TT Match Preview: East Thurrock by Jono Edwards

“Captain Sam Higgins will most probably have to get on the scoresheet to give the Rocks a chance”

East Thurrock fan Jono Edwards returned our call to answer questions on the team from Rookery Hill, here is his answers:

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Hi Jono, thanks for talking to us – before we discuss your team, tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you supported ‘The Rocks’?

Hello, I’m Jono, a 21-year-old who lives within the very close surrounding area to Rookery Hill. I have supported East Thurrock all my life and have followed them home and away for a number of years now. I enjoy a number of sports and like going out with my friends. 

How would you sum up your season up to this point?

Our season has been nothing but a struggle. We started off very slowly and have been unable to pick up results consistently all the way through the season. After changing a lot of players and personnel at the end of last season, it was always going to be tough. Thankfully, the squad seems to have now settled, but we are still in a tricky situation. 

What’s been the highs and lows of the campaign so far?

So far this season the highs have been few and far between. Picking up a deserved three points at home to Chelmsford with a brave performance was a particular highlight, along with our point away to Concord (where we definitely deserved more). Dropping points late on in games has been a recurring theme of our season. Losing on the opening day of the season to Woking in added time was a blow, only compounded by the same thing happening three days later away at Dulwich. However, by far the biggest low of the season was not coming away from Billericay with even a share of the spoils after leading 2-0 in the game. 

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How’s your form heading into the match against United?

Our form is the best now it’s been all season, we have picked up over a third of our points in our last five games. Picking up eight points and only conceding one goal across the five matches.

Which players should we look out for this Saturday and why?

The men at either end of the pitch are key for us, most of our points, if not all this year, have been on days where our goalkeeper Jack Giddens has been on top form and he will have to be at his best to give us a chance against United. At the other end, our all-time leading goalscorer and captain Sam Higgins will most probably have to get on the score sheet to give the Rocks a chance.

Have you got the right man in charge and what tactics does he employ?

We have the only man in charge that deserves the chance to try and keep East Thurrock in this league and that’s Covo (John Coventry). To all loyal Rocks fans Covo is a living legend and has taken us from Isthmian North mediocrity, to competing in the Conference South. Restricted heavily by a minimal budget to say the least, Covo and his small but hard-working team of staff behind the scenes have really put our little club on the non-league map. Tactics obviously change week on week depending on the opposition and starting XI, but no matter who we are playing, Covo’s men will give 100%. 

What’s Rookery Hill like for visiting supporters and what’s the support like from locals?

Rookery Hill is a good ground to visit as an away supporter and there is good places all around the ground to spectate with 3 seated areas and plenty of room for standing. I think there’ll be a few home chants rolling round the ground from the home supports but I think we may be out sung by the travelling Yellow Army. As long as you beat the queue at the turnstile it should be an enjoyable afternoon for both sets of fans. 

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Where’s best for pre-match food and refreshments for the travelling Yellow Army?

There’s only once place to go before the game and that has to be the Rocks bar with a number of draft beers and a large selection of refreshments available. The live football will be shown in the bar on a number of TVs and it’s situated right next to the turnstiles. There’s a pub over the road from the ground that will provide food and drink but come 12 o’clock on a match day that will become rather busy. Your best bet for some food may just be to have a burger in the ground. But make sure to stay hydrated until then! 

Can you avoid the drop this year and who do you think will get relegated?

I believe after our recent turn in form we can beat the drop this year and hope we keep grinding out results and working hard to avoid dreaded relegation. I believe the table will finish as we are and that Gloucester, Hungerford and Weston-Super-Mare will be relegated. And if anyone from the bottom 4 can drag Dulwich into the relegation battle that will be a great effort!

United have been in great form since Gary Johnson arrived and sit on top of the NLS, what’s your match prediction for Saturday?

I believe the result on Saturday will be a score draw. I hope that regardless of the result everyone enjoys the game and the Rocks show you all what they’re all about. Best of luck for the rest of the season. On behalf of East Thurrock United, I wish you a safe journey home.  Super stuff Jono, love passion you have for the Rocks and good luck for the rest of the season – Dom

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