SOMETIMES, before a big game, you need that kick up the back-side to keep you feet on the ground.
East Thurrock certainly got that last night after they threw away a three goal lead and the lead in the league to draw 3-3 with Cheshunt.
Rocks scored in the sixth minute when Jimmy Webb’s cross wasn’t dealt with by the visiting defence and fell into the path of Kris Newby who took a touch and drove a rising volley into the net.
His second, four minutes later, came when Cheshunt dithered on the ball after keeper Joe Wright struggled with a back pass and Newby nipped in to nick the ball and round the keeper before rolling it into the net.
Cheshunt didn’t have an attack of note until the very last minute of the half when a flowing move ended with the ball flashing across the face of Rocks’ goal but no-one was on hand to knock it it.
That might have been the wake-up call Rocks required and they came out and grabbed a third goal in the opening minute of the second half when Cornhill was pushed over in the box and Newby slotted the penalty with aplomb.
That should have been game over, but Rocks went to pieces, trying to emboss their play with flash passes and trickery and they gradually conceded ground to a Cheshunt side who began to sniff a chance.
Rocks came close to a fourth goal when a low Cornhill shot was went inches wide of the post but the next goal was to come at the other end on 56 minutes when Rocks’ defence went to sleep and Darrel Cox nipped in to hook the ball into the back of the net.
That gave Cheshunt all the incentive they needed and purely through effort and commitment they forced Rocks further and further back. No-one in the home side could put a foot on the ball and they were in complete disarray.
Rocks boss John Coventry threw on former Thurrock star Reiss Gilbey to invigorate his side with 15 minutes to go but moments later a pivotal moment came when captain Ben Wood fell awkwardly and he couldn’t take further part.
That brought a reshuffle, with Steve Harrison dropping to centre back and sub Conor Mead going into centre midfield. Harrison was involved in the heart of defence moments later, heading the ball off the line but Mead’s intervention was more crucial when he under hit a back pass and Cox raced onto it to take the ball in his stride and pick his spot past Wray.
That set up a nervous last seven minutes and Rocks were found wanting. They conceded a couple of corners and scrambled them away but in added time another came in and avoided the melee of flying home legs, rolling into the path of Ian Salt who smashed it into the net to spark delirium among the visiting players and despair among the home side.
Report courtesy of The Essex Enquirer