Tottonians served up another scare for their home supporters but finally overcame a strong Thurrock side in a compelling clash at Water Lane.

Totts have got into the habit of building up healthy leads this season, before taking their foot off the pedal and letting opponents back into the game.

And they did it again on Saturday as they gradually established a commanding first-half advantage and then let it disappear within minutes after the break.

However the home side, missing three regular second row players, two first choice scrum-halves and several other key positions, got it back together and went on to win the London 1 South clash 43-26.

Coach Gavin Hart, who again came on in the latter stages along with backs’ coach Pierre Clark, said: “That’s the story of our year. We go out and get on top and then we have this 15-minute lull in the middle.

“We just think ‘let’s make this interesting’. We just sit off after we have done all the hard work.”

Totts’ first-half lead had come courtesy of tries from Eion Baxter and Ieuan Williams following two powerful breaks from centre Mike Searle and three penalties and a conversion from cousin Robbie Searle.

Totts struck with a penalty after the interval and then went to sleep as Thurrock ran in four tries in 20 minutes to get to 29-26 behind.

Momentum was clearly with the Essex side and they looked odds-on to move into the lead from a five-metre scrum after Totts’ skipper Nathurn Burns was sin binned.

Thurrock were within inches of scoring but an instinctive interception turned the game back in Tottonians’ favour.

Josh Raqio snapped up a Thurrock pass out of the scrum and he flew down the touchline to place under the posts.

And jubilant Totts’ fans had more to shout about seconds later as Hart took the ball from the restart, brushed off a couple of tackles and fed Richard Buck who made a similar sprint down the opposite flank to bring up the bonus-point victory.

Thurrock, who outscored Totts in the second half, were left with just the one point for their efforts in a pulsating match.

Hart added: “Hat’s off. We were really pleased in the end and have come away with five points.

“We wanted to build a fortress at home and slipped up earlier in the season but have come good today.”