John Coventry: I won't let East Thurrock get relegated

Basildon Recorder: John Coventry John Coventry

ROCKS’ recent defeats are down to a lack of mental toughness — but Rookery Hill boss John Coventry says that will not stop him fighting to keep his team in the Ryman Premier Division.

Speaking after their painful home 4-1 defeat to Margate on Tuesday night, Coventry said: “We’re not going down.

“I’m not going to allow that to happen.

“We’ve just got to focus on the next game ahead which is Leiston.

“It’s no good thinking about what they might or might not do. It’s all about preparing right and concentrating on what we can do.”

Suffolk-based Leiston are ninth in the division and drew 0-0 with Kingstonian in the week.

But they have picked up eight points from their last four games and Coventry knows his team will have to improve to beat them and give themselves a decent chance of survival.

“At the moment we’re losing because we are lacking mental toughness,” he said.

“I’ve been looking at how we’ve been playing and when we score first we’re happy — and often go on to win — but when we go behind we’ve been getting beaten.

“That’s purely about mental toughness. I’ve got the players with the right skills.

“In fact, with their skills we should really be in the top half of the division.

“But we’ve looked vulnerable when we go behind and that’s purely about mental toughness.”

Coventry admitted that he is taking every game one at a time and he will not factor in taking on already-relegated Cray Wanderers on Tuesday evening until after Saturday’s game.

The Rocks boss said he was frustrated by his team’s loss to Margate because he believed that East Thurrock had the best of the first half.

“We were definitely the better side in the first half against Margate,” he added. Rocks could have had several goals in the first 45 minutes – despite the influential Lewis Smith being unavailable – but missed chances from Neil Richmond and others cost the home team dear.

Charles Allen got Margate’s first in the 28th minute. Gate’s second came late in the half as Mitchell Nelson headed home.

Even then Rocks could have salvaged something. But lacklustre defending handed the ball to Anthony Riviere who scored Margate’s third early in the second half. And Allen scored Margate’s fourth on the hour.

Rocks consolation goal came when David Bryant was felled in the box and Tom Stephen scored from the penalty spot.

Rocks were on top for the last 20 minutes, but the mountain was too high to climb and now Coventry has just five games left to save his team from Ryman One North football next season.

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