Worthing 3 v 2 East Thurrock United
Report courtesy of East Thurrock United
WITH nine members of Paul Martin’s injury decimated squad ruled out, Rocks were truly down to the bare bones for this trip to pre-season title favourites Worthing, even including assistant manager Mark Lord amongst their substitutes.
It has to be said that the remaining Rocks rose splendidly to the occasion, and played a full part in what was a highly entertaining game.
The game started at a lively pace, and it was the Rocks who scored first fifteen minutes in, as Johnny ASHMAN broke clear, cleverly dummied home keeper Harrison Male and tucked the ball home.
Worthing were level just after the half hour mark. A move down the right saw the ball rebound to Ollie Pearce, who was left with space to sweep the ball past Arthur Janata.
Rocks looked set to go in for the half time break in front, after regaining their lead shortly before the interval. Ashman won a challenge just outside the box, and laid the ball invitingly back for Paulius DITKEVICIUS to fire a spectacular strike into the top corner, which had even the home fans applauding.
However, the Rebels were back on level terms deep into first half added time when, following a corner from the left, Janata got down well to block a goalbound header, only for the ball to fall at the feet of Alfie Young, who bundled home from close range.
More of the same after the break, with end to end action, and it was the home team who went in front for the first time in the game on the hour. Former Torquay man Aarran Racine got up at the far post to head home a corner.
Brave Rocks continued to battle away, creating a number of decent openings, but they were unable to get back on terms.
They went so close when, late in the game new signing Ola Ogunmawinde looked set to mark his Rocks debut with a goal, cutting in from the right flank and into the box at pace, only to see his well struck drive brilliantly finger tipped onto the post by home keeper Male.
Defeat it may have been, but every Rocks player can hold their head high after what was an inspirational afternoon.