FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
East Thurrock United 2 v 2 Needham Market
MORE enforced pre match shuffling for beleaguered Rocks boss Paul Martin, as in addition to his already lengthy injury list, he had left back Rimmel Daniel unavailable for family reasons and new signing Ola Ogunwamide cup tied.
With Tom Barton and Ryan Mallett, still some way from match fitness making up the numbers on the bench, experienced striker Tobi Joseph continued to operate as an emergency central defender, and it has to be said he’s settling into the role game by game.
More injury problems early on when Daniels replacement Fahad Nazor had to go off with a hamstring injury.
The remaining Rocks started the game at a blistering pace, moving the ball around sweetly, and after Elliot Kettle sent a great effort just over, Rocks went a goal up, and what a goal it was, Kenny AILERU cutting in from the right and jinking past several defenders before tucking the ball past startled keeper Garnham.
A couple of minutes later Johnny Ashman looked set to emulate Aileru making an opening for himself on the left and firing in a cracking shot which Garnham did brilliantly to tip over.
The Southern League visitors weathered the early storm, and settled into the game, hitting Arthur Janata’s post with a header on 25 minutes.
A couple more decent openings for the visitors came and went, and Rocks took their slender lead into the second half.
No surprise when Needham equalised five minutes after the break. There had already been an almighty scramble in the Rocks goalmouth before the impressive Luke Ingram set up Ben Fowkes for a simple tap in.
Garnham tipped over a free kick from Alex Hernandez, but it was the Marketmen who went in front when, with 15 minutes left Ingram fired a great ball in, and Kyle Hammond deflected it past Janata.
Rocks were in no mood to give it up though, and after going close on a couple of occasions, they finally grabbed an equaliser on 86 minutes when Ben WYSS was left unmarked at the far post to head in a Necati Gench cross.
There was to be no further scoring, and the teams will try again up in Suffolk on Tuesday evening.
Thanks to Needham Market photographer Ben Pooley for the pic.