Reynolds breaks record in Romford defeat
PUBLISHED: 23:36 28 December 2016 | UPDATED: 23:36 28 December 2016
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Romford 2 Thurrock 3
Nick Reynolds became Romford’s all-time leading goalscorer, but could not prevent them falling to defeat against high-flying Ryman North rivals and landlords Thurrock at Ship Lane.
PE teacher Reynolds fired home his 68th goal for Boro, after seeing his penalty saved by Bobby Mason, to cancel out Mark Onyemah’s early opener for Fleet.
But David Cowley and Joe Christou then put the visitors 3-1 up, before Chinedu McKenzie gave Paul Martin’s men hope with his 21st goal of the campaign.
Boro could not force an equaliser, though, and saw their three-match winning streak come to an end, while their opponents moved to within two points of top spot with their seventh successive victory.
The visitors got the first chance of the night on four minutes when Remi Sutton’s long ball up the left put Onyemah in behind Dan Cossington, but after surging into the box he slid his shot past Callum Chafer and the far post.
And full-back Sutton then produced a strong run on the left before flashing a cross towards the near post, which Chafer pushed out, on 12 minutes.
But Romford, returning from an 11-day break and seeking a fourth successive win, were managing to put some passes together through midfield and Reynolds seized on a loose Thurrock pass to find Jamie Age on the right, but his attempted centre for McKenzie was easily cut out by the experienced Richard Halle on 17 minutes.
Kai Bichard was spoken to for a foul on Glenn Poole, whose free-kick was comfortably claimed by Chafer, but the keeper’s clearance was returned upfield and Cossington lost out in a tackle to Onyemah, who steered a left-footed shot inside the far post to open the scoring.
Ronnie Winn teed up Christou soon after, but his shot from just inside the box did not have enough bend on it and flew past the upright.
And Halle’s header from Poole’s inswinging free-kick, after another foul by Bichard, did not have enough power to trouble the Boro keeper midway through the first half.
Halle gave the ball away to McKenzie in the next passage of play and Will Green’s cross was tipped over the bar by Mason, with Reynolds lurking in the six-yard box.
But Jamie Dicks picked out James Ishmail with the corner and his header hit a Thurrock hand, with referee Dan Richardson pointing to the spot.
Reynolds stepped up to take the spot-kick, but saw his effort saved by Mason, before smashing home the rebound for his history-making goal.
Green’s far-post header was then blocked and his second attempt saved by the legs of Mason on 27 minutes, before Age was booked for a foul on Cowley by the touchline.
And Boro had a let-off when Onyemah played Winn on the left and his low ball flashed across Chafer’s goal and beyond a team-mate at the far post.
Bichard escaped with just a talking to for a foul on Cowley, which handed Fleet a free kick in a central position around 25 yards out and was fired over the crossbar by Cowley.
But Thurrock regained the lead after a fine move on 35 minutes when Christou played Winn into space on the right and his centre was met by Cowley, 12 yards out, and he sidefooted into the corner.
McKenzie scuffed a shot at Mason following a backheeled pass from Reynolds, as Boro looked for another quick reply, but Fleet were starting to find their rhythm now, with Cowley at the hub of most of their creative moves.
Poole blazed over with six minutes left in the half, then saw a corner from the right flicked on by Perry Dunn and headed wide by his central defensive partner Halle.
But Romford countered as Bichard found McKenzie, who helped the ball on for Green to flash a 20-yard shot goalwards for Mason to smother.
Boro boss Martin replaced Age with Ayo Olukoga during the break and, after McKenzie was fouled just outside the box, the hosts saw Dicks flash a free kick towards the top corner and Mason claw the ball behind.
But Thurrock then went 3-1 up on 50 minutes when Winn did well to win the ball from Cossington and thread in Christou, who rounded Chafer and slotted home.
Bichard was finally booked for a foul on Christou on halfway and it proved his last contribution to the game as he made way for Ryan Mallett, before Dicks also had his name taken for a foul on Cowley.
But Boro closed the gap just before the hour when Mallett helped the ball forward and McKenzie kept his composure to slot a left-footed shot inside the near post as the visitors looked for an offside flag.
Reynolds made way for Chris Taylor, but McKenzie and Green were inches away from connecting with dangerous balls into the box as Boro began to threaten, before Chafer then came racing out of his box to head clear from Winn and saw Cowley fire wide of the unguarded net from fully 40 yards.
And the hosts had another let-off when Poole’s free kick to the far post found Dunn ghosting in, but firing back across goal and wide of the target.
Chafer denied Winn with a strong left hand on 65 minutes after the Fleet striker ran on to Christou’s through ball and tried to go around him in the box, but Boro then enjoyed a good spell as Dicks probed and threatened on the left, with McKenzie crowded out at the near post by Halle and having penalty claims for handball waved away.
Winn raced on to another fine through ball with 19 minutes left, only to be denied by a superb sliding tackle by Ryan Boswell as he prepared to pull the trigger, and Sutton clipped the outside of a post with a low drive after being teed up by Onyemah, who was cutting across the edge of the box from the right flank.
Olukoga’s incisive pass then almost put Green in the clear, but Mason did well to claim the ball just inside his box, before Mallett’s diving header from Olukoga’s cross flashed wide, before a linesman’s flag went up anyway.
Boro went close again on 82 minutes as a ball into the box bounced off the thigh of Olukoga and was claimed by a grateful Mason, before Mallett’s header from a Dicks corner was cleared at the far post.
And Green dragged a 20-yard effort wide of the mark, before Dicks was somewhat fortunate to escape a second booking for a foul on Onyemah five minutes from time.
Battling Boro could not get themselves back on level terms in the time remaining, as Thurrock held on for the points but knew they had been in a contest on a chilly evening in front of a crowd of 201.
Romford: Chafer, Boswell, Dicks, Cossington, Ishmail, Bichard (Mallett 53), Adebayo, Age (Olukoga 46), McKenzie, Reynolds (Taylor 59), Green.
Unused subs: Barry, Modeste.
Thurrock: Mason, Morgan, Sutton, Halle, Onyemah, Dunn, Clark, Poole, R Winn (Cook 83), Christou, Cowley. Unused subs: Pindy, Jaffa, G Winn, Wheatley.