NON LEAGUE: EAST THURROCK took a big step towards Ryman Premier survival as – inevitably – prodigal son Sam Higgins returned to fire them to victory, writes James Colasanti.

The striker completed his switch back the club from Concord in the afternoon on Tuesday and then went straight into the starting line-up for the evening’s visit of Kingstonian to Rookery Hill.

And, as if it was written in the stars, the player made an immediate impact, scoring a superb free kick after 13 minutes in a 2-0 win for the relegation-fighting Rocks against the promotion-chasing K’s.

East Thurrock manager John Coventry said: “He was everything I knew he would be for us and I am sure he will help us kickstart our season.”

It was a blow to Concord to lose their top-scorer, but they adjusted well to claim a 2-1 home win over Staines Town at the Aspect Arena on Tuesday night.

Coventry said: “Sam is a very talented player and I know that he has all the qualities to give us a fighting chance of moving up the table. “But I know that I was putting him in a difficult situation because he was enjoying his time at Concord which is a very good club with very good people.

“He enjoys proving his worth at a higher level and I know he felt a debt of loyalty to the people at Concord so it was a very difficult thing for him to even consider my request to come back and help us out.”

“It wasn’t something I did lightly in asking because I have great respect for everybody at Concord and I knew they would be upset because Sam is such a good player and a part of their success. But sometimes in football you have to make some very difficult decisions and I have to try to do the best for my club.”

The win moved Rocks to within a point and a place of safety and they have six games in hand on the team directly above them, Thamesmead Town.

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