Thamesmead Town 3 v 4 Tilbury (att 71 )
A 77th minute header from Paul King saw Tilbury confirm themselves a home play off semi final tie against Needham Market on Tuesday night. In a highly entertaining game saw Tilbury pip Thamesmead in the odd goal in seven. On a wet and chilly afternoon on a pitch that played very well considering the rain that had fallen over the previous 72 hours, Tilbury were dealt a blow inside 29 seconds when Fairweather-Johnson released Rikki Cable who cut inside to shoot home.
The lead only lasted until the 5th minute, when a free kick found Tom Wraight who sent a low shot past Sam Mott into the bottom corner. On 16 Alex Read failed to connect with a low cross for Tilbury before Ashley Probets saw his free kick tipped over well by James Marrable in the visitors goal. Tilbury went ahead on 23rd when Gary Henty fired home from 18 yards following good play from both Danny Smith and Tom Wraight.
The game was very open and both sides had chances to score. Thamesmead were denied a penalty on 24 before Aiken had an effort well saved. Before the break Cable again went close, before an excellent run by the effective Wraight saw Aiken back flick wide.
The second half opened the same way as the first with both sides attacking in the driving rain. Thamesmead were back on level terms after 48 when a super run from Cable drifted past three Tilbury defenders before shooting home for his second goal of the afternoon via a slight deflection. Mead were ahead 3 minutes later when Rikki Cable’s corner drifted straight into the net for an excellent and well deserved hat-trick.
Tilbury hit back again on 61 when substitute Aaron Matthews picked up a loose ball and fired a shot into the net. Rikki Cable was then denied a fourth goal by a super save from James Marrable, before on 77, Tilbury grabbed the crucial winning goal, when Paul King headed a deep Matthews corner into the net to the delight of their fans behind the goal. With the news that Brentwood had gone further ahead, it confirmed that Tilbury would receive a home tie in the play offs. Thamesmead were denied an equaliser in the 88th minute, when a goal was ruled out for offside.
Credit goes to both sides for an entertaining afternoon in difficult conditions.
The result leaves Tilbury in 3rd and will now entertain Needham Market on Tuesday night 7.45pm for a place in the final against either Leiston/Enfield Town or Grays Athletic next Sunday.
After the game, a delighted Tilbury manager Paul Vaughan commented “Absolutely delighted with the result and our final league placing. Thamesmead are a very good side and well organised. It’s never an easy place to go, but results elsewhere were kind and we go into the play offs in great form. I would also like to mention the great band of supporters who never gave up on us during the season. With the news of the Reserves 1-0 victory over Grays Athletic in the Reserve Shield Cup final, it was a good day for the club”
Team – Marrable, Smith, Worrell, King, S West, Henty, Aiken, Good (Matthews 57), Read (Barnes 47), Webb (J West 67), Wraight,
Subs not used: Nightingill and Edwards