Ryman Div One North
Thurrock 3 v 0 Great Wakering Rovers
Report by Scott Lanza
THURROCK made it eight wins on the bounce after brushing aside Great Wakering Rovers with a 3-0 victory that was as one-sided as the score line suggests. The Fleet are targeting the Ryman North title after having fallen at the Play-Off hurdle in the last two seasons and made sure that their opponents, who themselves arrived at Ship Lane in search of points in their relegation battle, went home empty handed.
The Fleet almost took the lead as early as the second minute when Harry Cook turned and fired wide. However it was Great Wakering who had the better of the initial exchanges. Bobby Mason had to save a glancing header from Jacob Cleaver and it was Great Wakering who created the first opening when a ball through to Cleaver looked like a certain goal, as the Rovers striker was in acres of space, but he fluffed his shot.
Gradually Fleet came out of their shell and the constant movement of the midfielders and forwards meant that the Rovers defence had to work hard to keep Fleet at bay. Ronnie Winn was starting to link up nicely with David Cowley and they both put over crosses that couldn’t be converted. Thurrock’s best chance of this attacking spell fell to Harry Cook who ended a superb run from Cowley with a crafty little back heel that wrong-footed McCarty and just went the wrong side of the post. Cowley had a free kick sail over the crossbar; Joe Christou had a long range effort blocked by Jimmy Nottage, while John Easterford and Nikki Beale found themselves stemming a constant stream of Fleet pressure. The visitors were certainly riding their luck and Perry Dunn saw a shot clip the post, while Mark Onyemah had a shot saved by the legs of the Rovers custodian.
Despite the one way traffic Thurrock had not been able to prise open the Rovers defence and as the half came to a close Fleet were again denied by McCarthy who had to dive to his left to knock away a Jordan Clark header, which had been set-up by a pinpoint free kick from Ronnie Winn. However deep in first half injury time Nikki Beale handled inside the box resulting in Mr Bishop awarding a penalty. Jordan Clark made no mistake from 12 yards, thumping the ball past McCarthy.
The opening minute of the second half saw Scott Pethers fire just wide for Rovers but after that it was back to Thurrock controlling the game with Winn and Cowley keeping the Rovers defence busy with a constant stream of through balls. With 52 minutes played Fleet doubled their lead after a fast sweeping move broke the Rovers defence allowing Joe Christou time and space to get the ball under control before he struck a powerful shot into the bottom right hand corner.
It was all the Fleet deserved for all their possession but the goal suddenly woke Great Wakering Rovers up and Jack Aldington went on a run down the right wing that took him past several Fleet players. He played in Cleaver but he hashed his shot and it sailed safely past the target.
Thurrock extended their lead on the hour when a ball worked its way across the Rovers goalmouth where Dunn was waiting to score his first goal in Fleet colours. With it now being 3-0 to Fleet the game was as good as won and Thurrock could have added a few more to the tally. Onyemah, who had shown good movement throughout the game, couldn’t however get his shots on target and on two occasions placed shots wide. He also had a shot blocked by Jason Ring, when perhaps a pass to substitute Michael Pindy, who was standing unmarked, may have brought more reward. Pindy also had a shot that hit the side-netting. Fleet were putting on a good display of attacking football that stretched the Rovers keeper and defence but they weren’t able to add any further goals.
Rovers almost grabbed a consolation in the later stages when Ricky Evans unleashed a drive from distance that Mason palmed away. However Dunn had a relatively quiet afternoon and Fleet ended up winning this game at a canter.
Thurrock now sit in second place and go into 2017 in a good position to mount a title challenge. They are just two points behind Maldon. They don’t play Maldon until Feb 11th.
Their next fixture is on Tuesday evening when they welcome sixth placed AFC Hornchurch. The visitors are unbeaten in ten going into this game; however Fleet will be looking to continue their current winning streak, which has seen them win eight league games on the bounce.
Thurrock: Bobby Mason, Reece Morgan, Remy Sutton, Richard Halle (Capt), Mark Onyemah, Perry Dunn, Jordan Clark (James Goode 65), Ronnie Winn, Harry Cook (George Winn 78), Joe Christou, David Cowley (Michael Pindy 69)
Scorers – Jordan Clark (45’+4), Joe Christou (52′), Perry Dunn (60′)
Great Wakering Rovers: Tyler McCarthy, Jason Ring, Jimmy Nottage, Kai Heather, John Easterford (Capt), Nikki Beale (Ryan Burt-Allen 55), Scott Pethers, Ricky Evans, Jacob Cleaver, Adam Topley (Emmanuel Sackey 63), Jack Adlington (Daniel Gilchrist 76)