A JACK Stevenson hat-trick allowed Great Wakering Rovers to record a 5-3 win over White Ensign in the Burroughs Park derby.

Brett Munyard’s White Ensign, who are set to ply their trade in the Eastern Counties League Division One South for a second consecutive season, will groundshare with Wakering in the forthcoming campaign.

And, despite being less impressed with his side’s first half performance, player-manager Steve Butterworth was pleased with Wakering’s display after the break.

Butterworth said: “It was a typical pre-season game where it was a little slow and lacklustre.

“The game had a bit of an unusual feel to it and we were 10 times better in the second half.

“We were able to make changes and our strength in depth told.

“They are a couple of leagues below us and have got 12 or 13 good players, whereas we have a good 18.

“The final score was 5-3 but we could have ended up scoring eight or nine because we hit the post and crossbar.

“It allowed us to get more minutes into the players’ legs and that was the biggest positive.”

Wakering went in at the break behind despite Alfie Hilton getting his name on the scoresheet early on.

Stevenson recorded a second half hat-trick, while Josh Wiggins was also on target for the Isthmian North side.

But Butterworth was disappointed with Wakering’s defending at times.

“It was a good workout for us but the biggest problem was the goals we conceded,” added Butterworth.

“Some of them were sloppy goals to concede.

“But it’s better that we are conceding those goals now rather than during the season.

“That gives us something to work on in the days and weeks ahead because we cannot afford to concede goals like that by the time the season comes around.”

White Ensign enjoyed an impressive campaign as they competed in the Eastern Counties League Division One South for the first time last term.

And Butterworth believes Munyard’s outfit will only get better after moving to Wakering’s Burroughs Park.

“I can see White Ensign doing well in their league, especially at home,” admitted Butterworth, who was appointed permanent player-manager in April.

“They proved against us that they like to play football the right way.

“The pitch has been well looked after so they will be able to play good football.

“Teams will be envious of the Burroughs Park pitch and White Ensign will be able to use that to their advantage.”