Saturday, July 13, 2024

Football: Rocks do enough to beat Witham

East Thurrock United 2 v 0 Witham Town

RYMAN Premier East Thurrock saw off their Division One North visitors in a game that won’t live long in the memory.

Witham had plenty of honest endeavour but were always chasing the game as their hosts showed greater control.

First real opening after three minutes when Kye Ryel burst down the left flank, driving into the box and only being denied by keeper Danny Sambridge who blocked with his feet.

Five minutes later the keeper pulled off an even better save to deny Sam Higgins who had outmuscled Bradley Stepher to get a shot in on goal.

The pressure continued and a great cross from Sam Higgins saw Sam Collins prod the ball against an upright.

Witham’s first effort came on 13 minutes when Danny Emmanuel lashed a shot goalwards that flashed just over Richard Wray’s bar. Another thumping shot came in soon after from Lewis Godbold that Wray was grateful to parry away.

Rocks suffered a blow when Sam Collins pulled up. He was unable to run off the injury and was replaced, seven minutes before half time by Lewis Bentley. He was immediately in the thick of the action, taking several touches in a decent move that saw him getting on the end of Reis Gilbey’s cross, though Sambridge dealt comfortably with the header which was the last significant action of the first half.

It took Rocks just two minutes of the second half to break the deadlock, neat interplay between Higgins and Bentley setting up Newby who struck a low angled shot past Sambridge.

And the second came just a minute later when Newby put a ball across the box which Bentley headed goalwards. There looked no danger by Sambridge made a hash of collecting the ball and it rebounded off the post, leaving Gilbey the simplest of headers from close range.

Witham showed spirit and Jason Fontaine struck a low shot that Wray dived to parry at his near post but Rocks were quickly on the attack again and Newby raced forward to place a shot to Sambridge’s left, that the keeper did well to get down to.

On 70 minutes Rocks had a great chance to extend the lead when a superb ball from Higgins set up a gilt-edged opportunity for Newby who was too casal with his finish allowing Sambridge the opportunity to save his effort – and the close range follow up.

Sambridge then found himself all at sea at his far post but somehow fumbled the ball away off the woodwork under pressure from Higgins. The Rocks striker was desperate to net his first goal of the season and soon after struck a low angled rive just past the upright.

Sammbridge then did well to stand his ground and batter out a fierce drive from Ryan Sammons after quick-thinking at a free-kick opened up the static home defence.

Witham were determined to get something out of the game and came close to a consolation three minutes from time when sub Rob Whitnell’s powered in a header, but Sammons cleared it off the line.

After that the tempo slowed as the heat took its toll and time was played out with little further incident, though Sambridge again had cause to be grateful to his post as he fumbled away another effort under pressure from Higgins.

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