ROCKS boss Marc Harrison was the first to acknowledge his side got lucky with a disputed penalty in Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round tie at the seaside and hoped that the change in fortune – following their own sense of injustice in a midweek league defeat by Hashtag United – could help spark an improvement.
The win, which he described as ‘ugly’, was East Thurrock’s first of the season and puts them into tomorrow’s First Qualifying Round draw.
Clacton, who play in the Essex Senior League were underdogs going into the tie but showed their bite in the first 15 minutes of the match, pressing Rocks back and challenging for everything.
It remained fairly level, with not a lot of quality in the game, until the break but a change of plan in the second half eventually saw Rocks emerge on top.
The decisive moment came in the 75th minute when Rocks were contentiously awarded a penalty after a challenge in the box and despite the home side’s protests, Olly Miles stayed calm to slot home from the spot.
After the match Harrison said: “I think we know we could have been a lot better but I think the credit needs to go to Clacton. I don’t mean it disrespectfully but they were underdogs and I thought they played that role superbly. I’m not saying we are superior at all but I could see they were so hungry for it. If I was Clacton’s manager I would be really, really proud of them and definitely feel a little bit hard done by.
Harrison diplomatically declined to give a personal verdict on the decision, but clearly felt his side got lucky, adding: “I don’t know whether it was a penalty or not, it was a bit unlucky for them.”
Reflecting on the match he said: “I thought we would have seen a little bit more of the ball but they got into us. We made changes at half time and credit to my team, we won ugly.
“We’ve got improvements to make but every win is important and the first win is crucial. We have good sides coming up against us when we play Heybridge and Tilbury next week, it’s going to be difficult for us, but if we have to be ugly in those games to win so be it.”