THURROCK I 3 v 2 REDBRIDGE & ILFORD II
AFTER THE disappointment of last week’s draw at University of Essex, the 1s were keen to get back to the sort of form that they started the season in, and what better team to do it against than NE14Hockey Div 3 title rivals Redbridge & Ilford. With Jacob Agoro back in attack, and Steve Abbott fully fit, Tees set out to pressure the Redbridge defence from the start. The visitors did their best to win the ball in midfield, but Thurrock were like a pack of wolves, working together to keep the ball from their opponents. Redbridge could only manage a few break away attacks, and Thurrock were lucky not to go behind from one, when the quick number 13 surged through into the D, only to square it to a team mate who controlled the ball with his feet.
Nick Stapleton and Jordan Salmon worked hard to keep the ball from Redbridge’s main threat, much to his frustration, and without an easy outlet the Reds found it hard to build attacks from the middle of the pitch. The same could not be said for the home side though, as rather than relying on one or two very good players, Thurrock had 11 players on the pitch all playing some sensational hockey.
The Blacks took the lead through Matt Gaut from a well worked short corner, then continued to pile the pressure on, but the visiting goalkeeper was having an outstanding game, and were it not for him the score would have been more than just 1-0 at half time.
The Tees doubled their advantage early in the second half when Jacob Agoro finally found a way past the Redbridge keeper.
Redbridge pulled one back from a quick penalty corner routine, only for the Tees to strike again, this time a superb goal made by the hard working Andy Sargeant and deflected into the top corner by skipper Steve Abbott.
It could be argued that Redbridge finished the stronger side, but for all their efforts they could only manage to grab a consolation goal at the end, with Keith Mager in goal earning himself the man of the match champagne.
This win increases their lead at the top of the table to five points with second in the table Maldon & Little Baddow losing 3-2 to Saffron Walden II and eight points over the third placed team Redbridge & Ilford.
On Saturday the 1s entertain Phoenix at Palmer’s College at 12.30.
UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX 0 – 10 THURROCK II
Thurrock visited the Wivenhoe campus looking to continue their recent run of form, and they did not disappoint the crowd. From the start to finish thurrock dominated all aspects of the game, with stand in keeper Dave Leeks making 3 saves all game. Man of the match Christian Jenkins had a positive impact in his first game since coming back from injury helping himself to seven goals. The others fell to Liam Birch and Tom Madden to secure a fine victory. Thurrock keep the pressure on Brentwood for the top spot in NE14HOCKEY Div 6SE, trailing by just two points having both played 14 games.
With all to play for Thurrock host Redbridge and Ilford next week at Palmers in an 11am push back.
SAFFRON WALDEN VII 3 – 5 THURROCK III
The last time these two teams met in NE14HOCKEY Div 8SE Thurrock lost 3-8 so it was with some trepidation that they began the game, however Thurrock took command from the start and Liam Birch put them ahead after only 5 minutes when he collected a pass from Jimmy Venus and flicked the ball past the advancing keeper. Thurrock maintained the upper hand and 10 minutes later went further into the lead from a short corner which Jimmy Venus hammered home. Saffron Walden had a rare breakaway and were awarded a short corner which keeper Dave Leeks saved only for the rebound to fall kindly for the speedy forward to slip the ball inside the post from close range. Thurrock continued to have the majority of possession and 5 minutes from half time Michael Fleming made the score 3-1 when he received a pass from Matthew Skinner and deftly dribbled through the Saffron Walden defence before putting the ball between keeper and post.
A change of formation made the home side more threatening in the second half and the Thurrock defence had to work hard to clear their lines with man of the match Sam Webb making a series of strong tackles to reduce the pressure. Eventually the home side were rewarded for their effort when an attack down the left side sucked the Thurrock defence across allowing the attacker to quickly switch the ball for in-rushing colleague to score just inside the far post. Within minutes Walden tried to repeat the move, however the ball was quickly cut out and cleared up the field for Fleming to drive into the area before passing for Venus to get his second from close range. An attack down the right led to a cross which was collected by a Saffron Walden player who was rapidly tackled causing the ball to squeeze upwards. The attacker was quickest to react and lifted his stick above his head to propel the ball into the net. To Thurrock ’s amazement, the goal was given and a player was dismissed for arguing. Saffron Walden attempted to capitalise on the extra man and drove forward in numbers to try to level the score but Thurrock held firm to weather the storm. In the final minute Thurrock managed to make a rare break and clear the ball to Birch who made a solo run into the area before flicking the ball into the net to make it 5-3.
Saturday’s opponents are Saffron Walden VII away at 3pm.
THURROCK I 0 – 2 BLACKHEATH I
A frustrating game was the summary for this match. The ladies fought well but despite constant encouragement to ‘keep heads up’ by captain Tess Eng the ladies did not respond. Highlights of the game were some usual ‘predictable’ amazing saves from the agile Ally Hadley, a very impressive debut from Katie Lawrence and some penetrating runs from the hardworking Jo Taylor.
Away to St Albans this Saturday