Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Football: Rocks coast to defeat as play-offs await

Ryman Premier

Whitehawk 1 v 0 East Thurrock United

A CHARLIE Henry goal two minutes from time earned Whitehawk victory in a match East Thurrock dominated for long periods but they were unable to force a breakthrough reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

With the home side alrady crowned champions and Rocks secure in a play-off place, this was always likely to be a low key affair but nevertheless was an entertaining encounter, with both sides showing plenty of commitment.

The glaring disappointment was the performance of referee Jason Richardson who produced an afternoon of baffling and inconsistent decisions, the most controversial being not to award East Thurrock a first half penalty which should also have seen the dismissal of home keeper Chris Winterton.

It came 15 minutes into a game that Rocks had started much the better, with David Bryant nicking the ball and going forward in a race with teammate James Lawson who got to a striking position first and Winterton tipped the ball round the post.

Whitehawk’s response was a fluent attack which ended with the ball at the feet of the dangerous Michael Malcom but he blazed high over the bar.

More Rocks pressure led to the controversial incident when L’hereaux Menga chased down a long ball. Winterton looked favourite to get it but slipped and missed the ball but his impetus took him into Menga who was clearly brought down.

It was as blatant a penalty as you would ever see bur Mr Richardson and his assistant Mark Tweed totally abdicated their responsibility, to the amazement of virtually everyone else in the ground, including the Whitehawk officials who could barely conceal their delight.

The rest of the half saw Rocks have the lion’s share of possession but they were unable to create a clear opening.

The second half was much closer with few real chances, the best falling to kye Ruel 15 minutes from time but having been set up in a wide position he fired his shot across the face of goal.

More bizarre and inconsistent decisions by Mr Richardson baffled players and fans alike but it looked as if things would end all square until a magnificent ball down the line set James Fraser free and he squared across the face of goal where fellow sub Henry had the simplest task of tapping in.

It was tough on the visitors but they were confirmed in the play-off zone on goal difference despite Met Police’s 4-0 win at Thurrock and now set their sights on a semi-final at Lowestoft on Wednesday.

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