Isthmian Division North
New Salamis 1 v 2 East Thurrock United
PATCHED up East Thurrock United showed great tenacity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in this gripping Isthmian North encounter in freezing Haringey. A battling 2-1 win meant the Rocks leapfrogged hosts New Salami’s to go seventh in the table reports East Thurrock United online.
Manager Marc Harrison had pre-match selection problems with several key players, including influential skipper Oli Spooner, carrying injuries. Spooner joined a subs bench consisting of four other patched-up players.
The situation worsened shortly before kick-off when leading scorer Brian Moses tweaked a hamstring during the warm up. A further reshuffle then saw Rocks going into the game without a recognised number nine, and big Brian named amongst the subs but not expected to be used.
Once the game got underway though, Rocks made light of their woes, moving the ball around comfortably on the 3G surface. Harry Hope, returning after a week’s suspension was playing in a more advanced role as Rocks began well, creating a number of half chances in the opening half hour or so, but without seriously threatening charismatic home keeper Emmanuel Olajide.
However, in vastly experienced and much travelled Ghanaian international striker Derek Asamoah, the home side possessed a player of genuine quality.
Derek, with over three hundred football league games under his belt, not to mention spells with Hamilton Academicals, Nice in France, Locomotiv Sofia in Bulgaria and three seasons in top level South Korean football, may be approaching the veteran stage of his career, but is still very much of a handful playing at step four level.
And this was proved some ten minutes before half time when he picked up a pass in midfield, cut in from the right and unleashed a stunning strike into the top corner for his sixteenth goal of the season.
Consistent midfielder Tom Barton had to come off at half time, and was replaced by a far from match fit Spooner.
The game had been competitive, but never nasty, however, with twenty minutes left on the clock, Salami’s were reduced to ten men when Junior Luke picked up a second yellow.
And as the game moved towards a dramatic conclusion, Rocks slowly built momentum, gradually taking advantage of the numerical advantage.
After the excellent Harry Critchley had forced a decent save out of Olajide, boss Harrison took what was to prove a game changing gamble by throwing on the half-fit duo of Roman Michael-Percil and Moses.
Rocks were now pressing in increasing numbers, and some great work by Hope saw Moses just a hair’s breadth away from getting a telling touch in front of goal.
Then, with ninety minutes almost up, and just when it seemed that Asamoah’s moment of class was going to prove decisive, Ryan Boswell showed some class of his own out on Rocks right flank, sending a pinpoint cross over to the far post for Sam Carter to smash in the equaliser.
Two minutes into added time it was a case of deja-vu as Boswell crossed again, this time to the near post where Moses deftly touched the ball past Olajide for a stunning winner, to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Rocks will hope enough players can recover by the weekend, as they face another tough test when another play-off chasing side, Felixstowe come to Rookery Hill