By Paul Tandy
Tilbury were back on their travels as they faced Wingate & Finchley. The Dockers were without young midfielder Ben Bradbury ruled out due to suspension.
The game kicked off at an awesome pace, both teams looking to sniff out an early goal, however, it was the hosts who opened their account in the early minutes of the kick off – David Laird scored from close range to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
5 minutes later the Dockers pull level. Joel Barnett was tripped in the box and was awarded a penalty. Tilbury’s Joe Keith stepped up to take the spot kick, Keith using his experience and looking composed slams the ball into the net, 1-1.
Wingate immediately tried to regain the lead, Andy Hall needing to make a spectacular block to keep the scores level.
The Dockers continued to push the Blues defence, 19 minutes gone and Joel Barnett probing the Wingate defence unleashes a fine effort, The Blues keeper down low to parry the ball to safety.
Several bookings followed by match official Mr. Donnell which left both sides perplexed as this tough but fair game showed no sign of player aggression!
25th minutes and Wingate came close from some good build up play which resulted in Marc Henry just inside the Tilbury area, Henry dropped his shoulder before releasing a solid effort on goal which wisps just past the Dockers goalpost.
29th minute and Wingate attack once more, Gary Burrell Ex Tilbury player broke through the Tilbury rear guard, Burrell skipped past Daniel Smith and launches a curved effort in on goal, Tilbury’s Andy Hall does well to palm the ball out for a corner.
The corner driven high in to the Tilbury box, David Laird was on hand to nod the ball home from close range to regain the lead, 2-1.
Both teams continue to show good spirit and commitment, however, Mr. Donnell misinterpreting the situation and once again begins to stifle the game by brandishing more needless yellow cards!
Into the second period and the Dockers looked to have responded to a Tony Leary half time team talk, as the Dockers pin back their hosts into their own half.
54 minutes gone and Tilbury come close to leveling the score, the ball driven forward from a free kick sees Paul Shave rise’s high to connect with his head, but the ball drops kindly for The Blues keeper Gavin King who scoops the ball up to safety.
Tilbury continue to pile on the pressure, Joel Barnett making a run at the Blues defence, Barnett with the goal in his sights – skips past Paul Wright to make a yard of space but his effort is launched over the bar.
The Dockers having no luck down the centre of the park look to change tactics, bring on wingman Nathan Gordon who replaces Donny Barnard.
Gordon straight into the action as he collects the ball down the right hand side, Gordon into the box is pushed almost to the by-line and hits a wall of Blue shirts and out for a corner.
The corner is spectacularly driven-in by Joe Keith on to the head of Rickie Hayles, who nods the ball into the net, 2-2.
Dockers make their second and third substitutes, Chris Stowe on for Joel Barnett and Chris Taylor on for Bradley Barnes.
The Dockers continue to bear down on the Blues defence and look the more likely to score, however, it was the Blues that took their chance in the 90th minute. The ball driven-in from the left resulted in the much travelled Burrell at the back post to smash the ball into the roof of the net to give his side the win and 3 points.
A disappointed Dockers team exited the pitch in contrast to a happy and jubilant Wingate & Finchley side. A good game of football which was played in the right spirit of the game, a game that had everything from goals, skill, commitment, passion and 7 yellow cards!
Man of the Match
Rickie Hayles – Exceptional Talent
Tilbury : Andy Hall, Danny Smith, Joe Keith, Rickie Hayles, Glen Golby, Jamie Wallace (Capt), Donny Barnard, Christian Wheeler, Joel Barnett, Paul Shave, Bradley Barnes, Substitutes, Chris Stowe ,Manlee Brown, Nathan Gordon, Chris Taylor, Andy Gibb.
Wingate & Finchley : Gavin King, Marc Weatherstone, Paul Wright, Jordan Fowler, Daniel Nielsen (Capt), Craig Ellis, James Edgerley, Marc Henry, Leon Smith, David Laird, Gary Burrell, Substitutes, Frank Webb, Chris Chase, Ahmet Rifat, Michael Sharman, Joe Killingbeck.
Referee: Mr C.O Donnell
1st Assistant: Mr B. Kebar
2nd Assistant: Mr D.Sotirimin