Sunday, September 25, 2022

Ten-man Rocks pegged back for draw.

Ryman Premier

Wealdstone 2 v 2 East Thurrock United 

EAST Thurrock left Wealdstone with a hard-earned Ryman Premier League point.

Rocks man of the match was Joe Keith. Apart from a rock solid display at left-back, Keith scored a stunning opening goal and his perfect, quickly taken free kick gave Sam Higgins the simplest of headers for Rocks’ second reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

This was a highly entertaining game thoughout, though chances were few and far between until a frantic last 15 minutes.

The workrate of East Thurrock proved an effective counter to the sharp passing of Wealdstone, who still harbour hopes of making the play-offs.

Rocks found themselves on the backfoot in the early stages and Mike Ramkin, returning to the side after several months on the sidelines because of a knee injury that required an operation, was a shade lucky to escape a caution for a succession of fouls as he chased and hounded the Stones midfielders with a huge appetite for work.

The first real opportunity for either side didn’t come until the 15th minute when Sam Higgins worked an opening but he failed to make a solid connection with his shot and keeper Jonathan North gathered, albeit at the second attempt.

The deadlock was finally ended in the 33rd minute when Ramkin, ironically, was fouled on the edge of the box and Keith stepped up to clip a sublime freekick into the top corner with North flat-footed.

Collins picked up his first caution, rather unluckily, soon after when he was adjudged to have been reckless in winning the ball in a tackle, a debatable decision and one that was to have repercusssions later. It was also his first offence, which made Mr Steel’s consitency of thought highly questionable.

Wealdstone had rarely mounted a threat in the first half and would probably have been delighted to go in just a goal down, but they found themselves two adrift a minute before the break when Keith saw an opportunity to deliver a free kick early and he delivered an exquisite ball in front of Higgins who timed his run to perfection and stooped to head past North with the home defence mere onlookers.

Rocks might have got a third when Higgins was played in but North stood tall and did well to block his fierce angled drive.

A second yellow to Sam Collins for a clumsy challenge saw the Rocks player dismissed. The Rocks player was distraught as he left the pitch, perhaps knowing that his absence would hand the initiative to Wealdstone – and so it proved. With the extra man, their passing game came into its own and they began to peg Rocks back.

The first goal came on 64 minutes and showed all the predatory skills of Jolly who nicked a bouncing ball into his path in the box and though Richard Wray blocked his first effort, the ball ran kindly for the forward who had a tap in.

Rocks were becoming increasingly stretched and Stones looked likely to get their second goal as play concentrates around the visitors’ box.

However, Rocks defended as if their lives depended on it and it wasn’t until eight minutes before time that they cracked, Dyer showing great awareness to thread a low shot through a crowded box just inside the post.

In the closing minutes several half chances came Wealdstone’s way, with shots flashing both sides of the upright, but defeat for Rocks would have been a huge injustice.

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