Thurrock 0 - 0 Metropolitan Police
By Dom Baker
Thurrock returned to Ship Lane after a disappointing result at Harlow last week. The visitors for today were Metropolitan Police who sat 10th in the table just 3 points higher than the Fleet. The local weather was reported at 18 degrees which meant that in the last 3 weeks the pitch has had to withstand snow, sleet, torrential rain and now something of a heatwave in these parts.
It was a quiet start for both sides who were both battling for possession in midfield without much early success. The first chance of the game fell to the hosts, however. Joel Nouble picked the ball up deep in the opposition half before taking on his man and flicking the ball into Ronnie Winn’s path. The striker cut the ball back, rolling a pass across the 6 yard box that beat the keeper but beat Ellis Brown at the back post too.
Moments later Thurrock created a similar chance. It was Joel Nouble again causing problems on the left flank when he found Jordan Clark’s surging run. Clark fizzed the ball across the face of goal but was cut out by a mixture of blue Met shirts.
Once the ball was cleared Metropolitan Police could launch an attack of their own, A long ball forward caught Thurrock out, forcing George Winn to enter a dangerous 50/50. He was the first name in the referee’s book for catching Met striker Jonathan Wright in the challenge.
It was certainly a cagey start from both teams who failed to register a shot on target in the first half an hour. A loose touch from Charlie Stimson illustrated the game’s scrappiness, the striker dived in after losing it and Thurrock received a second yellow card for the late tackle.
It was hard to tell who was having the better of the play in this first half, but Thurrock certainly looked more dangerous on the break.
On the half hour mark Thurrock caused problems once more. Remi Sutton fizzed the ball into the feet of Stimson who dummied and let it run to Ronnie Winn, the striker couldn’t get his shot off but it was impressive nonetheless.
Minutes later Thurrock were impressing again. Ellis Brown chased a loose ball and hounded Met’s Sam Gallagher. Brown’s tackle fell to Ronnie Winn who teed up Nouble for a shot that was straight into the arms of the opposition keeper. That was the first shot of the game on the 42nd minute and on the 43rd we had another. This time tenacious work by Winn and then Clark maintained possession deep in the Met’s half. Clark found Nouble who was lurking on the edge of the box again but was similarly denied by Williams.
Metropolitan Police eased pressure with a long ball forward from defence which found striker Bayley Mummery over the top of the Thurrock back-line. Mummery run through on goal but couldn’t beat Ben McNamara who got down to his left well to push the ball to safety.
After a slow, but competitive start both teams came to life in the final 5 minutes forcing both keepers into making important saves.
HALF TIME: Thurrock 0-0 Metropolitan Police
Thurrock made a change at the break with Joe Oseyemi replacing Ellis Brown. Oseyemi went into right-back causing a re-shuffle, James Goode slotting into midfield allowing Jordan Clark to push further forward.
The second period started in the same fashion as the first. The ball was turned over often with both sides lacking a final pass. The game’s 3rd card went Thurrock’s way again when James Goode went into the book for a late tackle in the middle of the park, despite it being his first foul of the game.
The first chance of the half fell to the visitors. It was winger Hippolyte-Patrick causing problems as he had all afternoon with a half-volley from the corner of the box that dipped under McNamara’s bar. The keeper didn’t take any chances and tipped it over with both hands.
Metropolitan Police made their first change on the 58th minute when Bayley Mummery made way for Jamie Autorino. Just minutes later they made their second when captain, Thomas Hickey made way for Callum Kealy. Thurrock made their second directly after as Micheal Pindy entered the game in the place of Jordan Clark. Clark was struggling with a knock he picked up early in the second half and couldn’t continue any longer. Although versatile, Pindy offers more pace going forward, which Thurrock looked to utilise.
Met Police almost took the lead with a spectacular effort on the 70th minute through midfielder Autorino. He picked up a loose ball in the middle and struck the ball fiercely towards the top right corner. McNamara matched it with a flying save.
The physio was called into action again shortly after as Lewwis Spence went down with what seemed to be a muscle problem. After a few minutes the Thurrock skipper was up and back on his feet with 15 minutes on the clock and both teams looking to win it.
Charlie Stimson came the closest for either team with 82 minutes played when he turned 25-yards from goal and unleashed a curling effort towards the near post. The keeper was certainly beaten but would have been relieved to see the ball crash off the post and out to safety – desperately close to finding the winner.
Despite both teams sitting comfortably in mid-table they showed no sign of settling for a draw. The final 4 minutes of stoppage time was played with the same intensity as the first. Despite trying to get the ball forward from deep Thurrock didn’t have any luck with the loose balls that followed.
For just the second time this season a game at the Lane finished goalless.
Thurrock: Ben McNamara, George Winn, Remi Sutton, Ellis Brown (Joe Oseyemi 46), Dexter Peter, James Goode, Jordan Clark (Michael Pindy 66), Lewwis Spence, Charlie Stimson, Ronnie Winn, Joel Nouble.
Unused: Toby Smith, Connor Weston, Timothy Ogunrinde
Next Match: Sat 14th Apr | Dulwich Hamlet vs Thurrock. To be played at Tooting & Mitcham United's ground
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