East Thurrock United 1 v 0 Hastings United
ANOTHER thoroughly professional performance as East Thurrock beat Hastings Unitd 1-0 at Rookery Hill saw the Rocks virtually seal a place in the play offs.
The victory by Kye Ruel goal means only an improbable win for Met Police against Thurrock on Saturday by over fifteen goals can stop them taking their place next week in what is another great landmark for the top team in the borough.
The game got off to a skitterish start, with both clubs, for different reasons, keen to make the first impression.
The first chance of the game came through a beautiful sweeping move as Sam Higgins flew forward with Sam Collins but the Rocks couldn’t produce a good enough shot.
Hastings made a solid start but kept getting hustled off the ball.
The Rocks were finding the gaps. A beautiful through ball was just ahead of Kye Ruel as it seemed just a matter of time before Rocks scored.
In the 19th minute, Sam Higgins got in front of his marker to produce a snap header that the Hastings keeper, Daniel East did well to fend away.
But the deadlock came in the 29th minute when the ball fell loose in the box, Kye Ruel kept his eye in to half volley the Rocks into the lead.
Hastings fought back and went close when striker fired over from close range.
David Bryant was giving the Hastings defence the most trouble and forced a number of corners.
The Rocks final attack of the half was a sweeping move that came to nothing but perhaps signficantly, five of the Hastings players decided not to track back and not cover the break.
Hastings came out for the second half with a little more gusto as relegation stared them in the face.
Sam Higgins had a goal chalked off for offside and an Adrian Clifton header was put away for a corner.
In the 51st minute, David Bryant again burst into the area but his shot was well parried away by the Hastings keeper.
Rocks had another glorious chance to put the game beyond doubt when the ball was screamed across the Hastings defence but Sam Higgins just couldn’t get clean contact from a yard out.
Hastings fought back and earned another corner that Elliot Justham did well to punch away but there clearly wasn’t a plan B and it was a shame to see a team that had reached the third round of the FA Cup slowly fade to the Ryman Div One South.
Having said that, they have a great support and a lovely set up and will surely be back soon.
The Rocks took their foot off the gas as they started to eye a remarkable achievement in a place in the play-offs.
The Rocks go to Whitehawk on Saturday and most likely to travel to Lowestoft for the play-off semi-final.
East Thurrock United Justham E, Sammons R, Stephen T, Peddie S, Sheehan S, Parmenter R, Ruel K, Clifton A, Higgins S, Bryant D, Collins S
Subs not used: Menga A, Lawson J Wood B, Keith J, Barnes