Maldon back to winning ways to put distance between themselves and drop zone

By Lee Witney

22nd Feb 2023 | Football

Captain Michael Finneran led by example to net the winner.
Captain Michael Finneran led by example to net the winner.

Basildon United 0, Maldon & Tiptree 1

Maldon & Tiptree picked up a massive three points in their battle for survival in the Isthmian North as they beat Basildon United on Tuesday (21 February) night to claim their first win in five.

The Jammers came into this six pointer with Peter Mokwenye replacing the injured Chris Gregan at left back. There was also a place on the bench for new signing, Jamahl Godward as Maldon looked to bounce back from defeat against Felixstowe last Saturday.

It took both sides a while to get going and first signs of danger didn't appear for either team until the 12th minute. Maldon's Harry Phillips won the ball high up the pitch, cut in and his ball across the box was just too far ahead of a sliding in Ronnie Bates. It was reminiscent of Gazza against Germany in Euro 96 for those of us old enough to remember.

Just before the half hour, the Jammers again went searching of an opening goal. Some good passing play between Harry, Terrell Egbri and Bates, in the middle of park set Lewis Jaggs away. Jaggs got his shot away but it was pushed away for a corner by Basildon keeper, George Marsh.

A few minutes later, Maldon were nearly in again when the ever lively Phillips pressured Marsh into a poor clearance. The Basildon keeper got lucky as the ball rebounded off Bates to go out for a goal kick.

As half time approached, Basildon finally buzzed into life when Michael Salako headed straight at Jammers keeper, Tommy Dixon-Hodge. A minute later a Salako header was cleared off the Jammers line by Joe Turpin.

Basildon had really come back into the game and just before half time, Shane Temple missed a sitter from 2 yards out. His blushes were spared as the assistant's flag had been raised in any case.

Half time arrived with both sides cancelling each other out in a game. The few chances had brought no goals and that reflected the game up to that point.

The second half started with Basildon on the front foot as they looked to use the pitch with switches of play The Jammers were looking to pick their moments on the counter.

Just before the hour, Jamahl Godward was bought in for his Jammers debut and really changed the game. He was constantly looking to attack his full back and was getting dangerous crosses into the box. One of those crosses was headed just over the bar by George Smith.

Maldon were starting to assert themselves much more forcefully. Back-to-back corners saw a header from Danny Nesbitt cleared off the line and a shot from Egbri was cleared away.

With 70 minutes gone, it was Basildon's turn for a Gazza moment when Anisius Lewis flashed a ball across the box, but there was no one to tap home.

Ten minutes from time, Jammers captain, Michael Finneran netted what proved to be the winner. Sam Coombes latched onto a clearance on the edge of the box. As the ball bobbled around he chipped the ball up and then played an inch perfect cross back into the box. Finneran outjumped his fellow defender and slotted home a superbly taken shot as the ball fell at his feet. It was his second goal in as many games.

Desperately chasing an equaliser, Basildon's attempts were thwarted by a resolute Jammers defence and the alert goalkeeping of Dixon-Hodge.

The full-time whistle bought heartbreak for the hosts and joy for the Jammers as they claimed a vital win as they moved 10 points clear of the bottom four.

The Jammers now move on to another away day at bottom side Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday, 25 February.


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