NON LEAGUE FOOTBALL: IT MIGHT have seemed strange that Tilbury chief Paul Vaughan was upbeat after watching his side draw 2-2 to Harlow Town in an ill-tempered and dramatic affair.
In the second half, Dockers squandered a two-goal lead and were reduced to nine men.
But, for the first time since Vaughan took over in 2010, he had seen his side score on a visit to Harlow Town and – more significantly – avoid defeat.
“It’s the first time in five years I’ve got anything out of Harlow – I’ve always had a nightmare, here,” Vaughan pointed out.
The Tilbury boss said: “Going forward, I think this is one of the best Tilbury teams I’ve had.”
And with Gary Henty and Jack Carlile in front of Sam West, Aaron Waters and Jake Pooley, the side looked balanced.
Young players Joe Christou, Tom Wood and Pooley looked assured and Harry Cook and Ben Hunt were linking up to great effect in the final third.
Dockers had two goals disallowed, struck the wood-work twice and – in truth – should have killed Harlow off at the start of the second half.
Sam West gave Tilbury the lead after 21 minutes, before Tom Wood doubled the lead.
In a bad-tempered second half, Michael Toner was sent off for flooring Cook with a head-butt.
After 73 minutes, 10-man Harlow broke Tilbury down. Jared Small, brought Danny Chapman’s side level, striking the ball low across Dean Driscoll.
As the game grew scrappy the lively David Cowley feigned to shoot, turned and then rifled a low shot at goal which cannoned off the arm of Pooley.
The 21-year-old defender was booked and Read stepped up.
Driscoll saved Read’s 89th minute penalty but he saw the ball squirm back across the goal line.
In the aftermath, Waters and Harlow skipper James Smith came together in the goalmouth. The former was shown a straight red for raising an arm, the latter shown a yellow and dismissed.
And in the dying moments, Pooley made a clumsy lunge on Read. Richardson skipped over and showed Pooley a second yellow, then a red – further infuriating the talented defender.