Bill Robinson Reports From Ship Lane….
It was tough and sometimes not pretty but the gamble taken by Thurrock Manager Hakan Hayrettin paid off with three valuable points. After their poor performance and defeat at Newport Hakan reshuffled his side by playing Paul Olima up front, putting Leon McKenzie on the bench and leaving Phil Anderson as centre back and the new recruit Craig Pope replacing Ryan Andrews at right back.
Thurrock got of to the best of starts, within the first seconds of the match Fola Orilonishe broke free down the left flank and his low cross went across the six yard box just waiting for a tap in, but the ball found Matt Bodkin on the right wing, he beat his marker and crossed the ball perfectly for David Bryant to head home from 8 yards.
Thurrock only held the lead for nine minutes when debutant Craig Pope was late on a tackle just yards from the edge of his own 18 yard box, which earned him a booking and set up the equaliser for Worcester.
Craig Wilding lined up the free kick and his driving shot took a deflection off the Thurrock wall and into the net with keeper Joe Woolley wrong footed.
Both sides tighten up and few chances were being created until just before half time when Worcester keeper Jake Meredith pulled off a superb double save. First from Matt Bodkin from 16 yards and then as David Bryant collected the loose ball Meredith again managed to get his arm to the shot turning it over for a corner.
Half Time 1-1
At the start of the second period neither manager made any changes but Worcester were beginning to gain more possession and did look dangerous on the break.
On 55 minutes when Worcester were pushing the Thurrock defence deep into their own penalty area a cross came in that was headed out by Lee Flynn, it was picked up by Matt Bodkin midway in his own half on the right. Bodkin sprinted the full length of the pitch with Mark Clyde in pursuit as Bodkin entered the Worcester box he let fly an unstoppable shot across the goal and into the far corner of the net.
Thurrock pushed on looking to get another goal that would secure the victory, at the same time Worcester still fought hard for an equaliser. This created plenty of end to end action in which both keepers made some good saves to keep their teams in the game.
Matt Bodkin came close to sealing the win in the 78th minute, Leon McKenzie broke free and raced towards goal with Bodkin on his left, he played a perfect ball into Bodkin who shot, but the keeper again managed to protect his goal.
Worcester now turned up the heat on the Thurrock defence, already into added time Worcester had a flurry of corners one after the other. The Thurrock defence held strong but for over five minutes they could not get the ball much further than their own 18 yard box.
Finally the referee blew for the final time and Thurrock had secured another three points which takes them back into third place in the table. With a challenging Christmas period of matches ahead, it could make or break the season for Thurrock, hopefully this win will restore some of the lost confidences and the festive season will be a profitable one.
Thurrock : Joe Woolley, Craig Pope, Kenny Clark (Rob Swaine 83), Phil Anderson, Lee Flynn, Matt Paine (Reiss Gilbey 92), Matt Bodkin, Leon Lalite, David Bryant, Paul Olima (Leon McKenzie 67), Fola Orilonishe.
Subs Not Used : Greg Lincoln, Aaron Omand.