East Thurrock 1

AFC Hornghurch 2

RYMAN PREMIER: ROCKS remain in the Ryman Premier relegation zone following a 2-1 derby defeat to promotion-pushing Hornchurch.

The Urchins netted two first half goals through Stefan Payne before Jack Hopkins pulled a goal back early in the second half for East Thurrock.

But John Coventry’s side were unable to force an equaliser and remain in 21st place, while their visitors moved up a place from sixth to occupy the final play-off position.

George Purcell and Payne had early chances for the visitors, while Rocks’ Hopkins tested Inigo Echepare.

But Payne put Hornchurch in front at a rain-swept Rookery Hill in the 12th minute when he controlled an Alex Bentley header and fired home from 30 yards.

The Urchins edged the first half and had chances to extend their lead, while Echepare did well to save a Chris Bourne effort.

However, Payne doubled the advantage two minutes before half time when headed in a Purcell corner.

East Thurrock quickly reduced the arrears in the 48th minute.

Hopkins’ speculative strike from a fuill 40 yards flew into the goal as Rocks played with the wind in their favour.

Coventry brought on Leon McKenzie, Charlie Kedia and Lea Dawson as East Thurrock searched for an equaliser.

And they throught it had come in the 85th minute when a free kick ended up in the back of the Urchin’s goal, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

East Thurrock: Hughes, Peddie, Stephan, Easterford, Sheehan, Hopkins (Kedia 67), Sammons (Dawson 67), Symons, Bryant, Bourne (McKenzie 54), Pinnock.