Margate 0 v 1 East Thurrock United
EAST Thurrock had to win this Ryman Premier clash to maintain their outside chance of making the promotion play-off places and they did so with an exceptional performance, dominating the first half and grabbing the lead – then holding onto it with a hard-working rearguard action reports The Thurrock Enquirer.
At times this season the character of East Thurrock may have been questioned – but at Hartsdown on Tuesday evening they proved they have what it takes when the going gets tough.
Right from the off they took the game to their hosts, and weren’t put off when ref Paul Yates stopped the game and asked Margate to change shirts because of a clash – ironically into the amber and black normally associated with Rocks.
Kye Ruel played a significant role in the opening exchanges, busy both in and around the box, and going close to an opener with a rasping drive that went just over. Then his close range shot was blocked as Rocks turned the screw.
It was virtual one way traffic at this point and it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead on 29 minutes.
A long throw from Tom Stephen was never cleared and returned into the danger area by Ross Parmenter where David Bryant gathered it, made space and slotted home past Margate player manager Craig Holloway.
It was a goal that woke Margate up and they finally began to threaten, with Ryan Dolby striking from distance only to see his shot tipped over by Elliot Justham and then Carl Rook’s thunderous header flew past the outside of an upright when he really ought to have done better.
Rocks got to the break with their lead intact, then defended it stoutly throughout a second half when Holloway was largely a spectator.
On several occasions Justham produced instinctive stops and one or two efforts went wide of the target as Margate rushed their finishing.
Despite the scares, there was a sense of determination about the visitors as they held on and also a ruthlessness exemplified when Steve Sheehan deliberately handballed when under pressure, taking his yellow card the opportunity to regain shape and defend the subsequent free kick.
It was rarely pretty, but very effective and few could deny that the visitors didn’t deserve the victory for their attitude, high workrate and determination to get the job done.