Bill Robinson reports from Ship Lane……
Thurrock bounced back from their disappointing defeat on Boxing Day with an exceptional second half performance, the valuable three points takes them back into a play off position in fourth place.
The first 45minutes was the frustrating Thurrock team that we have witnessed over the last few weeks, the free flowing one touch passing was just not working and despite dominating the half the final pass was missing to create any real chances.
The sprinting of Matt Bodkin and 110% work rate of David Bryant was not sufficient to break through the Lewes defence still high on confidence after their splendid win against high flying Dover Ath.
The returning Rob Swaine replacing the injured Kenny Clark and Phil Anderson were excellent in the Thurrock defence dealing with everything that the Lewes attack had to throw at them.
So the first half came to an end without either keeper being trouble by the oppositions attack.
At the start of the second half both managers kept faith with there original starting eleven but after only minutes of play it looked like two different teams, both sides attacking with passion and speed, quick one touch passing that created chances for both teams.
On 50 minutes David Bryant linked up with Leon McKenzie and Bryant’s shot from 12 yards was well saved by Banks in the Lewes goal. From his clearance Lewes mounted an attack that should have seen them take the lead, Tim Rivers set up Joe Keehan on the edge of the box but his goal bound shot was well saved by Joe Woolley.
Shortly after on 53 minutes Thurrock took the lead, a move that Started with Bryant, he found Leon Lalite wide on the left and the impressive midfielder’s clipped cross to Matt Bodkin left him with the simple task of smashing the ball past Banks.
The game continued to be end to end action and chances were being created by both sides. Thurrock only managed to hold the lead for two minutes when the ball was played into the feet of Jack Walder who spun and shot from the edge of the box and the ball flew past Joe Woolley and into the net.
Thurrock were still looking dangerous on the break and just before the hour they regained the lead with a superb move. It started with a free kick taken by Lee Flynn deep in his own half. The kick was long and out wide to the right flank where Bodkin headed the ball down for a 1-2 with Leon Lalite, Bodkin then beat one defender before crossing the ball into the box and it was Leon McKenzie who fired the ball into the net.
Thurrock needed to kill the game off and went looking for a third, on 79 minutes McKenzie was put thro with a pass from Bodkin, he was one on one with the keeper, but Banks made McKenzie go wide and when he shot it went wide and into the side netting.
With four minutes of added time just about to start Thurrock got there third goal. Another classic move, this time with Bryant linking up with Bodkin, the cross came in and it was Matt Judge who rolled the ball back for McKenzie to side foot home.
This second half performance was one of their best this season, now they need to keep it going for the start of the New Year when the return fixture with Chelmsford City takes place at Ship Lane on Saturday.