EAST Thurrock United failed to break down a rock-stead Billericay Town – despite battering the defence time and again at New Lodge.
Former Rocks captain Stevie Sheehan and current captain Rich Halle, who scored a second goal for the hosts, were immovable at the back as Town won 2-0.
And both were involved offensively too – Sheehan having won the free-kick which led to the second goal against John Coventry’s men.
The tone for the match was set after a bizarre own goal from skipper Tom Stephen, midway through the first half.
Sheehan was lining up for Town two weeks after leaving John Coventry’s East Thurrock and he was involved in the game’s first talking point.
Good interplay between Reece Harris and David Bryant freed Mitchell Gilbey but, as he was beating down on goal, Sheehan slid in to concede a foul on the edge of the box. Sheehan was booked and the free-kick from Harris was saved.
The visitors looked more likely to score, but it was the home side that struck first.
A cross from the right was punched half-clear by David Hughes but, in an attempt to head further clear, skipper Stephen headed back over his own keeper under pressure from Junior Appiah.
It was an extraordinary moment but the game then went into a scrappy spell, with some full-blooded tackles made. After the break, it was Town who pushed hardest and Jake Hall was just inches away.
Tricky forward Lewis Smith had an effort blocked before the Town skipper hit a decisive blow for the hosts.
Sheehan won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Halle smashed an unstoppable strike past Hughes into the top of the net.
Late on Smith forced Lumley into a fingertip save – but Rocks could not find the net.
Billericay Town: Lumley, O’Hanlon, Beavan, Dunne, Halle, Sheehan, Shaw, Poole, Njie, Hall (Edwards), Appiah (Scott) East Thurrock United: Hughes, Sammons (Lechmere), Stephen, Peddie, Vezza, Bryant, Witherspoon, Gilbey, Smith, Harris.