Tilbury 1 Romford 2

A late penalty converted by Tilbury’s Olly Miles made for a nervier conclusion to this game than had seemed likely when Michael Turner made it 2-0 to Romford after 50 minutes, but Boro held out to maintain their unbeaten start to the league season, albeit that Woodford Town’s win at Buckhurst Hill knocked them off top spot on goal difference.

Chadfield’s has rarely been a happy venue for Romford and you have to go back to April Fool’s Day 2013 for Boro’s last win there, coincidentally also by two goals to one. The early stages of this one were largely incident free, the only action of note being shots from Seedorf Mendes and Harrison Georgiou that Anthony Page in the Tilbury goal had little difficulty in saving. He was less comfortable when Hassan Nalbant went round him after 14 minutes, but the ball was cleared by a Tilbury defender as Nalbant played it across goal.

A strong run by Tilbury’s Harry Hope ended with a shot that Scott Doe easily blocked after 15 minutes and then Hope’s team mate Jack Hayes tried a mightily ambitious effort from long range that ended well wide of the Boro goal.

Half an hour in and Michael Turner headed Kris Newby’s free-kick narrowly wide, but the defender went one better with a stunning goal after 32 minutes. Lee Hursit’s free-kick from the left was met by a Tilbury head, but the ball travelled only as far as Turner, twelve yards out to the right of goal, and the Boro central defender unleashed an unstoppable left foot shot past the motionless Page.

Charlie Morris might have made it two six minutes before the break when he was on the end of a move that involved Jayden Silcott-Brown and Harrison Georgiou, but his low shot from the right of goal beat not only Page, but also the far post.

Five minutes into the second half and Boro’s lead was doubled. Kris Newby swung over a corner from the right and although Michael Turner’s powerful header was cleared by a Tilbury defender, the assistant referee signalled that the ball had crossed the line before he did so.

Newby’s next involvement was to pick up a booking for a foul as he tried to close down Tilbury’s Connor Martin after 52 minutes, and after 69 minutes Tilbury’s Macauley Joynes was carded for a foul on Harrison Georgiou as Romford looked to break out after clearing a corner.

An excellent crossfield pass by Hassan Nalbant gave Charlie Morris a sight of goal but his shot was deflected wide after 61 minutes, but it was Tilbury who next came closest when Boro conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box on 64 minutes when Scott Doe – who was booked for his pains – fouled Oliver Spooner. Joynes’s low free kick looked destined for the bottom corner until Jake Anderson plunged to his right to turn the ball away for a corner. Tilbury’s Harry Hope then ought to have done better than shoot wide after being set up by Joynes after 72 minutes as the home side tried to reduce the arrears.

Jordan Sarfo – on the pitch for just four minutes as substitute for Jayden Silcott-Brown – was booked for supposedly time wasting over a throw, a decision greeted with widespread incredulity, with the time taken to administer the card greater than the time allegedly wasted. Clearer cut was Sonny Shilling’s yellow card in the third minute of stoppage time for his kicking the ball away from the Tilbury keeper as they chased a ball that had run out of play.

Jake Anderson made a good low save from Hope after 78 minutes with Doe completing the clearance from which Romford broke and when Charlie Morris was fouled on the left, Tilbury’s Alfie Fry went into the book for the challenge. The free-kick came to nothing.

Tilbury pulled one back after 88 minutes when Joynes’s cross was adjudged to have been handled by Kris Newby and Miles beat Anderson at his right hand from the spot.

There was still time for Tilbury to lose Hope – sin binned for dissent when he lost his head in the 89th minute when the referee awarded a drop-ball after Newby’s free-kick had struck him and turned over possession – while in the 93rd minute Gomes might have made it three but was foiled by Page after being put through by Morris (below):

Tilbury is never an easy venue to get a result, so Boro will be well pleased with three Bank Holiday points here.

Romford: Jake Anderson, Henry Hart, Junior Luke, Michael Turner, Scott Doe, Jayden Silcott-Brown (Jordan Sarfo, 69m), Seedorf Mendes (Lee Hursit, 25m), Hassan Nalbant (Bruno Gomes, 69m), Harrison Georgiou (Sonny Shilling, 83m), Charlie Morris, Kris Newby. Unused sub; Jamie Hursit.