A superb overhead strike from Staforde Palmer eight minutes from time saw United draw at home in the league for the fifth time in six games after Fola Orilonishe had given the visitors the lead just seven minutes earlier.
Manager Garry Haylock had two new names on his teamsheet with 17 year old Calum Botham starting and Nick Beasant taking a place on the bench, joining the fray late on in place of the injured Peter Collins.
United started off well and twice went close in the opening ten minutes as headers from Palmer and Steve Perkins failed to test keeper David Blackmore. Minutes later Delroy Preddie made his first save of the afternoon as he dived to keep out a Craig Hughes drive.
On 20 minutes, Botham
did well on the left side only for his cross to be taken off Simon Martin's head by a touch from defender Matt Paine, the ball also avoiding Michael Barima at the far post. United continued to push for the opener, a surge forwards by Palmer saw his shot deflected wide before Perkins glanced a Liam Collins corner past Blackmore only to see his effort come back off the face of the crossbar.
Thurrock almost broke the deadlock themselves as a Matt Bodkin cross came off the head of Tom Cadmore and span just inches wide of his own upright. Within a couple of minutes United themselves went just as close at the other end when Martin rose along with Blackmore to meet a Botham corner with a touch from the keeper taking the ball wide of the target. Botham was then himself just fractionally off target with an drive from all of thirty yards.
Six minutes from the break United were deeply indebted to keeper Preddie who made two superb saved to keep the scoresheet blank. The move started with a Greg Lincoln cross that was met by a diving Hughes, his effort hitting the post before striking Preddie and rolling wide. The resultant corner was met by Kenny Clark only for Preddie to tip his effort onto the bar before Peter Collins cleared for another corner kick. This time the ball fell to Stadhart in the six yard box but he was denied at point blank range by Preddie before follow ups were blocked away by Peter Collins and then Cadmore.
Once more the second period started with United in the ascendancy, Martin held the ball up before finding Palmer but his shot on the run was too high. Only a few minutes later Thurrock stopper Blackmore denied United an opener when he made a superb one handed save down to his right from Botham after good work on the right by Barima.
made a few chances of their own in the 20 minutes that followed, Stadhart fired over from just six yards out before Bodkin raced past Toby Little on the flank only for Hughes to head his near post cross wide of the target. The lead was not long coming though for the Essex side and United were the masters of their own downfall as no fewer than three players stood and watched as a pass from Bodkin was allowed to go all the way through to Fola Orilonishe who took one touch and fired past Preddie from eight yards.
Stadhart then fired over again from 6 yards and Clark was just wide after meeting an Orilonishe corner before Palmer brought us level. Liam Collins initial cross from the right was cut out, the ball returned to the same player whose second attempt found Palmer with his back to goal, the United top scorer perfectly timing his overhead kick to beat Blackmore into the corner of the Thurrock net.
The last effort of the game saw Palmer try to repeat his earlier feat after Kieran Knight had helped on a Danny Allen-Page cross, but his effort looped over the crossbar.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.