Football: Thurrock 2 v 1 Aveley
Date posted: 08-08-2012
Aveley went down to a 2-1 defeat after an impressive display by Thurrock at Ship Lane, with Justin Gardner taking plenty of positives out of the game.
Billy Holland grabbed Aveley’s only goal of the game thanks to a brilliant solo effort, with Thurrock scoring goals either side of Holland’s strike through Charlie Stimson and Lewis Perkins in a thoroughly entertaining game.
After a lively opening couple of minutes it was the home side that took an early lead in just the fourth minute through the manager’s son, Charlie Stimson.
A short corner from the left was played out to the edge of the area to captain Stuart Thurgood. With no immediate pressure on Thurgood, the Thurrock captain curled an effort towards the top corner with his effort taking a slight nick off an Aveley defender on the way. The deflection took the shot slightly away from goal but towards the head of Stimson at the far post, whose flick header in front of Aveley ‘keeper, Dave McCartney, was enough to steer the ball into the net to give the home side the early advantage.
From that point on it was Thurrock who began to turn the screw, applying the majority of the pressure, so it was somewhat against the run of play that Aveley equalised with 11 minutes on the clock through Billy Holland.
Holland chased down a speculative long ball over the top and managed to barge his way past the covering Thurrock defender, winning a ball he no right to win. Holland’s hard graft put him clear of the back line and through on goal and with Thurrock ‘keeper, David Hughes, a long way from his line, Holland had the presence of mind to chip the ball over the goalkeeper with an exquisite finish to level the scores.
A frantic opening quarter of an hour almost provided a third goal in an entertaining nine minute spell when Thurrock had a golden opportunity spurned to retake the lead just three minutes after the away side had levelled.
A bombing run down the right hand side from Hassan Ibrahim gave him space and time to cut inside before finding Stimson free in the area. With McCartney taken out of the equation after getting nowhere near the cross, all Stimson had to do was put his header on target and into the empty net, but was only successful in clearing the bar to the relief of Justin Gardner’s side.
The pace of the opening exchanges took its toll on the rest of the first half with neither side creating a clear cut opportunity from that point on. Jack Stevenson forced Hughes into a save low to his left with a curling effort from 25 yards, but it was Holland who had arguably Aveley’s best chance.
A long ball over the top was flicked on by Holland – who had had a brilliant opening half for the away side – into the path of Danny Francis who had overlapped behind him. Francis dinked a delightfully flighted cross towards the far post where Holland had continued his run towards, but with Aveley’s Ricky Edwards in close proximity, Holland could only head the ball across the face of goal and wide from within the six yard box.
Thurrock’s best chance before the break fell to Harry Honesty, who was put through after a defence splitting pass through the heart of the Aveley back line, but his effort was poor and straight down the throat of McCartney.
Gardner made three changes at the interval bringing on Ronny Worster, Junior Appiah and on-loan Braintree striker Jordan Cox for McCartney, Carl Patten and Nick Skelton.
The second half began in much the same vain as the first half had ended, starting slowly with neither side taking the game by the scruff of the neck, but as the half wore on it was the home side who began to dominate proceedings.
Thurrock’s increased dominance almost brought about a second goal through Honesty just past the hour mark. Luke Wanadio, who had been causing both Aveley full-backs endless problems down the wings, found himself once more in space charging down the right. His low cross evaded everyone in the centre before landing at the feet of Honesty whose first time effort was cleared off the line by Jay Leader.
Thurrock though did take the lead again with 20 minutes left on the clock through Lewis Perkins. Good build up once again down the Thurrock right led to the ball finding Honesty at the far post in acres of space, allowing the Thurrock man enough time to unleash a curling effort goal-bound which was brilliantly saved at full stretch by Worster before being put behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Worster’s work was undone by Perkins who was given way too much room to head Thurrock back in front with a free header inside the Aveley six yard box.
The lead was just deserts for the home side who had arguably been the better of the two sides over the course of the match at that point, but Aveley pushed hard after going behind, having a lot of the ball but without creating any end product.
As the minutes ticked by the rain began to thunder down on the Ship Lane pitch, making life difficult for both sets of players on the ball but making for an open game as we headed towards the final whistle.
Cox had the only half chance for Aveley to square the match going into the final five minutes after being put through by an Aveley trialist. Cox cut inside to try and create space between him and the two defenders that had stuck to him, and with Appiah screaming for the ball and in acres of space to his right, Cox decided not to feed the winger, digging out a shot which was palmed away by Adam Seal who had replaced Hughes in the Thurrock goal with the game ending 2-1 to the home side.
After the match Gardner was pleased with the performance against a very good Thurrock side. Gardner said “(We) gave away two sloppy goals, but a lot of positives come out of that (game). I thought Jack Stevenson was the best player on the park by a mile. Paul Burnett shone at left back, I thought Billy Holland took his goal very well, and Carl Patten was awesome today as well, so there’s a lot of plus points to come out of that.”
Jack Stevenson echoed the manager’s comments saying after the match, “They’re (Thurrock) a very good side and they’ll be up there challenging in the league above us. We had a few youngsters out there, but overall I thought we done really well. We defended from the front and it lead all the way through, but overall I think we, again, done really, really well.”
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