East Thurrock United 3 v 1 Concord Rangers
EAST Thurrock manager John Coventry continues to play down his side’s chances of reaching the Ryman Premier play-offs, but the Rocks are edging ever closer to the end-of-season excitement zone on the back of a sustained run of positive results.
There was an even, if low key start to this derby, though Rocks came close to breaking the deadlock in the fifth minute when Adrian Clifton rose to head goalwards but his effort was blocked reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
The opening goal came on nine minutes when Jason Hallett outstripped Steve Sheehan and crossed to the far post where Danny Spendlove side-footed home from close range.
Rocks were level on 20 minutes when Sam Higgins fired home the penalty spot after being brought down by Concord keeper Dale Brightly as he rounded the stopper. Brightly was cautioned and somewhat lucky to escape a red card.
The goal came in the middle of a lengthy spell of Rocks pressure but Concord came close to retaking the lead in the 26th minute when an angled shot from Ben Greenhalgh struck the foot of the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of keeper Elliott Justham.
However, the third goal wasn’t long in coming, Ryan Sammons’ long throw being flicked on by Clifton and Sam Collins rose to head home in the 29th minute.
And there ought to have been another goal for Rocks on 33 minutes when Kye Ruel burst through to lob Brightly but the ball landed wide of the mark.
Both sides huffed and puffed their way through to the half time break with neither getting a grip on what was an engaging encounter.
The second half saw Rocks come out strongly and they extended their lead eight minutes after the restart when a magnificent ball from Collins picked out Higgins who cut inside and shot past Brightly.
Midway through the half there was a sickening collision between Concord players John Easterford and Matt Fry as both went for the same ball. Easterford was treated on the pitch for ten minutes before being stretchered off.
After that chances were at a premium, though James Elmes did force a diving save from Justham with a well struck free kick – and in the closing stages the keeper was out quickly to foil Jason Hallett as the striker bore down on his goal.