Saturday, September 30, 2023

Football: Rock’s belief crumbles with sucker punches in Suffolk

Ryman Premier

Leiston 3 v 1 East Thurrock United

A SECOND half revival from Leiston ensured what proved, in the end, a comfortable victory for the home side but they owed much in the first half to a fine display from keeper Alexis Rossis and profligacy from East Thurrock.

The only thing going for Rocks seems to be that Wingate and Finchley keep losing. If Rocks beat relegated Cray Wanderers on Tuesday night, then they will rise out of the relegation zone.

Rocks had taken the lead when Sam Higgins rose to nod in from a corner on the half hour mark. That was after Rock’s keeper, David Hughes had saved a penalty.

Other Rocks half chances were spurned and Osei did come close to an equaliser going into the break but East Thurrock scrambled the effort clear and maintained the momentum for the restart.

They picked up the baton on the resumption and it looked as if a second goal was on the cards when Higgins tumbled under what seemed a clear foul but the referee Mr Cooper instead pulled a yellow card from his pocket and cautioned Rocks’ talisman for simulation.

In the 57th minute Leiston were awarded a second penalty after an injudicious challenge by Tom Stephen. Joe Francis put the kick away.

After that, Rocks’ belief visibly crumbled and it was no surprise when Parker finished off a pacey counter attack with a conclusive finish to give his side the lead and when Leiston got a free kick decision in their favour on 79 minutes Francis fired home a low angled drive through the visiting defence.

It was game over at that point but Rocks boss Coventry had already had to reconcile himself to another gut-wrenching defeat from a position of strength and afterwards he was quick to identify where his feelings were.

“Forget the referee’s decisions, poor as they were. We have so many similar circumstances over recent games that we can’t keep blaming the officials. We have to look at our performance and the way we react and respond to things that happen, good or bad,” he said.

“I have no doubt at all that the team we have, were we in a higher position in the table, would do very well but circumstances and pressures are different at the bottom and it requires a different mental approach.

“It’s not about ability, as much as about heart and the capacity to fight and rise above things that go against you. It would be easy to try and shift blame on to referees and their assistants and certainly things that have happened to us of late are difficult to take but the ultimate responsibility lies with the players and myself and we have to react and show we can cope it.

“I still believe that, with the games we have left, we have the chance to get out of the relegation position we are in but that will depend upon us and no-one else.”


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