The warmth and joy that followed the weekend’s win over Dereham Town vanished at Bayliss Avenue on the coldest night of the season thus far, as Thurrock avenged the Mead’s win across the river in the first week of the season.
In a ridiculously tight game of very few clear chances, the Gaffer was left disappointed as the Mead stuttered and in the end fell short as Halle’s headed goal midway through the second half proved decisive.
The Mead had the better chances in the first half as temperatures dropped. Josh Oyinsan did well to get in front of a defender to meet Jay Porter’s driven centre only for his toe-poke flash just the wrong side of the post. Thurock then enjoyed a spell of pressure although Mead keeper Tyler McCarthy was rarely called into action. Indeed the closest that the visitors came was when Clark headed over well placed.
Meanwhile at the other end, Thurrock keeper Wheatley was forced to turn aside Tom O’Connor’s low drive – the Mead man was looking for his third goal in a week and for a second it looked as if his shot from the edge of the box was getting away from Wheatley, but the Thurrock stopper made a fine save. Shortly before half time, Josh just couldn’t get enough on a header after Jay whipped in another fine cross, and under pressure the new Mead striker saw his header bounce wide of the left post.
The second half, if possible, was even tighter, but the Mead struggled to get a foothold particularly in the final third and for long periods Thurrock dominated possession. That said, actual chances were few and far between and the visitors converted their clearest of the second period when Halle was left unmarked in the Mead box to head home at the half’s midway point.
Try as they might the Mead just couldn’t get back into the game and not even playing the final ten minutes with three out and our strikers could rectify the arrears. And to top the night off completely, in stoppage time right in front of the dugout’s, there was an ugly confrontation which saw Mead sub Ike Feehi shown a straight red card.
The Mead now go on the Road – to Brightlingsea Regent and Maldon & Tiptree – before the prospect of playing nine games in 28 days in November!