It was a frustrating night for the Tudors faithful as visitors East Thurrock left with a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at a windy Vauxhall Road on Tuesday evening.
A frustrating night for the Tudors faithful as visitors East Thurrock came away with a share of the spoils at a windy Vauxhall Road on Tuesday evening.
Manager Dean Brennan made a few changes to the side that were well beaten at Eastbourne, bringing new signing Harley Wise into the back four and playing him alongside James Koloczi in the centre of the defence.
Kyle Connolly and Graeme Montgomery also started, with Connolly going to the right back position.
The game started well for Hemel and they could have been two up after ten minutes, an early driven cross from the left evaded everyone, with three Tudors players just failing to get a touch.
Then, in the ninth minute, a superb run and cross by Dan Walker was met at the far post by Jack Kelly but his powerful header was well saved by Lidakevicius in the Thurrock goal.
The Essex side were limited to counter attacks and their first real chance came just after the half hour mark when George Craddock found himself in space on the edge of the area but his shot went over the bar.
On 40 minutes Montgomery and Corcoran combined well with a quick exchange of passes and Montgomery’s shot just cleared the bar, landing onto the roof of the net.
Seconds later it was Thurrock who, somewhat surprisingly took the lead. A misplaced pass in the middle of the park was pounced upon and James Walker drove down Hemel’s right before crossing to an unmarked Ben Marlow who rose and planted his header into the corner.
As the half time whistle approached The Tudors got back into the game when Lewis Taaffe raced into United’s box from the left and took his time before picking out Jake Robinson, who placed his first time shot into the net to the delight (and relief) of the home fans.
Hemel had to replace Corcoran at half time with Michael Richens, with Connolly being handed the Captains armband and they made a bright start to the second period.
Robinson tested the keeper after a couple of minutes when his long range effort was pushed round the post and on 52 minutes another fast flowing move ended up with Montgomery driving a shot that looked to be heading for the top corner before a Thurrock defender threw himself at it, appearing to punch the ball away. Much to the home sides dismay the referee only gave a corner when a penalty looked to be the correct decision.
The resulting corner wasn’t cleared and Jack Kelly smashed a 40 yard effort just wide of Lidakevicius’s post, the keeper relieved to see it go wide. James Potton came on for Dan Walker on the hour and his first contribution was a superb header from a free kick on the right, the keeper saved the effort but dropped the ball under pressure and Potton fired home through a crowd of players only to see the effort disallowed for a foul on the keeper. The home support felt that keeper collided with his own player and the goal should have stood, but the official saw otherwise.
Mitchell Weiss came on for Montgomery but was unable to make much impact on the visitor’s stubborn defence and United could have nicked the game with minutes to go when substitute Harry Honesty broke clear and fired in a shot that Jonny Henly did well to block.
In the end the points were shared and Dean Brennan’s new look side still looks a game or two away from finding their feet. The result lifts The Tudors up a couple of places in the early league table and with Oxford City next at Vauxhall Road, the home fans will be hoping things start to gel sooner rather than later.
Man Of the match Jack Kelly