OLD SOUTHENDIAN 5th 1 THURROCK 3rd 5
Playing their last game of the season in Div. 8SE, Thurrock were determined to give their all. From the start, Thurrock played the better hockey and forced their opponents into defensive mode with central- midfield duo Gary Venus and Himesh Patel providing ammunition for the attack of Jimmy Venus and Michael Fleming.
Despite the pressure, the home side held firm with the keeper making a series of vital saves. After 20 minutes, Josh Brady intercepted a hit out and drove into the area before passing to Jimmy Venus who hammered the ball into the net. Old Southendians gradually got into the game and worked the ball up the field with the forwards catching the Thurrock defence flat footed and producing a shot which Danny Hick had to dive to push around the post. This spurred Thurrock back to action and five minutes before half time, Michael Fleming doubled the lead after playing a one-two with Gary Venus to go around the keeper.
Thurrock continued their effort after the break and a shot by Fleming was saved but Jimmy Venus collected the rebound and put the ball into the net. As Thurrock drove forward, a clearance by the home defence was quickly moved up the field and produced a shot which Hick had to dive full-length to stop, however the ball rebounded into the path of the skilful Southend attacker who flicked it into the net.
Thurrock were in no mood to let their advantage slip and quickly replied with Ricky Smith powering down the right wing and driving into the D to release a shot which left the keeper rooted to the spot. With two minutes to go, Declan Salmon cut out a Southendians attack and spotted a run by Patel on the left which provided an opening for Jimmy Venus to draw the keeper off his line and reverse flick into the net to complete his hat trick.
As Thurrock have a game in hand on their fellow promotion contenders, they must wait for the future results of others to determine their final position.