Thurrock 3-1 Bowers & Pitsea
(Onyemah 4’, Christou 6’, R. Winn 74’: Sartain 88’)
From Ship Lane
THURROCK made it two consecutive wins as they defeated Bowers & Pitsea 3-1.
Mark Onyemah and Joe Christou fired Fleet into an early two goal lead and Luke Wilson was dismissed soon after the interval to give Bowers an uphill task.
Ronnie Winn notched Thurrock’s third of the evening, but Ben Sartain grabbed a consolation for the visitors after Brad Warner missed a penalty.
Bowers were looking to record their third win of the season over their Essex rivals, having already defeated them at the Len Salmon Stadium and knocked them out of the FA Trophy earlier in the campaign.
But Bowers’ hopes of completing the treble over Thurrock were dashed early on as Mark Stimson’s side raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening six minutes.
Midfielder Mark Onyemah poked past Bowers & Pitsea goalkeeper Rhys Madden to put the home side ahead inside four minutes.
And Joe Christou then doubled Thurrock’s advantage two minutes later, with a brilliant 20 yard strike.
Luke Wilson, who recently rejoined Rob Small’s side after a brief stint with Grays Athletic, thought he had got a goal back for Bowers when he ghosted in at the far post and diverted a dangerous free kick past Fleet goalkeeper Bobby Mason on 20 minutes. But the goal was ruled out for offside.
Onyemah then nearly doubled his account as he ran at the visiting defence. His attempted pass to Christou diverted back into the midfielder’s path, but his goal-bound snapshot was blocked.
Bowers boss Rob Small brought on Loui Hazlewood and Lewis Manor at the break as his side looked to get back into the game, but Wilson was dismissed just four minutes after the restart following an elbow on Fleet striker Charlie Stimson.
Christou tested Madden as Thurrock upped the pressure with less than 25 minutes to play, but substitute Manor came close to reducing the deficit for Bowers as the striker drew a smart save out of Mason just moments later.
On 70 minutes, Knight sent a sweetly struck volley goalwards, but Mason was equal to the effort once again.
Just four minutes later, Ronnie Winn put the game beyond Bowers as he beat substitute Jamie Salmon and turned inside before slotting past Madden.
Bowers were offered a lifeline when George Winn dragged down Manor and referee Peter Cruise pointed to the spot.
But Warner summed up the visitors’ evening as he sent his spot kick over the crossbar.
Cowley came close to adding a fourth for Fleet but the midfielder’s low effort from 14 yards hit the post.
Winn should have scored his second of the night after fantastic wing play by substitute Michael Pindy, but sent his strike over, and Clark also went close as he struck the crossbar late on.
With just two minutes of the 90 to go, Ben Sartain sent a low long range strike past Mason to grab a consolation for Bowers.
Despite Sartain’s late strike, Thurrock secured the three points to strengthen their promotion chances, while denting Bowers’ play-off hopes.
Thurrock: Bobby Mason, Ronnie Winn, Remi Sutton, George Winn, Mark Onyemah (David Cowley 73’), Perry Dunn, Jordan Clark (Richard Halle 85’), Glenn Poole, Charlie Stimson (Michael Pindy 77’), Joe Christou, James Goode
Bowers & Pitsea: Rhys Madden, Lewis Clark, Sam Cross (Loui Hazlewood 45’), Martyn Stokes, Luke Wilson, Ben Sartain, Billy Jones (Jamie Salmon 52’), Aaron Russell (Lewis Manor 45’), David Knight, Brad Warner, Alfie Hilton