East Thurrock United 3 v 2 VCD Athletic
A SAM Higgins hat-trick was the key factor as Rocks beat Kent rivals 3-2 at Rookery Hill.
Early on VCD showed why they are praised as a footballing team as they spread the ball about. An excellent tackle by Connor Witherspoon in the area prevented the Kent team from scoring early on.
But VCD did open the scoring when lax defending in the 9th minute allowed James Duckworth to score from close range.
This was not what Rocks wanted and looked like a continuation of their poor display against Lewes.
It was a sluggish start but the Rocks equalised in the 16th minute with a looping header from Sam Higgins.
Rocks were now back to their expansive best and so to proved in the 21st minute as Sam Higgins made it 2-1 as he beat the offside trap, rounded the keeper and scored.
VCD kept working hard and should really have had a penalty when Stephen Browne dribbled in the box but the referee said the defender got the ball.
In the 40th minute, Sam Higgins was fouled in the box and got up to make it a hat-trick before half time.
The key elements of Rocks’ second half was concentration and commitment. Rocks kept their shape and contained VCD. The Kent side put the Rocks under pressure and kept David Hughes very busy but it always looked like three points to East Thurrock.
However, VCD were rewarded for their persistence when Leigh Bremner put the ball away after a lovely flowing move in the 80th minute.
The Kent side could smell a point or better now and nearly got it when a James Duckworth shot went just over.
Rocks’ boss John Coventry was shouting "Where are you?" at his players as he implored them to be more visible.
VCD kept the pressure on but they just could not break through as the Rocks held on.
East Thurrock United
Hughes D, Sammons R, Stephen T(Phillips D 87), Wood B, Goodacre P, Witherspoon C, Paxman J ( Symons N 76), Parmenter R, Higgins S, Bryant D ( Gilbey M 76), Ruel K
Subs not used: , Keith J
Blue N, Cox E, Basey G, Reeves N, Tozer L, Dawson L, Roberts S, Dent K, Power M, Duckworth J, Browne S
Subs not used: Bremner L, Jeffrey A, Payne B, McDonagh T, Penfold C
Ref: N Davies