Hockey: Thurrock hot six in last match before Christmas

Upminster 4 v 6 Thurrock

The last league game before the Christmas break and Thurrock found themselves travelling to Upminster to face their 2nd XI who are currently struggling at the wrong end of the table. Thurrock needed the 3 points to stay within reach of the top teams and also wanted a good win to celebrate on when the wallys descended on Southend!

Thurrock bowled up an hour before pushback for a good warm up inside and out of the changing rooms as it was yet again freezing!

Pushback to Thurrock and the game was under way. Thurrock had a positive first 5 minutes generating some good possession and quite a few chances. The new look forward line including the captain Steve Abbott, Christian Jenkins and Jak Taylor played the ball well upfront but couldn’t get the final shot away.

The donkey moment of the game happened quite early on when Kyle Taylor running at full speed down the right tried to stop at the baseline only to find the slippery surface defeat him and both feet when high in the air and a small thud came from Kyle’s backside. Eyoooooore was the shout from the rest of the team.

The deadlock was finally broken after numerous chances from the forwards when Jak Taylor passed across goal for Steve Abbott on his second attempt, after the home keeper had made a good save, slotted the ball home from a tight angle. 1-0 and Thurrock were on the ascent.

The second came soon after from a short corner when eventual man of the match Andre Rudder was passed the ball on the left and he nicely slotted it home.

It should have been 3-0 but for a poor decision from the umpire who thought the ball had not come out of the D on a short corner even though it actually came all the way out to Christian Jenkins who was the backup player behind the stopper Jak Taylor.

Upminster however found themselves on level terms only 5 minutes later after some very poor defending from the Thurrock 1st XI. The first coming after a slip from the defender and the ball found its way to the centre forward on the penalty spot where he sneakily slotted it above the diving keeper Danny Hik. The second came moments later after the tall centre midfielder wasn’t tracked into the D and a slight deflected cross found the bottom corner. 2-2 and Thurrock had thrown away their well earned lead.

The half time whistle was approaching but moments before Kyle Taylor found himself in front of goal on the reverse and after a couple of unorthodox scoops, the ball hit the Upminster defender on the line and a penalty flick was awarded. Up stepped Jordan Salmon to slot it away confidently to the bottom left sending the keeper the wrong way.

Half time and Thurrock couldn’t understand how after so many chances and the vast majority of the possession they were only 3-2 up. Passing was a major aspect of the team talk with a few team mates being greedy.

The second half was a good performance from both sides with some decent spells of possession and some quality passing from both teams. The finishing prowess of the away side however was the determining factor and ultimately the reason for the away win. Firstly Andre Rudder slotted his second home at the near post and then some lovely one-two play between Christian Jenkins and Kyle Taylor ended in the first of two for Christian. His second came from a rebound from a short corner and Christian shouting his head off for Andre to get out the way. The ball was smacked into the net. 6-2

Then some more lax defending from the away team let Upminster back into the game with their 3rd coming from a nice sliding shot from the forward beating Danny Hik to the ball at the top of the D. Upminster’s final goal came from a short corner when the Upminster forward managed to find a gap in Danny’s kit to slot it away.

6-4 was the final score and the all important 3 points went to the away team…let the wally celebration begin. What followed in the evening was nothing pretty. A sea of red and white stripes and calls from every passer by with ‘I found him!’ and ‘where’s is he?’ and also a couple of ‘look at those smurfs!’. The latter clearly must have thought they were funny, they weren’t!

Christmas break means lots of yummy food and alcohol but the Thurrock team need to be fit and healthy when Havering bowl up on the 19th of January or even earlier if the rearranged game with Phoenix is set up. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Come on you Tees!

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