WITHAM Town were beaten 4-2 at Aveley in an entertaining and eventful contest where they had periods of dominance, writes JIM PURTILL.

There are no easy matches in Pitching In League division north division and a trip to Aveley is normally one of the hardest.

The visitors played their part in a lively start.

Morishi Gelashvili went close for the hosts with a fierce shot from the left that hit the side netting, just wide of Rhys Madden’s post.

It had been a good first few minutes for Witham but they fell behind after 11 minutes when George Sykes converted a penalty after a tackle just inside the penalty are was adjudged to be a foul.

Within another 11 minutes Aveley scored a second when Alex Clark swept a cross from the right into the net.

Witham responded well and gave the home defence some problems.

The pace and trickery of Dan McCullock on the left were effective and Julian Simon-Parson was pulling the strings in the centre of midfield.

Despite being two goals ahead, Aveley were not firing on all cylinders and the visitors were having more possession and territorial dominance.

The swirling wind proved to be a challenge for both sides but Witham’s endeavours paid off in the 29th minute when a typical run and cross from McCullock on the left found Usman Adeniji, who slipped the ball past the advancing David Hughes to score his first goal since his return to Witham this season.

The first half ended with Witham a goal down but looking as good as the hosts and likely to pose problems in the second period.

The pattern of play continued into the second half. Simon-Parson and Ollie Bell were industrious in support of McCullock who looked the man most likely to change the game for the visitors.

Madden twice saved well from Aveley striker Sykes and was the busier of the two goalkeepers but Adeniji on the right had a good run and cross that almost fell to Greg Akpele's feet.

The game was stretched as both sides attacked with more fluidity than in the first half.

Just as Witham looked to be posing a real threat, they suffered a calamitous three minutes in which they conceded two goals.

Sykes athletically hammered a shot into the net, then a brilliant run and finish by David Knight resulted in Aveley’s fourth goal in the 57th minute.

Witham were looking particularly vulnerable on the right side of the defence, but there was no doubting the quality of Aveley’s attacking play.

The quality of their movement off the ball and their finishing will prove difficult for any defence at this level to cope with.

Madden made a great save from Knight and saw the ball bounce of his left post in another attack.

Witham’s woes were compounded in the 64th minute when Dan McCullock was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a tackle as he ran back to prevent a cross.

The decision looked very harsh and Witham lost the man who was probably their most effective player.

To their credit, the visitors took the game to the opposition in the closing half-hour despite being a man down.

Simon-Parson was brought down in the area as he was about to shoot and a penalty was awarded and Ollie Bell hit the subsequent spot-kick low and hard but straight at Hughes.

The introduction of Jordi Papple added more energy to Witham’s attack as they began to pose a real threat.

Liam Whipps and Billy Willis tested Hughes and Kye Jude headed over from a corner when he should have hit the target.

In the 85th minute a free-kick from Simon-Parson was spilled by Hughes and Akpele scored Witham’s second.

It was too late to influence the outcome but left the visitors to reflect on what might have been.

It was another case of Witham coming close but not doing quite enough.

Goals change games and Aveley scored at the right times for them.