East Thurrock FA Trophy Report
match report by Taimour Lay
If there is a quintessential K’s goal this season, the move and finish that we see over and over again, it’s Byrant Akono Bilongo advancing down the left to the touchline, fizzing a cross across the face of goal and someone, usually Daniel Ajakaiye, connecting from close range. It’s deceptively simple, devastatingly effective and it’s precisely how K’s opened the scoring after 10 minutes in this FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round tie (don’t get me started on how the confusing Trophy restructure means Step 3 clubs enter at the Third Qualifying Round and no new teams appear in the First Round proper and no one ever seems to know the degree to which regionalisation applies at any stage…)
Ajakaiye had his second shortly before the break and, in truth, we always looked comfortable winners against a poor East Thurrock team, who seemed devoid of confidence after conceding eight at home to Enfield the week before.
Elliott Buchanan then scored a variation of the quintessential goal in the 48th minute, Nyren Clunis supplying the ball from the right flank this time for the striker to tap home.
There was still drama and interest to come, however, mainly in the form of the Gus Sow Penalty Show (arguably the other quintessential goal of this campaign…). His first on the hour was dispatched with the usual calmness. His second, five minutes later, came from brave and unusual refereeing. Ajakaiye had rampaged forward and was fouled on the edge of the box by the last defender. However, having stayed on his feet, he kept going and was then duly fouled by the keeper. At first referee Paul Quick gave a red card to the defender and a free kick. After some discussion, he changed his mind, recognised that an advantage had been played and instead gave a penalty, rescinding the red card for the defender’s foul and giving the keeper a yellow. Amidst all this, Sow stepped up and made it 5-0.
There was time for a sixth, Rhys Murrell-Williamson curling in a fine effort after a pass from Jason Banton.
So on to Round One proper and a trip to Royston. A reminder: Hornchurch won the Trophy last season. It’s not deluded to suggest that, twenty years since our Wembley triumphs, we can get close again too.
East Thurrock United: Arthur Janata, Ben Wyss, Rimmel Daniel, Rob Lacey, Joseph Heath, Alex Hernandez, Johnny Ashman, Tom Barton, Tobi Joseph, Sam Owusu, Kenny Aileru.
Subs: Martin Lacey (for Alex Hernandez, 79m), Akeem Matthews (for Tom Barton, 79m), George Pugh (for Kenny Aileru, 79m).