Thurrock 2 - 0 Leatherhead
By Dom Baker
This Bostik Premier League tie saw 14th placed Thurrock host Leatherhead who sat in 9th before kick-off. The visitors were looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games and hadn’t lost since a 2-0 defeat at home to the Fleet in December.
Thurrock sported an unusual all yellow kit as Leatherhead arrived in green and it was the Fleet who started brighter. Remi Sutton found Ronnie Winn who span and shot with his left, but fired just over.
The opening exchanges were scrappy as both teams looked to get a hold of the game. Despite the constant rain the pitch was in good condition and held up well. Thurrock looked good going forward with quick, two-touch passing. As for both teams though, chances were hard to come by.
22 minutes in Thurrock struck once again. Joel Nouble danced his way into the box on the left wing before laying back to Winn on the edge of the box. The striker’s effort skimmed the post.
The pitch was slippery, first touches were loose and tackles were flying in. It was clear to see that both sets of players weren’t afraid of battling for 50/50s.
Thurrock looked the most dangerous out of the two teams. On the half hour mark Michael Pindy caused Leatherhead’s defence problems with a direct drive into the box. His cross caused a scramble in the box that Joe Christou couldn’t get on the end of.
Thurrock drew first blood on the counter attack through Remi Sutton. The home side got forward quickly as the left-back drove into the box and finished smartly across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
GOAL THURROCK 1-0 LEATHERHEAD
Remi Sutton (37)
Moments after scoring Thurrock could have doubled their lead. Nouble got forward on that same left side before cutting it back for Christou. The number 6’s strike was blocked in the nick of time.
From the resulting corner Thurrock did double their lead. A scramble in the box saw a Curtis Ujah headed effort deflect off Michael Pindy and into the net.
GOAL THURROCK 2-0 LEATHERHEAD
Michael Pindy (41)
Thurrock had certainly gained confidence from the quick-fire goals and were pressing with intent to win the ball back high in the opposition half. Their play certainly warranted a comfortable lead.
HALF TIME: THURROCK 2-0 LEATHERHEAD
The second half began with a double change for the visitors as Theobalds and Wood replaced Moore and Richards. Minutes into the second period substitute Wood almost reduced the deficit. Striker Midson advanced on the right before picking out Wood at the back post but the winger dragged his effort. Moments later Leatherhead created another good chance.
Tom Derry was set through on goal after evading the defence but was stopped bravely by Ben McNamara’s block. Penalty shouts were rightly waved away by the Referee.
It was clear the message in the away dressing room was to attack at every opportunity, but the Thurrock back four were resilient. Leatherhead’s tactics also allowed for plenty of space on the counter, something the home side could take advantage of.
On the 67th minute Thurrock could have had a third. Lewwis Spence broke on the half way line before slotting a pass to Nouble. The winger beat the keeper but was denied by the post.
Leatherhead made their third and final change as Williams-Bowers replaced Midson, another attacking substitution. Thurrock were defending well and had bodies behind the ball denying any attack. Spence went into the referee’s book for a late tackle.
Despite the visitors’ efforts it was Thurrock that created chances in the second half. Pindy got forward twice in quick succession but lacked the finishing touch, he and Nouble were dangerous on the break.
Pindy was released on the right-hand side once again but pulled up with a muscle problem. He was replaced by Ogunrinde in a like-for-like swap.
Leatherhead got forward in the 83rd minute as Wood beat his man on the left flank. His cross bounced across the face of goal but was cut out coolly by Sutton. Despite the 2-goal-lead, the game was heading for a nervy finish.
The visitors got forward with long-balls but couldn’t get past the Thurrock back four. As defensive performances go, it was pretty much perfect. Another breakaway could have seen Spence get the third but his chipped effort sailed over the bar.
THURROCK 2-0 LEATHERHEAD
The Fleet could have scored 4 or 5 but ran out deserved winners regardless. A clean sheet is a huge bonus and a reward for professional defending throughout. Ending the 9-game run of Leatherhead is an impressive feat and builds upon recent results.
Thurrock: Ben McNamara, Reece Morgan, Remi Sutton, Perry Dunn, Curtis Ujah, Joe Christou, Michael Pindy (Timothy Ogunrinde 80), Lewwis Spence, James Goode, Ronnie Winn, Joel Nouble.
Unused: Toby Smith, Claudio Ribeirio-Goncalves, Joel Brown-Bampoe
Next Match: Tue 23th Jan | Margate vs Thurrock
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