Carshalton Athletic 1 v 2 East Thurrock Utd
Report courtesy of the Thurrock Enquirer.
EAST Thurrock made it a bank holiday weekend of double delight with a hard-fought Ryman Premier win at Carshalton where sub Luke Wanadio came off the bench to grab both goals for the visitors – who might have found the game irretrievable had the Robins made more of their first half dominance.
After their energy-sapping exploits in the rain against Grays Athletic on Saturday Rocks looked a little leg-weary right from the off – perhaps not surprising after the lack of continuity in pre-season and a number of their new signings being short of match practice.
The home side made a very bright start, pinging the ball about and stretching Rocks all over the park. Young and diminutive midfielder Tommy Bradford was particularly impressive, showing all the skills that earned him an extended trial at Tottenham last season, and he is surely still a youngster who will attract lots of interest from bigger clubs if he continues in this vein.
Despite the impressive opening from Carshalton and all their dominance, the first real opportunity of the match fell to East Thurrock striker David Bryant after Leon Mckenzie’s skilful touch opened up a shooting opportunity but Bryant scuffed his effort wide of the post.
That was on 18 minutes and within 60 seconds the hosts were to take the lead with a simple goal that was superbly executed, Luke Pigden picking out Bradford with a fine pass and the youngster controlled the ball, jinked his way into a shooting position and from an angle he slotted the ball unerringly past Darren Behcet.
The goal reflected the grip Robins had on the game and they ought to have extended their lead as Rocks found themselves increasingly stretched but the speed and ability to shut down danger of visiting skipper Simon Peddie kept the visitors in it – together with the profligacy of Julian Owusu who missed the target a couple of times when well-placed.
Rocks did end the half with some encouragement when Craig Hughes lifted an effort over the bar.
It was to be Hughes’ last contribution as he was replaced by Wanadio at half time and the reshaped Rocks looked a completely different side after the break. Almost immediately they were on the offensive and Lea Dawson shot straight at Michael McEntegart but there were still some anxious moments for John Coventry’s side, most notably when Behcet raced out of his area to clear a ball but missed it and it was fortunate Peddie was in place to clear with Owuso sniffing an open goal.
However, the game was levelled on 57 minutes when the industrious Bryant got to the ball and flicked it goalwards where Wandaio pounced to lift it over McEntegart.
Robins responded well and could have retaken the lead had Owuso been more assertive but with the goal at his mercy he hesitated in getting a shot in and the ever-present Peddie pounced to black the danger.
Rocks introduced young sub Mitchell Gilbey and debutant Grant Eagle which re-energised their play and they began assert even more pressure that culminated with an 81st minute goal for Wanadio who blocked a miss-hit kick by McEntegart and then chased it down, controlled the ball and raced into the box to slide an angled shot past the despondent keeper.
The closing minutes were played out relatively comfortably by Rocks who held on to consolidate their best ever start to a Ryman Premier season, while Carshalton could only rue their missed first half opportunity.