
Rovers looked a pale shadow of the team that won so comfortably at Station Road way back in September while Takeley will use this result to fuel a final push for a place in the Ryman League.
Rovers: Godwin-Green, Radley, Drury, Halle, Sparrow, Fletcher, Hawkins, Pugsley, Williams, Nash, Collins.
Bench; Gibson, Skeels, Roberts, Hall, Ansell.
Takeley; Yates, Murphy, Simpson, Martin, Grinham, Corlette, Doolan, Mentis, Taylor, Richardson, Dobson.
Bench: Azzopardi, Smith, Amott.
Rovers Man of the Match; Jay Nash