Football: Rocks rocked by late winner

Ryman Premier

East Thurrock United 0 v 1 Hampton and Richmond

A HUGELY controversial goal settled this game dominated by East Thurrock but they were unable to find a cutting edge and were undone by Alan Bray’s 81st minute strike.

Rocks made a fluent start to the match with some attractive passing pegging Hampton back and eventually it unpicked the visiting defence to present Lea Dawson with a shooting chance but he scuffed his effort straight at keeper Rodney Chiweshe.

Hampton’s first real attack of note didn’t materialise until the 25th minute when Rocks keeper Darren Behcet did well to parry Joel Ledgister’s header, though the effort would have been ruled out for a foul anyway.

Soon after Charlie Moon nodded over the bar when well-placed.

Rocks continued to dominate possession but were unable the create more than the odd half chance before half time, the best of which saw Dawson head over and moments before the break Tom Stephen and Connor Witherspoon combined, with Stephen’s shot inches above the crossbar.

The first 15 minutes of the second half saw Rocks pressing forward but they were unable to find the breakthrough, coming closest on the hour when the ball broke kindly for Witherspoon after Luke Wannadio’s run down the flank but the half chance was quickly snuffed out.

Rocks had an opportunity with 15 minutes remaining when Chiweshe left his area to clear and the ball broke to Stephen but the young footballer’s long range effort towards an empty net drifted wide.

The best chance of the game came soon after when Wanadio’s cross picked out Steve Sheehan but his free header lacked the venom need to get past Chiweshe.

Five minutes later Hampton won a corner from which Bray’s header appeared to go out of play but Hampton recycled the ball into the box and it was muscled out of the hands of Behcet and rolled to Bray who smashed it home from close range, much to the consternation of the Rocks players who were incensed that ref Adrian Waters allowed play to continue in the first place and then ignored the perceived foul on the keeper.

The sense of injustice prompted renewed vigour up front for Rocks and Chiweshe did well to save Leon McKenzie’s well struck drive. And right at the death the keeper produced a magic moment when he pushed another fierce McKenzie strike onto the crossbar to secure all the point for his side.

After the match Rocks boss John Coventry was upbeat, despite the adverse result. “We played really well and there was lots of good things to admire about our play. Unfortunately David Bryant was unavailable today and I think his eye for goal and link play around the box would have made a difference but we have to go with what we have and I can’t really fault the performance,” he said.

“We didn’t allow Hampton into the game at all and they got the lucky break at the end. I don’t need to say anything about the standard of officiating, people who were here saw what went on and the inconsistenceies through the match. I said to the ref after the game we would kep his food warm because he would be spending a long time with the assessor and I think they were in there for about 45 minutes, which sums it up.

“I can’t do anything about referees so we have to live with it. I can only comment on my players and I thought we did ok. We will play a lot worse and win matches, in fact we did at Carshalton last Monday, so I can’t complain about the result today. That’s the way things go in football, you don’t always get what you deserve and sometimes you get more than you deserve. It balances out in the end.”

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