Bill Robinson reports from Thames Road……..
Thurrock went to Thames Road on the back of two disappointing performances but today they turned on a little bit of style that the Fleet supporters are more used to watching and came away with a fine victory.
Both teams competed enthusiastically considering it was a pre season friendly and it was Concord that had the initial superiority of possession.
The first real chance of the game fell to Concord’s Tony Stokes on 22 minutes but his right footed shot from the corner of the Thurrock box was wasted as the ball went wide of the near post.
This seemed to spur Thurrock into action and on 27 minutes they won a corner on the left after a good move down the flank by Lee Flynn, Michael Bakare and Matt Bodkin. It was Bodkin that took the corner kick, he drove it to the near post where Flynn flicked the ball into the six yard box for a Paul Olima header, the ball was goal bound until Concord Keeper Dale Brightly dived to his left to make a fine save.
But just minutes later on 31 minutes Cliff Akurang opened his goal scoring account with a well worked goal. A Throw taken by Lee Flynn on the left put Bakare away, he turned and toe poked the ball to Akurang who worked some space before striking the ball that looped up towards goal, Brightly tried to push the ball over the bar but had insufficient power and the ball ended I the back of the net.
Half Time 0-1
Thurrock manager Hakan Hayrettin made another change at the break, bringing on Ryan Stalley up front sending Paul Olima back into the back four and bringing off Kenny Clark.
Thurrock continued to look dangerous but Concord were pushing forward seeking the equaliser.
On 64 minutes a moment of madness when David Bryant playing in midfield was deep in his own box when a late high tackle by J Elmes had the referee going for his red card.
The decision seemed harsh but was the incentive that Concord need and on 68 minutes they drew level when the Thurrock defence was caught napping. The ball came over from the right midfield and found Harry Elmes unmarked around the penalty spot and he successfully beat keeper Mehmet.
Another injury this time Cliff Akurang taking a knock so he was replaced by Laurence Yagi making his debut for Thurrock and within 5 minutes he had put them back in front.
A long clearance from the back by Paul Olima found Yagi running onto the ball in between the defence and advancing keeper, Yagi was first to the ball and rounded Brightly leaving an empty goal at his mercy, he stuck the ball home despite the efforts of the Concord defence racing back towards the goal line.
Yagi continued to impress when in possession and on 86 minutes his perfect through ball found Matt Bodkin just inside the box and he hit a right footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Disappointingly the referee balanced the sides out to 10 a side after Ryan Andrews committed two fouls within 60 seconds of each other and after being booked for the first was dismissed for the second.
At the end of the game Manager Hakan Hayrettin stated “This was the performance I was looking for, it was a very good game for us we dictated most of the play and the players are beginning to find their touch” “All the new boys are looking very promising and we are looking forward to the start of the league season”
Thurrock: Mehmet, Andrews, Flynn, Swaine, Clark, Gilbey, Bodkin, Beaney, Akurang, Bryant, Bakake.
Subs: Bradley, Olima, Stalley, Foster (GK), Osman,