Rocks take a tumble and are relegated by last day defeat

By Neil Speight

23rd Apr 2022 | Football


Disappointment for Rocks players at the final whistle.
Disappointment for Rocks players at the final whistle.

EAST Thurrock United's hopes of escaping relegation from the Isthmian Premier league were dashed on a dramatic afternoon at Rookery Hill.

At the start of the season's final afternoon a victory would have kept Rocks in the division and a draw might even have been enough, dependent on results elsewhere.

However, it was not to be, despite the home side taking a dramatic lead in the first minute through Chid Onokwai, a remarkable start to his debut!. It was a lead Rocks held until the stroke of half time when Eddie Dsane equalised for the Hornets.

And things got worse for East Thurrock when Tom Kavanagh converted a penalty on the hour.

With news coming in of scorelines elsewhere that meant a draw wasn't going to help Rocks, they threw everything forward with shots flying either side of Sam Howes' goal but the visiting keeper was rarely seriously trouble as Rocks snatched at chances or miskicked whin in good positions on a pitch that has deteriorated badly during the season.

An equalising goal eventually came with 24 minutes left when livewire Ben Wyss burst forward and finally picked a spot to slide the ball past Howes.

With news that relegation rivals Leatherhead and Kings Langley were winning, the scene was set for a dramatic late goal to save the day and complete Rocks' great escape – and with six minutes of added time indicated by the referee the dream was still on.

But deep into that added time they were dashed when Hornets broke away and Dsane was on hand to steer the ball past Arthur Janata and spark celebrations among the visitors Seventies-clad fans who were enjoying and end of season party, while the home fans and Rocks players were left desolated by the reality of relegation.

Elsewhere the borough's three non-League sides in the Isthmian North enjoyed mixed fortunes.

Grays Athletic twice came from behind at home to Maldon & Tiptree with and own goal from Emmanuel Martins and two second half efforts from Anointed Chukwu and Don Tantale earning them a 3-2 win. Whaterver the outcome of the match the Blues were destined to finish in sixth place and outside of the play-off, meaning another season at step four and they will be starting that campaign under a new manager following the elevation of current boss Paul Joynes to the boardroom.

Tilbury will also have a new boss in place next season when John Coventry takes over and Eljay Worrell's last match as interim boss ended in a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Barking – a victory was wasn't enough to stop the visitors being relegated.

Champions Aveley may well have had a hangover from last weekend's title-winning celebrations and they battled out a goalless draw at Hullbridge Sports.

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