Casey Cooper-Fiske reports on a seven-goal thriller in the Ryman Division One North
Thamesmead Town look out of the playoff chase after a 4-3 defeat to Maldon and Tiptree which ended the Mead’s 10-game unbeaten run.
The Mead were behind after just 20 minutes, when Maldon’s’ Darren McQueen well-timed pass was slotted in the bottom corner by Rhys Henry. The goal came against the run of play, as Thamesmead had seen a number of decent chances wasted including by the usually prolific Theo Fairweather-Johnson. On the day he was not firing on all cylinders.
After the goal Maldon grew in confidence and had a few half chances to extend their lead, but it was the Mead who grabbed their equaliser, as Jack Hopkins netted his second of the week, taking advantage of the defensive mix-up to slot past Shaun Phillips.
The Mead were level for less than a minute, when Henry returned McQueen’s earlier favour and set the midfielder up for an easy tap-in to restore the hosts’ advantage.
The away side had a great chance to level again just before the break, when the impressive Adalberto Pinto whipped in a cross for Hopkins but his shot was blocked.
Just five minutes into the second half, Maldon got their two-goal cushion as Danny Mills went round keeper Andy Walker to square for Adam Mills to slot the ball home.
The Mead made Maldon rue for their missed chances, as the visitors got back into the game with a goal-of-the-season contender. Paul Vines scissor-kicked home Harrison Carnegie’s pinpoint cross.
With 10 minutes remaining, Fairweather-Johnson re-discovered his scoring boots to level up for Thamesmead from close range.
The visitors were probably still in celebratory mood, as they appeared to lose concentration when Sam Newson was given all the time in the world to slot home an 89th-minute winner and send the home fans into delirium.
In the added time the Mead’s day got even worse, as first Farai Hallam was sent off for a second yellow card and then just before the final whistle Max Mitchell got himself sent off for an off-the-ball incident.
The result left Thamesmead with a playoff mountain to climb, as they now sit five points off fifth place with an inferior goal difference and just six games left.