CONCORD manager Danny Cowley praised the endeavour shown by a visiting Great Wakering side, but says there is room for improvement in his own team.

A solitary strike from trialist Jacob Cleaver shortly after half-time was enough to give the Beachboys a 1-0 win over Rovers in a friendly at the Aspect Arena on Friday night.

It was the highlight of a nice second-half cameo from the former FitzWimarc pupil, who attracted interest from professional clubs following a stunning display in a trial game last season.

But it was a rare bit of goalmouth quality in a game which took place on an excellent-looking playing surface, but one in which two evenly matched teams largely cancelled each other out.

Afterwards Cowley paid tribute to a Rovers side tipped to do well in the Essex Senior League this season following last season’s relegation from Ryman One North.

“Credit to them, they worked very hard for (player/manager) Dan Trenkel,” he told the club’s website.

“I think Wakering will do very well this season, they have some good players and look fit and organised. “We, on the other hand, were a little disappointed with the level of our performance. “Our ball retention was poor in the first half, and we lacked fluency. “The clean sheet was a bonus, though, along with more match fitness.”

The night before Concord took a squad including 10 youth team players to Essex Senior League outfit Bowers & Pitsea and came away with a 1-1 draw.

Concord took a first half lead through Cleaver, and Bowers levelled on 57 minutes.

And it was a decent Concord side put out to face Rovers on Friday, although they were missing several first-team players including centre-backs Steve King and James White, midfielders Chris Bourne, Nicky Cowley and James Elmes, and striker Jason Hallett.

Last season’s top-scorer Tony Stokes gave an accomplished performance when dropped into a central midfield role.

Rovers’ player/manager Trenkel also suggested he is going to have another good season on the pitch as he marshalled his troops from just in front of his back four.

The hosts shaded possession and territory early on but it was Rovers who went closest to taking the lead just before the break when the lively Jay Nash’s shot from distance took a slight deflection before thudding against the face of the crossbar.

Concord replaced Ryan Marriott with Cleaver at the break and within minutes of the restart he scored what would prove to be the only goal of the game when he steered Reece Harris’ inviting low cross in off the post.