THURROCK put in their best performance of the season to beat high-flying Woking 1-0 at the Kingsfield Stadium yesterday.
Critics of Hakan’s men felt that they were the Blue Square South’s Tottenham, flattering to deceive and struggling to compete in matches against fellow play off contenders.
The victory against The Cards through a fine 45th minute header by Paul Olima may well now make sceptics sit up and realise that Thurrock are 24 carat contenders for a place in the Blue Square Premier.
The first half saw Thurrock control proceedings with neat one touch play as the midfield looked for every opportunity to burst through but too many of the moves broke down through unforced errors.
In the 11th minute, Matt Bodkin played a gorgeous through ball into Paul Olima who forced the Cards defender to concede a corner. The Cards had the extra height at the back with the durable Tom Hutchison and shepherded away corners and aerial threats calmly.
Woking started to come into the game. Ex-Grays striker Jamie Slabber was proving a handful despite his famed lack of pace. In the 21st minute their first corner of the game saw the ball pinball in the box before Rob Swaine was able to clear.
Cards also had keeper Joe Wooley to contend with who produced a succession of outstanding saves.
Giuseppi Sole was giving skipper Lee Flynn a torrid time on the right and when he burst past him in the 35th minute, Wooley did well to fend the shot away with one hand.
It was Thurrock who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time with a wonderfully expansive move with Flynn at left back crossing to Matt Bodkin on the right whose cross to the far post saw the under-rated Olima soar above the Cards defenders to score.
The second half saw Thurrock relatively untroubled indeed they really should have extended the lead. On the hour, Paul Olima could have made it a brace but Tony Sinclair did well to clear off the line and Leon McKenzie with just the keeper to beat fired the ball over the bar.
Thurrock’s organisation and understanding held them in good stead. Woking rang the changes but the Fleet defence with Rob Swaine in particular outstanding held firm.
On the final whistle, Hakan and his men went to the Thurrock fans as they all appreciated that this victory may be the massive injection of self belief that reaching their highest ever league position in their 25 year history.
Thurrock’s next game is at home to St Albans on saturday.