Thurrock 3 Dorking Wanderers 2
Report by Dom Baker
In the third league game of the season, Thurrock played host to Dorking Wanderers at Ship Lane, posting their first win of the season. The visitors went into this game with 3 points having beaten Metropolitan Police 4 – 1 in midweek.
Mark Stimson made four changes to the team that faced Needham Market on Tuesday as Tim Brown, Reece Morgan, Joe Christou and Ronnie Winn came in to the side.
Thurrock started brightly both with and without the ball as they pressed high and intensely to win possession. Dennis Oli and Charlie Stimson led the line for the Fleet and worked hard in the first line of the defence. Just seven minutes in Stimson won a loose ball in attack, but got a knock in the process requiring some treatment from the physio.
Both sides were taking every restart quickly and short as they were keen to keep the ball on the floor, playing out from the back with confidence. Dorking Wanderers were playing everything through winger Matt Briggs who liked to run at the back four. Briggs beat his man on the 15-minute mark and curled a cross to Tom Tolfrey who hit the bar with his first time shot. The linesman’s flag would have ruled it out had it gone in – a good line from the Thurrock back four.
Moments later and Thurrock were the team causing problems. Dennis Oli picked up the ball on the left wing and floated the ball into a loaded penalty area, the Wanderers clearance was high and short and Charlie Stimson rose above his marker and nodded the ball into the top corner.
Thurrock won the ball from Dorking’s kick off and looked to double their lead. The goal scorer Stimson broke on the left channel, beat his man and drilled the ball across the face of goal. The cross was met by Ronnie Winn who blasted just wide. With 2 dangerous attacks Thurrock could have been 2 goals ahead in a matter of minutes.
Whilst the home side were on the front foot Dorking countered with pace in wide areas. Their 4-4-2 system posed a threat from crosses with both Tolfrey and Hutchings in the box at every attack. Keeper Tim Brown came off his line to collect bravely on several occasions.
The away side attacked once more and it was Matt Briggs again looking dangerous. He played a one-two with Tolfrey and made his way into the box, as he shot the referee signalled for a penalty for a nudge from Joe Bruce. It seemed a harsh call but it was given nonetheless as Tom Tolfrey stepped up to the spot. His centred strike was saved by Brown before the rebound cruelly span back and crossed the line.
The score was level despite Thurrock’s early dominance – both sides were now looking to take the lead before half time. The Fleet didn’t appear disheartened by losing their lead, in fact it spurred them on. Glenn Poole found space on the left wing and curled a cross to the back post to an onrushing Reece Morgan who saw his powerful header well held by stopper Slavomir Huk. Just before the break Thurrock would carve out one more chance. Reece Morgan was involved again when Ronnie Winn laid the ball back for the right back to cross. The back-post ball was met again by Charlie Stimson who powered a header downwards into the bottom left corner.
Thurrock kicked off after the break and the intent to get another goal was clear to see. Joe Christou picked up a loose ball early in the second half and drove towards the Wanderers back four before shooting just outside the area into the keeper’s arms. Thurrock weren’t going to sit on a one goal lead. Seven minutes in to the half saw another chance for the Fleet. Dennis Oli chased down a clearance and held the ball up for Ronnie Winn who rode a challenge before skewing his shot just wide. Oli was then replaced moments later by Leon Antoine. Remi Sutton was also replaced, through injury, by Richard Halle as George Winn shuffled from centre to left.
The game got scrappier as the visitors turned up their intensity. They began opting to play long balls towards their target men, creating fifty-fifty battles all over the pitch. The referee had to intervene more as the game wore on, cautioning Reece Morgan and Dorking’s Luke Moore. Despite this the hosts looked cool under pressure in possession and were able to play on the counter with a two-man attack and Ronnie Winn supporting from deep.
It was Winn’s desire to break into the box that gave Thurrock their third goal of the game. Glenn Poole gained possession 30 yards from goal and spotted Winn’s surge from deep. A weighted through ball was taken down and then finished low with his left boot past the onrushing keeper.
The Fleet had the comfortable lead their play warranted and with just 10 minutes left they were heading for their first 3 points of the season. Dorking Wanderers’ spirits weren’t damaged by the third goal as more long balls were floated towards their strike force, now made up of a centre-half too. The last chance of the game fell to the visitors in the second minute of stoppage time. Winger Matt Briggs cut in from the left channel and finished well from the edge of the box past Brown.
A fine individual goal turned out to be nothing more than a consolation. In this five-goal thriller Thurrock ran out deserved winners, gaining their first win of the season. The team will want to take this good performance into their next game on Friday when Thurrock host Worthing.
Thurrock: Tim Brown, Reece Morgan, Remi Sutton (Rich Halle 68), George Winn, Joe Bruce, Jordan Clark, Joe Christou, Glenn Poole, Charlie Stimson, Dennis Oli (Leon Antoine 75 (Joel Nouble 79)), Ronnie Winn.
Scorers – Charlie Stimson (17′, 44′), Ronnie Winn (79′)
Dorking Wanderers: Slavomir Huk, Rob Sheridan, Chris Boulter, Dean Hamlin, Jerome Beckles, Sam Beard (Sol Pinnock 72), Luke Moore, Matt Briggs, Tommy Hutchings (Isaac Philpott 56), Tom Tolfrey (Giuseppe Sole 75), James McShane.
Scorers – Tom Tolfrey (36’p), Matthew Briggs (90′)