Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TGNEWS to 80360 or you can email us Click here for details »
Mark Stimson's side having a tough time
Thurrock 0, Whitehaw 3
NON LEAGUE FOOTBALL: MARK Stimson and his Thurrock side won’t face many sides as good as Whitehawk as they enter the season’s final quarter.
Saturday’s south-coast visitors fielded an 11 which boasted a pro signed from Premier League Reading, a pro from Macclesfield and a full back from Conference side Havant & Waterlooville. And they were just recent additions to a side that already sat atop the Ryman Premier League.
But make no mistake, Thurrock’s relegation time bomb is ticking and the need for a good run is becoming ever greater.
In many ways, it suits that they have a number of games in hand, owing to the poor winter weather, but those games need to be turned to points.
Incidentally, it was a surprise this fixture survived the latest deluge.
Indeed, as the players warmed up, the Great Lakes of Purfleet which had formed on the Ship Lane turf, seemed to suggest that completing a full 90 minute football match was unlikely.
But the game went ahead and survived two full 45 minute halves. Thurrock started the game very well and had Stuart Thurgood taken a golden chance that fell to him in the opening two minutes, the game may have been different. Instead, Richard Martin, the Hawks keeper saved from point blank range and Fleet struggled to threaten again.
The home side, already missing Matt Turpin from their defence after he broke a hand against Wealdstone, then lost centre back Jack Jeffries. He hobbled off following a high tackle. But then controversy then reared its head. This time it involved a phantom goal. In the 10th minute, Charlie Losaso – signed on loan from Reading last week – hit a super shot from 25-yards which beat David Hughes. The ball then either did or didn’t fly inside of the left-hand post. If it did, it went through a hole in the net before hitting the hoardings behind the goal and bouncing back on to the pitch. The alternative is that it went wide by a fraction.
The referee immediately gave the goal, but questioned his own judgement as Thurrock players surrounded him insisting the ball had not gone in.
In a mad few minutes, Peter Georgiou consulted with his linesman – who should have checked the nets before kick-off – Darren Freeman, the Whitehawk manager strolled on to the pitch and confusion reigned. In the end, a hole was found in the corner of the net but the goal was given.
Charlie Henry from Macclesfield then decided to turn it on, rendering the phnatom goal debate irrelevant.
In the 36th minute, he played a neat one-two with Paul Hinselworth in midfield before sending a first time ball over the top to Danny Mills. He cut it back on the touchline for James Fraser who tapped in to double Hawks’ lead.
Henry was well involved again for the third four minutes later. The winger gathered an excellent pass from Hinselworth before crossing first time from the right. Mills, unmarked, rose and from six-yards out, headed into the top corner.
And that was that. With 50 minutes remaining, the game was effectively over. As the second half began, that seemed to be known by all.
Thurrock, lacking in pace, created very little in a half that was uneventful and uninspiring. Speaking the club’s official website after the game, Stimson said: “We played a good side today who are top of the league and have experience all the way through the side. “We started brightly and got into a dangerous position in the corner. We took a corner and with a little bit of luck we might have got something from that. But we didn’t and then what was disappointing are the goals we conceded.”
Talking about the first goal, Stimson said: “The linesman went and tested it but never went over to the referee for any discussion. It looked as though there was no hole in the net. “So there was confusion from the sidelines. That probably took a minute or two and it disrupted things.”
He added that he hopes Turpin will be back after the referee had ruled his cast was too heavy. It is not clear just how long Jeffries will be out for after he suffered a deep gash just above his ankle.
For Non-Legue news see Friday's THURROCK GAZETTE