MARK Stimson has lauded his Thurrock players after a superb recent run of form ensured they would not be relegated from the Isthmian Premier League this season.

Fleet took 13 points from 15 before Monday’s 3-2 reverse at Harlow Town.

And, despite the knowledge that the club would cease to exist next season after a buyer failed to take over after chairman Tommy South said he was stepping down, Thurrock’s players have continued to impress.

And Stimson has called on his players to finish the final five games with a flourish, beginning at Ship Lane against Met Police on Saturday afternoon.

“Our aim at the start of the season was to try and stay in the division following our promotion, which I knew would be hard and the boys have done that,” said Stimson, who has been at the club since May 2012.

“The points target at Christmas was to get 46 points and we are now on 53 points, which is a fantastic return.

“Personally, it is job done as this is where it all started for me. Success can be based on winning things but it can also be through producing players. We have certainly done that - the likes of Ricardo Santos (Peterborough), Mark Onyemah (Luton Town) and Joe Christou (East Thurrock) getting good moves are just some that spring to mind.

“We have five games to go and it has been great while it has lasted. It is sad it will end but although we have got the points we still want to play football in the right way. If you do that you will win points.

“We didn’t get what we deserved against Harlow as we were very good, but that happens at times.”

The defeat against Harlow came just two days after Fleet claimed a point in a 0-0 draw with play-off chasing Leiston.

Jordan Clark had the first chance at the Harlow Arena but his shot was well blocked by goalkeeper David Hughes.

The hosts took the lead through Fabion Simms’s low shot although Fleet were then handed a boost following a 15th minute red card for Harlow’s Robbie Martin and they were to take full advantage.

Ten minutes before half-time, Remi Sutton played the ball into Ronnie Winn who showed good awareness before driving the ball into the corner.

Lewwis Spence hammered in a second before the break but Fleet were unable to hold on.

Christian Scales scored and Jared Small put Harlow back in front, the latter a terrific strike.

And although Spence hit the crossbar for Thurrock, it was to be a pointless trip come the final whistle.