Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Thurrock 1-1 Maidenhead United *Match Report*

Thurrock 1 – 1 Maidenhead United – Match Report, Josh Harris

A miserable looking day matched the sight of Thurrock’s league position before kick-off. After the resignation of former manager, Robbie Garvey, the Fleet fans were hoping caretaker boss, Lee Goodwin, could turn things around with a win against a Maidenhead United side who haven’t played in three weeks. Having earned a point midweek against Bromley, Goodwin’s side had an injection of confidence and motivation going into this fixture against Johnson Hippolyte’s men.

Prior to kick off, die-hard Thurrock supporters voiced their acceptance for Goodwin as he potentially takes charge for the rest of the season “We’re pleased with Lee but we just wish the decision was made sooner, it may be too late now.”

As the rain continued to fall at a constant light pace, Thurrock got the game underway shooting from left to right in their traditional green and yellow strip, whilst the Magpies lined up in their black and white stripes.

The first ten minutes were cagey with neither team having any real clear-cut opportunities, Alex Wall threatened to score the opener, he latched on to a through ball but the finish was high and wide of David Hughes’s goal.

Magpies’ striker, Reece-Tilson-Lascaris, also had an eye for goal in the early stages with a shot from outside the area, but Hughes was alert to the danger.

Thurrock showed promise just after the ten minute-mark, a smart move was rounded-off with a ball into David Knight who laid it back to midfielder, Sam Cutler, but the shot was tame, Billy Lumley was barely tested.

Hippolyte was in full voice on the touchline, which perhaps gave the away side a boost of confidence, a wave of chances came their way in the space of just a few minutes. The first of which fell to young striker, Alex Wall, a through-ball by Manny Williams had the travelling fans on the edge of their seats but as Wall directed the ball goal wards, Hughes was already aware of the threat.

Moments later, Alex Wall continued to cause problems for the Thurrock back four, soft penalty claims were aimed at referee, Mr. Woolford. Wall claimed he was tripped as he tried to get on the end of Manny Williams’ through ball, but the referee wasn’t interested.

As Maidenhead United piled on the pressure, the home side resorted to long ball. The Fleet defense tried to put the ball over the top for Ben Hunt and Ahmed Deen to latch onto, but Magpies’ skipper, John Scarborough was outstanding in the air, winning almost every header aimed towards him.

It began to look doubtful that Thurrock would weather the storm, as a ball was lumped into Hughes’s penalty area, Rob Gillman and Stuart Thurgood went up for the same header, the lack of communication saw the ball fall to Williams who couldn’t direct his shot on target.

After soaking up the pressure in the first twenty minutes, Thurrock completed an attack which any team would be proud of. Starting off at the back, the ball was worked down the left side of the pitch, Nathan Ashton drilled the ball into Hunt but the angle on goal was too tight for the striker.

On the half-hour mark, Ahmed Deen put a low cross into the box which was spilled by Billy Lumley who looked to be in pain, Thurrock carried on though, Hunt laid the ball back for Cutler, who skied the ball into the car park despite Magpies’ number one being lead on the ground. Lumley received treatment from the United physio and was able to resume with his duties.

Just four minutes later, Lumley found himself in the wars again. As the Fleets’ free kick was drilled into the far post, Jamie White connected with the ball, only to miss the goal from a yard out. More luck came Thurrock’s way when Lumley stayed down after being clattered by a group of players during an attack. Whilst being treated for over 5 minutes, the Maidenhead physio signaled to the bench as a substitution was required. Ironically, Maidenheads substitute goalkeeper broke his finger in training in the week, meaning there was no keeper on the bench for the first time all season. Consequently, it was the most peculiar of come-backs from injury for defender, Mark Nisbet, as he was required to play the remains of the game between the sticks.

As the fourth official indicated a minimum of eight minutes added time, Maidenhead midfielder, Jermaine Hinds tripped David Knight on the edge of the area. This was a real chance for Ahmed Deen to test the stand-in goalkeeper. As Deen striked it, the ball guided perfectly over the wall and into the top right corner of the goal, maybe even scraping some of the paint-work off the post in the process, a fantastic free kick by Ahmed Deen. Never mind Mark Nisbet, no keeper would have saved that effort.

Half time: Thurrock 1-0 Maidenhead United

As both sets of players, staff and the officials headed for the dressing rooms, there appeared to be a coming together between some of the players without many of the spectators realising. The officials and staff soon separated the players and calmed the situation.

Substitution for Thurrock at half time, Paul Terry came on to replace Luke L’Anson. Terry is handed the captains armband.

Maidenhead United kicked off the second half shooting from right to left. However, the first corner of the game fell to Thurrock, shortly followed by another. As one of the corners was cleared, Thurrock right back, Warren Goodhind, thumped a freekick into the area which was flicked on to David Knight, but the midfielder could only strike the ball straight at Nisbet.

Thurrock threatened to extend their lead midway through the second half. Goodhind carried the ball down the right side, laid it into fellow defender, Ashton, who drilled it, just too high of the goal.

Dawn was upon us and the floodlights were switched on as a mystery layer of dark cloud advanced towards Ship Lane.

As Thurrock cleared a corner, the counter attack was available; the ball broke to Paul Terry who had plenty of options in support as Maidenhead only had a couple of defenders back. Terry played the worst attempted pass of the afternoon as he scuffed the ball straight to one of the two defenders, much to the home fans frustration.

Just as the Fleet looked more likely to be the next team to score, it was the away side who leveled the scoring. A move from the left side saw Alex Wall in the area, who smashed a shot at Hughes, who could only parry the attempt straight back to Wall, who then rounded the keeper and laid a pass off to Manny Williams, who hit the ball as hard as possible to beat the Thurrock defenders on the line.

Moments later, Thurrock appeared to have gone 2-1 up. Substitute, Lee Boylan, having just come on was played through on goal and neatly finished the move past the keeper but the linesman on the near-side had his flag up before the ball crossed the line.

As both sides start pushing for the winner, the intensity rises. Hinds dragged down Knight off the ball, directly in front of the linesman but both officials wave away the protest much to Knights displeasure. Alex Wall then found himself in the referee’s book for dissent; his continuous back-chat to the referee was eventually too much for Mr. Woolford. Shortly after, Leon Solomon joined Wall in the book for the same reason.

The game livened up as it approached the final ten minutes, and so too did the weather. A burst of rain suddenly hurled down for the remainder of the match.

The home side continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack and could possibly have won the game if Magpie skipper, Scarborough, didn’t wrestle Cutler to the ground in the process. He too was shown a yellow card.

Three minutes were added on at the end, a goal now would surely have won the game. However, the referee was busier than both keepers during stoppage time, dishing out another deserved yellow card for Maidenhead United, this time Jermaine Hinds was the culprit.

Late pressure was installed by Hippolyte’s team but bottom-side, Thurrock were able to weather the storm and add another point to their tally which could be crucial come the end of the season.

Full time: Thurrock 1-1 Maidenhead United  

After the match, Thurrock boss Lee Goodwin said: “disappointed we didn’t take all three points, we’ve had a solid few weeks, were growing and were building as a squad, I just hope we can put enough points on the board to warrant where we should really be.”

Full post-match interview with Lee Goodwin:

Maidenhead United manager, Johnson Hippolyte added “It was a very hard game, our first game in three weeks, it showed at times. With our goalkeeper getting concussed and no keeper on the bench, it nearly cost us. We showed character, we kept going, I think we got our rewards; we deserved at least a draw. A point gained”
Full post-match interview with Johnson Hippolyte: