VCD Athletic 2 Thurrock 2
The FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Bill Robinson reports from Oakwood……
Thurrock live to fight again in what was and nearly became a FA Cup shock, when they visited VCD Athletic from the Kent Hurlimann League and found themselves two goals behind in the first twenty minutes.
Manager Robbie Garvey was not impressed with the way his team performed despite pulling back the deficit to earn a replay.
VCD started the better and before Thurrock had settled James Duckworth put the home side in front on 3 minutes. With some neat one touch football they opened up the Thurrock defence and when Billy Bennett put Duckworth through he had the simple task of side footing home from about 12 yards.
Thurrock were still not firing on all cylinders when Billy Bennet extended the home sides lead in the 18th minute. In a similar fashion to the first goal except this time Bennett shot himself from about 18 yards out and the ball hit the inside of the post before hitting the back of the net.
It would have been all over for Thurrock had Karl Dents shot from outside the box not swerved just wide of the post in the 29th minute.
But the near miss signaled a purple patch of Thurrock activity, with both Dean Cracknell and Glenn Poole going close but without making the keeper save. Then just before the break on 42 minutes Steve Ferguson made a run wide and deep into the VCD half before sending over a cross that found Lee Boylan who made no mistake in converting the cross into a vital goal.
The second half saw Thurrock start to dominate the game with VCD still looking dangerous on the break but Thurrock had greater control and possession.
Once again, chances came and went without success, Cracknel, Boylan and Alex Osborn all went close and with tactical changes being made Thurrock pushed forward looking to salvage the game.
In the 75th minute Ben Bowditch rescued the game when he drove home a splendid shot from 22 yards out, low down and straight into the corner of the net.
With the record breaking temperatures beginning to sap the legs of the players, Thurrock pushed even deeper into the home side looking for a winner.
Alex Osborns pace was causing concern and when he broke away running onto a through ball it looked like he was pulled back as his shot was cleared but the referee refused Thurrocks appeals for a penalty.
The game ended all square so now its back to ship Lane for the replay on Monday evening 3rd October KO 7:45pm.
Thurrock: Craig Holloway, Paul Terry, Kurt Robinson, Dave Partridge, James White, Glenn Poole, Ben Bowditch, Dean Cracknell, Danny Hocton, Lee Boylan, Steve Ferguson
Subs: Dee Okoije, Reece Harris, Alex Osborn, Adanm Gremili, Rikki Burbridge, Loui Hazelwood, David Hughes.