Sending off proves decisive as Rocks fail to match midweek performance

  Posted: 23.02.20 at 08:48 by The Editor

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East Thurrock United 0, Cray Wanderers 1

AFTER the high of a tremendous team effort to beat Carshalton on Tuesday that must have sapped some of the energy levels of East Thurrock’s depleted squad it was perhaps no surprise that they fell short against play-off-chasing Cray at another blustery Rookery Hill.

There was disruption prior to the game, when appointed referee James Hurst broke down en-route to the game, and senior assistant Steven Marr took control, with back-up lino Liam Giles drafted in. It would be fair to say Mr Marr was not up to the job – though he was consistent in that he infuriated both teams with a series of decisions.

The pivotal one came on the half hour when he elected to send off Rocks’ Jordan Brown for a high tackle. He consulted with Mr Giles before making his decision and the conclusion did not sit well with Rocks players – nor supporters who were close to the incident and reckoned it was hard.

The second key moment in a game that was always tight, despite the fact Rocks were a man down for an hour of it, came seven minutes into the second half, when Cray won a free-kick out on the right when Rhys Murrell-Williamson was blocked and he picked himself up from the turf to place a superbly struck effort just inside the post.

Despite playing into the wind, it was John Coventry’s Rocks who had the better of the early play.

On six minutes Ayo Olukoga made a great run down the right, cutting into the box, but his cross was just too far in front of Frankie Merrifield. Then Merrifield went past two defenders and fired in a decent effort which was well saved by visiting keeper Lewis Carey.

Despite Cray having a numerical advantage it was the committed and hard-working Rocks who looked most likely after the interval, but to add to their woes leading scorer Merrifield limped off on the hour mark.

Rocks’ best chance fell to skipper Ryan Scott late on, but his header from a Darren Foxley cross was inches off target.

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