Football: Rocks produce best performance of the season

Ryman Premier

Bury Town 1 v 2 East Thurrock

EAST Thurrock turned in one of their best performances of the season and emerged deserving winners from Saturday’s Ryman Premier clash at Ram Meadow.

The opening exchanges were dominated by Bury, who pushed Rocks back and John Sands was denied only by a fine save from Elliot Justham who dived to push the striker’s low drive past the upright.

Having weathered the early storm the visitors began to get into the game with some short, sharp passing teasing openings out of the home defence. Liam Burgess was particularly prominent in midfield, linking with the very mobile David Bryant and prompting some poor challenges from the home players, John Kennedy being booked for one late, cynical lunge that upended him.

The Rocks pair combined on 20 minutes and Bryant’s turn and shot produced an excellent save from Marcus Garnham.

Controversy reigned just before the break when Bury broke clear and Sam Reed bore down on goal. The ball seemed to have overrun him and was gathered by Justham at the same time as covering defender Ryan Sammons arrived. The three collided, and with the home side baying for a penalty and dismissal, Mr Holmes awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and booked Sammons. It was a decision that incensed the visitors who were glad to the free-kick smashed high over the bar by Reed.

With both sides goalless at the break the match was anyone’s to take a grip of and Bury certainly came out in the right frame of mind, pushing Rocks into a rearguard action, though the defence held firm until another controversial moment five minutes into the half when Sands sprang the back line from what looked to be an offside position. He didn’t hesitate as the visitors appealed and raced through to slot the ball confidently past Justham.

Simon Peddie was booked for his protest but Rocks didn’t buckle and within seven minutes were level with Bryant jinking his way into the box and laying a perfect ball into the path of Burgess who slammed home his first goal for his side.

Rocks made a change in the frontline, with Kye Ruel replacing L’Hereux Menga and the switch paid dividends when Ruel latched onto a throughball from Bryant and clipped it over Garnham into the net.

The pace in what had always been an entertaining game stepped up as Bury battled to get back on level terms but, as the clock ticked down, East Thurrock’s resolution looked set to carry them through.

Justham had to make a save low to his right from Allicion Blake and there was a contentious moment when Sammons made contact in the box with Sands whose flying fall failed to convince ref Holmes that he had been fouled and he waved play on.

Bury were incensed and manager Richard Wilkins was sent from the dugout for a barrage of foul and abusive language at the official and his assistant.

Five minutes added time saw both sides at full stretch but Rocks were able to see off the danger and run down the clock for a notable victory.

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