Hockey: First friendly of year for Thurrock

THURROCK 1st XI travelled to Braintree to face a strong Phoenix team for the rearranged fixture which was called off previously after a waterlogged pitch. So soon after the Christmas break meant that quite a few regular 1st team players were unavailable which gave a couple of the 2nd XI their chance to shine. Up stepped Jeff West making his 2012/13 season debut and also Sam Webb coming in for some defensive cover.

The game started poorly for Thurrock as Phoenix took the game towards them with a lot of pressure. Phoenix kept finding the gaps in the new look line-up of Thurrock which was leaking easy through balls. However first blood went to Thurrock as Dan O’Shaughnessy stole a poorly controlled ball and managed to poke it in the direction of Jak Taylor who swivelled and swerved his way into the D and finished nicely at the near post. 0-1.

Very soon after Thurrock had doubled their lead when Jak Taylor slapped a defence splitting through ball to Michael Murry who magnificently jabbed the ball across the keeper (taking a straggling foot to gut in the meantime) where the captain Steve Abbott was on hand to finish from a couple of yards. 0-2.

Close to half time the solid Thurrock defence slipped up and gave Phoenix a short corner. A very nicely worked short which saw the dragger receive the ball back from the striker at the near post to slot it past the keeper Andy Gaut.

Half time and the team talk was for more passing and control of the ball.

The second half can be summed up with one word – poor! Thurrock pretty much fell apart! They gave the ball away at pretty much every opportunity, couldn’t string 2 passes together and made silly tackles around the D giving away countless short corners.

Thurrock did manage to score a third as a result of the one decent play in the second half after Jak Taylor jabbed the ball off the defender trying to step infront, then passing to Dan O’Shaughnessy who saw Steve Abbott ‘silently’ screaming for the ball at the far post who managed to dink it over the keeper nicely.

A nervous last few minutes saw Phoenix grab a second goal to make it 2-3. The game ended in an extremely sour note with handbags being thrown and toys very much so being thrown out of the pram. This resulted in both the Phoenix player and Dan O’Shoughnessy seeing red.

The game was extremely poor from the view of Thurrock but if they can secure the 3 points playing like that, what are the possibilities if they can play well with a full strength team?!

Man of the match went to Tommy Ing for another outstanding performance at the back and Donkey went to Nick Stapleton for a poor pass back ball at the beginning of the 2nd half

Onto next week which sees Thurrock up against a struggling Havering side languishing at the wrong end of the table.

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