Isthmian Premier Division Sat 5 October The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Meekums (14')
  • Colbran (42')
East Thurrock Utd
  • Merdifield (38', 58')
  • Marlow (84')

Jalen Jones kept his place, with Ross Edwards still carrying a knock suffered at Merstham, while Summer signing, Cameron Tutt made a matchday squad for the first time since breaking his foot in pre-season. Alex Parsons and Aaron Relf also joined him on the bench.

The visitors nearly went in front in the opening seconds, after Danny Barker was dispossessed on the edge his own penalty area by Frankie Merrifield, who advanced into the box where his scuffed shot was deflected behind by Roco Rees.

Captain, Ryan Scott then got his body in the way to deny Jesse Starkey, after Joel Colbran had taken Barker’s ball to the byline and pulled it back, before Billy Crook broke clear from the centre circle and played in Ben Marlow on the right. He had time to set himself but was denied by a fine low save from Roco.

A throw-in on the left led to Steve Sheehan teeing-up Crook, only for him to fire over the bar, with Alex Clark firing the wrong side of the post from Mitch Gilbey’s lay-off shortly after.

Somewhat against the run of play, Callum Kealy picked up possession just in the Rocks’ half and set off towards goal. He quickly spread the ball to his left, where Reece Myles-Meekums cut inside his marker and curled a beauty into the far top corner, nineteen yards out.

Barker’s right wing delivery eluded Jason Ring, Starkey and goalkeeper, Jack Giddens before the latter presented Jesse with the chance to lob him, courtesy of a misplaced clearance, that, much to his relief, landed on the roof of the net.

Those two openings were bookended by Kealy being outmuscled, somewhat unfairly it appeared, by Scott, as he closed in on the target and Barker’s ambitious attempt from a long way out carrying no real threat, on it’s way over the top.

Two goals in a matter of minutes brought the opening period to a conclusion; when a slight hesitation between Roco and Jalen gave Merrifield the space he needed to get in front of the giant Jones and head Marlow’s centre home. Followed by Starkey setting up Meekums for a carbon copy of his earlier effort that this time was parried by Giddens but dispatched at the second attempt by Colbran.

Meeky and Jesse worked well together again in the early stages of the second forty-five, with our number eleven forcing a flag-kick from his strike and the subsequent set-piece being punched alear by Giddens, after it had been touched back by Reece to Ricky.

Aguiar then flashed a shot wide of each upright, inside sixty seconds; only for Merrifield to get goalside of Jones – via a long ball from the inside left channel – and slot through the ‘keeper’s legs to level the scores at the other end moments later.

Pearce’s free-kick flew over, a burst of pace from Meekums took him into the box but he could only hit the side netting and a sliding Starkey couldn’t quite get his head to a Parson’s delivery, as the hosts upped the ante.

A quarter of the contest remained when Marlow robbed Meekums and Clark narrowly avoided contact on his whipped cross; while Lloyd Dawes turned Steve Sheehan and left him on his posterior but was stopped by the imposing figure of Scott, in the area.

Seven minutes from time, Barker headed a long throw on the right as far as Marlow who controlled the dropping ball on his thigh before unleashing a dipping volley across Rees, into the far side of the net, from just inside the box.

Reds hit back through the unlikely figure of left-back, Ben Pashley whose header was pushed, one-handed, over the bar by Giddens after Starkey’s free-kick had looped up off the wall.

A late effort by Dawes hit a defender’s foot and Parsons’ ball in from the right came back out to Jesse, to blast over the top,

One final attempt at rescuing a point fell to Meekums but his turn and drive from the right-hand corner of the penalty area lacked power and Giddens gathered safely.