Football: East Thurrock knocked out of FA Cup

PETERBOROUGH SPORTS 3 (Lawlor 6, Johnson 45, Sembie-Ferris 83). ROCKS 2 (Merrifield 34, Olukoga 90).

Report courtesy of East Thurrock United

THE Rocks exited this seasons FA Cup competition in last night’s replay, but as in Saturday’s original game they will be ruefully looking back on what might have been on the night.

With Andy Pugh, Mitchell Gilbey, Lee Burns, Billy Crook and Adam Topley all out injured, once again John Coventry’s selection options were severely limited, and as a result, the Rocks went into the game with just two on the bench.

And what you don’t need when you’re up against it is for a marginal penalty decision to go against you in the opening minutes. With just five minutes on the clock Jack Giddens went down to clear the ball, and a Sports player tumbled over his outstretched arms. The trajectory of the ball suggested that the Rocks keeper had got to the ball cleanly, but the referee pointed to the spot and Dan Lawlor duly converted.

For a spell the home side dominated and Giddens pulled of some excellent saves to keep Rocks in the tie. Then, just past the half hour mark the Rocks levelled it up with a goal to savour. An excellent and patient build up involving around 20 passes ended with Jason Ring cutting in from the right and setting up Frankie Merrifield to shoot low into the corner.

Then, just when it looked like the sides would go in for the break level, Sports broke through for Cameron Johnson to fire past Giddens.

Rocks continued to move the ball around well after the interval and Danny Harris got into a great scoring position but fired across the face of the goal. Then Duncan Corbett fizzed a decent effort just the wrong side of the upright.

But it was the Southern League Central Premier side who scored when with just seven minutes left former Concord man Dion Sembie-Ferris put Sports 3-1 up.

To their credit Rocks kept pushing forward, and were finally rewarded as the game moved into added time, when some good work from Merrifield on the bye-line set up substitute Ayo Olukoga to smash home his first goal in Rocks colours.

ROCKS: Jack Giddens, Jason Ring, Jordan Brown, Steve Sheehan, Ryan Scott, Duncan Corbett (Ayo Olukoga 58), Ben Marlow, Frankie Merrifield, Lewis Smith, Danny Harris, Alex Clark. unused sub, Morisi Gelashvili.

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