The Rooks dismal record at East Thurrock United continued on Tuesday night when two penalty kicks, converted by the Rocks striker Alex Hernandez gave the Essex side a surprise win, reports Stuart Fuller.
With Michael Klass and Mitchell Nelson suspended, Rooks boss Tony Russell welcomed back from illness Will Salmon in the backline in a relatively unchanged side from the one that grabbed a point on Saturday at Bishop’s Stortford. In the other dugout, veteran manager Jim Cooper had joined the East Thurrock bench on a temporary basis after manager Paul Martin left the club following Saturday’s defeat to Leatherhead.
The “new manager” bounce was certainly evident in the opening exchanges and the hosts took the lead in the 13th minute when Lewis Carey was adjudged to have hauled down a forward rushing through despite getting a hand to the ball. Hernandez stepped up and sent the Rooks keeper the wrong way.
Lewes began to control the game but found the uneven pitch a slight hinderance to their style of play. Whilst wide men Razz Coleman De Graft and Ollie Tanner had the beating of their men, they couldn’t find the white shirts in the area and the half finished with only one real threat on goal, a Taylor Maloney free-kick from 25 yards that whistled past the post.
The Rooks certainly started the second half in the ascendancy but failing to put pressure on Arthur Janata’s goal. Russell changed his wide players with twenty five minutes to go, hoping that the fresh legs of Iffy Allen and Deon Moore would crack open the Rocks defence but it was the home side who seemed to step up a gear, having an effort cleared off the line, hitting the post and then winning another penalty as Matty Weaire was adjudged by the assistant referee to have pushed his man as he went passed him, something that few, if any people, saw in the ground. Hernandez doubled the lead and his scoring tally for the evening.
Freddie Parker’s header in the 87th minute forced Janata into his first meaningful save of the evening but it wasn’t to be for the Rooks and whilst the manner of the two goals will be in question, there’s no doubt that Jim Cooper’s influence on East Thurrock’s energetic performance saw them finish the better side.
A missed opportunity for the Rooks to climb up to third in the table as the dismal record of just one win and one draw in our last seven visits to East Thurrock United.
East Thurrock United: Janata, Wyss, Daniel, R Lacey, Robinson, Barton (M Lacey 46 mins), Owusu, Ashman (Matthews 86 mins), Kettle, Joseph, Hernandez
Sub not used: Nazor
Booked: Daniel, R Lacey, Barton, Josepth
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Carlse, Weaire, Salmon, Pritchard, Maloney, Parker, Tanner (Moore 59 mins), Coleman De-Graft (Allen 66 mins), Taylor
Subs not used: Hall, Colombie, Olukoga
Attendance: 193 (33 Travelling Rooks)