EAST Thurrock United suffered a 2-1 Isthmian Premier League defeat to Margate after failing to make their dominance pay.

Andy Pugh gave Rocks the lead late in the first half, but second half goals from Noel Leighton and substitute Kudus Oyengua allowed the visitors to come from behind and clinch all three points at Rookery Hill.

Rocks dominated proceedings in the first half and created the better opportunities.

With just five minutes on the clock, Jason Ring’s deep cross was met by a leaping Frankie Merrifield, who headed over the top.

Merrifield then had another headed chance and forced Joseph Tupper into a good save after Pugh had burst down the left wing, evading Harrison Hatfull.

Margate, who were skippered by former East Thurrock midfielder Reece Prestedge, responded with Kadell Daniel sending a 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar.

But that was as close as the visitors came in the opening period as Jay Saunders’ outfit struggled to manufacture clear-cut opportunities.

Rocks midfielder Ben Marlow’s long range strike flashed past the post before Billy Crook, who grabbed his first goal for the club in the 1-1 draw at Cray Wanderers last time out, stung the palms of Tupper.

Pugh failed to trouble Margate after meeting a Merrifield cross, but the frontman broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

After cutting inside and avoiding Hatfull’s sliding challenge, Pugh swept the ball into the bottom corner of the net to give the home side a deserved lead going into the break.

East Thurrock got the second period off to a promising start, with Tupper having to parry a Merrifield drive away.

Margate hit back with Daniel forcing Rocks goalkeeper Jack Giddens into a comfortable save, while Elliott Reeves did likewise with a tame header.

Marlow, having already gone close in the first half, fired inches over the crossbar as the hosts upped the pressure once again.

East Thurrock’s missed chances proved costly as, with 20 minutes remaining, Leighton stooped to head home.

Rocks would have restored their lead immediately were it not for Tupper making an impressive save from point blank range to thwart Pugh.

Danny Harris, who entered the fray as a substitute, saw his curling effort deflect wide with East Thurrock looking to regain the initiative.

However, Margate turned the game on its head as, with seven minutes remaining, Oyengua fired home from close range moments after Jason Ring had cleared a goalmouth scramble off the goal-line.

Daniel attempted to put daylight between the two sides but saw his strike curl past the post.

Rocks pushed for a late leveller, but they were unable to claim a share of the spoils.