Bostik North: Romford end long wait for league win in style with stunning display at Cheshunt
PUBLISHED: 09:30 20 December 2017
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Bostik North: Cheshunt 2 Romford 4
Romford ended their 17-match run without a Bostik North win thanks to a superb all-round performance away to fellow strugglers Cheshunt.
First-half goals from Jonathan Nzengo and Garrett Kelly cancelled out Jason Hallett’s third-minute opener for the hosts and made it 2-1 to Boro at half time.
Paul Martin then saw Chris Taylor extend their advantage after the break and despite Hallett completing a brace, Carlos Djalo wrapped up the points with a cool finish on the stroke of full time.
It meant Romford achieved just their second league victory of the season – close to four months after their last, which was a 4-1 win at home to Tilbury on August 26.
Martin made five changes to the team which drew 1-1 Mildenhall Town at Ship Lane last weekend.
Billy Coyne and Bryan Kyungu were unavailable while Dan Cossington, Sam Mvemba and Sonny Shilling dropped to the bench.
In place of them were Ryan Burt-Allen, James Ishmail, Hugo Atkinson, Taylor and Djalo.
Romford were forced to make a late change to their team, however, with Ishmail picking up an injury in the warm-up and being replaced by Mvemba.
It was far from ideal for Boro, but they had the first attack of the match when Nzengo nearly got in on goal.
He was unable to make the most of the opportunity though and it didn’t take Cheshunt long to threaten.
After surviving the Ambers first corner, Romford were unable to defend the second well enough as the hosts took the lead in the third minute.
Tom Bruno whipped in a wonderful curling delivery and Hallett stole a march on his marker to power a header past Stephen Reynolds.
Martin was furious on the touchline, but he would have been encouraged by the way his side responded to going behind.
Romford remained calm and continued to pass the ball around with confidence, which led to a good chance in the eighth minute.
Harry Daly was played in on the right by Ayo Olukoga and he composed himself before forcing Montel Joseph into a low save.
The rebound fell for Taylor and he fired towards goal, but the home goalkeeper blocked well.
It had been a frantic start at Theobalds Lane and the pace of the game was showing no signs of letting up.
Less than 60 seconds later and Cheshunt attacked again and Burt-Allen fired towards his own goal, but Reynolds saved well before Hallett volleyed over from the next move.
The Ambers were looking dangerous in attack, but shaky at the back and Boro created another chance in the 19th minute.
Daly picked the ball up from just inside Cheshunt’s half and spotted the run of Nzengo, and found the Romford number seven, but his header was tipped wide by home custodian Joseph.
It was another bright move from the visitors, though crucially they still trailed in chilly Waltham Cross.
Another chance occurred four minutes later and it was no surprise it went to Boro, but yet again they failed to make the most of it.
Djalo won a 50-50 tackle outside the Cheshunt area and the ball rolled to Olukoga, who played in Taylor.
The Romford stand-in captain had time and only Joseph to beat from 12-yards, but fired straight at the Ambers stopper, who saved with his feet.
With Boro dominating, Cheshunt were doing their best to break the game up with a succession of fouls, but it failed to stop the likes of Daly and Olukoga dictating play in the middle of the park.
A break then occurred just before the half an hour mark when home skipper Dave Kendall needed treatment.
The centre back was eventually replaced three minutes later with George Forrest coming on.
From Romford’s point of view, they were hoping the halting of procedures failed to affect their dominance and fortunately it didn’t as in the 38th minute they equalised.
A poor clearance by Reynolds appeared to put Boro in trouble, but Olukoga showed superb calmness to control and take two Cheshunt players out of the game.
The ball was worked out wide to the left where Nzengo picked it up and beat two opponents before dribbling across the pitch and into the area.
Despite briefly appearing to lose his balance, the Romford number seven remained composed and drilled into the bottom corner to score a stunning leveller.
It was just reward for a brilliant first-half display from Boro, but they were lucky not to fall behind two minutes later.
Cheshunt moved the ball around well and Joe Clemo crossed in for Hallett, yet he headed off target from 10-yards.
After squandering such an excellent opportunity, Romford made the hosts pay in the 43rd minute.
Forrest failed to control a throw near his own area and Taylor got in and shot against the post, but only after going down under the challenge of the Cheshunt substitute.
The referee took a couple of seconds before deciding to blow his whistle and correctly award the away side a penalty.
After trailing for 35 minutes, Romford now had the chance to take the lead before half time from 12-yards.
Recent signing Kelly stepped up and coolly sent Joseph the wrong way to put Boro ahead with 43 on the clock.
There was still time for some more drama as Djalo clashed with Bruno on the stroke of the interval, but after some time, the Romford forward only received a booking despite moving his head towards the Cheshunt midfielder and the half time whistle then swiftly followed.
Martin would have been thrilled with the performance of his team, but made a change at the break.
Burt-Allen was replaced by Shilling and Olukoga moved to right-back, but Boro carried on where they left off in the first half.
Djalo straight away caused Cheshunt problems on the right before Romford grabbed a crucial third early into the second period.
Number 10 Djala was involved, as he flicked into Daly’s path and the diminutive wide man beat his marker and crossed in for Taylor, who stooped low to head past Joseph from six-yards with 50 minutes played.
It was just what Romford needed, but Cheshunt weren’t about to go down without a fight and nearly pulled one back six minutes later, but Hallett’s low shot from Bruno’s corner was cleared away from goal by Daly.
The Ambers were then given a decent opportunity to threaten the Boro goal when they won a free kick 25-yards-out.
Hallett stepped up and smashed it into the wall, but Romford switched off and Callum Ellersley knocked it back towards the area where Hallett controlled with his chest and smashed into the net giving Reynolds no chance.
With 29 minutes left, Cheshunt had a lifeline and a nervy last half an hour was in store for Boro and their fans if they were to end their 17-match winless run in the Bostik North.
As the temperature dropped in Waltham Cross, so did the Romford defence with the hosts pinning them back now.
But after withstanding a sustained spell of pressure, Boro began to grow back into the contest and won two corners in quick succession in the 67th minute.
Firstly Nzengo cut inside and beat a couple of opponents before seeing a shot deflected behind for a set-piece.
Romford couldn’t do much with the corner, but won the ball back quickly and Daly tried his luck, but saw a low effort take a touch off a Cheshunt defender and go wide.
Again Boro failed to make the most of the set-piece opportunity, yet they had been able to kill some of the hosts’ momentum.
Gaps were opening up for Romford now and their on-loan Leyton Orient defender Teddy Perkins showed his composure in the 72nd minute.
Perkins intercepted a through ball and managed to pick out Daly, who smashed goalwards from 25-yards, but Joseph got down low to tip wide.
With time running out tensions were running high on and off the pitch with the loyal Boro faithful urging their team on.
Nzengo and Djalo were causing Cheshunt problems on the break and both nearly got a shot off in the 79th minute, but in the end they were crowded out.
Martin’s men continued to keep the ball well, however, and it helped ensure more time went by at Theobalds Lane.
As the game approached the final five minutes, Romford’s manager and his coaching staff urged their side to move up the pitch following another home free kick.
Reynolds was then tested in the 87th minute, but he was easily able to grab a speculative 30-yard effort from Bruno.
Cheshunt looked to create one final chance, but excellent defending from Perkins snuffed out the threat of Hallett and then Romford caught the hosts on the counter.
Nzengo picked up a loose ball and ghosted past one defender before carrying the ball into the Ambers half.
At the perfect moment, the Boro number seven played through Djalo and he went into the area before poking past Joseph to make it 4-2 in the 89th minute.
Romford knew it was the goal which secured the victory and despite some more late pressure from Cheshunt, the visitors back line stood firm and the full time whistle soon followed.
After a near four-month wait for a league win, Boro had remembered how to claim all three points again in the division.
It was fully deserved for Martin’s men and despite them remaining bottom, it will give them much-needed momentum heading into the busy Christmas period.
Next up for Romford is an away trip to Tilbury this weekend before they host rivals Hornchurch next Wednesday (December 27).
Cheshunt: Joseph; Clemo, Lampe, Kendall (Forrest 32), Kukoyi; Ellersley, Bruno; Kalu (Wallace 65), Aiken (Haag 81), Osei; Hallett.
Unused substitutes: Brennan, O’Brien.
Romford: Reynolds; Burt-Allen (Shilling 46), Perkins, Atkinson, Mvemba; Kelly; Olukoga, Nzengo; Daly; Djalo, Taylor.
Unused substitutes: Hammond, Tombides, Cossington.