East Thurrock United supporter

It was great to back watching football, pre-season has been good fun but it’s not the same.

When I was told that manager Covo (John Coventry) and star striker Higgo (Sam Higgins) would be missing the first game I thought it was a joke. Higgo is getting married and congratulations to him.

It’s been a surprise having him back the last two years knowing he could easily be at a higher level but we’re just happy to have him at Rookery Hill. Covo has done wonders in assembling a brilliant team this season so I was positive we could cope.

On my way to the ground I bumped into some Woking fans, with their four packs of cider. They were expecting an easy win and bragging about their garden sheds being bigger than our ground. I was quick to remind them if they were as good as they thought they were, they wouldn’t be playing in the National League South. I told them I thought Woking would win 3-1, as a relegated side they have more money but I was just hoping for a good performance.

Yet East Thurrock dominated the first half. Unfortunately, the referee wanted to be the star man.

First, Ryan Scott poked the ball just over the line. The club photographer snapped the photo and as the ref decided if he wanted to give it or not, the fans were chanting VAR and offering the photographer’s camera as evidence but the ref was having none of it.

Later in the half Tom Derry was through one on one, the goalkeeper came rushing out and clattered him in what can be only describe as common assault but the ref decided Derry somehow pushed the goalkeeper instead.

Woking were the better team in the second half and our goalkeeper made some brilliant saves. As we approached the 94th minute everyone was accepting a draw as a fair result.

Then a soft breeze was enough for their number 12 to fall over in the box. The ref has no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

I was incredibly proud of all the East Thurrock players and everyone gave their all.

If we play like this for the next 41 league games then I have no fear we will be a top half team come the end.

It’s not an easy start to the season as we travelled to Dulwich last night and visit Torquay on Saturday but we do so with our heads held high.