Maldon 0 v 1 East Thurrock
EAST Thurrock United deservedly emerged victorious from Saturday’s clash of the Ryman One North high fliers when one flowing movement of real class decided the outcome reports The Essex Enquirer.
Maldon may, with a degree of justification, claim they didn’t get the rub of the green over 90 minutes but any objective observer of this game would say the best team won.
The first half was dominated by East Thurrock but ended with Maldon believing they might have been ahead but for a tremendous double save from Rocks goalkeeper Richard Wray.
The visitors were on the front foot from the off and early chances for Kye Ruel and Ryan Sammons mirrored their side’s pressure and Maldon’s skipper and keeper Tony Tucker kept his side of level terms with a fine low save from Neil Richmond after seven mutes.
Rocks’ pressure was consistent and a potentially pivotal moment arrived on 25 minutes when Richmond sprang the home back line and was clear for a strike at goal when he was cynically tripped by Jack Haverson. The jury was out on whether it was a clear goalscoring opportunity and ref Darren Stobbart chose the lenient option, just booing the Maldon central defender.
Maldon were clearly hampered when impressive defender Ade Osifuwa was substituted midway through the half with a hamstring injury but they rode their luck and were only denied a half time lead when Wray was exposed by fine play from Dean Fenton and top scorer Joe Sweeney appeared to have a great chance but was denied by a fine reaction stop from Wray, who bettered his initial stop with a fine reactive save as Sweeney followed up.
The second half began with a snapshot from Max Cornhill was comfortably saved by Tucker but soon after an incisive ball across the face of goal from Fenton showed Rocks’ vulnerability to a speedy counter attack, but no-one was on hand to get the decisive touch,
At the other end Ruel’s predatory instinct forced a save at his near post by Tucker.
Maldon, who improved markedly in the second half, had loud claims for a penalty for handball in the box waved away on 66 minutes but soon after thought they had taken the lead when the ball was headed home but Mr Stobbart quickly brought a half nto the celebrations by disallowing the effort for a foul on Wary in the build-up.
Maldon felt a sense of injustice, which was compounded on 78 minutes when the best move of the game saw Ruel lay a defence-splitting path into the path of the overlapping Joe Keith whose pin-point cross was headed home from close range by Newby.
It was the decisive moment in the game. Maldon battled hard through the closing stages and had the visiting defence rattled on more than one occasion but they held firm to claim all the vital points and go above Maldon into second spot.