East Thurrock United 3 v 1 Thamesmead Town
THIS ‘six-pointer’ in the Ryman Premier relegation battle ended with an emphatic victory for East Thurrock, but for much of the game there was little to separate the sides.
The first half saw both sides cancel each other out and there was little in the way of entertainment other tahen one moment of class from Rocks striker Sam Higgins who picked the ball up on the edge of the box, turned and thumped a ferocious shot that former East Thurrock keeper Sam Mott tipped onto the crossbar.
An increase in tempo and intensity in the second half by the Rocks gradually saw them take control of the game and the lead, when it came, was deserved. The goal on 71 minutes was created by winger Mitchell Pennock who seemed to have nowhere to go as he was shadowed out wide but he turned his marker inside out and delivered a low cross to the far post where Higgins prodded the ball home from close range.
The game was effectively sealed seven minutes later when Higgins broke clear and bore down on Mott who left his box and brought down the striker. It was inevitable that Mot would receive a red card but Higgins left the field with him as he sustained an injury in the challenge.
Mott was replaced by Rob Budd, who had been the Mead hero when the two sides met earlier in the season with a string of fine saves that helped his side to a single goal win. This time there were to be no repeat heroics and he found himself picking the ball out of the net instantaneously as Nicky Symons drilled the free kick from Mott’s foul through the wall and into the net off Budd’s outstretched fingertips.
And within a minute Budd was beaten again, this time by sub neil Richmond’s close range volley after he got on the end of another superlative piece of work by Pennock.
Junior Baker did give the visitors some consolation as he scored on the counter attack just before full time, bursting down the right hand side and placing the ball past David Hughes into the bottom right corner.
This was little more than a blip though as the Rocks saw out what was ultimately a comfortable win.