East Thurrock United hit five in crucial win but still face final day drama

Thurrock Gazette: Mitch Gilbey was on the scoresheet. PIC: MIKEY CARTWRIGHT Mitch Gilbey was on the scoresheet. PIC: MIKEY CARTWRIGHT

EAST Thurrock United hit five at Enfield Town to ensure their bid for Ryman Premier League survival is still in their hands – but results elsewhere mean it will go to the final day.

Rocks turned on the style when they needed it to defeat Enfield 5-3.

Despite going 1-0 behind in the opening minutes, John Coventry’s men had all but won the game by half-time when they were leading 4-1.

The result dragged Enfield back into the relegation mix and it is now a straight fight between those two sides and Wingate & Finchley who picked up an unlikely 1-0 win at Leiston to keep their own hopes alive.

Rocks are level on points with Wingate, who are in the final relegation place, but have a superior goal difference, while Enfield are two points further ahead.

On paper, Rocks have the trickier task on Saturday.

They host a Bognor side looking to hold on to second place and get the advantage in the play-offs, while Wingate host Billericay.

Enfield Town go to already relegated Cray Wanderers.

But Rocks know if they win their game, the job is done. And if they play anything like they did against Enfield then they will have a chance.

They did have the worst possible start, however, when the hosts’ Ryan Doyle converted a corner inside the first minute.

But East Thurrock regrouped and were back on level terms just six minutes later when a neat backheel from Sam Higgins found Mitch Gilbey and he converted.

Steve Sheehan thumped a header home from a corner five minutes later to make it 2-1 and then a howler from Enfield keeper James Chalk make it 3-1.

Chalk looked set to claim an innocuous-looking cross into the box but dropped the ball into his own net.

Unbelievably it was 4-1 after 25 minutes when Gilbey got to the by-line and pulled the ball back to Neil Richmond who tapped home.

A shell-shocked Enfield side came out fighting after the break and a Mitch Hohn header 10 minutes after the re-start gave them some hope.

But Rocks snuffed out any hopes of a fightback in the 74th minute when Lewis Smith won a penalty after showing good trickery in the box.

Higgins’ spot kick was saved but Smith was first to the rebound to stick the ball in the back of the net.

Enfield’s Liam Hope netted a late third for the home side but unlike his name, Enfield’s hope had long since run out.

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