East Thurrock United 2 v 1 Billericay Town
THE ROCKs maintained their progress up the Ryman Premier table as they edged past Billericay Town 2-1 at the Rookery Hill.
It was Billericay who began brightly with a fluent passing move between their attackers.
This was the first time that the Rocks had played on the Rookery Hill since their five-nil drubbing by Met Police.
‘Ricay were a much more robust team than East Thurrock.
East Thurrock had a very sound call for a penalty in the 7th minute when Kye Ruel was scythed down in the box but the referee dismissed all claims.
Disaster was to befall Rocks’ keeper David Hughes in the 8th minute when he took far too long to clear the ball and the clearance rebounded off Rowan Liburd and into the net.
In the 16th minute, the Rocks got back on terms when Sam Higgins, pouncing on a long ball was felled by former Rocks favourite Stevie Sheehan in the box. The referee not only gave the penalty but also sent Sheehan off.
Higgins put the pen away and the Rocks now had a real spring in their step.
Billericay took a while to regain their composure and soon del they had a claim for a pen but it was a free kick. The free kick caused chaos in the box. A minute later, chaos ensued again but East Thurrock got away with it.
It had certainly become an exciting end to end New Year derby.
Billericay looked threatening every time they went forward, Rocks less so but they had guile and invention. Sam Higgins also had them rattled.
The wind increased as Billericay found it hard to get out of their half.
Reece Harris was finding more and more space but on some occasions he dwelt too long. However, the chances against ten-men ‘Ricay were increasing.
The sustained pressure paid off in the 44th minute when defender Simon Peddie was in the right place in the box to pounce on a knock down and side foot it into the net.
The Rocks kept the pressure on as the second half began and as they went looking for that third goal.
David Bryant had a great chance to do that in the 56th minute when he received a neat pass in the area from Sam Higgins but he shanked it wide. With another chance coming a minute later, it seemed a matter of time.
The wind was once again impacting on play as the erratic Rocks keeper manfully tried to kick the ball out of his half.
The ball was bobbling up in the Rocks box as Billericay tried everything to get back on level terms.
In the 74th minute, Billericay thought they may have had a penalty when keeper Hughes looked like he had taken ball and man in the area.
The Rocks earned a free kick when Reece Harris was brought down just outside the area.
The pressure was intense for Rocks who could not shake Town off. Free kicks and shots rained down but without really creating great chances.
East Thurrock United: Hughes D, Sammons R, Stephen T, Peddie S, Goodacre P, Wood B, Bryant D, Symons N, Higgins S , Harris R, Ruel K
Subs not used: Wheatley C, Anderson T, Paxman J, Phillips D, Witherspoon C
Billericay Town: Lumley B, Sheehan S, Nesbitt T, Edwards J, Halle R, Scott R, (Baker H 19) Williams O, Poole G, Obafemi A (Nash L 62), Liburd R, Melaugh R.
Subs not used: , O’Hanlon G, Akosa G, Godwin-Green L
Ref: David Bushell