Ryman Div One North
AFC Sudbury 0 v 2 East Thurrock Utd
A CONTROVERSIAL penalty and a sensational strike from Hakeem Araba gave East Thurrock the victory their dominance deserved at Sudbury on Saturday and, with title rivals Needham Market only drawing 0-0 at Enfield Town – edged them further away at the top of the table reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
East Thurrock got at their hosts from the off and on a difficult pitch with plenty of grass and seemingly even more sand, a great first minute move involving Reiss Gilbey and Araba tore open the home defence, but the end product was disappointing as Araba’s cross was cleared.
Generally Rocks enjoyed much more possession but created no real chances until the 16th minute when a superb switch pass from Joe Keith picked out Kye Ruel, whose short cross found Araba but his shot hit the side netting.
With both sides turning in lots of midfield industry, they cancelled each other out and the next clear cut chance wasn’t until the 37th minute when Araba was through but he shot straight at keeper.
Sudbury had a late chance in the first half when Ryan Sammons was adjudged to have fouled but the following the free kick was hit straight into the wall and the ball was scrambled away, though Sudbury had vehement claims for a penalty waved away
East Thurrock took the lead four minutes into the second half when a poor defensive back header exposed keeper Nicky Eyre and as Reiss Gilbey bore down on him and prepared to shot he hit the deck under the challenge of the keeper and Steve Wareham. Referee Andy Parker awarded the penalty, much to the disgust of Sudbury, but Kris Newby put the controversy beyond him and fired home the spot kick,
However, there was no controversy over the second goal on 58 minutes when Araba picked up the ball on the edge of the area, turned and smashed a superb strike into the top corner.
The game became fractious after that, culminating in a poor tackle from behind by Jack Wignall on Gilbey, that saw the Sudbury central defender sent off.
From then on it as virtual one-way traffic, though Sudbury’s defenders deserved credit for a number of dramatic blocks and tackles.
The East Thurrock pressure was highlighted ten minutes from time when Ruel produced Rocks’ miss of the season when super work by Hakeem took the ball off a defender, and played Ruel in but with only Eyre to beat from close range he spooned the ball over the bar.
After that time was played without real incident and at the end East Thurrock were able to reflect on an afternoon of dominance, with Sudbury not once testing their keeper Richard Wray.