Final day Thurrock derby to decide Fleet's play-off fate

Thurrock Gazette: Final day Thurrock derby to decide Fleet's play-off fate Final day Thurrock derby to decide Fleet's play-off fate

THURROCK drew with Ware to set up a nailbiting final-day Thurrock derby with Tilbury.

Fleet twice took the lead at Ship Lane on Thursday night but were pegged back on both occasions by their Hertfordshire opponents, ending a five-game winning run.

Mark Stimson's men could have secured their play-off place with a victory, but as it stands, Needham Market could still pip them to that last remaining play-off spot, if Fleet lose to Dockers tomorrow [Saturday].

Needham must beat Chatham Town and both results would have to lead to Market making up a five-goal difference to overtake the Ship Lane side.

The scene is set for a potentially dramatic final day showdown.

Yet, it could have been so much different, had Fleet over come Ware - who recently secured their spot in the Ryman One North for next season having languished at the bottom of the league all year.

On Easter Monday, Thurrock narrowly beat Kem Kemal's side 2-1 at Wodson Park. And the repeat fixture on Thursday was just as tight.

Ware have seen a real reversal in fortunes since a management overhaul before Christmas and they again took the game to Fleet under the Ship Lane floodlights.

Thurrock centre half Remi Sutton gave the hosts the lead six minutes before half time with a really well taken goal from the edge of the area.

But 21 minutes into the second half, Marvin Hamilton brought Ware level with a long range effort that squeezed past Andy Walker in the Thurrock goal. 

David Knight, returning from suspension, fired home a superb free kick - his 33rd goal of the season - to put Fleet back in front in the 70th minute.

Ware's Kieran Bishop was on hand eight minutes from time, though, to again level the scores. Walker was just unable to keep the forward's shot from going in.

That dashed Thurrock's hopes of booking their play-off spot with a game to spare.

It might have been worse, but for a fine save in the dying moments from Walker to prevent Ware snatching all three points.

Roll on Saturday. The game between Thurrock and Tilbury, at Ship Lane, kicks off at 3pm.

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