East Thurrock United 3 v 0 Grays Athletic
A MISTAKE by Grays Athletic keeper, George Kamarusi on the stroke of half time turned this local derby as East Thurrock beat Grays 3-0 and consigned them to their first defeat of the season at Rookery Hill.
The constant rain made conditions difficult and so there were unforced errors on both sides.
Lea Dawson tested Grays keeper George Kamarusi and a minute later Nathan Korateng found space but the shot was parried away by the increasingly impressive Grays keeper.
Grays put into play their passing game that has served them so well of late but the Rock’s midfield was keeping them in check.
Leon McKenzie was making his debut for the Rocks and showed his strenght as he shook off Grays defenders to produce a booming shot that whistled over the bar.
In the 20th minute, Stuart Thurgood produced a piledriver that harked back to his great days at Grays. Again, George Kamarusi did well to parry away.
Grays started to dominate. A thirty yard run by Joao Carlos ended with a free kick just outside the area. Lee Flynn drove it at the wall, the ball pinged around the box and it was only a fine save from keeper Darren Bechet that kept Carlos out.
In the 38th minute, it was Leon McKenzie’s turn to produce the bustling run as he put David Bryant in but he could not find the target. And close to half time, McKenzie pounced on a Grays player slipping and then shook off Craig Pope but he could not find the target.
On the stroke of half time, East Thurrock took the lead. Stuart Thurgood sent a free kick over from thirty yards out that went through the hands of George Kamarusi and into the net.
East Thurrock came out in the second half much more confident and assured. They looked like a team that had got into the play-offs last year. Grays on the other hand started to look frustrated as if they knew this might not be their day.
What was remarkable was the growing influence that Stuart Thurgood had on the game as he sprayed the ball around and dictated the pace of things.
The Rocks extended his lead in the 65th minute, when David Bryant picked up the ball on the right and seemed to coast past Lee Flynn before curling the ball around the Grays keeper.
As the rain persisted, you could see the gulf between the two teams as the Rocks went hunting for a third.
And they go it in injury time, when persistence in the box saw the ball fall clear to David Bryant who slipped it in from close range.
Grays had very few chances whilst East Thurrock continued to spray the ball around, worked very hard and may well use this game to jump start this season.
Grays Athletic on the other hand may have to consider what Plan B is.
East Thurrock United: Behcet D, Sammons R, Stephen T, Peddie S, Sheehan S, Hughes C, Dawson L, Thurgood S, McKenzie L, Bryant D, Korateng N (Wanadio L 82),
Subs not used: Gilby M, Witherspoon C, Eagle G, Hughes D
Grays Ath: Kamarusi G, Pope C, Flynn L, Baker J, Nightingill J, Lalite L, Ramos-Gonzalez A (Hamdan U 65), Beaney K, West J, Small J, Carlos J.
Subs not used: Anderson P, Greene L, Cruickshank A, Kirby R