Rocks held in cup

Lewis Smith dives to head home Rocks' goal. Picture by Jacques Feeney.

East Thurrock United 1, Peterborough Sports 1

THE Rocks hosted Southern Central Premier Sports at Rookery Hill in the FA Cup first qualifying round and after a competitive and entertaining cup tie these two battling sides will have to do it all over again at Sports’ Lincoln Road ground on Tuesday evening. On this display it will take a brave man to call the winner.

East Thurrock manager John Coventry continues to have injury problems, with news coming out that Lee Burns is now going to be out for some considerable while, and Mitchell Gilbey has a foot injury. With Andy Pugh also out after picking up a knock last Saturday added to longer term absentees Billy Crook and Adam Topley, the manager’s options were restricted.

Jordan Brown and Duncan Corbett returned to the starting line up, and both turned in impressive performances.

The opening half saw plenty of action, but very few chances as a midfield battle ensued. Then, on thirty six minutes Ryan Scott swung a cross from way out on the right into Sports penalty box, and Rocks skipper Lewis Smith thundered a diving header past visiting keeper Lewis Moat to put the Essex side in front.

The Rocks started the second half in lively fashion, with Steve Sheehan rattling the Sports crossbar and Frankie Merrifield firing just past the upright with a shot on the turn.

As the half progressed Peterborough came more into the game. Substitute Josh Moreman drew an excellent save from Rocks keeper Jack Giddens as he tried a spectacular overhead kick.

East Thurrock were hanging on now, and it came as no real surprise when the battling Turbines equalised with 15 minutes left when towering central defender Paul Malone rose highest at a corner to head past Giddens.

It took a last gasp tackle from Rocks’ Ryan Scott to deny Mark Jones as the game moved into added time.