Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Football: Late strike keeps East Thurrock in trouble

East Thurrock Wealdstone

Vanarama National League South

East Thurrock United 0 v 1 Wealdstone

A DISPUTED goal four minutes from time was all that separated these two sides in the end, but this was a Vanarama National League South match that Wealdstone dominated almost from start to finish.

East Thurrock had just two efforts on target in 90 minutes and spent much of the match on the backfoot but to their credit they worked hard and kept themselves in the game and will feel aggrieved that they were beaten by a goal scored from what looked an offside position.

It came from Jerome Slew who looked to be behind the industrious Lee Burns when he received the ball in the box. Burns, who had worked industrially at the heart of Rocks defence, did his best to get a challenge in but the space Slew appeared to have gained illegally was enough to see him slot the ball past Jack Giddens.

Referee Stephen Hughes, who had ruled out seemingly valid claims for a Rocks penalty ten minutes earlier and then embarrassingly overruled his assistant (which perhaps explained the reticence to give the vital offside) on another incident that should have gone Rocks’ way, certainly appeared to be giving all the breaks to the visitors – but that’s the way it often goes when you are battling at the bottom.

Wealdstone were much the better side in the first half but struggled to find a finishing touch, flashing the ball across the face of goal several times. Rocks actually had the best chance, a rare attack seeing Roman Michael-Percil head over when well-placed.

Just before the break Stones might have scored but in a frantic scramble the ball was blocked on the line by a visiting player before being hoofed clear.

The second half was more even and largely played out in midfield, though Giddens had to make a couple of decent saves and Rocks’ Calvin Ekpiteta rattled the crossbar.

In the end it call came down to those fateful moments in the closing minutes, when Rocks once more felt the football gods were against them.


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