A ROMAN Michael-Percil goal, scored just after the hour mark, gave East Thurrock United three hard earned Isthmian North points at the expense of pre-season title favourites Lowestoft Town.
Back for his second spell with the Rocks after a gap of three years, the one time Spurs professional and Irish youth international, although only twenty seven himself, has bought experience and a touch of class to compliment what is a pretty youthful Rocks squad, and he showed great composure when collecting a crossfield ball, cutting into the box from the right and calmly tucking the ball past visiting keeper Luke Holt for the games’ decisive goal.
It’s been a while since the Rookery Hill faithful were treated to such an entertaining game, as two competitive and evenly matched sides went toe to toe from the kick off.
Rocks went close to taking the lead some twenty minutes in when following a Michael-Percil corner, defender Jack Hayes saw his classy over the shoulder volley crash back off the crossbar.
The visitors front duo were finding it difficult to get much meaningful possession, as Rocks hardworking midfield were winning challenge after challenge. And when eleven goal joint leading scorer Adam Hipperson did find space to get a shot away on the half hour, it was well saved by Montel Joseph. From the resulting corner, Joseph was beaten by a header which fortunately for the Rocks smacked against the crossbar and was cleared.
Some ten minutes after the deadlock had been broken by Michael-Percil’s goal, a game which had had been competitive to say the least, suddenly boiled over when Rocks talented teenage midfielder Sam Carter and the visitors Josh Harvey collided after what looked to be a full-blooded but fairly contested 50/50 ball. Both players hit the deck, but Harvey inexplicably swung a kick at the prone Rocks man, and was shown a straight red card.
As Harvey was trooping disconsolately to the dressing room, a full “handbags” session developed around the centre circle which involved all remaining twenty one players. After the referee and his assistants had calmed things down, we had a flurry of yellow cards, which included both keepers.
Credit to referee Richard Carter for keeping a lid on things as the game simmered away for the closing minutes.
Rocks defended superbly late on, restricting Lowestoft to a couple of half chances, while at the other end Brian Moses just failed to get a telling touch with the goal at his mercy, after being set up by yet more excellent play from Michael-Percil.
All in all, this was an excellent, fully committed team display by Marc Harrison’s boys, with every player giving their all for the cause. Following a great turn-around of form which has seen the Rocks winning seven of their last eight league games, they now sit eighth in the table, just four points outside the play-off positions.
Next up for the Rocks is a derby game at Basildon United on Saturday.