East Thurrock United held in relegation battle

Crossing from wide - Rocks' Chris Bourne delivers

Crossing from wide - Rocks' Chris Bourne delivers

First published in Sport by

EAST Thurrock were unable to move away from the drop zone as they shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw against Enfield Town on Saturday.

Penalties for each side were the only goals in the Ryman Premier League tie with the visitors taking the lead through Liam Hope before Tom Stephen’s equaliser.

Despite the week’s heavy rainfall, the Rookery Hill pitch miraculously survived a 9.15am inspection.

It was clear the wet turf was not the easiest to play on, but there was a good start to a game considered a six-pointer as both hover above the relegation zone.

Two minutes in, Enfield nearly took the lead when Hope flicked a header in the six yard box goalwards, forcing David Hughes into a save.

East Thurrock then surged up the pitch and forced Noel Imber to make two good saves, denying David Bryant’s shot and Leon McKenzie’s rebound.

Hope came close in the 24th minute but once more had to stand in admiration for Hughes who made a great save to keep out his close-range volley.

The Rocks stopper was in fine form and five minutes later produced an outstanding double save.

Quinton crossed from the left and Bertie Brayley volleyed in the six yard box but Hughes’ reactions pushed the ball away. He then got himself up in time to pull off another splendid save from Hope’s rebound header.

Three minutes before the break the deadlock was broken when, from a corner, Enfield skipper Lee White was seen to be pushed over by McKenzie.

Referee Martyn Holmes awarded a penalty allowing Hope to convert.

However, Rocks got their own penalty in the 59th minute in similar fashion when Holmes decided John Easterford had been unfairly shoved from a corner.

Enfield protested, but the decision stood and Stephen calmly slotted home.

Substitute Mitchell Pinnock was then brought into the game and he created a couple of chances including in the 67th minute when he used his strength to get the ball off visiting fullback Sam Griffiths.

Sadly his ball across the goalmouth could not be reached by a sliding Bryant.

The visitors tried going gung ho for the last 20 minutes switching at times to a 3-3-4 formation, but were unable to breach the home defence as the Rocks sat back and counter attacked.

Second half sub Nathan Livings came close for Enfield in the 88th minute running past a couple of defenders before hitting his edge of the area shot over.

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