Dereham Town 1 Thurrock 3
Thurrock secure a playoff place
Thurrock started the day knowing that they could guarantee a playoff place today but didn’t let the pressure get to them as they went about their business. A brisk wind was blowing down Aldiss Park and Thurrock played the first half with the breeze on their backs.
It is Dereham Town who get the first half chance although Bobby Mason is untroubled as he takes an easy catch but then Thurrock get into gear and start swarming the Dereham goal. Joe Christou throws for Ronnie Winn, Town keeper Josh Glover comes out but mishandles and is grateful to claim the ball at the second chance. Jordan Clark clears from midfield and finds Mark Onyemah to pass outside to Ronnie Winn and his shot is saved. Christou collects the ball in the area and is forced wide by Glover, Christou manages to put the ball back across the area but it is a Dereham player who intercepts and clears but only finds Ronnie Winn who sets up David Cowley drawing a finger tip save from Glover.
There is no let up as Richard Halle tackles his forward and then sends the ball diagonally forwards clearing the Dereham defence to find Reece Morgan surging down the right wing, a crisp ball across the box is only inches ahead of Ronnie Winn. Despite soaking up attack after attack there is always a chance for a break and Dereham came close as yet one more clearance found a player in space on the right wing culminating in a shot into the side netting.
The wind is as much a hindrance as a help as many balls carry beyond the intended target so Jordan Clark elects to run with the ball from his own box deep into Dereham territory before feeding Ronnie Winn who is unable to get the ball under control. Onyemah receives the ball with his back to goal and takes three defenders out of the game with a sublime flick for Winn who wins a corner, Cowley swings the ball in and Glover has to punch clear off Halle’s head. Joe Bruce releases George Winn to sprint down the left wing to put in another teasing cross but once more Dereham clear.
Half Time: Dereham Town 0 Thurrock 0
Playing into the wind seems to suit Thurrock better and Onyemah is into the box within the first couple of minutes but hustled off the ball but he is soon provider finding Glenn Poole who sees his shot blocked, Ronnie Winn gets to the rebound and his shot is saved.
Onyemah and Morgan pass between themselves looking for an opportunity on the right wing before bringing in Christou who out-muscles his marker to get the ball in the area, Richard Halle has space and time to head back across the keeper to open the scoring. [0-1]
Cowley advances on the left wing to cross to Christou and Winn, the ball falls to Christou who swivels and shoots in one motion but over the bar. Dereham again get half a chance to equalise as a twenty five yard effort bobbles and moves in the wind forcing Mason to initially block the ball before safely gathering. Encouraged Dereham press forwards with more determination but despite having a good five minute spell of possession are unable to get anything other than a few corners from the Thurrock defence.
Michael Pindy and Jack Barham are subbed on for Onyemah and Cowley and barely five minutes later have combined to extend Thurrock’s lead. Pindy gets the ball on the halfway line and sets off on a diagonal run to the side of the box where he looks up and places his cross for Barham to get between the centre halves and head home from six yards [0-2]
Christou again wins the midfield challenge and frees Pindy to put in another cross, Winn’s shot is saved and Dereham attack on the break and Ryan Crisp shoots home to pull a goal back. [1-2]
The two goal lead is soon re-established as Pindy pounces on a loose ball and drives into the area before unleashing a fierce shot which crashes against the crossbar and ricochets back to Ronnie Winn, Winn takes a touch to steady the ball before smashing it into the net. [1-3]
A minute later it is nearly déjà-vu as Pindy is again released by Christou and again finds Winn in space but this time Winn is closed down before he can get his shot away. One final chance before the whistle for Pindy to find Barham again, Barham’s shot curls just wide of the upright.
Thurrock seal their third playoff spot in a row with the chance of a home draw still up for grabs.
Team: Bobby Mason, Joe Bruce, Reece Morgan, Richard Halle, Mark Onyemah (Jack Barham 61), George Winn (Remi Sutton 73), Jordan Clark, Glenn Poole, Ronnie Winn, Joe Christou, David Cowley (Michael Pindy 61)
Unused: Connor Wheatley, Craig Hall