East Thurrock United 1, Carshalton Athletic 1
EAST Thurrock completely dominated this clash from start to finish and will wonder how they came away with just one point.
Robins’ keeper Nick Hamann was kept busy throughout the afternoon and, in the second half particularly, pulled off a couple of exceptional saves reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
Rocks were rarely troubled at the back, where Ben Wood was superb as he marshalled his defence, but they lacked the killer touch at the other end.
The first goal attempt came in the third minute when Sam Higgins’ shot was blocked. The rebound fell into the path of Greg Cohen, whose strike was parried away by keeper Nick Hamann.
Carshalton had an amazing let-off a minute late when an angled drive from close range from Higgins hit the inside of the post and somehow curved across the face of the goal when it seemed impossible for it not to go in.
Higgins, who was proving a real livewire, then saw a shot blocked by Luke Pigden.
However, it was to be Carshalton who took the lead in the 17th minute when Rocks failed to clear their lines and Craig Tanner whipped in a great cross to the far post where Paul Vines stooped to head home from close range.
The home side were soon back on the attack and an acrobatic effort from Higgins was again saved by Hamman.
Robins’ Laurent Hamici was booked for a late tackle on Tom Stephen and then Ricardo Joseph followed him for scything down Kye Ruel on the edge of the box after a fluent move opened up the Carshalton backline. Higgins drilled the subsequent free kick just wide of the post.
A flowing Rocks move from one end to the other ended with Kris Newby lashing the ball outside the upright.
The scenario of Rocks attacking with Carshalton sitting and looking for the counter continued in the second half, with
Higgins again going close with a header eight minutes of the restart after Cohen’s excellent cross. Sam Collins then forced a save from Hamman with a driving run and shot.
The pressure continued on the Carshalton back line and they eventually cracked on 61 minutes, Reiss Gilbey winning the ball in midfield and laying a ball wide to Newby, whose angled delivery picked out Higgins who gave Hamann no chance with a close range header.
Soon after Craig Tanner, the infectious and combative driving force in the heart of Carshalton’s midfield picked up his side’s caution for the latest in a string of fouls.
Hamman then kept his side ahead with a stunning one-handed save to deny Newby who had burst through to clip what looked a goalbound shot until the keeper stretched to keep it out- and then recovered quickly enough to gather the ball in the face of the onrushing Higgins.
Hamann then pulled off another reaction save to keep out Collins’ low close range shot.
Robins were proving resilient in defence in the face of an attacking onslaught from Rocks but in the last minute they needed the woodwork to come to their rescue when Higgins burst through, his low shot thundering back off the bottom of the post.