Bill Robinson reports from Clarence Park…..
Another disappointing afternoon for Thurrock in a match that they dominated but failed to capitalise on with their superiority, mainly due to some poor finishing. With three consecutive defeats behind them reaching the play offs is now harder than they anticipated, they drop down to ninth position and are six points off the play off places.
They started well and should have taken the lead within the first three minutes, a third corner came over deep into the St Albans box and Lewis Smith from six yards out headed well but straight into the arms of Keeper Paul Bastock.
The first half continued in the same vane with Thurrock in full control and putting the Saints goal under continued threat. Fola Orilonishe had a chance on 13 minutes when Craig Pope took a quick throw down the line to Leon McKenzie who turned in a fine cross which Orilonishe meet but his header went over the bar.
Thurrock’s next chance came in a goal mouth scramble when Smith, Mckenzie and finally Matt Bodkin all tried to get the ball over the line but The Saints were back in numbers and managed to force the ball away to safety.
Then totally against the run of play St Albans should have taken the lead in the 24th minute. A long high ball pumped towards the Thurrock penalty area found Kenny Clark back peddling, the ball only glanced off is head and into the path of James Lindie who had just the advancing Joe Woolley to beat, Woolley closed him down and with the goal at Lindies mercy a desperate right foot from Woolley deflected to ball safely wide of the goal.
On the half hour Thurrock were denied a penalty claim when Lewis Smith made his way into the box as he was challenged the ball appeared to be deflected away for a corner by the arms of the prostrate figure of Rob Magwood, but the referee ruled just a corner, Thurrock’s sixth of the half.
With only seconds remaining St Albans had a rare corner on the left, the ball went long and the unmarked Adam Everitt came running through to head home an unexpected goal.
The second was a less frenetic affair as Thurrock looked a bit lost after suffering the goal just before the break. This allowed The Saints to get more of a hold on the game and they equalled Thurrock for possession.
Then on 77 minutes St Albans and James Lindie again should have finished off the match when he was again set free from a poor defensive header and face Woolley again, Woolley stayed on his feet and managed to force Lindie wide and kept pushing him further out and eventually his shot went wide.
Manager Hakan Hayrettin had now used all three subs pushing men forward looking for a desperate equaliser, but it seemed that keeper Bastock would remain unbeaten on two occasions he pulled off unbelievable saves both from the head of Kenny Clarke, both shots were heading into the top corner before Bastock tipped them over the bar, the final save coming in the 90+5 minutes.
Hakan commented at the end of the match “No team has played us off the park this season and again we were the better side today, but if we fail to take our chances and then give away goals at the back then that makes it difficult for us to pick up points”
Thurrock: J.Woolley, C.Pope, L.Flynn, R.Swaine, K.Clark, L.Smith (R.Gilbey 69), M.Bodkin (M.Judge 60), L.Lalite, D.Bryant (P.Olima 76), L.McKenzie, F.Orilonishe.
Subs Not Used : M.Paine, P.Anderson.