Essex University I 1 v 4 Thurrock I
Thurrock needed to win this game to keep a five point gap on the NE14HOCKEY sponsored Div 3SE rivals East London, and did exactly that despite Matthew Gaut looking rusty in the warm up. But the T’s flew out of the blocks making it 1-0 in just over a minute when Steve Abbott skillfully took the ball passed two defenders and Gaut finished the move with a chip over the keeper.
This inspired the team and it was not long before the T’s were 2-0 up and in control of the game, when Jacob Agoro fired in a low shot from a well worked short corner. With The injured veteran Andre Rudder calling the plays from the bench, Thurrock kept their foot on the pedel and continued to pressure an already shell shocked university defence, and were rewarded with a penalty flick after Michael Murray’s shot was blocked on the line by a defender’s body. Captain Abbott stepped up and cooly made it 3-0.
Nearing the end of the half and Essex Uni hit Thurrock on the break and defenders Luke Danbrook,Tommy Ing and Jordan Salmon watched on as the ball was slipped in under keeper Andrew Gaut. Thurrock the stepped up a gear and Stephen Edwards combined well with Nick Stapleton opening the defence for an Abbott strike which Murray neatly deflected over the helpless keeper to settle the game at 4-1. The second period was very quiet apart from Edwards missing from close range with a huge air shot. He and Murray received a green card each towards the end of the match but it finished a comfortable win for Thurrock.
This week the T’s are at home to Havering IIs, 11 am push back at Palmers College.
Brentwood IV 2 – 4 Thurrock II
Thurrock’s second team didn’t start 2010 as well as they would have hoped, losing all three matches in January, albeit putting in good performances, so a win at third-placed Brentwood on Saturday afternoon looked unlikely. Some of Thurrock’s best performances have come against the top sides this season though, and confidence was high after last week’s good show against Wapping.
The first 10 minutes saw Tees applying heavy pressure to the Brentwood defence, and but for some outstanding saves the men in black could have been two up. Gary Tredgett added some strength to the midfield, and came close to opening the scoring after 15 minutes.
Against the run of play though it was Brentwood who took the lead from a penalty corner. The home side then looked favourites to score next, and with their confidence knocked Thurrock were grateful to hear the whistle for half-time with the score at just 1-0.
Thurrock took inspiration from New Zealander Jonathon Boyd at half time, and started the second period strongly. Liam Appleyard was giving the opposition left back a game to forget, and the back three of Neil Donovan, Gary Ginsburgh and Mike Hewing had ex-Two’s skipper Darren Higgins in their back pockets, and it was Ginsburgh who levelled for the Tees, pouncing on a save and flicking into the roof of the net.
Tredgett then put Thurrock into the lead with a powerful low shot from a penalty corner. Jimmy Venus put the 2s 3-1 after Brentwood pushed men forward in search of an equaliser, and Man of the Match Boyd made sure that there was dancing in the streets of Thurrock with the fourth, his first for the club. Brentwood pulled one back at the final whistle from another penalty corner to make the scoreline a bit more respectable.
The Twos entertain second placed East London at Palmer’s on Saturday, 12.30 start.
THURROCK III 3 – 5 WALTHAM FOREST IV
The last time these two teams met in NE14HOCKEY sponsored Division 9SE Thurrock found themselves on the end of a 10-1 thrashing and so it was with some trepidation that they started at Palmers. From the start Forest pushed forward and Thurrock’s defence marshalled by George McAllister had to work hard to hold them back.
After 15 minutes the visitors eventually broke through and claimed the lead when a shot from the edge of the area was only half stopped by keeper Declan Salmon and crept over the line. This buoyed Forest and they added a second five minutes later from a well-taken short corner that went just inside the post. Thurrock began to link passes together and got their reward when Jimmy Venus dribbled through the defence before slipping the ball into the net past the advancing keeper. In the second half Thurrock continued to play the better hockey and forced a short corner from which Venus levelled the score.
Unfortunately Thurrock’s joy was short lived and they conceded a goal within minutes when slack marking led to Salmon facing three attackers and, although he saved the initial shot he was defeated by the second from the rebound. Waltham Forest maintained their pressure and forced a string of short corners which eventually produced their fifth goal after 60 minutes.
Thurrock were not willing to accept defeat easily and worked hard to reclaim the upper hand which was rewarded when Venus got his hat trick when he collected a pass from Michael Fleming and beat the keeper from close range. Thurrock were unlucky not to add to their tally when a shot from Liam Birch hit the post and rebounded to safety.
Saturday away to Romford III in a friendly at Robert Clack, 3 pm start