Leatherhead 3 v 0 East Thurrock United
Report courtesy of East Thurrock United.
ON the face of it, a disappointing result for the Rocks, but in the end it was impossible to come away from the game without feeling immense pride for the players performance on an afternoon when the footballing gods were definitely not on their side.
With the side now shorn of ex skipper Ryan Scott, who has decided to play out the final few weeks of the season at Concord, plus injury victims Amos Nasha and Ben Marlow, and the suspended Jordan Brown, Rocks went into the game with just twelve players.
They started the best, and Frankie Merrifield had an effort scrambled off the line inside the opening two minutes.
However it was the Surrey outfit who took the lead on six minutes when Ibrahim Olutade capitalised on a rare error by Danny Cossington to score.
No arguments about the quality of the Tanners second goal on 24 minutes, a great solo effort from Zachary Robinson who took on a couple of Rocks defenders out on the right, looked up and chipped a delightful effort over Jack Giddens into the far corner.
Worse was to come on the half hour as the referee awarded what looked an extremely harsh penalty against Hakeem Nuama, making his first Rocks start. The hosts weren’t complaining though, as Izunna Ikebuasi crashed home the Tanners third from the spot.
It looked like becoming a truly bleak afternoon for Covo, his boys, and the travelling fans, but to their credit the Rocks fought their way back into the game.
The returning Mitchell Gilbey twice went close, then with half time approaching Darren Foxley was denied by an excellent finger tip save by home keeper Zaki Oualah.
Rocks continued to carry the game to the hosts after the break, and Oualah was much the busiest keeper as Rocks carved out a number of chances.
Gilbey looked set to pull one back when he broke clear, but was denied twice by Oualah, who knocked down Mitchell’s initial chip, then scrambled the follow-up off the line.
Then Ayo Olukoga must have thought he had scored as he found space to fire in a screamer, only for Oualah to go full stretch to again finger tip it onto the bar and over.
Merrifield and Foxley both went close late on, but there was not to be even a consolation goal, which would have been the very least this battling Rocks performance deserved.
ROCKS : Jack Giddens, Jason Ring, Danny Harris, Martin Onoahbagbe, Danny Cossington, Michael Tweed, Ayo Olukoga, Mitchell Gilbey, Frankie Merrifield, Darren Foxley, Hakeem Nuama (Jack Coventry 46).