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Stimmo pleased with first victory
12:26pm Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Sport
THURROCK boss Mark Stimson has hailed his young side for adapting to the stormy conditions en route to their first win of the season.
Fierce bolts of lightning flickered on the horizon and thunder rumbled as dark clouds rolled in from the west during the first half of the league clash.
The impending weather seemed a fitting reflection of the scenario Mark Stimson’s men found themselves in before the game kicked off and as a slow first half wore on.
Defeat in their opening two games had threatened to dampen newfound enthusiasm at Ship Lane after relegation last year.
This was the game Fleet needed to win to kick start their season after a stormy start, but in the first 44 minutes, they were out played by Lewes.
Steve Brinkhurst, the Rooks’ forward, should have scored two in a 15 minute spell of dominance just past the half-hour mark.
But against the run of play, Shamir Mullings headed Fleet in front after 44 minutes.
He got up well to head Jamie Dicks’ right-footed cross from the left back across goal and into the bottom corner.
As the half-time whistle went, the dark clouds brought heavy rain. It was Thurrock who adapted best to the adverse condition, with the wet weather facilitating some slick passing and movement which carved Lewes open on numerous occasions.
After Mullings had gone close early in the second half – spooning over an effort from four yards that was harder to miss – it was Lewis Perkins who provided the second goal with a superb strike.
After a deft first touch 25 yards from goal, he struck the ball true, dispatching it beyond the reach of Rooks’ stopper Kieron Thorp and sealing the deal for Fleet.
Thurrock defended well throughout the game with 17-year-old Frank Griffin giving an inspired performance at the heart of the defence, justifying the “gamble” Stimson made in playing him.
Stimson’s first competitive win as Fleet boss sent his side flying up the league table, above local rivals East Thurrock.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “I thought the performance was very good.
“I think the conditions really helped us because we’ve got some good touch players who like to get a good touch and move into space with the ball and dribble with it.
“I think first half and all of pre-season this year the pitches have been so dry that we can’t really run with it but today when the rain came down it really helped us and we moved the ball around nicely.
“Going into the game, the mood was fantastic.
“The spirit’s been good and training has been fantastic. I said to the boys on Tuesday night that they didn’t deserve to get beat, so don’t get too down. If you play like that, we’ll turn the results around and today we’ve done that.”
On Fleet’s young man of the match, Stimson added: “I thought Frank Griffin was fantastic. We didn’t think we’d have to need him so early on in the season and it’s always a bit of a gamble putting such a young person in the centre of the pitch, but he was great.”
As evening fell, the sun shone over Ship Lane offering more symbolism. Fleet adapted brilliantly to Saturday’s stormy weather and perhaps now, they’re through the worst of a turbulent start.