Rocks battle for fine win

Mitch Gilby crashes home Rocks' second. Picture by Terry Keating.

Carshalton Athletic 1, East Thurrock United 2

ROCKS’ promising start to the Bet Victor Isthmian Premier season continued with a hard-earned win at the War Memorial Ground on Monday evening.

The visitors had the better of the first half thanks to an exemplary work rate and some enterprising play around the box and went into the break with a two goal lead.

Carshalton were better after the interval and came back into the game, particularly in the closing stages as Rocks’ terrific work-rate and a couple of injuries took their toll and in the end they had to survive a late siege on their goal, with keeper Jack Giddens producing a series of excellent saves.

All round, it was a much-deserved victory that delighted a core of travelling supporters who were appreciative of the team ethic and commitment that manager John Coventry and his coaching team appear to have grafted together despite a disappointing and troubled pre-season.

Rocks had already had several chances before they opened the scoring on 20 minutes when a fine cross from Mitchell Gilby and a great run from Frankie Merrifield drew everyone to the near post but the ball evaded the melee and Alex Clark swept it in from close range at the far post.

The second goal, a minute before half time, was a reverse of the first, with Clark the provider with a pinpoint near post cross which Gilby crashed home with some venom.

Inevitably the huge effort put in by Rocks as they pressed their opponents across the park began to take its toll through the second half and Gilby and Lewis Smith were forced off through injury.

Carshalton also producd some excellent football, passing the ball around with some accuracy but East Thurrock got men behind the ball and defended as if their lives depended on it. Perhaps a more direct approach from the Robins might have paid more dividend but they continued to play the ball from the back and ultimately got a goal back with seven minutes to go when Omar Koroma prodded the ball home from close range.

They continued to press but found Giddens in fine form and he pulled off a number of great stops, including one remarkable double save and in the end, after one last chance was blazed over the bar, the final whistle went to give Rocks the victory.