Biggleswade Town 0, East Thurrock United 1
EAST Thurrock United barely moved out of third gear as they overcame a spirited challenge from Evo-Stik Southen Premier promotion-chasers Biggleswade on Saturday.
The one goal margin of victory didn’t really represent the way Rocks held sway for much of the game and though the match-winning goal from Sam Higgins didn’t come until just after the hour mark, it always seemed likely the Vanarama National League South would avoid a cup upset.
Manager John Coventry gave a debut to wideman George Brown, on loan from Colchester United, and the youngster showed plenty of promise through the early stages, in which Rocks enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.
There was momentary concern when a corner from Connor Hall grazed the East Thurrock crossbar but a more realistic chance of an opener came at the other end where Max Cornhill headed wide when well-placed.
Other chances were few and far between, with neither keeper really troubled and the game really failed to catch light, with Rocks industrious play snuffing out any promise the high-flying waders showed. There was one moment of bated breath when first Higgins, then Lewis Smith and finally Montel Aygemang snatched shots in a crowded box that were all blocked.
There was always the expectation that a Rocks goal might arrive and it duly did on 65 minutes when Brown produced a fine cross at the end of a drive to the by-line and top-scorer Higgins rose to arch a header past Liam Gooch.
Biggleswade rarely looked like getting on level terms, though a late flurry of activity in front of visiting keeper Lukas Lidakevicius was as exciting as it got for home fans and they came closest to an equaliser when the ball fell for Gavin Hoyte in the closing seconds but he spurned the chance of a replay by firing over the bar.
The win left Rocks unbeaten from 11 matches and together with Manchester City they are the only side in the top seven flights of English football not to have been defeated in any competition.