JOHN Coventry fears Ben Marlow will face a spell on the sidelines after suffering a suspected fractured cheekbone in East Thurrock United’s Essex Senior Cup third round defeat at Concord Rangers.

Rocks went into the contest looking to defend their county title, having claimed the trophy for the first time last term, but a Decarrey Sheriff goal ensured the holders suffered an early exit.

However, East Thurrock chief Coventry admits he was more concerned with Marlow’s injury than the result at the Aspect Arena.

Coventry said: “The worst thing is that Ben went to hospital with a possible fractured cheekbone.

“Losing and not scoring does not bother me anywhere near as much as Ben’s injury.

“Ben was good on the night and he is great for us.

“He’s got that energy in the middle of the park and I feel for the boy because it’s quite a nasty one by the looks of things.

“He went to the hospital and I’ve been told that his cheek has been dented and the cheekbone has gone right in.

“That means he could be looking at a plate being needed, so it doesn’t sound good at all.”

Coventry was disappointed to see his side fall at the first hurdle in their title defence after lacking a clinical edge at National League South side Concord.

“On the balance of play and chances, we should have won the game,” added Coventry.

“But if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win games of football.

“We were terrible for the goal we conceded and it was avoidable.

“I counted seven chances that we created. When you face a team in a higher league, you don’t expect to go to their home and create that much.

“We needed to take one of those chances and we didn’t.”