Thamesmead Town 1 v 0 East Thurrock Utd
AN outstanding performance by Thamesmead’s current goalkeeper and an error by a former popular incumbent of the Mead number one shirt decided the outcome of this Ryman Premier clash on Saturday.
East Thurrock will look back and wonder how they didn’t win after dominating much of the game and carving out chance after chance. The answer is keeper Rob Budd who pulled off save after save in the first half then capped it with an outstanding stop in the closing moments to ensure all the points stayed south of the Thames.
The visitors will also feel aggrieved that the goal that decided the issue probably should have been disallowed by ref Dan Robathan who gave fouls for every bit of physical contact in the Thamesmead area but then allowed a barge on keeper Sam Mott that led to the game’s only goal. In truth the keeper had fumbled the ball as he jumped to take it under pressure from Tyrus Gordon-Young but the impact knocked him to the ground and he was unable to recover as the ball bounced off the crossbar and Gordon-Young tapped into an empty net.
Most of the drama in the game took place at the other end though.
Budd’s first moment of brilliance came after only five minutes. After a great run from full back Ryan Sammons, the ball fell to Leon McKenzie who was almost turning to salute the goal from six yards as the Thamesmead keeper somehow made the ground across his goal to palm the striker’s shot behind – it left McKenzie holding his head in disbelief!
Yet incredibly, Thamesmead had an even better chance 60 seconds later as a long ball forward caused absolute chaos down the left and as former Thamesmead keeper Sam Mott and Sammons got in a terrible mess and Javlon Campbell looked as though he was going to benefit, but after surviving the challenge on the edge of the box, he couldn’t keep his feet and shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors next threatened as David Bryant raced clear only for Budd to come hurtling out of goal the hack clear a good ten yards outside of this box. Rob then excelled in the more conventional way with a full length finger save to deny Sammons’ low drive with the finger tips of his left hand.
Thamesmead then survived a succession of Rocks corners and goalmouth scrambles and there were several other saves for Budd to make as he ensured his side made it to the break on even terms
The second half began as evenly as the first half had been – first Stuart Thurgood’s ball into the box saw McKenzie flick out a boot as the ball went just over the Thamesmead bar while at the other end, Mott made a fine block with his legs to deny Olalekan Bankole at the back post following Karl’s deep free kick.
The game’s only goal arrived just before the hour and it was a lead that Thamesmead were not to lose thanks to a combination of inspired goal keeping and sensational defending in particular from skipper Lewis Tozer and his central defensive partner and former East Thurrock stalwart James Donovan.
As the home side were pushed further and further back, East Thurrock threw more and more forward and Bryant went close again when again he sprinted clear. This time he was to be denied by a combination of full back Jay Porter and the inspired keeper, and just to prove that it wasn’t going to be the Essex club’s day, Buddy arguably saved his best until last.
A shot was blocked on the edge of the box, but the rebound fell to substitute Mitchell Gilby whose flicked header seemed destined for the net before the Thamesmead stopper arched his back to show fantastic reactions to tip the ball over.