Cambridge City endure tough afternoon at home to Aveley in BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division
Cambridge City had an afternoon to forget as they were beaten 4-1 at home by Aveley in the BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division.
Three first-half goals did most of the damage, though the Lilywhites rallied after the break and will feel aggrieved that a decision in the 66th minute did not go in their favour.
It was the worst possible start for City after 16 seconds.
They conceded a soft corner, and were then not switched on for the set-piece, with Perry Dunn planting a firm header from Jason Raad’s inswinging delivery into the bottom corner 30 seconds later.
The Lilywhites almost had an instant response, as four minutes later Jarid Robson lifted a deft pass to Arel Amu, who hooked an effort over the advancing keeper from the edge of the area, but it went just wide.
City shot themselves in the foot again in the 14th minute.
The ball was not cleared properly after a scramble and Jack Mochalski reacted quicker to put a pass across on the diagonal for George Sykes, whose shot seemed to be heading in with the striker claiming the effort, although Raad appeared to help it over the line.
It was a lackadaisical first 25 minutes from City that left them with a mountain to climb against a side unbeaten on their travels this season.
The bite and tenacity was just missing, which meant they came off second best in the battle for too many second balls.
Once they awoke from their slumber, they showed their ability with the ball, although were finding it hard to break down a resolute Aveley side.
They peppered in and around the area and won two corners, but could not test Aveley keeper David Hughes.
And on the cusp of half time, they were 3-0 down.
More soft defending allowed Wyan Reid to send a deep cross to the back post and Raad took a touch inside the defender for a simple finish.
It was always going to ask a lot for City to mount a comeback from then on.
Defender Dunn and Harry Gibbs were happy playing anything in front of them, so it felt that the hosts had to try to get them on the turn.
The problem was that the more players City committed forward, the more they had to be aware of the threat of Aveley’s able strikers on the counter.
There was a talking point in the 65th minute.
Michael Gyasi’s great pass set Amu clean through and keeper Hughes made an attempted tackle at the edge of the area that felled Amu but did not win the ball.
City protested for a free kick, which may have had to have led to a red card, but the referee played the advantage.
Ryan Sharman’s first shot was saved by the legs of Hughes, and his rebound was then cleared by a defender, adding to City’s sense of injustice.
There was a good tussle between Yaw Ofosu and Aveley’s Sykes that the City defender won, but a clipped pass got Sykes on the wrong side of his marker, who brought him down.
The referee awarded a penalty that was dispatched past Dan George by Firmin Ngandu to make it 4-0.
George then produced a full-length diving save to tip a top-corner bound Alexander Akrofi curler over.
There was a consolation for City as Matt Sparrow's tenacity won the ball and he pulled a pass back for Sharman to finish.
It was a more spirited display from City in the second half, although that will be little crumb of comfort for such a disappointing start to the game.
Cambridge City: George, Daivs, Simpson, Knight, Gent, Ofosu, Robson, Maynard, Amu, Gyasi, Regis.
Substitutes: Sharman (Regis, 45), Sparrow (Gyasi, 65). Subs not used: Ubah, Michael, Rigby.
Aveley: Hughes, Nzengo, Mvemba, Witherspoon, Gibbs, Dunn, Reid, Mochalski, Sykes, Raad, Akrofi.
Substitutes: Ngandu (Nzengo, 68), Martin (Mvemba, 80), Servietis (Raad, 89).
Referee: Lee Hartley.
Bookings: City - Gent (foul, 66), Ofosu (foul, 76); Aveley - Mvemba (foul, 26).
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More by this authorMark Taylor