Fleet sink Romford
PUBLISHED: 08:56 30 December 2015 | UPDATED: 08:56 30 December 2015
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Ryman North: Thurrock 3 Romford 1
Romford finished the year empty-handed after losing to landlords Thurrock last night.
Boro had been the beneficiaries of a bizarre wind-assisted own goal, which went viral on social media, when the sides drew 1-1 at Ship Lane earlier in the season.
But there were no such gifts this time around as the promotion-chasing hosts bagged all three Ryman North points in front of a crowd of 206.
Barely three minutes had been played when Reece Morgan’s cross from the right was palmed out by Michael Gooch and Joe Christou headed home.
Romford’s Nick Reynolds fired wide when under pressure before Christou challenged Gooch for the ball and it squirmed loose before the visitors cleared.
Rhys Madden made a good save to keep out Chinedu McKenzie after some sloppy defending from Fleet, but the hosts went close again when Ross Wall’s deep cross was put over the bar at the far post by Christou.
Reynolds forced Madden to push his shot behind and Boro went close from the corner, before Gooch had to be alert to thwart former Hornchurch striker Wall.
Daniel Francis headed wide before Wall’s corner was cleared off the line and he dragged another shooting chance wide from close range.
And Gooch smothered an effort by Michael Toner before Boro drew level against the run of play with five minutes left in the half.
Reynolds was fouled on the edge of the Thurrock box and George Woodward stepped up to fire the free kick into the bottom corner.
But Boro’s joy was shortlived as Fleet regained the lead on 43 minutes when the unmarked David Cowley slotted home.
The visitors had a let-off early in the second half when Toney’s shot came back off a post, but Jake Giddings went close to another Boro equaliser at the far post when the ball was deflected behind.
Gooch denied substitute Charlie Cole and Cowley, before Akwasi Marfo shot just past the post and substitute Chris Barry went closer, grazing the upright.
Christou fired wide from long range and Fleet had penalty appeals for handball waved away, before Boro substitute Lee Weemes forced a routine save from Madden.
But Fleet made sure with a third goal in the last minute of normal time as Cole’s low shot from outside the box found Gooch’s net.
Defeat leaves Romford in 18th place at the end of 2015, five points above the relegation zone.
And they will welcome in the new year with a key fixture against 22nd-placed Barkingside at Ship Lane on Saturday.
Romford: Gooch, Boswell, Woodward, Olafunisle, Frew, Giddings (Barry 71), Marfo, Burgess, Reynolds (Scott 82), McKenzie (Weemes 76), Stanley. Unused subs: Potter, Tubey.