City secure Essex return in Play-Offs

Despite losing 2-0 this afternoon against Aveley, City secured a National League South play-off place, with another long trip to Essex to face Braintree Town on Tuesday evening the reward for their impressive sixth place finish. The result also saw the home side qualify for the play-offs, where they will face Maidstone United.

Only an eight-goal defeat could have threatened City’s participation in the play-offs and, even when Aileru’s cross took a slight deflection off Ephraim Yeboah to deceive Will Buse and give the Millers a fluke lead on seven minutes, there was no sign the Essex side thought this a possible outcome. This left them relying on results elsewhere and, although they continued to enjoy the majority of possession, they couldn’t add to their lead and twice late in the first half were nearly pegged back. On 38 minutes Cody Cooke’s header found the net only for an offside flag to deny City’s leading scorer. Three minutes later Yeboah got in behind Aveley’s defence but saw keeper North block his well-struck shot.

With news that Hampton & Richmond were trailing at Maidstone United at half-time the hosts appeared content to sit on their narrow lead into the second half. They were almost punished for this approach in the 59th minute when Scott Wilson took advantage of hesitation between North and his defenders but the keeper recovered well to block his goalbound shot. The introduction of Ewan Clark also livened up City’s attacking efforts but with 18 minutes left what appeared to be a great tackle by Jordan Dyer on Aileru saw the referee award a penalty – which Odelusi duly converted. Buse did well to deny Manny at his near post on 83 minutes which turned out to the last real action of the game, as both sides could begin to look ahead to the next stage of their promotion dreams.