Isthmian North: Bury 0 v 1 East Thurrock United: AN early Brian Moses goal set Rocks on the right path, and despite what could be described as yet more questionable refereeing, Marc Harrison’s boys stuck to the task at hand, and turned in what was undoubtedly their best performance to date, to become the first side to take all three points from the Suffolk side this season.
Ram Meadow is another of those difficult away trips with Bury regularly pulling in over 500 partisan fans, but Rocks started on the front foot, and a goal four minutes in silenced the crowd.
A through ball from Roman Michael-Percil put Moses in, and the big striker ran on to calmly fire past home keeper Lewis Ridd.
The first contentious moment came ten minutes in when skipper Oli Spooner broke through the home defence and was in on goal when felled by a tackle from behind. No covering defenders, so it looked a nailed-on red card offence. The referee however deemed it worthy of just a caution, a decision which infuriated the visitors.
Rocks rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job, and leading scorer Harry Hope curled in a beauty which beat Ridd but just scraped the post. This was followed soon after by Hope going even closer as his thunderous volley crashed down off the crossbar.
All this happened inside the opening fifteen minutes, which the Rocks had dominated. Bury gradually got their game together, and were moving the ball around well on what was an excellent playing surface, but without seriously threatening the Rocks goal.
Shortly before half time, a good move down the right flank saw Ryan Boswell sending in a precision cross which was met by Moses whose powerful header once again crashed against the crossbar.
Pandemonium broke out ten minutes into the second half when a home forward tumbled over a Boswell challenge in the box, the home crowd bayed, and the referee awarded a penalty despite there appearing to have been no actual contact made. Rocks were incandescent, protesting vehemently, and the referee’s response was to dish out a string of yellow cards.
All this took probably five minutes out of the game, but despite speaking to both his assistants the man in the middle stuck to his original decision.
Town front man Cemal Ramadan, who already had ten goals to his name this term, finally stepped up to take the penalty, which unfortunately for the home fans he blazed a foot wide of the goal. Poetic justice in action some might say.
Shortly after all the penalty excitement, Ramadan looked to have redeemed himself, as his low strike headed for the bottom corner, only for Montel Joseph, whose handling had been excellent all afternoon, to make a great diving save.
Yet more strange officiating was to come, when with fifteen minutes left, Isaac Skubich was fouled as he played the ball through to Spooner. It looked like the ref had played a great advantage as Oli ran on to fire a shot goalwards. What followed baffled everyone in the ground as it transpired that the assistant had flagged Spooner offside. The ref then gave a stunned Oli a second yellow, which meant he was off. When asking why, he was told it was for “kicking the ball away after the whistle”, although everyone was adamant no whistle had been heard.
Try as they may, Bury couldn’t make the man advantage count and it fact Rocks could have increased their advantage as both Amaree Robinson-Jones and Jordan Peart had efforts blocked during a ten minute period of added time.
A great all-round team performance from the Rocks, with every player giving their all, but special kudos to the two teenagers in the side, Ben Steward and Sam Carter, on loan from Aveley and Concord respectively, who both played a full part.