East Thurrock United 0 v 1 Hungerford Town
By Michael Casey at The Futurefuel Stadium
AN underwhelming East Thurrock lost their first game of the season by a single goal to fellow newcomers Hungerford Town.
This was supposed to be a gentle baptism into the National League South but East Thurrock never really got going.
As befits a first game of the season, the game was played in very warm conditions and so with that in mind, both teams paced themselves.
The Rocks had the best of the early exchanges and looked very sharp with Reece Harris and Joe Gardner creating havoc.
Hungerford had a half chance in the 21st minute when Nat Jarvis scuffed a shot but that and a moment when Garyn Preen slipped up, was it for the first half an hour.
However for all that pressure, The Rocks were not converting their chances and that can be fatal at this level.
In the 32nd minute, East Thurrock thought they had a shout for a penalty but looked like the ball had hit Mike Jones in the face.
As the half wore on, there appeared to be large gaps in the Rocks midfield as Hungerford players broke at will and sure enough it came as no surprise when Nat Jarvies opened the scoring in the 39th minute.
Rock should have equalised in the first minute of the second half when Tom Wraight drove a cross to the heart of the area but James Walker’s close range shot was bundled away by the keeper.
But by now Hungerford looked like they had the measure of the Rocks.
Nicholas Bignall should have scored when free in 56th minute but it was well saved by the Rocks’ keeper. Bignall should have scored again when he had a free header from a corner.
It seemed like an age since Rock’s had threatened the opponents so it was welcome when Harris’ long range shot struck the bar.
The one touch football was attractive but it was being let down by the final ball.
The Rock’s got closest to scoring when, after another goalmouth scramble, the ball nearly rolled over the line.
The Rock’s were awarded a penalty when a player was judged to have handballed but it summed up their day when Tom Wraight’s penalty was easily saved by George Legg.
Hungerford never looked troubled but Rock’s were given lots to think about as they face Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday night.
East Thurrock: Lidakevicus L, Burns L. Clark L ( Sammons R, 60), Freiter M, Ellul J, Craddock G (Honesty H 60), Harris R, Marlow B, Walker J, Gardner J (Nesbitt T 78) ,Wraight T
Subs not used: Nottage J, Age J
Hungerford Town: Legg G, Tyler R, Diak J (Rees S 28), Jones M, Day M, Williams L, Clark J, Herring I, Jarvis N, Bignall N, Preen G
Subs not used: Goodger H, Boardman J, Brown S,Romeo D
Referee: Elliott Kaye