EAST Thurrock will meet local rivals Thurrock again on Tuesday night after the two sides scrapped to a 1-1 draw at Rookery Hill on Saturday.
Rocks went into the game on the back of a brave performance against Chelmsford City in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, which ended in penalty heartache.
Their bid to bounce-back took a slow start, as a hard working Thurrock side looked more up for the battle. Harry Honesty squandered the first real chance of the game, shooting over after eight minutes following a smart turn on the edge of the box.
But it was Rocks who took the lead with in-form striker Sam Higgins bagging his 10th goal of the season.
He headed home a superb Tom Stephen corner in the 30th minute, just as East Thurrock had settled into their rhythm.
Rocks were forced to re-jig their backline early in the second half, with Harrison Spencer forced to retreat with an egg-sized lump on his forehead after a nasty clash with Charlie Stimson.
It was the Thurrock striker - son of boss Mark - who equalised in the 68th minute, heading home Ben Walster’s exquisite cross.
After the leveller, the game became scrappy and, as a winning goal was sought, the passing became a little aimless from both sides.
There was a heated exchange between Kye Ruel and Walster after the final whistle, and East Thurrock boss John Coventry dived among the melee of players to split the pair up.
Rocks came closest to winning the game when Higgins diverted a superb Reiss Gilbey free-kick towards goal, forcing an excellent reflex save from Thurrock stopper David Hughes with 10 minutes to play.
The two sides will meet at Ship Lane on Tuesday evening, and it will be decided then which team will progress to the next round of the FA Trophy.
East Thurrock: Wray; Stephen, Peddie, Harrison (Gorbell 66), Newby; Parmenter, Ruel, Gilbey, Collins; Higgins, Araba (Sammons 71).
Thurrock: Hughes; Jones, Turpin, Griffin (Obawanyi 64), Walster; Woodward, Thurgood, Wanadio, Honesty; Stimson, Okah (Griffiths 52).
Echo MoM: Charlie Stimson (Thurrock).