Rocks strike again to dump cup heroes Redbridge out of FA Trophy

REDBRIDGE came down to earth with a bump after their FA Cup exploits, well beaten by the Ryman League’s other FA Cup First rounders, East Thurrock reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

In truth this FA Trophy clash was a rather lack-lustre match, missing the energy and excitement of its big brother competition but Rocks were delighted to have ground out the win and make it to the first round proper.

They got a great start thanks to some poor defending and the alertness and strength of Petrit Elbi who nipped in to latch on to an under strength header from Vincent Durrant in the fifth minute and he held off he challenge of Matt Turpin to round keeper Adam Rafis and slide the ball into the net.

Chances were few and far between at either end as a difficult pitch and swirling win made control difficult, though Rocks’ Matth Hall and Elbi combined well on 15 minutes with Hall shooting just over.

Redbridge’s first real opportunity didn’t come until the 35th minute when Durrant went on a surging run and slipped the ball into the box where Ryan Murrey made a connection close to goal only for keeper Richard Wray to pull off a good reflex save.

At the other end, as Rocks counter attacked Sam Higgins and Sam Collins linked well, with the latter shooting across the face of goal.

And Rocks almost extended their lead in the closing moments of the half when Hall fed Higgins who squared to the awaiting Elbi, only for Rafis to grab the ball off his toe.

With the wind at their backs Rocks were the dominant side in the second half and just two minutes had elapsed when Newby drove a swirling free-kick goalwards and Rafis did well to parry it away.

Collins then drove the ball against the underside of the crossbar but it bounced down and away to safety.

Another Newby shot on 54 minutes brought a second save from Rafis who pushed his effort onto the post and away for a corner, but when Collins delivered the cross Jamie Haywood headed it into the roof of his own.

The goalmouth action faded after that, the heart apparently knocked out of Redbridge and Rocks happy to defend their lead but the Motormen were given late hope when ref Oliver Jackson adjudged a challenge by
Newby on the edge of the box on Ryan Wade to have been a foul and Wade, something of a nemesis over recent seasons for Rocks, drove the subsequent penalty home with conviction.

Redbridge threw everything forward for the last few minutes but Wray marshalled his defence and took several cross with confidence as Rocks held on for the victory.

EAST Thurrock have been reinstated into the Ryman Alan Boon League Cup after being awarded the recent tie against Redbridge, which the Motormen won 3-2, but they played an ineligible player. Rocks will now host Thamesmead on Tuesday, 6 December.

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