A Cody Cooke hat-trick saw City sweep aside Aveley at Twerton Park this afternoon. City came into the game four points and one place behind the Millers but two goals in the opening eleven minutes put them firmly in control of the game. They then produced a resolute defensive display whilst still looking a threat going forward, with Cooke completing his treble in the 90th minute from the penalty spot.
The game was just seven minutes old when a near post Jordan Thomas corner was steered home by Cooke from the edge of the six-yard box. And four minutes later the in-form Thomas was involved again when he was felled by Vaz in the area and Cooke made it 2-0 from the penalty spot. The visitors began to enjoy more of the possession after this stunning start from City but, apart from one dangerous corner that flew across the face of goal, rarely looked like finding a way back into the game. Just before the half-hour mark another Thomas cross looked set to give Elliott Frear a tap-in only for a great interception by an Aveley defender.
The second half began with Aveley on the front foot but City’s imperious backline stood firm against this pressure. And as this start began to run out of steam it was City who looked more likely to add to the scoring. On 64 minutes they thought they had done just that when Scott Wilson swept home a loose ball but, after initially appearing to give the goal, the referee ruled it out for handball by Cooke. Cooke then saw a good chance blocked before Wilson was denied by keeper North as City began to press forward against their tiring opponents. The third goal finally arrived in the 90th minute, although in somewhat bizarre circumstances. A Thomas cross was turned goalwards but blocked on the line before Wilson fired home. However, once again City’s top scorer was to be denied by the referee’s whistle. This time, though, it was to award City a penalty for handball against Ring. The defender was shown a red card and Cooke made sure full justice was done as he, once again, sent North the wrong way from 12 yards, to complete the statement victory.