Vanarama National League South
East Thurrock United 2 v 1 Hungerford Town
A DRAMATIC finale saw East Thurrock snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in this vital relegation battle, with two late goals that will have sent Hungerford home feeling bitterly frustrated and Rocks relieved that for once the late goals drama that has been so prevalent at Rookery Hill this season went in their favour.
There was little to choose between the two sides, with Rocks shading the chances in the first half and seeing efforts fly inches wide of either post but former Rock Danilo Orsi-Dadomo struck a dagger into his former employers’ hearts with a goal from close range four minutes from half time.
Rocks had spurned several chances and looked generally flat-footed after an initial 15 minute spurt of energy and if the goal was slightly against the run of play, it was deserved because of Hungerford’s effort.
Orsi-Dadomo had looked lively throughout the half, and had forced a decent save from Jack Giddens earlier, while Crusaders stopper Jacob Weaver had also done well to keep out Danny Harris’s header.
The second half was insipid with neither side really threatening. Sub Roman Michael-Percil forced a near post save from Weaver but it looked as if it wasn’t going to be their day, especially when Sam Higgins took an airshot rather than force the ball home from two yards.
The game turned when Hungerford’s Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis picked up two silly bookings in the space of two minutes with four minutes to go. His actions in kicking the ball out of play deep in Rocks territory rather than returning it to Rocks keeper Jack Giddens after play had been stopped for an injury to a Hungerford player produced the urgency and fire in Rocks’ play that had been lacking. He then attempted to stop a quick free kick to get his second booking and took an age to get off the pitch, time that proved pivotal as Rocks grabbed an added time equaliser when Michael-Percil drilled the ball home from an acute angle and then centre-back Steve Sheehan showed great composure in the third added minute when he curled the ball home after a scramble in the box.
We will never know but had Ten-Grotenhuis showed sportsmanship instead of spite, his side might well have gone on to win!