Bill Robinson reports from Ship Lane……
Thurrock avoided any embarrassment with a comfortable victory over lower league opposition despite not putting in their best performance, the score line could have been different if it wasn’t for Potters keeper Jason Willis who pulled off two fine stops to keep the goal tally down.
Thurrock looked a little nervous at the start but had the best part of the possession they took the advantage in the twenty third minute when Leon McKenzie pounced onto a loose ball around the six yard box after Fola Orilonishe and David Bryant had made the cross possible, Leon drove the ball firmly past Willis giving him no chance.
Matt Paine came close just minutes later with a powerful header that went just wide.
Thurrock only had the lead for 6 minutes when they conceded a silly free kick a yard outside their area just to the left of centre. Ellis Remy stepped up to take the kick, he drove the ball around the wall and the late sighted Joe Woolley had little chance of keeping the ball out of his net.
Just before the break The Fleet regained their lead with David Bryant starting and finishing the move, Bryant sent the ball wide to the left where Orilonishe flicked the ball onward to McKenzie who beat his defender before shooting at goal, the ball was deflect away only for Bryant to hammer home from close range.
The second period started with the home side looking more in control, the midfield trio of Paine, Bodkin, Lalite playing the major part in all Thurrock’s moves.
On 50 minutes Bryant was inches away from a spectacular goal, Phil Anderson crossed low and hard from the left, Bryant at the near post, flicked the ball over his shoulder and the ball missed the far post by inches.
On 68 minutes it was Matt Bodkins turn to show his skill from a free kick about 25 yards from goal over on the left he curled the ball high over the wall and straight into the top right hand corner of the net, with keeper stranded.
The game looked won now and Thurrock eased down and made substitutions to save the legs of some of their players, coming on for Leon McKenzie was Matthew Judge and four minutes later his was pulled to the ground insie the penalty area and when the referee pointed to the spot he was the first to respond grabbing the ball so as to take the spot kick himself.
He looked confident and easily beat the keeper, sending him the wrong way with a side footed effort.
Just before the final whistle went a mistake at the back let in Shayne Wyllie who break away clear of the defence and slid the ball wide of the advancing Joe Woolley and into the corner of the net.
Shortly after the referee called time on the game sending Thurrock through to the next round in the knowledge that it will be the other teams hoping not to be drawn against them in the next round.