Rocks put VCD to the sword to secure play-off place
EAST Thurrock confirmed, barring a mathematical meltdown, a home play-off in the Ryman Premier promotion race.
The club still have a shot at the divisonal title and automatic promotion but that would require Hampton and Richmond to drop five points in their two remaining fixtures and it seems likely the Londoners will seal their crown against Rocks’ neighbours Grays next weekend.
However, Rocks should be tremendously proud of what they have achieved and while there might be a sense of disappointment at missing out on the title, they have certainly outperformed expectations of most pundits this season.
If they are to achieve promotion in the end of season shoot-out they will have to play better than they did on Saturday, but in truth it was another very comfortable win for the Rocks, albeit against already relegated VCD who played much of the match with ten men.
The visitors appeared to run out of energy in the last 15 minutes and the Rocks pounced on them, scoring twice in eight minutes to enhance the margin of victory,
The Rocks began brightly and found themselves one up in the second minute from a well worked move. James Walker held the ball up well on the byline before setting it wide for Ryan Sammons, who played in a low cross, for Tom Wraight to tap in from close range.
Three minutes later however, the visitors had levelled the score from the penalty spot. Joe Ellul was adjudged to have been holding L’heureux Menga in he box. Returning former rock Menga stepped up to covert the kick.
East Thurrock might have regainedthe lead on 18 minutes, but Sam Higgins’ low angled shot was well saved by Max Huxter.
There was very little excitement footballing wise for the remainder of a drab first half but one thing to note was that the visitors afternoon was made more difficult on the half hour mark as Derek Duncan was sent off for a clash with Kris Newby. The VCD man was undoubtedly fouled by Newby, but the offence was unseen by ref Paul Yates but he was right on top of the act of retaliation that saw Duncan raise an arm and strike his rival.
In the 57th minute there was a spark of excitement as Higgins’ effort was parried away by a good save from Huxter. The ball fell for Sammy Knot to head at goal, but he was unable to get enough power to score.
The Rocks eventually gained the lead on the hour mark as Higgins floated a cross to the back post, which Newby got on the end of to volley home at close quarters.
They scored again on 78 minutes to all but seal the result from a corner. George Craddock crossing to the back post for centre half Joe Ellul to nod home. Ellul however was not finished there, as he nodded home again on 84 minutes, this time from a piercing cross by Brandon Scott.