East Thurrock United 1, Horsham 0
EAST Thurrock grabbed a welcome three points thanks to Neil Richmond’s second half goal – rich reward for the hard-working frontman who ploughed a lone furrow up front all afternoon reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
Both sides featured debutants, Oliver Poole and Ray Freeman featuring for Horsham and Sam Collins for East Thurrock.
Bright start, Kye Ruel whistled an early ball across the face of Horsham’s goal. The Hornets responded with a swift counter attack, winning a corner, which came to nothing.
Rocks had the ball in the Horsham net on 11 minutes when a well worked set piece when Kris Newby crossed and Kye Ruel stabbed the ball home, but the effort was ruled out as striker Neil Richmond was adjudged offside, impeding keeper Matthew Armstrong-Ford. It was a marginal, but correct decision.
Moments later a deep Newby cross to Richmond resulted in a header that was deflected over the bar, Richmond getting a bloodied nose for his bravery in challenging for the ball.
At the other end Ray Freeman headed over as he challenged for a ball with keeper Richard Wray.
Horsham threatened again on the half hour when Newby lost possession, and a fine mazy run by Tony Nwachuicwu was cleared by Tom Stephen. Soon after a low drive by Adam Hutchings was well saved at his near post by Wray.
Nwachuicwu tumbled in the box in the closing stages of the half, but much to the relief of East Thurrock, who have suffered some debateable decisions recently, referee Constantine Hatzidakis waved away the appeals.
Horsham made a flying start to the second half, forcing a decent save from Wray and then a succession of corners before Daniel Morris went close with a flashing volley that Wray was pleased to see sear past his post.
At the other end Newby flicked on a Ben Wood corner and Stanley Muguo headed over when it seemed he had the goal at his mercy.
With Horsham stepping up the pressure they forced the ball into the net ten minutes into the half from close range, but Mr Hatzidakis again ruled the effort out.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 70th minute. A surging run by Muguo had seen Armstrong-Ford, who had received treatment moments earlier, struggle to deal with bhis shot but no one was on hand to finish. However, the ball wasn’t properly cleared and when it came back in an incisive short pass by Ruel gave Richmond time and space to pick his spot from close range.
Moment s later a run by Ruel almost resulted in another goal but somehow Horsham scrambled the ball away.
Another chance for the surging Rocks came when Richmond teed up Muguo, but he dallied far too long and his effort was blocked.
Horsham tried hard to get back in the match but in the closing stages subs Jake Cass and Petrit Elbi came close to adding a second for Rocks.