East Thurrock United 1-0 Chester

(C. Ekpiteta 18’)

From the FutureFuel Stadium

FA Trophy second round

EAST Thurrock United are into the third round of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history after defeating National League Chester 1-0 at Rookery Hill.

Calvin Ekpiteta’s first half goal was enough for Rocks, who won a pulsating game against their 10-man opponents.

The hosts were boosted by the return of top scorer Sam Higgins from the midweek win against Concord Rangers in the Essex Senior Cup.

But the National League team were almost ahead inside 100 seconds. Top scorer Ross Hannah turned inside the penalty area but, via a deflection, his shot whistled wide of the far post.

Back came Rocks, with a Higgins free-kick on the edge of the penalty area blocked away by Sam Hornby in the home goal.

And, following a sustained spell of possession, East Thurrock took the lead. Lewis Smith’s excellent switch of play freed Montel Agyemang and although the winger's shot was going wide, Ekpiteta was on hand to finish from close range.

Max Cornhill forced two saves from Hornby as East Thurrock continued to dominate the tie, with the score still 1-0 at the break.

Chester needed to improve and they came so close to a leveller early in the second half. Marvin Ekpiteta was robbed of possession on the byline with the ball played back to Harry White whose goal bound shot was superbly pushed aside by Lukas Lidakevicius at full-stretch.

Up the other end, Lee Burns and Agyemang were unable to beat Hornby.

The game was ebbing a flowing, and Chester were only prevented an equaliser by a brilliant Ryan Sammons block on 65 minutes.

The right-back, who was having a brilliant game, sent a stunning shot off the crossbar with 15 minutes remaining.

But the National League side were not done, with Lidakevicius needed once again to prevent Hannah forcing a leveller.

It was end to end, Higgins superbly denied by Hornby before Rocks were given a further boost. Debutant Gary Roberts was sent off for a high two-footed challenge on Cornhill.

And Rocks were able to close out the game in relatively comfortable fashion to make it through to the last 16.

East Thurrock United: Lidakevicius, Sammons, Clark, M. Ekpiteta, Burns, Phipps, Agyemang (White 71’), Cornhill, Higgins, C. Ekpiteta (Harris 58’), Smith