Cray Wanderers 1 v 3 East Thurrock
EAST Thurrock pulled off what could be a vital Ryman Premier victory in their battle to stay in the Ryman Premier League against relegated Cray at Bromley on Tuesday evening reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
They made hard work of what seemed at one point likely to be a very comfortable victory but at the end of the day could contrast their evening’s work successfully with many other days when they have played better but ended up with nothing to show for it.
The visitors started the game at a high tempo and had already created several chances before the ball fell to Sam Higgins who smashed home his 11th goal from 15 appearances in the relegation dogfight.
His goals in the latter stages of the season have been all important – as were David Bryant’s in the opening half but he had not scored since December 28 until the 19th minute of Tuesday’s clash when he got on the end of a fine cutback by Mitchell Gilbey to net his 13th of the season.
At that point everything looked rosy for Rocks but bizarrely they went off the boil after spurning a couple of decent chances, which allowed Cray the opportunity to claw a foothold in the game. They began to threaten in earnest and had already gone close twice before hesitancy by keeper David Hughes allowed Wanderers’ veteran striker Paul Vines to pounce and drive an angled ball into the net on 32 minutes.
By the break the home side ought to have been level at least, and possibly in front, but they failed to take their opportunities, abetted by a couple of good saves from Hughes, and a revitalised Rocks came out in more commanding form at the start of the second half and they pushed their hosts back.
Lengthy periods of pressure followed and included a succession of free kicks and corners – not to mention a big penalty shout when the energetic Gilbey was brought down inside the box, only for the referee to award a free kick outside it.
Before the game Rocks manager John Coventry had spoken of his side’s need to brush aside a succession of poor refereeing decisions in recent games and his players took heed by keeping their heads up and they eventually reaped reward when Higgins latched onto a long ball and crashed his shot past Darren Behcet, who had started the season in a Rocks shirt, with five minutes remaining.