RYMAN One North top scorer Sam Higgins proved the difference between the sides in a low tempo, largely disappointing match.
His first half hat-trick, his third of the season, took his tally of league goals to 32. Another of the division’s more prolific marksmen, Mead’s Andy Constable also improved his haul, but his 78th minute strike, a super solo effort, proved no more than a consolation.
Higgins got Rocks off to a great start, suspiciously springing the offside trap and then cheekily beating Steve Northwood at his near post.
Both sides were surprisingly lethargic in the opening exchanges, but there was nothing lack-lustre about Higgins’ second on 29 minutes which was a fine low angled strike from 22 yards after Max Cornhill had cleverly back-heeled the ball into his path with a sublime touch.
In truth it was a moment out of context with the rest of the game, which might have turned back in Thamesmead’s directions on 35 minutes when a Constable shot from distance looked goalbound until Richard Wray produced a fine save at full stretch to tip the ball past the post.
Thamesmead might have got the message at that point that that it wasn’t going to be their day as they sought to keep their play-off hopes alive but if they didn’t, Higgins rammed home the point two minutes before the break when his angled free kick, again from about 22 yards, got past Northwood at his near post again.
The second half was largely forgettable, though Higgins had a couple of good chances to add to his goals haul, while Cornhill did get the ball in the net only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
A phalanx of changes from both sides did little but upset what little rhythm there was to the game with Constable having the last word with a bit of individual skill, flicking the ball over his head and then turning to force a volley from the edge of the box past Wray.
Report reprinted by kind permission of Essex Enquirer.