Football: Sheehan broken leg casts shadow over East Thurrock
Date posted: 14-10-2012
Metropolitan Police 2 v 2 East Thurrock United
THIS was a case of biter bit for Rocks who conceded a two goal lead late in the game. In midweek the Rocks had battled back to overcome a two goal deficit themselves at Enfield and then went on to win the game with a later winner.
They avoided a complete reversal at Imber Court, holding on to a point in a frantic last few minutes but will feel disappointed that they didn’t convert first half dominance into a bigger lead.
Even great disappointment comes with the loss of influential defender Steve Sheehan who suffered a broken leg.
Sheehan suffered the injury in the early stages of the second half after falling after an innocuous challenge. As the defender landed after a header his foot appeared to catch in the grass and he suffered a break of the fibia as his leg buckled with the impetus of his fall.
The injury disrupted Rocks’ dominance of the game and as Met Police came back into the game his calming influence and dominant defending was sorely missed, with the cops ultimately grabbing two late goals, albeit it with some controversy.
The game had started brightly for Rocks and a fluent move between Hakeem Araba and Sam Higgins opened the door for Kye Ruel but he shot wide.
Soon after a fine cross from Ruel just eluded Araba at the far post, though the big striker looked as if he had ben pushed out of the way.
However, the same combination helped create the opening goal on 12 minutes, this time Araba getting his head to Ruel’s cross only for keeper Jamie Butler to palm it away. When the ball was returned into the danger area Higgins picked it up and placed a low shot past the keeper.
Three minutes later, with Rocks dominating, Higgins ought to have added to his tally but, with only the keeper to beat he pushed his shot wide.
The Met were hardly in the game as an attacking force though on one quick counter Matt Smart drove the ball over the bar.
Rocks were quickly back on the front foot and created a superb second goal on 21 minutes. The move started with an inventive pass from Reiss Gilbey that switched play and Kris Newby produced a magnificent curling cross that was met by a diving Araba whose flying header gave Butler no chance.
The visitors continued to dominate but could not add to their lead, their profligacy summed up just before the break when Ruel snatched at a great chance and volleyed wide when the very least he should have done was hit the target.
The second half started in the same vein, with Newby forcing a decent save from Butler in the early stages but then came the pivotal injury to Sheehan and the momentum of the game began to change.
Met Police saw much more of the ball and Rocks keeper Richard Wray was called on to make a couple of excellent saves. It looked as if they might weather the storm though but a match that was becoming increasingly fractious as ref David Spain’s inconsistencies caused confusion among the players erupted with the first Police goal with six minutes of normal time remaining when Jonte Smith broke from what looked a clear offside position to score.
Rocks were furious, a mood echoed a couple of minutes later by Police when what they thought was an equaliser was ruled out for offside and then Rocks were claiming another offside in the build- up to substitute Stafforde Palmer’s 88th minute equaliser.
Tempers were frayed all over the park, compounded by Mr Spain’s decision to announce seven minutes of added time, then play 11! Much of that time was spent with Rocks desperately scrambling to keep Police at Bay, something they succeeded in doing, prompting manager John Coventry to reflect: “Football can be a very frustrating game. One Tuesday we didn’t really deserve anything but got three points, today we should have won comfortably but go the one. Still, I would probably have taken four points from two away games at the start of the week, it’s just a bit frustrating the way it happened today.
“And the bigger disappointment is the injury to Steve, who has been a massive player for us. Obviously he is going to be out for quite some time now but if there is anything good about the news it’s that it is a very clean break which should heal, but I feel very sorry for him, it’s such a shame.”