East Thurrock United match report
Match report by Taimour Lay
There have been painful days at East Thurrock before. Eight years ago, on 25 February 2014, we lost 2-0 in a match defined by Alan Dowson's decision to play Sean Ray as a third centre-back. On the opening day of the 2012/13 season, Andre McCollin was sent off on his debut after clashing with the notorious Steve Sheehan and Wade Small was robbed of a late winner by the referee's ludicrous failure to play advantage when he was wiped out in the process of scoring.
East Thurrock seemed a minnow back then, with 100 fans and a tidy ground next to a church. Even the Rocks’ ascent to Step 2 in 2017, a destination of which K's dream, proved an aberration. This season they’re scrapping to avoid relegation to the Isthmian North. Their team is young and limited.
They have, however, beaten us home and away.
Indeed, this was K’s sixth straight defeat as the winless run stretches to 10 games. As so often this season, there were patches of competence and K’s took a deserved lead when Kenny Beaney scored his first goal since a friendly at South Park in August 2019, tapping in at the far post on the half-hour after a decent ball crossed from the byline. Beandog could even have managed an unprecedented brace when his header was well saved a few minutes later.
The game seemed to turn when Beaney went off injured shortly after the break and Kershaney Samuels took his place in central midfield. K’s had started with five at the back but the distribution through the middle was always tentative. After Beaney’s departure, things deteriorated further. Upfront Daniel Ajakaiye and Alex Addai were willing runners but shots were hard to come by. A couple went out for throw-ins.
Then, inevitable defensive weaknesses reappeared. First, Johnny Ashman equalised in the 59th minute and found himself clear to convert the winner five minutes from the end. A dilapidated, semi-cordoned-off Rookery Lane erupted. A sparse away attendance discussed logistics for getting home.
While Fabio Saraiva had an injury-time equaliser incorrectly chalked off for offside (the unsighted linesman seems to have mixed him up with Ollie Cook who was, in any event, level with the last man, adding to the injustice), even a draw would not have fully concealed another afternoon of general struggle.
East Thurrock United: Arthur Janata, Ben Wyss, Jack Morrell, Sam Collins, Ryan Boswell, Ryan Dear, Johnny Ashman, Oliver Spooner, Ruben Martins Dantas-Carvalho, Oli Coker, Harry Hope.
Subs: Callum Robinson, Tom Barton, Sonny Dutton, Nana Adarkwa, Elliott Sartorias (for Oli Coker, 73m)
Goal scorers: Kenny Beaney (32m, 0-1), Johnny Ashman (59m, 1-1), Johnny Ashman (84m, 2-1)