TILBURY travelled to Barrows Farm, home of Harlow Town on Saturday – The Dockers without Donny Barnard and Nathan Gordon, both ruled out with injuries.
The Dockers kicked-off with the front pairing of Jarred Small and Manlee Brown up front with Lee Hodges acting in support. A new role for defender Joe Keith who normally starts on the left, takes his position in the centre, as Tilbury Boss Graham Chester goes for a 3-5-2 combination.
The Dockers made good use of a free kick 30 yards out – The ball driven into the box by Lee Hodges, which sits up nicely for Chris Taylor who’d noticed the keeper slightly out of his goal, Taylor sticks out a foot to lob Harlow’s keeper James Hassell to put the visitors in the lead 1-0 after 9 minutes gone.
The Dockers needed to make an early change as Joe Keith is clipped in a fair and competitive challenge. The talented defender is replaced by Bradley Barnes.
35 minutes gone and the Dockers nearly extended their lead. A great one two by Ben Bradbury and Manlee Brown resulted in a Brown back heel into the path of Bradbury, who sped off towards the Harlow goal with three Harlow defenders in toe, Hasell came out to narrow the angle, but Bradbury stroked the ball past the stranded keeper which looked a certain goal, but instead bounced off the post and out to safety!
Into the second period and the Dockers continued to pressurise the Harlow defence. 5 minutes in and Ben Bradbury found some room down the right as he whipped the ball across goal to Jarred Small, Small rolled the backwards into the path of Bradley Barnes whose effort is dealt with by James Hasell.
Harlow got a fair amount of possession but seem to lack ideas! Some good movement by Spencer Knight is snuffed out by Andy Hall – Tilbury’s keeper.
54 minutes gone and Tilbury extend their lead. A corner kick is driven into the box and Match Official Mr. Mellor without hesitation pointed to the penalty spot for what looked like a push and a tug of shirt on Christian Wheeler. Mr. Mellor was immediately surrounded by a pack of angry Hallow Town players and after a tolerant spell began to hand out the cards in order to gain control. The first was Danny Chapman who was cautioned in the first period, Chapman receives a second yellow and then a red and is ordered off the pitch, and Harlow’s Captain Lee Protheroe also received a yellow card.
The ball is placed on the penalty spot and Tilbury Substitute and midfielder Bradley Barnes stepped up to stroke the ball passed James Hassel to put the score 2-0 to the Dockers.
The Dockers made their second substitute, Joel Barnett on for Jarred Small.
Some good work down the right by Harlow resulted with a dangerous ball across goal and was nearly met by Harlow’s Fiston Manuella at the back-post; however some good work by Chris Taylor who did just enough to guide the ball out for a corner.
Lee Hodges making some room down the right managed to skip passed the outstretched legs of Harlow defender Michael Haswell, Hodges near to the by-line whipped in a great ball to the unmarked Joel Barnett about 14 yards from goal, Barnett having just come on looked ridged as he tried to gain control of the ball, which resulted in a tame effort on goal which Hasell collected with ease.
The Dockers using the flanks to create most of their opportunities, Ben Bradbury sends the ball to the feet of Christian Wheeler who intelligently allows the ball to roll through his legs in the path of Lee Hodges and from 25 yards smashes the ball goal-bound but goes inches over the bar.
Harlow Town continue to show great attitude and work so hard as a team, but lack imagination and cohesion when they get into the Tilbury half and was met by a resilient Dockers back line of Glen Golby, Danny Smith and Tilbury Skipper Jamie Wallace, who all performed magnificently on the day.
Harlow continue to sniff out a goal look to their substitute – Mark Taylor in the 86th minute, Taylor does well to breach the Dockers back line but his effort went wide of the post.
The Dockers reduced to 10 men, substitute Joel Barnett given a straight red card for what looked like a late challenge, however, Mr. Mellor deciding a straight red was justifiable!
As Mr. Mellor brought the game to a close, Harlow’s troubles continue, after a good win away to VCD Athletic in midweek their fate looks almost decided.
The Dockers on the other hand looked in control of this game for long periods. Some great work by the Tilbury men’ (despite a hard game only 2 days previous to league Leaders Lowestoft Town) ‘looked fit and full of running. A great team spirit is now emerging from this current squad of Tilbury players, also a noticeable unity of the whole squad and management seems apparent and will no doubt help the Dockers as they enter their final stretch of the league season.
The Dockers next game is at Home to league Halstead Town in the long awaited East Anglian Cup Final on Thursday 18th March – kick off at 7:45pm.
Man of the Match
Jamie Wallace – Work engine with the Dockers defence.
Tilbury : Andy Hall, Danny Smith, Glen Golby, Jamie Wallace (Capt), Joe Keith, Chris Taylor, Lee Hodges, Christian Wheeler, Manlee Brown, Jarred Small, Ben Bradbury, Substitutes, Joel Barnett, Bradley Barnes, Chris Stowe, Andy Gibbs.
Harlow Town : James Hasell, Lee Protheroe (Capt), Michael Haswell, Danny Chapman, Liam Thomas, Shaun Gliddon, Danny Hayes, Fiston Manuella, Emmanuel Osei, Reece Dobson, Spencer Knight, Substitutes, James Bunn, Callum Horton, Mark Taylor, Aaron Scott, Julian Edwards.
Referee: Mr J. Mellor
1st Assistant: Mr I. Lowe
2nd Assistant: Mr A.C. Hyne