Thurrock 0 - 0 Leiston
By Dom Baker
The hosts faced Leiston looking for their 5th win in a row after an impressive 3-1 victory last weekend. The visitors came into the tie in good form themselves having gone 8 games without defeat. Before kick-off Leiston sat just outside of the play-off spots in 7th whilst Thurrock recent run saw them climb to 13th. New signing Ellis Brown started on the right flank.
The Fleet were causing problems from the start. Seconds after the whistle Ronnie Winn latched onto a clipped ball, took it round the keeper but couldn’t find the net. The resulting corner saw Jordan Clark win a duel at the front post but put his volley narrowly wide. Thurrock flew out of the blocks.
On the 4th minute the hosts came forward again. Lewwis Spence found an overlapping Remi Sutton who drove into the box but couldn’t capitalise. You could tell from early on that Thurrock were a team with a wealth of confidence.
Leiston responded with the best chance of the half just moments later. A deep free kick was hooked forward and into the path of Jake Reed. The striker found Chris Henderson’s driving run on the penalty spot but blasted the ball well over.
Captain Lewwis Spence was commanding the midfield and won another battle on the 8th minute. He found Ronnie Winn who slid a composed pass into Jordan Clark. The midfielder was 1-on-1 but skewed his effort wide – a real chance for the hosts who would have deserved the lead.
It was a crazy first 15 minutes, I’m not sure how the game was still goalless but it was truly end-to-end.
After taking a corner for the visitors Patrick Brothers picked up the ball from a lay-off and bent the ball with his left foot. It was dipping into the top corner and needed the hand of Ben McNamara to tip it over. Leiston grew into the first half after a shaky start and began to show their quality.
Kyle Hammond went into the referee’s book for a tug on Joel Nouble and moments later Nouble was causing problems again, this time Dominic Docherty was cautioned.
HALF TIME: Thurrock 0 – 0 Leiston
Just 5 minutes after the break Leiston’s Darren Mills replaced Dominic Docherty who had been booked and further warned. Unlike the first half, the opening exchanges of the second were scrappy and much more physical.
Leiston almost took the lead on the 57th minute after a Seb Dunbar cross caused panic in the Thurrock goalmouth. Lewwis Spence’s touch diverted the ball over McNamara but recovered well with a spectacular goal-line clearance.
Thurrock reacted with their first and second substitution as debutant Ellis Brown made way for Timothy Ogunrinde. Shortly after, Reece Cave entered the game in place of Joel Nouble.
On the hour mark, Leiston looked to take charge of this game and were committing men forward. Darren Mills jinked past his man and flashed the ball across the face. A combination of George Winn and McNamara saw it away safely.
Another booking went Leiston’s way. This time Patrick Brothers was cautioned for speaking out of turn. Brothers was then replaced by Christie Finch. Thurrock responded with a change in defence as George Winn made way and was replaced by Joe Oseyemi.
As the game became stretched it was clear that Leiston weren’t intent on settling for a draw.
In the 83rd minute a long ball bounced through the Thurrock back-line and found the feet of Henderson. The midfielder went down after colliding with McNamara but the referee waved play on. Henderson was booked for his protests and then replaced by Joe Marsden.
Play was winding down but the tempo wasn’t slowing. Thurrock broke on a counter attack with 5 minutes to play through Ronnie Winn. The striker went past 2 orange shirts but blazed his shot over the bar.
Leiston went down the other end and earned a golden chance to steal all 3 points. Jake Reed cut inside of Reece Morgan who obstructed the striker’s run, the referee didn’t hesitate this time and pointed to the spot. Leiston’s Jack Ainsley stepped up and passed his penalty wide of the left post – an awful penalty in a high-pressure situation.
The visitors weren’t finished there though. Leiston carved out another fine chance on the 88th minute. A counter attack saw the ball cut back for Seb Dunbar who struck the ball towards the near post, the effort was blocked bravely by Dexter Peter who got high-fives from his entire back 4 as a result.
Thurrock turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye by countering quickly out wide. A driving run from midfield created a 2 on 2 situation in the dying seconds. Winn found Jordan Clark who had only the keeper to beat but forced a fine save from Leiston’s number one.
Thurrock’s first 0-0 of the season certainly wasn’t a dull affair, on another day there would have been a flurry of goals. The Fleet more than held their own against a team pushing for promotion and could have won it late on. A fine display that extends their terrific recent form.
Team: Ben McNamara, Reece Morgan, Remi Sutton, James Goode, Dexter Peter, Jordan Clark, George Winn (Joe Oseyemi 73) , Lewwis Spence, Ellis Brown (Timothy Ogunrinde 60), Ronnie Winn, Joel Nouble (Reece Cave 64)
Unused: Toby Smith, Connor Weston
Next Match: Mon 2nd Apr | Harlow Town vs Thurrock
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