14.07.2005 @ 19:45 Rookery Hill
East Thurrock United
0 - 1
A Lee Burns own goal was the only difference between East Thurrock and Grays in last week’s friendly at Rookery Hill.
In what was both sides’ first outing of the season, full back Burns got in a muddle with colleague Vinny John and looped a header over the outstretched arms of Mark Hardingham with Aaron McLean.
Both clubs used the game to try-out a variety of triallists with Grays’ Michael Kightly, Tommy Williamson and Rocks’ keeper Dean Neil, who was at Basildon United last season catching the eye.
Understandably, given it was both sides’ first game of the new campaign, the contest was a patchy affair with match fitness clearly the key for both managers.
Dean Brennan and McLean both forced good saves out of Hardingham early on with Danny Harris blasting over at the other end.
Both sides fielded an entirely different XI in the second half which Grays shaded despite being unable to add to their tally.
That was mostly down to some profligate finishing but Neil performed well in the East Thurrock goal, even saving a John Martin penalty after Dennis Oli had been felled.
The closest the home side came was when Danny Dafter’s fierce shot was parried away by Grays’ new keeper Nicky Eyre in the closing stages.
Afterwards both camps expressed satisfaction.
Grays boss Mark Stimson, said: “It was a good game, nice and competitive and some of last season’s players, like Oli and Tony Battersby looked sharp.”
Joint East Thurrock boss, lee Patterson, said: “I’m pleased. When you take into account that Grays are a full time side and have had about 14 training sessions compared to our five then we’ve done well.
”It’s all about easing ourselves back into it at the moment and there were positives we can take from the game like Dean Neil who we will be having another look at.”
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report
Grays Starting Lineup:
East Thurrock Starting Lineup