11:40AM, Monday 07 November 2016
East Thurrock United 0, Maidenhead United 0
They had to fight hard for it but Maidenhead United managed to extend their lead at the top of National League South after taking a point from their trip to a chilly East Thurrock United.
United showed three changes from the team that came from two-goals down to draw with Hungerford Town at home with James Mulley returning in place of Kieron Forbes and Charlie Wassmer and Christian Smith deputising in defence for Dean Inman and Rene Steer respectively.
Maidenhead made a confident start but found their route to goal repeatedly blocked by Thurrock’s resolute defence, tightly shielded by the home side’s disciplined, deep lying midfield.
Ryan Upward thought he’d netted his second goal in three games when he fired home in the 15th minute but the goal was ruled to be offside.
Reece Harris was the main conduit for the Rocks’ counter-attacks and it was he who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute when his goalbound header was instinctively tipped onto the crossbar by Carl Pentney.
The contest evened out after the break, but James Comley continued to drive the Magpies forward and his pass released Dave Tarpey down the right but the striker, looking to register his 21st goal of the season, miss-controlled and allowed the ball to bobble away from him.
At the other end Pentney did just enough to foil Sam Higgins, rushing out to prompt the player into an early lob which bounced just wide of the post.
Jordan Cox came on in the second half to stretch the home side’s defence, but, with seven minutes to play, he caught the Thurrock keeper with a late challenge and, after being surrounded by home defenders demanding action, the referee dismissed the striker for violent conduct.
Despite going down to 10 men United held firm in the remaining minutes and, with Chelmsford and Hampton & Richmond Borough both losing, they extended their lead at the top to eight points ahead of Tuesday’s Berks & Bucks Senior Cup quarter-final tie at Marlow and the visit of Bath City to York Road on Saturday.
Rocks: Lidakevicius, Burns, Sammons, Clark, Ferdinand, Harris, Marlow, Higgins, Walker (75 Honesty), Wraight. Unused subs: Craddock, Wood, Freiter, Gardener.
Magpies: Pentney, Peters (57 Hammond), Smith, Upward, Massey, Wassmer, Tarpey, Comley, Marks, Mulley (65 Cox), Pritchard. Unused Subs: Barratt, Forbes, Steer.
Dismissed: Cox 83.
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