EAST Thurrock will rarely dominate a match as much as this, spurning a host of opportunities with Hendon’s only serious chance coming deep in added time.
Had they scored it would have been a huge injustice but Rocks may well rue the two points that got away rather than celebrate the one gained reports The Thurrock Enquirer.
Nevertheless it was a very encouraging performance for the side in the relegation zone against a team pushing for promotion.
Rocks seized the early initiative and pressed their visitors back with Berkley Laurencin getting down smartly to smother Kris Newby’s drilled cross, Sam Higgins firing just wide from the edge of the box and then Frank Sinclair doing well to block Matt Hall’s fierce drive.
Rocks’ Sam Collins was cautioned after 11 minutes after catching James Parker with his boot as he followed through a tackle that resulted in the Hendon right back being stretchered off.
After 24 minutes Hendon’s Ryan Wharton was also cautioned for bringing down Kye Ruel and Sam Higgins drove the resultant free-kick goalwards, with the Rocks players adamant that an arm was raised to block his strike, but ref Lee Venamore waved away the penalty appeals.
The clearest chance of a half dominated by Rocks came on 34 minutes when Higgins laid the ball into the patch of Collins but, after taking a controlling touch and with time left to pick his spot he screwed the ball unaccountably wide of the target.
Other half chances came Rocks’ way but they were unable to capitalise and the sides went in goalless.
A surging run from Elliott Charles in the opening minute of the second half won his side a corner but a foul in the crowed penalty area when the cross came in removed any danger.
Rocks were soon back on the attack and the door was left ajar for Higgins to shoot, but he fired high and wide.
Another opening was worked for Reiss Gilbey on the hour but again the effort drifted wide. Ruel was then released but his touch was poor and another half chance was lost, with another being spurned soon after when Gilbey failed to get a good connection with a volley.
It was one way traffic but the finishing touch was missing, with Higgins becoming the latest to miss when through he shot wide.
The pressure continued and saw Frank Sinclair booked as the green back-line faltered by refused to buckle, though were indebted to more wayward finishing with another Higgins drive flashing wide of the target, Ben Wood seeing a shot blocked and Collins lashing the ball over the bar.
Hendon sub James Archer was then booked for a reckless challenge on Hall, with another glorious opportunity opening up soon after when Wharton missed a ball played into the box and Collins picked out grateful keeper Laurencin with all the goal to aim at.
A fine run from Ruel set up another glorious chances that a succession of players hacked at before Hall’s drive was blocked.
Hendon, who hadn’t had a chance of note all afternoon, might have nicked it deep in added time but Charles’ close range strike was over the bar.