Hendon 2 v 2 East Thurrock United
TWO goals from Lea Dawson saw East Thurrock leave Earlsmead with a Ryman Premier League point but it felt a little like two lost as the Rocks enjoyed much the better of possession and Hendon were grateful for a late equaliser which was against the run of play.
Play was balanced through the opening stages with both sides threatening, but not delivering a goal. There was plenty of neat interplay and some tough tackling but it seemed the sides would go into the break on level terms until a cross to the far post ended in a scramble and Lee O’Leary sfound the space and opportunity to force the ball over the line from close range.
Rocks responded in the best possible manner coming out for the second half in determined mood and they immediately forced Hendon onto the back foot and the equalising goal came after five minutes when an angled ball into the box caused problem for the home defence and in the scramble Dawson pounced to force the ball wide of stranded keeper Berkley Laurencin, though he took a nasty whack from centreback Sam Flegg for his troubles and limped back for the restart after taking the congratulations of his colleagues.
The goal sparked a period of sustained Rocks pressure and they created several half chances, with Jason Hallett going close a couple of times, but a lack of width in their approach play played into the hands of the home side somewhat as most of the play was in front of them and they were able to deny Rocks the time and space to create a clear cut chance.
The second goal, when it came on 72 minutes did come from wide play but owed much to an error from Laurencin who stretched to far in trying to catch a cross and under legitimate pressure from Dawson he dropped the ball and the energetic Rocks midfielder reacted quickly to fire the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
It seemed Rocks were home and hosed at that point as they were looking comfortable but Hendon dug deep and began to push Rocks back themselves.
And they were able to gain a share of the points in the 82nd minute when Jefferson Louis pounced to drive the ball just inside the post for an equaliser.