Bill Robinson reports from Ship Lane.
A promising start for Thurrock in their first competitive pre season friendly, Up against a Dag & Red XI comprising of mostly eager to impress youngsters, a mixture of traillists and reserves.
Thurrock’s back four looked solid with Rob Swaine and Kenny Clarke both looking to be in good form. Unfortunately Swaine suffered a broken nose mid way through the first half but continued on after treatment up until half time when he was replaced by Jamie Libby the England under 18 Essex School boy, who has just joined the Fleet.
His fellow England colleague, David Knight looked likely to open the scoring with three attempts in the first 45 minutes each time just missing the target.
But it was Dagenham & Redbridge who opened the scoring after 27 minutes when Wesley Appiah caught the defence flat footed and broke free to put the ball passed the advancing Joe Woolley.
Thurrock continued to have the greater possession but their light weight attack was falling short of threatening.
Just before half time Dagenham & Redbridge should have extended their lead again with Appiah, this time keeper Woolley got the better of him making a brave save.
In the closing minutes of the half Thurrock levelled the scores, a fine run out of midfield by David Bryant found Knight on the left flank, he took on his defender and shot but the keeper Dave Hogan pushed the ball away, Thurrock were still in possession and Lee Blackburn fired the ball back into the penalty area, it was headed away by the defence but only as far the head of Matt Bodkin whose powerful header from 8 yards out beat keeper Hogan.
In the second half both teams continued with the entertaining football, pushing forward at every opportunity. On 55 minutes David Bryant had a marvellous chance to score just 10 yards out from goal when the ball came to him, but his wide swipe saw the ball fly wide.
As time was running short Thurrock pushed forward when they were awarded a corner, from Matt Bodkins cross left back Phil Anderson ran through the box to meet the ball with his head his effort went just inches over.
Then on 88 minutes Thurrock’s defence failed to deal with a simple ball and this allowed T J Sing to pounce and slide the ball easily into the net.
At the end of the game manager Hakan Hayrettin was still upbeat about his sides performance and praising their fitness, up next is a West Ham XI on Friday evening.