Rocks still searching for first win of the season
Date posted: 02-09-2012
Crays Wanderers 1 v 1 East Thurrock United
IF you were looking for the archetypal ‘game of two halves’ this Ryman Premier clash was it.
Wanderers dominated the first half against a lack-lustre Rocks and could well have gone in at half time ahead by much more than Mark Willy’s third minute header.
Yet in the second half the tide mostly flowed the other way and Rocks forced their visitors onto the back foot but could only conjure up one successful strike, skipper Reiss Gilbey forcing the ball home from close range on 55 minutes.
In the end honours were even and few could argue that it wasn’t a fair result.
Rocks manager John Coventry reshuffled his limited resources for this game, giving starting debuts to midfielders Ross Parmenter and Lewis Frost and it took time for the new-look formation to settle. By the time they did Cray had established a foothold on the game.
The writing was on the wall as early as the second minute when Rocks won a corner, which came to nothing and was cleared. Frost had the chance to help the ball back into the danger area but hesitated and in an instant Tyrone Sterling raced away down the win and delivered a cross that home keeper Jamie Riley was happy to tip onto his crossbar and away for a corner. However, any home relief was short-lived as when the ball was delivered back into the box Willey was unchallenged as he headed home from close range.
Rocks didn’t threaten again until the 12th minute when Kris Newby was picked out by Sam Higgins’ cross but he headed tamely at keeper Andy Walker. Walker released the ball quickly, something that was to be a trademark throughout the match and another speedy Cray counter ended with Riley doing well to get down and save Sterling’s angled shot.
The visitors were dominating the game and a fine flowing move just before the half hour saw Danny Phillips turn and shoot just over the bar.
A rare Rocks counter soon after saw Higgins again on the flank and he again found a colleague, this time Gilbey but the Rocks captain dwelled on the ball and though he got his shot off, it was blocked.
A mix-up between Simon Peddie and Tom Stephen almost allowed Arron Day in but Stephen showed great resilience to get back and make a fine tackle.
Rocks finally threatened an equaliser just before the break when Gilbey released Sam Collins whose shot took a deflection before being gathered by Walker whose quick release set up a counter attack that ended with a decent save from Riley, to deny Leigh Bremner, and then on the next attack Sterling shot high when well-placed.
The half ended with a boost for the home side when another surge by Higgins, this time on the right, saw hi get in an angled shot that Willey blocked and the defender was grateful to see it shoot up and over his own crossbar.
No doubt Rocks got a roasting at half time but it seemed to have had little effect in the opening minutes of the second half when a distinct lack of confidence saw Higgins hesitate when set free on the left.
Normally the striker wastes little time in getting a shot away but he didn’t event try and do that, instead slipping the ball into a congested area where it was charged down by defenders grateful for the opportunity.
However, from somewhere Rocks conjured up increased possession and Newby, who had looked directionless and lost in the first half, began to influence the game. A succession of surging runs threatened to unlock the Cray defence an ten minutes into the half he delivered a peach of a ball to the back post for Collins, who played it into the danger area and Gilbey forced home from close range.
From then on Rocks were in the ascendency and they forced a succession of chances. Newby saw a fierce shot battered away by Walker, Higgins spun his markers but scuffed his effort wide of the target and a flowing move involving Higgins and Newby ended with Gilbey scooping a close range effort over the bar.
But they were unable to find a winning goal and in the end, with a late flourish from Cray that left both sets of supporters living on their nerves, the final whistle brought the curtain down on a match that won’t live long in the memory but may yet prove to be a turning point in the early days of the campaign.