Romford turfed out by landlords
FA Trophy: Romford 1 Thurrock 3
Landlords Thurrock evicted tenants Romford from this year’s competition as both sides finished with 10 men at Ship Lane.
Ryan Imbert put Boro ahead just before the hour, before Matt Turpin headed Fleet level.
And, although the visitors had Mark Onyenma dismissed for a second bookable offence they went in front through Charlie Stimson, before Boro’s Lewis Francis was shown a straight red for kicking out at Ben Walister.
Leroy Griffths added a third goal in injury time to rub salt into Romford’s wounds as Fleet banked the �2,550 prize money.
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After a minutes silence had been observed for Gerald Gardener, father of Romford chairman Steve, the visitors forced a couple of early corners on the left and had a great chance to open the scoring on seven minutes.
Captain Stuart Thurgood, moments after being caught by a heavy challenge from Paul Clayton, muscled Boro’s former skipper off the ball in the centre circle and played in Fola Orilonishe on the left.
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But his side-footed effort went across the face of goal and beyond the far post to give Romford a reprieve.
Thurgood was spoken to by referee Jeff Lengthorn for a tackle on Reece Hewitt, after Atu Ngoy had received treatment for a barge when collecting an Orilonishe cross.
But Fleet had another chance when Lewis Perkins headed straight at Ngoy, after Orilonishe had beaten Adam Salmon and crossed to the far post, before Thurgood was booked for a clattering challenge on Clayton.
Fleet should have taken the lead midway through the half when Griffiths got in behind Lewis Payne, but scuffed his shot somewhat and saw Ngoy block with his legs.
And Romford got their first sight of goal soon after, when Imbert almost got in behind Turpin, who stabbed the ball behind.
Wil Viner spilled the resulting corner from Lewis Francis, before recovering to smother the loose ball.
But the Fleet keeper was left in no-man’s land moments later when Nick Reynolds beat him to a long ball and helped it goalwards, only for Onyenma to clear over his own crossbar.
Reynolds headed the corner over from inside the six-yard box and Boro went closer still on 36 minutes when Clayton played a lovely ball forward and Imbert chipped the onrushing Viner, only to see his effort drift past the far post.
Stimson found the top corner of Boro’s net on 41 minutes, but had already been flagged offside from Thurgood’s through ball.
And Griffiths hooked a deep Orilonishe cross wide, before Jake Woodward dragged his effort past Ngoy’s right-hand post.
But Imbert’s shot was pushed out by the uncertain Viner at the other end, with the Fleet defence clearing the danger as Reynolds looked to pounce on the loose ball.
Both sides had chances early in the second half, but Griffiths produced a poor cross when looking for Perkins and Ngoy gathered, while Francis fired a free-kick into the wall after Imbert had been fouled.
Barry was spoken to after a foul on Perkins, before Thurgood played the free-kick into Stimson, who fired into the side netting.
Onyenma became the second player to have his name taken after a foul on Reynolds, before Michael Sammut clipped the free-kick over.
But Boro broke the deadlock on 57 minutes, just after Fleet had made a substitution, when a corner from the right fell at the feet of Barry, who drove the ball into the six-yard box where Imbert turned it into the net.
Fleet got a glimpse of goal when Ngoy spilled Luke Wanadio’s cross and Perkins saw his shot blocked, before Woodward turned the loose ball wide.
And they drew level with a well-worked free-kick routine midway through the half.
Lewis Payne was penalised for holding Stimson and Thurgood curled the ball into the box for Turpin to send a strong header into the net, despite Ngoy’s efforts to keep it out.
But Fleet were reduced to 10 men minutes later when Onyenma caught Imbert late and was shown his second yellow card, followed by red.
Francis saw his free-kick deflected just wide, before Boro boss Paul Martin sent Hussain Isa on for Hewitt with 15 minutes remaining.
But ten-men Fleet took the lead on 81 minutes when a free-kick, awarded after a needless handball by Sammut in the visitors half, was sent long into the Boro box and, after Wanadio’s effort was blocked, Stimson struck from six yards.
It was almost 3-1 on 85 minutes when Griffiths rolled a free-kick into Stimson, who teed up Wanadio for a low drive which Ngoy turned around the post.
But Romford’s day got worse as Francis was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Walister, after the two had gone in for a tackle on halfway.
And a third Thurrock goal did arrive in the third minute of injury time when Shamir Mullins found Griffiths in acres of space with his first touch and the much-travelled striker outwitted Ngoy to roll the ball inside the far post.
Romford: Ngoy, Salmon (Toms 85), Ottley, Barry, Payne, Clayton, Sammut, Francis, Reynolds, Imbert (Long 81), Hewitt (Isa 75).
Thurrock: Viner, Jones, Onyenma, Griffin, Turpin, Thurgood, Perkins (Walister 73), Woodward, Griffiths, Stimson (Mullins 90), Orilonishe (Wanadio, 57).