FA Trophy Round 1
East Thurrock 2 v 1 Welling
EAST THURROCK produce a fine battling performance to beat Conference South contenders 2-1 in an exciting FA Trophy battle at Rookery Hill.
First threat came from Welling as a fine strike by former Grays striker Andy Pugh whistled past the post.
In the 4th minute, Rocks went into the lead. Matt Hall ran into space in the area and knocked it coolly past keeper Daniel Thomas.
Early release from midfield was the key for the Rocks but as the half progressed, Welling became more dominant as Rocks appeared to run out of ideas.
A move in the 22nd minute saw the ball move across the area before Tamer Tuna’s cross was hooked away for a corner.
Hall nearly made it two when a free kick fired in on the 24th minute just would not dip in time.
Pugh was swift and the increase in pace saw and increase in pressure and sure enough it was Pugh who equalised easily from the edge of the area on the half hour.
Soon after, East Thurrock gained a free kick on the edge of the area. Boss John Coventry implored his players to ask a question at the free kicks. Sure enough, Sam Higgins stepped up and put the ball away to restore the lead.
Welling missed two chances to get back in the game but mis-timed both. Luick Pires was lucky to stay on the pitch after a ghastly challenge on Sam Collins.
There was a steady start to the second half. A swirling free kick by player-manager Jamie Day created a half chance but it was ajudged offside. Minutes later Joe Healy had a chance from six yards, it thumped into the ground and Richard Wray clipped it over.
A Sam Collins piledriver was just the wrong side of the post as the Rocks continued to play their expansive game.
But it started to appear as if Welling were playing with extra men but they had to beat Richard Wray who produced a number of great saves.
There was no doubt about Welling’s strengths (second in the Conference South) but they just weren’t doing enough to overwhelm a team at the wrong end of the Ryman premier.
Sam Higgins shot went wide after some neat passing. He has another chance a minute later but a last ditch tackle thwarted him.
Welling had another great chance in the 87th minute when the bounce saw Tuna one on one but again Wray tipped it over the bar.
In the 88th minute, Welling had another great chance to equalise. A free kick on the edge of the area. Jamie Day tee’d it up but could do no better than fire it into the wall.
East Thurrock : Wray R, Sammons R, Stephens T, Wood B, Peddie S, Gilbey R, Newby K, Hall M, Higgins S, Ruel K, Collins S.
Subs Cohen G, Elbi P, Artemi G, Cook J, Riley J