By Sam Kojczyk
East Thurrock got back to winning ways with a hard earned 2-1 win against an incredibly resolute Waltham Abbey side.
A hugely dry pitch and in windy conditions this promised to be a tight affair. Waltham Abbey started with the strong wind behind them and East Thurrock struggled to clear the ball. Waltham took advantage with their direct approach to their lone forward, Ogunkoya.
After losing star player Newby to a three match suspension, ‘‘Covo’’ had to really shuffle the pack. None more so than surprisingly playing left back, Keith, on the right wing. However, this proved to be effective as Keith had the first clear opportunity for ‘‘the Rocks’’ after ten minutes when Gilbey played an excellent through ball but Keith could only fire straight at Abbey keeper, Ricketts.
Gilbey was involved again three minutes later as he tried to lift the ball over Abbey’s centre halves. A possible handball was quickly waved away by the referee. Two minutes after the appeals, Waltham were on the counter, leading to Bristow needing a tap in to beat ‘‘Rocks’’ goalkeeper, Wray. Luckily, a fantastic interception by Peddie prevented this.
Twenty minutes in East Thurrock had another chance to take the lead after Muguo played a good pass to energetic Ruel who over-hit his cross. The ball stayed in the area but Cornhill could only head it wide.
East Thurrock started to control the game but could never create enough chances to capitalise. Kye then showed great strength to get past ex-Grays player, Conteh but had his shot cleared off the line by the Abbey left back, Bedford. 0-0 at half-time.
Two minutes into the second half, East Thurrock’s pressure finally paid off when Wood’s header, which was initially cleared off the line, fell to Sammons who crossed the ball reaching Attard who tried to clear but bizarrely hit the on-rushing Cornhill deflecting straight into the back of the net – 1-0!
Waltham was wondering how the game wasn’t level after fifty-four minutes when Sammons Back-healed a clearance off the line from substitute, Osei. East Thurrock had the same experience after Captain, Wood, had his header from a corner cleared off the line.
A minute later it was 2-0 to ‘’the Rocks’’ after Attard chopped Cornhill in the box. The referee had no hesitation and pointed to the spot. Keith stepped up to the spot and rounded off an exceptional performance smashing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Abbey finally got a much needed goal shy of the seventy minute mark. After top goal scorer, Campbell crossed the ball into the box and Captain Cawley powered his header into the back of the net.
“The Abbotts” made a few tactical changes in their quest for a second goal and very nearly did deep into stoppage time as the late substitute just needed to beat the goalkeeper but blasted his shot wide.
East Thurrock managed to hold on and secure their nineteenth win of the season which puts them only one point behind table-toppers, Needham Market. With Needham Market surprisingly losing 2-0 to Cheshunt, ‘‘Covo’’ knows that Needham will be looking over their shoulder, knowing ‘‘the Rocks’’ are ready to hit!
East Thurrock’s Line-up:-
1 Richard Wray, 2 Ryan Sammons, 3 Simon Peddie, 4 Ben Wood ©, 5 Steve Sheehan, 6 Stanley Muguo, 7 Joe Keith, 8 Max Cornhill, 9 Leroy Huggins, 10 Reiss Gilbey, 11 Kye Ruel.
James Donovan, Piers Wixon, Hakeem Araba, Neil Richmond, Steve Harrison.
Waltham Abbey’s Line-up:-
1 Harry Ricketts, 2 Ibrahim Conteh, 3 Matt Bedford, 4 Amin Ibrahim, 5 Matt Attard, 6 Ryan Maxwell, 7 Louis Bristow (50 Ayres), 8 Steve Cawley ©, 9 Kieron Ogunkoya (76 Chimes), 10 Liam Farrell (50 Osei), 11 Tyler Campbell.
Dave Ayres, Emmanuel Osei, Tom Laxton, Ross Chimes, Jack Daveney.
Edward Andrews & Aivaras Lukauskis
STAR MAN :-
8 Max Cornhill