THURROCK 3rd 2 v 6 PHOENIX 3rd
Thurrock found it hard work against a strong Braintree side and went behind after only 5 minutes from a mishit shot from close range bobbled past keeper Danny Hick. Thurrock worked hard and Michael Fleming was unlucky to shoot inches wide after dribbling through several players. Soon afterwards a pass from Alex Taylor went to Ricky Smith who ran into the area and beat the keeper only to see the ball cleared off the line by a defender. However it was Phoenix who were playing the better hockey and added a second from a short corner after 20 minutes. In the last minute of the first half a breakaway run by Phoenix led to Hick facing three attackers and, although he saved the initial shot, the ball fell kindly for a second player to flick into the net from close range.
Thurrock began the second half strongly and Luke Strudwick made a weaving run on the left before passing into the D where Ricky Smith was on hand to hammer the ball into the net.
Thurrock were buoyed by this goal and exerted pressure on the Braintree defence forcing the keeper into a series of saves. From one of these saves, the ball was propelled up the field to a speedy attacker who drove into the area before releasing a half-hit shot. As Hick attempted to kick the ball, it spun off his foot to give the visitors a fourth goal. Within minutes a fifth was added from a well-drilled penalty corner routine which evaded the Thurrock defenders on the line.
Phoenix piled on the pressure and Hick pulled off a string of strong saves to peg them back. From a Braintree attack, Dave Leeks picked up the ball on the 25 metre line and drove up the field before passing to fellow defender Luke Danbrook who powered into the area before releasing a shot which left the keeper rooted to the spot. Thurrock worked hard to add to their goals with Fleming shooting just wide after receiving an inch perfect pass from Tom Archer.
Thurrock were seeing more of the ball and passed it around to try to gain reward for their efforts, however they left themselves open to a Phoenix breakaway which produced a sixth goal in the last minute.