Bowers & Pitsea 0, East Thurrock United 1
A DEPLETED East Thurrock produced a hard-working display to steal a place in the semi-finals of the Essex Senior Cup thanks to a glancing second half header from Shaun Batt that proved decisive.
Batt had previously spurned several opportunities to give the National League South side the lead, most notably in the first half when he burst through but fired a tame shot at Bowers keeper Andy Wilton.
The visitors were able to field just 12 players in their squad for the game, with Calvin Ekpiteta a surprise inclusion but the depleted side showed real character. Marginally favourites through their league status, they were nevertheless up against a side topping a ,table, albeit two divisions below.
But they showed a surprising cohesion to keep their hosts at bay and Bowers were only rarely able to threaten and the nearest either side came to a first half goal was another Batt effort, but Wilton dived to turn his header past the post.
The second half was played out in much the same vein as the first, with East Thurrock dominating possession and the decisive moment came on 66 minutes when centre half Ryan Scott found himself out wide after a set piece and swung in a superb cross that Batt met at the near post to score.
Bowers were unable to step up a gear, even though Rocks were reduced to ten men after using Lounnisse Merzook to replace a tired Ekpetita and then losing Scott when he suffered a nasty-looking head wound.
Bowers came closest to scoring when Quentin Moville produced a goalbound effort that Rocks keeper Jack Giddens tipped past the post but the visitors cleared the subsequent corner and managed to see out time and Rocks were through to the semis where either Chelmsford, AFC Hornchurch (who beat Brentwood on penalties tonight) and the winners of the tied between Billericay and Southend await.