GREAT Wakering Rovers held their nerve on the final day to beat Basildon United 4-1 and become Essex Senior League champions.
Rovers went into the game needing to win to lift the title and be promoted back into the Ryman Division One North.
If Dan Trenkel’s men were nervous they didn’t show it as they made a blistering start and could have been ahead inside a minute, but for a fine save from Basildon keeper George Walsh from David Collins’ wicked free kick.
Basildon’s patchwork side, which interim manager Colin Cook had done well to round-up, managed to hold on until the 23rd minute when Billy Johnson got the all important first goal for Wakering, ghosting in at the back post to prod home Billy Radley’s shot-turned cross.
The lead was doubled just past the half-hour mark when player-manager Dan Trenkel played in Jay Nash who fired a bullet of a shot into the far corner of the net from a tight angle.
Jay Nash scores Wakering's second goal
The game, and the title, was effectively sewn up five minutes before the break when Johnson escaped down the left and fizzed in a cross that skipper Lewis Sparrow bundled home from close range.
The second half turned out to be a bit of a procession for Wakering, though to Basildon’s credit, they refused to buckle, despite playing down to the bare bones.
Wakering eventually added a fourth in the 71st minute when a great shot by Collins was parried by Walsh and Nash was on hand to tuck in the rebound.
Basildon got on the scoresheet themselves 11 minutes before time when Terry Martin dispossessed Trenkel on the half-way line and found Greg Akeple who drove into the box, cut inside on to his left foot and fired into the bottom corner.
FOR A FULL MATCH REPORT, PICTURES AND REACTION FROM GREAT WAKERING MANAGER DAN TRENKEL SEE MONDAY’S ECHO.