Avis aiming to prove he belongs after opening his goal account
EMIRATES FA CUP
Framlingham Town 0
Mildenhall Town 1
After heading Mildenhall Town into the next round of the Emirates FA Cup, Shaun Avis is now looking to prove himself at Step Four.
The centre-forward finished last season with Thurlow Nunn League First Division outfit Halstead Town, for whom he netted 14 goals in all competitions.
And it was that return that convinced Mildenhall manager Dean Greygoose to give Avis the opportunity to cut his teeth in the Bostik League Division One North this season.
The 25-year-old was goalless in the first two games of the new season against Heybridge Swifts and Dereham Town, having shots denied by the opposition goalkeeper on both occasions.
But he got off the mark on Saturday against the lower-league Castlemen, rising highest at the back post to nod home Jake Chamber-Shaw’s deep cross for the tie’s only goal in the eighth minute.
Going forward, Avis is hoping his goal at Badingham Road will be the first of many in a Mildenhall shirt.
“It was a bit frustrating the other night against Dereham because there was a chance that bobbled to me. I should have taken that, so it was nice to score and score early as well,” he said.
“I have been speaking to Dean for quite a while and it had not been right for me to come here until now.
“I understood it was going to be tough to get in at Mildenhall, so I went to Halstead to get some game time and score some goals.
“I am 25 now, so if I am going to test myself at this sort of level with Mildenhall, it had to be now. I could not wait any longer.
“I feel like I am settling in and I am working as hard as I can to improve. I believe I can do it at this level — I would not be here if he did not back myself.
“When you are striker and you do not score for a couple of games, it does play on your mind. The chance against Dereham bothered me, but it is gone now.”
After Avis had broken the deadlock against Framlingham, his team-mate Jacob Brown went close to scoring an almost carbon copy just five minutes later.
The midfielder’s header was a good one, but on this occasion home goalkeeper Sam Chilvers managed to turn the ball against the crossbar and away to safety.
Chilvers continued that positive form after the restart, showing good athleticism to deny Avis’ 56th-minute downward header and then getting up in time to block Chris Bacon’s rebounded effort.
Chambers-Shaw — Mildenhall’s most influential player — followed that up with two good chances to put the tie to bed, but he fired one over and the other just wide of the left upright.
To the credit of Framlingham, who operate two divisions below their visitors, they posed a threat at times, particularly late in the contest.
Centre-back Anthony Johnson saw his back-post header cannon against the crossbar in the 90th minute, before an open goal went begging in the first minute of stoppage time.
Mildenhall goalkeeper Sam Roach could not hold on to a high ball into the box and when it broke loose, neither Danny Smith nor Jake Taylor could apply the finishing touch as both ended up with the faces in the turf.
Framlingham appealed for a penalty against Mildenhall defender Joe Asensi, but the referee waved away those calls and the visitors saw out the rest of a lengthy period of injury time to progress.
Mildenhall: Roach, Wood, Asensi, Butcher (Ruddy 83), Curry, Simpson, Chambers-Shaw, Green, Avis (Huxtable 66), Stillinger (Bacon 53), J Brown
Journal Man of the Match - Jake Chambers-Shaw: Will feel he should have had a goal or two, but the attacking midfielder was Mildenhall’s major threat
n Saturday will see Mildenhall switch their attention back to trying to get their first league win of the season at home to Ware (3pm).
The game could mark the debut of former Cambridge United winger Jordan Patrick, who joined the club this week.
That is followed by back-to-back trips to AFC Sudbury —in the league on Monday and then September 2 in the FA Cup (both 3pm).
n In the Suffolk Premier Cup, Mildenhall have been drawn away to Leiston. The tie will be played in November.