Football: East Thurrock maintain promotion challenge

East Thurrock United

Isthmian Premier

East Thurrock United 2 v 0 Carshalton Athletic

Report courtesy of East Thurrock United

ON a night where only the brave (or foolhardy) ventured out, football showed its wonderful unpredictability as Covo’s heavily depleted, threadbare Rocks side stunned the high riding Robins with a display of total commitment to the cause.

With Covo’s small squad already depleted by the departure of Alex Clark, and the return of Kai Brown to Ipswich Town following his loan spell, Rocks also now look like being without injured key midfielder Ben Marlow for some while. And to cap it all Mitchell Gilbey had to pull out on the day for quite understandable personal reasons.

So Rocks confidence would not have been high as they took the field to face in-form and third in the table opposition with a bare bones side which picked itself, and just two players on the subs bench.

But how those eleven responded to the situation. To a man, from heroic keeper Jack Giddens through to Frankie Merrifield who worked tirelessly and mostly alone up front, the Rocks worked their socks off, and pulled off a battling and fully deserved victory on a night which will live long in the memory.

The signs that the Rocks were up for the battle were there from the kick-off as they made a great start, with Michael Tweed firing just over, then Merrifield having a header well saved.

They were rewarded with a goal on 23 minutes, Nasha curled a delightfully weighed precision effort infrom the right of the box, which beat keeper Perntreou all ends up.

Giddens produced the first of a number of good saves to keep Rocks noses in front, diving full length to turn a Jordan Cheadle free kick round the post. Then, at the other end the Robins defence did well to keep out another Tweed strike, which was well saved by the keeper. The rebound found Merrifield whose goalbound effort was scrambled clear by a defender.

A second goal for the Rocks came ten minutes before the break when Merrifield was hauled down inside the box and Darren Foxley stepped up to confidently fire home an excellent penalty.

The rain started to fall more heavily late in the half, further dampening the Robins spirits as Rocks continued to dominate possession.

However, if conditions in the opening half could best be described as damp, much of the second half was played out in horrendous conditions with one lengthy period of heavy sleet making things particularly difficult.

To be fair to Carshalton they did give it a go, and Giddens had to make a couple of good saves to keep them out early in the half. However, at the other end Danny Harris sent a great cross in from the left and Pentreou somehow managed to save Nasha’s header at the second attempt.

One slice of luck for the Rocks came during the deluge when a shot, surely destined for the back of the net took a deflection straight into the arms of Giddens.

But it was the Rocks who finished the brightest as the rain eased. They could well have doubled their lead late on as Harris and Merrifield both had goalbound efforts well saved, and Nasha fired one just past the post with the keeper beaten.

A great win, if players marks were included in these reports, every Rocks player would have got 10/10 and five gold stars !

ROCKS: Jack Giddens, Jason Ring, Jordan Brown, Danny Cossington, Ryan Scott, Michael Tweed, Ayo Olukoga, Amos Nasha, Frankie Merrifield, Darren Foxley, Danny Harris. unused subs, JJ DaCruz and Can Oliogru.

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