Friday, May 24, 2024

Football: East Thurrock’s poor run of form continues

THIS highly competitive, and often fractious contest which saw a player from each side red carded, ended in another defeat, as the Rocks woeful new year run of form continued.

The form which saw the Rocks going into the turn of the year on a run of just one defeat and ten wins from fourteen games has since completely deserted Marc Harrison’s boys. 

While three early January defeats were against the top three clubs, the Rocks have subsequently gone down to three sides struggling in the lower reaches of the table, each time after starting well on top and taking early leads.

Coggeshall came to Rookery Hill looking to continue their run of much improved recent form, which had seen them conceding just four goals in their previous five games, but it was the Rocks who once again enjoyed the best of the early exchanges, and took the lead nineteen minutes in.

Rocks won a free kick some ten yards outside the box on the right. Harry Critchley floated his kick into the danger area, and Alex Hernandez, making his first start back on dual reg with Concord Rangers sent a precision header looping over the keeper and into the far corner.

After Rocks had gone close on a couple more occasions, the visitors grabbed an equaliser out of the blue when, following a break down the left, the ball was crossed to the far side of the box, finding Karl Kayembe who fired a rasping drive across Rocks keeper James Bransgrove and into the corner of the net.

Bransgrove, a former Colchester United youth player who had gained Scottish international caps at under eighteen and under twenty one level was making his first start in Rocks colours.

The referee had his work cut out to keep a lid on what had been a pretty feisty first half, with the two physios kept busy throughout, and just before half time a major melee broke out after Town’s Mike Osei launched into a reckless high challenge. 

Once the dust had settled Osei was shown a straight red, while Brian Moses who had picked up a yellow earlier was also sent packing with a second yellow.

Rocks carved out a great chance to get back in front early in the second half when Johnny Ashman jinked his way down the right and his crossfield ball saw Critchley send a screaming volley just wide.

But it was the batting Cogs who were to grab a second goal, when they scored in bizarre fashion some ten minutes after the interval.

Certainly a goal new keeper Bransgrove won’t want to watch again as he blotted an otherwise decent debut with a disastrous faux pas as he raced out to intercept a through ball, but completely miscued leaving Darnell Kithambo, who had started the season with the Rocks, to roll the ball into an empty net.

Rocks pressed forward and Ashman sent another good ball in, but Oli Spooner couldn’t make meaningful contact right in front of goal, then Sam Carter fired just wide. 

At the other end Bransgrove atoned for his earlier error by saving well from Kithambo and then Josh Osude.

Rocks last meaningful effort came as the game moved into added time when Ben Wyss fired in a great strike from distance, only to see Coggs keeper Tom Middlehurst dive to save at the foot of the post.

Despite their recent poor run, the Rocks still sit in the top half of the table, but now find themselves twelve points off the play off places.


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