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Return of Araba helps East Thurrock to first league win
East Thurrock 2, Hendon 0
HAKEEM Araba scored on his debut to set East Thurrock United on the way to their first league win of the season.
The big centre forward terrorized the Hendon defence, scoring a first half opener after completing a return to the club from Bromley on Friday.
It was Araba’s strike partner Sam Higgins who wrapped up the win for Rocks, scoring mid-way through the second half.
A toothless Hendon never really settled into the game as Rocks skipper Reiss Gilbey cropped up everywhere, giving the Hendon midfield and defence no time on the ball.
But an accomplished performance meant the Rocks faithful were able to celebrate their first league win of the season.
The game might have been different had Hendon taken their best chance of the game, which fell to Greg Ngoyi four minutes in.
He seemed surprised when Casey Maclarens low cross from the right ended up at his feet, but he still managed to prod a shot goal wards. Richard Wray blocked it superbly with a sharp reflex save down to his right.
After that, East Thurrock took control of the game but seemed to lack a creative edge. They dominated possession.
Eventually, chances came for Rocks and it was Araba, Bromley’s top scorer last year, who rose at the near post to glance in Tom Stephen’s superb cross from the left after 32 minutes. That was the first time East Thurrock have scored in the first half at home in the league this season.
Following the opener, John Coventry’s men might have had a hat-full before the half time whistle went. Kye Ruel missed the best of those chances four minutes before the break, shooting straight at Hendon stopper Bekley Laurencin after Higgins’ had knocked down Kris Newby’s free kick.
Higgins himself went close moments earlier with a rasping 25-yard free-kick that was pushed over by Laurencin.
After half-time, East Thurrock set about sealing the win. The game grew scrappy, with a few late challenges and the odd squabble between players. Hendon, and Dean Cracknell in particular, were getting frustrated at being denied time on the ball by the Rocks midfield.
But in an otherwise uneventful half, Higgins got the goal his efforts in the forward areas deserved. Simon Peddie launched a long ball forward from the back, which Higgins took it under control before seeing his first effort at goal parried by Laurencin. He pounced on the rebound to make it 2-0.
The win moves Rocks up to eleventh in the Ryman Premier League and sees them maintain an unbeaten record at home. They’ve lost just one in all competitions.
Hendon conjured few chances in the match, which was largely down to a fantastic pressing, defensive display.
East Thurrock starting XI: Wray; Sammons, Peddie, Sheehan, Stephen; Newby, Gilbey, Parmenter, Ruel; Higgins, Araba.
Subs: Keith, Gorbell, Hall, Collins, Riley
Gazette MOM: Reiss Gilbey
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