THURROCK I 1 – 0 EAST LONDON 1
Thurrock went into the season with a new coach and new players to the first team squad, also with a few players out through injury. Thurrock started quick off the blocks attacking the opposition with some fluid passing, although the visitors hit back with some great play of their own forcing Man of the Match Andy Gaut to make some fine saves. The tees and the visitors traded blows right the way to half time.
After the restart the game got sloppy and fragmented with both teams left frustrated with the game. Then Sandeep Gahir at the short corner hammered home his first of the season on his league debut. This spurred both teams into action and this lead to a very tense and nervous end to the game with Tees relieved to here the final whistle.
The Firsts are away to Brentwood 1 on Saturday at 2 pm.
THURROCK II 1 – 3 EAST LONDON II
With the first team skipper having an embarrassment of riches to choose from, the 2s were able to field their strongest line up in years. However East London were one of the top sides in NE14 Hockey Division 5SE last season, and turned up to Palmer’s with an equally talented squad.
Thurrock’s defence struggled to get to grips with the visitor’s pacey forwards, and gave away far too many penalty corners in the first period. East London didn’t capitalise on the first four or five, but eventually got one right, slipping the ball back to the injector to tap in easily inside the unguarded near post.
The Tees changed formation in the second half, with centre midfielder Ash Snell’s game coming to an early end due to a muscle pull, and forward Rick Smith coming on to replace him. Thurrock were arguably the better team in the second half, and after a few near misses equalised when Matt Gaut put away a penalty flick.
Thurrock thought that they had taken the lead when Gaut smashed the ball into the keeper’s pads and into the roof of the net from a penalty corner, however the umpire ruled the goal out saying that the strike wasn’t going to hit the backboard before the deflection.
The Londoners were gifted their second goal when a defensive hit out was passed straight to one of their midfielders. A quick lay off to the visiting striker led to a simple pass into the Tees’ goal.
With two minutes left on the clock, and Thurrock in danger of losing for the first time since November 2010, skipper Keith Mager pushed defenders Gary Ginsburgh, Chris Smith and Mike Hewing up to try to grab an equaliser, but a quick counter attack led to East London having a three on one attack, and an easy third goal.
The 2s will be hoping to kick start their season on Saturday when they visit Chelmsford.
Game postponed due to unavailability of pitch
Next Saturday the Thirds are home to Colchester 4 at 2 pm.
THURROCK ACADEMY 0 – 0 WALTHAM FOREST IV
Thurrock’s new Men’s 4th team, the Academy side under new captain Dave Everett, got off to a good start against Waltham Forest’s 4th team. An early break by Thurrock nearly resulted in a goal as Byron Wood and Freddie Taylor worked together to break down their opponent’s defence but with no result. Waltham Forest come back hard but the good work of Thurrock’s defence shone through with an outstanding performance from Sam Webb keeping them out. New Thurrock player and man of the match Josh Brady worked tirelessly to push Thurrock forward in his first ever game. In the end a fair result of two evenly paired teams finished in a goal-less draw for the first game of the season in Div 9SE.
Next Saturday the Academy are away to Witham 4 at 11 am