Football: East Thurrock into FA Trophy Quarter-Final draw after

FA Trophy Third Round

Spennymoor Town 1 v 1 East Thurrock United

EAST Thurrock spent the long journey back from the north east rueing a couple of gilt-edged first half chances that were missed that might have secured their place in the FA Trophy quarter-finals but nevertheless pleased to have held one of the Vanarama North form sides on their sloping ground.

The draw was probably a fair reflection of the match which saw Rocks have the better of the first half, playing up the hill, but Moors dominated after the break – to the extent Rocks didn’t have an effort on target, and they ended the game with ten men following the late dismissal of Michael Clark.

The opening stages saw both sides getting used to a sticky pitch. Spennymoor knocked the ball about well on a difficult surface but struggled to create clear cut opportunities, while Rocks’ more direct approach produced a number of half chances.

They came close to breaking the deadlock on 27 minutes when Lewis Smith worked space for himself but fired tamely straight at keeper Jordan Porter. However, the visitors grabbed the lead a minute later when a well-worked passage of play set up Sam Higgins, whose fierce strike was goalbound but took a deflection off Smith to wrong-foot Porter as it flew inside his near post

Smith then turned provider a couple of minutes later when he teed up Higgins but the Rocks top scorer saw his strike come off the crossbar
At the other end, Moor’s Rob Ramshaw had penalty claims waved away by ref Matthew Donohoe, who was doing little to endear himself to the home fans. Ryan Hall then had a shot saved by visiting goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevicius.

Rocks ought to have added to their lead seven minutes before half-time, when the ball was allowed to bounce in the box and fell kindly for Max Cornhill but he scuffed his shot wide of the upright.

The hosts also had chances, as defender Joseph Tait blazed over from inside the area while Andrew Johnson had a header cleared off the line. Moors had another shout for a spot kick on the stroke of half-time, claiming Glen Taylor was shoved in the back by defender Clark.

The nature of the game changed in second half when Moor were the dominant force and they continually pegged Rocks back.

Lidakevicus, whose anticipation at the edge of the box served his side well, made a good save from Glen Taylor but the equaliser arrived on 67 minutes when Andrew Johnson cut inside and launched a shot that slid past the despairing dive of Lidakevius and slipped low inside his hear post.

Moors almost scored again five minutes later when Bradly Fewster somehow guided the ball over the bar from close range when it seemed impossible to miss. Rocks, who had replaced Calvin Ekpetita with Tom Richardson early in the second half, saw an increasingly tight hamstring put paid to Higgins, with James White coming on

The visitors were reduced to ten men in the 81st minute when Fewster was brought down by Clark, with Mr Donohue adjudging it to be denial of a goalscoring opportunity. .

There was a heart-stopping moment for Rocks a moment before the end when Lidakevicius fumbled a shot from Taylor and was grateful to see it bounce wide of his post.

And the last meaningful action of the game in the last of three added minutes left Rocks aggrieved when Richardson bore down on goal and appeared to be felled by a rash tackle from behind by Kallum Griffiths this time it was East Thurrock supporters’ turn to barrack the referee as Mr Donohue declined to award a penalty.

Report courtesy of the Thurrock Independent

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