Sunday, December 10, 2023

Football: Pre-season friendly round-up

GRAYS Athletic gave time to a number of players as Blues supporters got their first chance to see Jim Cooper’s side in action at Parkside where a number of unforced errors proved costly for the hosts as they went down 3-1. 

The first period saw three trialists in the home line up and the first opportunity fell to one of them – Thompson Adeyemi put through on goal – he fluffed his lines with a tame lob easily gathered by the Enfield keeper reports Thurrock Nub News.

Blues new signings on show in this period Joe Paxman gave a terrier-like performance hustling and bustling in midfield and up front Darelle Russell showed a good turn of speed slowed somewhat when he was subject of some meaty challenges by the opposition defenders.

Enfield took the lead on 13 minutes when trialist Oquarmie Copeland was dispossessed allowing the visitors to drive forward and plant the ball past an exposed Danny Sambridge.

Just before half time the visitors increased their advantage when ex Blue Jared Small jinked past Ryan Sammons before cutting the ball back. Pat Ahern attempted to clear the danger but the ball clipped his trailing leg allowing the simplest of chances for the Enfield forward.

Taking the two errors out of the equation Enfield rarely troubled the Blues’ back line.

The second period saw the early departure of Russell clearly feeling the effects of some of the previous challenges. His replacement Luke Hirst showed real promise with great pace and instant control.

Cooper made a number of changes midway through the half and certainly the introduction of Mitch Hahn gave Blues more impetus, he came close when one of his trademark pile-drivers cannoned off the crossbar.

Grays keeper Danny Sambridge made way for youngster Luke Edwards, who unfortunately was culpable for the visitors third goal on 79 minutes failing to hold on to a tame drive, although in his defence he may have seen the ball late.

Two minutes later Blues registered a consolation goal when Mitch Hahn capped off an accomplished performance drilling the ball past the visitors’ young replacement keeper who fumbled badly.


A goal in the third minute from Ayub Kadiri gave Tilbury a great start on their annual pre-season trip to Holland and Blair and Johnny Coyte wrapped up a 2-0 win with Dockers’ second on 79 minutes.


With Jon Nzengo, Dan Cossington and longer term injury victim Louis Bowen all missing, East Thurrock United manager Paul Martin fielded a large number of triallists over the 90 minutes against Maldon & Tiptree on Saturday.

Rocks started in lively fashion, with Alfie Cue and Ayo Olukoga both going close inside the opening ten minutes. Maldon countered, and Art Janata in the Rocks goal did well to turn round a fizzing effort.

On the half hour Cue showed a great piece of skill, controlling the ball on the edge of the box with his back to the goal, then swivelling to smash a drive against the Maldon upright.

Both sides were giving it a go now, and Janata was called into action again on the half hour mark, doing well to block a powerfully struck free kick.

The Jammers were quick out of the blocks after the half time break, and after another decent Janata save, Maldon had the ball in the net following the resultant corner but the effort was ruled out for offside.

With the game becoming quite competitive in midfield, it was looking like anything but a friendly.

The deciding goal came after a very lively Rocks triallist burst down the left, and cut into the box only to be hauled down in full flight. No complaints about the penalty decision, and Cue tucked away the spot kick despite a brave attempt by the Jammers keeper.

On Tuesday (25 Aug) Rocks host Concord Rangers, 7-30pm kick off.

Aveley travelled to Needham Market in Suffolk on Friday evening and went down 2-1.

The hosts took a two goal lead before Aveley responded late in the piece through Manny Ogunrinde, who netted his third goal in two matches.

Millers are back in action at home to Welling United on Tuesday.


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