East Thurrock United 1 v 2 Mertsham
EAST Thurrock lost to a hard working Mertsham in what may be a hiccup in their promotion bid.
The first chance of the game came in the second minute when Mertsham keeper keeper Josh Smith saved well from a Sam Higgins free kick.
When he saved well again from Higgins a minute later, it looked like the star striker was hungry for goals.
East Thurrock should have been a goal up in the eighth minute when they were awarded a penalty but spot-kick hit the post and away.
With the strong wind behind them, the Rocks dominated but the Surrey side slowly found their feet and swift striker Charlie Penny looked dangerous.
The game then descended into a passage of unforced errors as both teams struggled to get a foothold in the game. The visitor’s winger Aaron Hopkinson produced a dangerous shot on the edge of the area.
The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute when a swirling corner created havoc in the area and Sam Higgins was able to punch it home from close range.
Rocks were keen to cash in and a twenty yard shot from Jimmy Nottage nearly did.
Keeper Josh Smith made a marvellous close range save from Ricky Hayles.
But, against the run of play, Mertsham equalised, in what was a copy of the Rocks goal when a corner came over and Tutu Henriques bundled the ball home from close range.
With the wind against them in the second half, it took a while for the Rocks to find their rhythm and it was not until the 55th minute when Lewis Smith had a shot saved from close range.
The game went through another period of torpor but as the hour passed, the game started to open out. But it also illustrated that the Surrey side was still very much in it.
And they proved that in the 70th minute when Rlcky Hayles was easily dispossessed by hard working Charlie Penny who then curled the ball round the keeper and in.
The rest of the game went by fairly meekly. East Thurrock look full of purpose but flat. Sometimes it takes a defeat like this for a team to have a moment of reflection.
There are still plenty of games to go.
East Thurrock United
Lidakevicius L, Sammons R, Nottage J, Ellul J, Hayles R, Wood B, Smith L, Craddock G, Higgins S, Walker J (Rule K 70) Wraight T
Subs not used: Morgan A, Robson D, Newby K, Hogan C.
Smith J, Abnett M, Nehemie I, Douglas A, Cooper S, Henriques T, Brown E, Kavanagh T, Penny C, Saravia F, Hopkinson A (Rhule A 72)
Subs not used: Azeez L, Williams T, Willock C, Makes Y.
Referee: Mr A Pope