East Thurrock United report
match report by Simon Grier
To bundle or not to bundle? ‘Not’ would surely have been the wise answer with omicron raging but in the end it wasn’t the question. Instead, Ks missed out on a chance to close in on the playoffs by going down 1-0 at home to East Thurrock.
A mere six weeks ago Ks kicked off their FA Trophy run with a 6-0 win against The Rocks and in the opening spell of this game they looked just as dominant. It was not to last though and after some good early saves from Arthur Janata Ks’ performance soon fizzled out, East Thurrock securing the points thanks to a deflected strike from Oliver Spooner.
Ks started well. Janata was called into action early, doing well to tip an Elliott Buchanan header over on five minutes before the striker came close again on 12.
Joseph Heath had to block a Daniel Ajakaiye effort after good work from Bryant Akono Bilongo, and from the resulting corner Janata did brilliantly to claw out a deflected Bilongo header.
Rob Tolfrey made his first serious save from Thomas Stagg on 24 minutes, only for Buchanan to go straight up the end and fire powerfully wide after a great bit of skill.
Ks were dominant but then, suddenly, they weren’t. The chances dried up, passes went astray and the only chance in the rest of the half was for Buchanan with a free kick that Ks were somehow awarded for what looked like a foul by Nyren Clunis. Janata was equal to the low drive.
Ks didn’t come out any better after the interval. They had a major let-off ten minutes into the half when Tolfrey cleared straight to Emmanuel Okunja; he teed Jake Gordon up only for Jerry Puemo to clear off the line.
On the hour mark Ks were behind, Spooner picking the ball up on the edge of the box and striking a powerful effort that deflected beyond Tolfrey’s reach.
They might have then made it two but Stagg fired wide from the rebound after Tolfrey saved well from Johnny Ashman.
Meanwhile Ks struggled to create much at all. Buchanan couldn’t quite connect with a low Ajakaiye cross but it wasn’t until the closing minutes that they managed to test Janata again. He did extremely well to save a close-range Bilongo header after an Aaron Lamont cross and then tipped over a longshot from substitute Jay Barton.
The final chance fell to Lamont after the goalkeeper punched a Clunis cross unconvincingly but Lamont fired over and The Rocks took all three points.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Nyren Clunis, Bryant Akono Bilongo, Jerry Puemo, Ollie Cook, Kenny Beaney, Daniel Ajakaiye, Gus Sow, Elliott Buchanan, Jason Banton, Rhys Murrell-Williamson.
Subs: Simon Cooper (for Jerry Puemo, 71m), Aaron Lamont (for Jason Banton, 83m), Juevan Spencer, Jay Barton (for Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 83m).
East Thurrock United: Arthur Janata, Ben Wyss, Callum Robinson, Tom Barton, Jake Thompson, Joseph Heath, Johnny Ashman, Oliver Spooner, Emmanuel Okunja, Jake Gordon, Thomas Stagg.
Subs: Ehizojie Onoabhagbe, Ben Search (for Jake Gordon, 85m), Sam Owusu (for Emmanuel Okunja, 69m).
Goal scorer: Oliver Spooner (60m, 0-1)