With Thanks to The Enquirer
Tilbury 0, East Thurrock United 2
REFEREE Mark Tweed was the dominant force in this poor Ryman One North clash at Chadfields on Saturday and sadly it was to the detriment of the derby entertainment.
What could have been a hard-fought, exciting match turned into a petty, fractious encounter as Mr Tweed dished out ten yellow cards, including two to Tilbury’s Billy Crowther, though it took him a while to realise that before dismissing the Dockers’ central defender.
As is often their way, East Thurrock made a bright start to the match but failed to make a breakthrough. They had plenty of pressure and as early as the fourth minute young midfielder Reiss Gilbey clipped in a cross-come-shot that keeper James Marrable tipped against the crossbar.
Hakeem Araba then headed wide when well placed before Gilbey had a glorious chance when he sprang the home defence thanks to a fine pass from Max Cornhill but though his clipped shot beat Marrable, it bounced down off the underside of the bar and away from goal.
Cornhill, who was the game’s most influential player with an impressive, hard-working display from box-to-box, had a chance of his own on 13 minutes when he headed over from close range.
Mr Tweed’s inconsistent influence began to confuse players when he rightly booked Gilbey but allowed a brutal foot-up challenge on Cornhill to go unpunished.
Tilbury were struggling to get into the match but might have been given a chance when back-peddling Rocks central defender Simon Peddie was felled his on-rushing keeper Richard Wray but the scrambling defence of his colleagues foiled Dockers’ bid to force the ball home.
Rocks remained the dominant force and Cornhill was pulled back when through on goal and only a superb block by Dockers’ new defender Ricky Evans denied Kris Newby as he bore down on goal.
For their part Tilbury failed to have a single strike at goal and must have been relieved to go in at halftime with the game goalless.
The tempo was downbeat at the start of the second half and it took a fracas that saw three players booked to liven things up. One of them was Newby, his fifth of the season that will bring a suspension and he was clearly angered by it, lifting his own game and embarking on a fine run after an inch perfect pass from Ryan Sammons from which he clipped a superb swinging cross into the box. Araba flung himself at it and missed by millimetres, but at the far post Gilbey stooped to head home his first goal for the Rocks on 56 minutes.
Dockers’ only chance of note in the whole match came soon after when Michael Toner headed over when well-placed but generally it was Rocks who were creating the openings, though they failed to increase their lead, even when Dockers were reduced to ten men when Crowther took his early bath midway through the half.
However, there was to be a goal deep in added time when Newby teased a lunge from a defender in the box and took a tumble. To be fair, it appeared there was no contact and the Rocks player was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch, with Mr Tweed giving the penalty rather than a second yellow card and Newby made the most of the chance, firing the ball past Marrable to seal the points.,
Victory was no less than Rocks deserved but they will need to play a lot better to mount a serious promotion challenge, while Dockers – who showed plenty of spirit and application – face a difficult battle at the other end of the table.