Football: Rocks rise up to the play-off zone

Ryan Premier

East Thurrock United 4 v 0 Peacehaven & Telscombe

EAST Thurrock made light work of a heavy pitch and hard-working opposition to move into the Ryman Premier play-off zone, an achievement that rewarded the club for their efforts in getting the game on.

Rocks began the game with pacy, fluent play that had their visitors backpedalling and the only real surprise of the first half was that it took them until the 31st minute to take the lead.

Ryan Sammons had the first significant chance after five minutes when his overlapping run was picked out by an exquisite ball from Lewis Smith, with the Rocks full-back unlucky to see his angled drive flash past the far upright.

Peacehaven momentarily stemmed the flow and might well have taken a surprise lead when the ball was played in front of Joe Gatting in the six yard box but David Hughes made a brave, scrambling save to keep his side on level terms.

Pressure was quickly brought back to bear on the Peacehaven defence and a curling shot from Smith was pushed away at full stretch by Anthony Di Bernardo.

Rocks were in full flow and their smart and attractive play eventually reaped rewards when a superb move ended at the by-line and the feet of David Bryant who whipped a low cross past Di Bernardo and Sam Higgins showed composure to drive it home from an angled position.

It was no more than the home side deserved and they were to go into the break two goals to the good after a smart finish from Connor Witherspoon in the 40th minute when he curled a shot from the edge of the box past Di Berndardo.

To their credit Peacehaven came out in determined fashion after the break and they looked capable of forcing a goal and several half chances went begging.

However, Rocks always looked capable of catching their visitors out on the break and on 76 minutes another flowing passage of play ended with Bryant collecting the ball from Higgins and he cut inside to deliver a curling shot from distance that gave Di Bernardo no chance.

And with seven minutes to go Higgins raced away to lash home his 17th league goal of the season in and ensure Rocks ended the match in the comfort zone and very much in the hunt for a play-off place at the end of the season.

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