Ten man Jammers go down but result wasn't an accurate reflection of their performance

By Nub News Reporter

13th Aug 2022 | Football

Laste Dombaxe begins the long walk to his dressing room after being sent off.
Laste Dombaxe begins the long walk to his dressing room after being sent off.

Maldon and Tiptree 0, Tilbury 2

The Jammers' Isthmian League season got off to a stuttering start and a defeat that Paul Abrahams' side didn't really deserve.

The North division season opener at the Wallace Binder Ground today (Saturday, 13 August) probably turned on an incident just before the break when, with the score at 0-0, Maldon's Laste Dombaxe was sent off.

He had been involved in what looked initially to be an innocuous clash with Tilbury's Billy Harris. Referee Steven Marr initially blew for a free kick against the Tilbury player but as the incident unravelled, the two players came together and Mr Marr apparently spotted a raised hand from Dombaxe – who was distraught at the decision and took a long time to leave the field.

It opened the door for Tilbury and the visitors made the most of the man advantage in the second half.

The first half was even, though Maldon created the clearer chances and it wouldn't have been unjust had they gone into the break in front.

They had mounted all the early pressure on a parched pitch at Park Drive, though ironically the first clear opening fell to the Dockers but Tom Middlehurst pulled off a good save low at his near post to deny Tilbury's Alex Clark.

Maldon always looked a threat on the counter, with some pacy breaks from midfield and from one of them, when incisive play cut open the visiting defence, it looked as if the Jammers had earned a penalty, or at least a free kick right on the edge of the box, when Brad Ihionvien challenged for a throughball and appeared to be upended but Mr Marr waved away what looked to be justified appeals.

Soon after Ihionvien did find himself through with a clear strike at goal, but his effort was almost comedic as he lashed the ball high, wide and not very handsome.

The Maldon pressure continued and George Forrest had a powerful header cleared off the line by Tilbury's Dquame Copeland and then a fierce shot by the impressive Harvey Sayer might have troubled Tilbury stopper Finlay Thackaway had it not been drilled straight at the keeper.

Just before the dramatic sending off which ultimately turned the game, Maldon went closer still with a run and angled shot from the energetic Ihionvien that cannoned off the apex of upright and crossbar – though Thackaway was given credit for the slightest of touches.

That resulted in a corner that Maldon made a complete hash of and, when the ball broke to the other end, Harris and Dombaxe became engaged in their fateful clash.

The second half began, not unexpectedly, with Tilbury piling the pressure on the ten men and they gained quick reward when Lewis Smith slipped a ball through to Clark who fired home from an acute angle.

Bizarrely, the goal lifted Maldon rather than the visitors and for the next 35 minutes they dominated the match.

Half chance after half chance came and went but they were unable to convert any of them and, as so often happens, just as Tilbury were living on their nerves, the game was settled with a minute to go as a ball over the top set Clark free and he pounced to round Middlehurst and seal the match. It was the striker's fourth goal in two competitive matches this season and it was his ultimate cutting edge that proved the difference between two otherwise well-matched sides.

Maldon will be hoping to bounce back against another Thurrock side when they travel to Parkside on Wednesday (17 August) to face Grays Athletic, who began their campaign with a goalless draw at Coggeshall United.


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