Thurrock 1 - 2 Folkestone Invicta
By Dom Baker
The Fleet faced Folkestone Invicta in what was the last game under the lights at Ship Lane. Thurrock slipped into a respectable 15th place after Saturday’s defeat while the visitors sat in 3rd with an impressive 100 goals scored this season. A win will confirm playoffs for Folkestone.
Thurrock started the game strongly winning the ball high in the opposition half, it certainly seemed that the occasion had spurred on the team. They weren’t fazed by the opposition’s success so far this season.
Despite the intensity there was little goal-mouth action. Folkestone top scorer Adam Yusuff threatened in the 9th minute after latching onto a direct ball over-the-top of the Thurrock backline, but couldn’t beat Ben McNamara with a scuffed effort.
They would cause problems just minutes later when Ronnie Dolan clipped the ball towards the back post towards Ter Horst, who nodded his header safely over.
It was 3rd time lucky as Folkestone took the lead in the 25th minute. A looped ball from Jerald Aboagye found Ter Horst who drove into the box before teeing up McCann 12 yards out. The midfielder slotted the ball to the keeper’s left for the game’s opener.
THURROCK 0-1 FOLKESTONE INVICTA
Keiron McCann (25’)
It was an unfortunate goal to concede as The Fleet found themselves short at the back and caught out at the far post. Folkestone did, however, merit their lead.
The lead could have doubled shortly after when a neat 1-2 on the edge of the area put Johan Ter Horst through on goal with just the keeper to beat. The winger, who had caused trouble early on, couldn’t find the composure and skewed his shot comfortably over.
Folkestone were direct and very quick on the break, it was clear to see why they were so prolific this campaign. The Thurrock defence were strong though, Remi Sutton and James Goode making some crucial, crunching tackles.
Thurrock got a reward for their hard work on the stroke of half-time. Jordan Clark picked the ball up deep in the Fleet half before clipping a perfect ball over the Folkestone back four. Ronnie Winn latched onto it, evading all opposition and slotted home coolly at the near post.
THURROCK 1-1 FOLKESTONE INVICTA
Ronnie Winn (45’)
HALF TIME: THURROCK 1-1 FOLKESTONE INVICTA
There were no substitutions at the break from either side and no change in tempo either. The pace of the game was ridiculously fast, it was as if there had been no intermission at all.
Folkestone returned from their team talk as eager as before and were looking to get forward at every opportunity, much like the first-half however, Ben McNamara was often watching the ball sail over his woodwork.
Thurrock were counter-attacking well with Charlie Stimson holding up the ball superbly, several moves just lacked the final pass, Michael Pindy, in particular, was unlucky on a couple of occasions.
The game became increasingly feisty as it aged. Heavy challenges were being made by both sides with Folkestone’s Adam Yusuff on the receiving end of many of them. The referee tried to keep the game flowing and kept his cards in his pockets despite numerous Folkestone protests, Thurrock just wanted to get on with it.
The Fleet made the game’s first change as Michael Pindy made way for Joel Nouble. Folkestone reacted moments later as Ian Draycott was replaced by Joseph Taylor. Both substitutions were attacking ones with both sides looking for the all important next goal.
On the 69th minute McNamara was heavily tested. Yusuff fizzed a cross across the 6-yard box that was punched away but only as far as Ronnie Dolan. The midfielder struck a volley towards the top corner that was met by another flying save from McNamara’s right hand. A fine double save that gained applause from both sides, while keeping his team in the tie.
Thurrock responded immediately by carving out their best chance of the half. Lewwis Spence met Stimson’s clever flick and drove into the opposition box confidently. The skipper then evaded a strong challenge before laying the ball back to Jordan Clark on the penalty spot. The box-to-box midfielder could only watch the ball trickled past him, however, as a mix-up in communication saw a clear-cut chance go begging.
The Fleet were punished just moments later with just 10 minutes left on the clock. Nathanial Blanks fired the ball into target man Joseph Taylor who turned, shifted it to his left and finished expertly into the bottom corner, across McNamara.
THURROCK 1-2 FOLKESTONE INVICTA
Joseph Taylor (79’)
The visitors illustrated how important it is to take your chances with a sickening couple of minutes. Thurrock reacted to the goal by changing their system, James Goode made way for Ellis Brown who slotted into the right flank in something of a 4-2-4 formation. With just 5 minutes plus stoppage time the home side were going to give it their all, it was great to see.
With his first touch of the game Brown could have found the net. He met a looping ball forward, letting it bounce over his shoulder before volleying over the keeper but over the bar as well.
Thurrock pushed forwards deep into stoppage time but couldn’t break down a resilient Folkestone defence desperate for the 3 points.
The Fleet fought from the first whistle to the last but Folkestone took their chances and proved why they’re fighting at the top of the table. The last game under Ship Lane’s lights wasn’t a win but an example of their work-ethic this season, showing the potential to match one of the league’s best for large parts of the game.
Thurrock: Ben McNamara, George Winn, Remi Sutton, James Goode (Ellis Brown 84), Dexter Peter, Jordan Clark, Michael Pindy (Joel Nouble 67), Lewwis Spence, Charlie Stimson, Ronnie Winn, Reece Morgan
Unused: Toby Smith, Timothy Ogunrinde, Connor Weston
Next Match: Sat 21st Apr | Thurrock vs Kingstonian
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