HEARTS of East Thurrock players and fans were broken after a single Lowestoft took the Ryman Premier League semi-final away from the Rocks.

Chris Henderson got onto the end of a goalline scramble with ten minutes left to send the Trawler Boys through to the final in what was an even game between the teams which finished second and fifth in the regular season.

The visitors, who went 15 games unbeaten before losing to Whitehawk on the last day of the season, started brightly and produced the first chance when Ryan Sammons’ cross found David Bryant’s whose header just grazed the crossbar in the fourth minute.

Lowestoft did not let the game get away from them and got the best opportunity of the half in the 12th minute when goalkeeper Andrew Reynolds punted upfield to Henderson, but the striker sent his one-on-one chance wide.

Both sides looked up for the occasion and possession was evenly split, but the defences stayed stern to any attack.

Proceedings started at the same pace in the second half with Scott Mitchell slicing a shot wide from 20 yards from the Rocks goal inside the first five minutes.

In the 57th minute East Thurrock came agonisingly close to opening the scoring as Kye Ruel and Sam Higgins linked up before the latter crossed to the back post for Sam Collins to head goalwards, only to see Reynolds tip the ball over for a corner.

East Thurrock had a decent chance in the 72nd minute when Sammons’ free kick found Adrian Clifton who chipped back to Bryant, but he headed wide not realising how much time he had.

East Thurrock’s heartbreaking moment came eight minutes later.

A free kick midway into the visitor’s half was sent into the box and bounced in the area before a scramble ensued metres away from goal.

The ball rolled out to Henderson who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from two yards out sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Despite sending on James Lawson to add another attacking threat, the visitors could not produce another goalmouth opportunity as the match drifted out of their hands.

EAST THURROCK TEAM: Justham, Sammons, Stephen, Peddie, Sheehan, Parmenter (Lawson, 85), Ruel, Clifton, Higgins, Bryant (Menga, 74), Collins.

SUBS NOT USED: Wood, Keith, Barnes.